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Watercooler Stories

By
ALEX CUKAN, United Press International

NEW YORKER MORE READ IN CALIFORNIA

A Saul Steinberg cartoon published in a 1976 cover of the New Yorker magazine showed parts of Manhattan in sharp detail but a brown blur from Jersey to the Pacific.

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The cartoon helped establish the myth that New Yorkers are obsessed only with themselves and that only New Yorkers read the New Yorker.

However, New Yorker publisher David Carey says more people in California read the weekly magazine -- which includes a detailed list of things to do in the Big Apple -- than in New York, the Village Voice reports.

"It's become the cool thing to read the New Yorker in California.


MORE SPAM NO MATTER WHAT

Despite federal legislation, spam in the United States has increased from 58 percent of e-mail messages last December to 62 percent last month.

The Federal Trade Commission is policing the law, but the main reason spam is still around is because it works.

Although many delete obvious spam heralding "Hot, Hot Babes," 8 percent of spam recipients do respond, the Christain Science Monitor reports.

That is a better response rate than most direct advertising mailed to a home -- but direct mail is expensive, there's the paper cost, printing cost, as well as the assembling, sorting and mail cost.

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Spam costs next to nothing to produce and distribute -- a typical spammer might blast out 5 million e-mail messages a day.

"A response rate of just 1/10th of 1 percent could keep a spammer afloat," says FTC staff attorney Michael Goodman.


4,000 DIE IN RUSSIAN FIRES

In the first two months of the year, 4 000 people have died in fires Russia, according to the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations.

"More than 36,000 fires have been registered in the Russian Federation in January-February 2004," a ministry spokesman says in an interview with the Interfax news agency. "More than 4,000 people have died, including 139 children. More than 2,000 people have been seriously wounded."

However, the ministry says most regions have had a decrease in fires, except Moscow and the Far East, Pravda reports.

"Unattended candles, ovens, electrical appliances are the main causes of the fires, as well as arson," the ministry says.


AMERICANS MOVING LESS

U.S. residents are moving at some of the lowest rates in more than 50 years, the U.S. Census Bureau reports.

Forty million people moved between 2002 and 2003, 14 percent of the population, down from a rate of 20 percent in 1948 when the Census Bureau first began collecting data on moving.

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For those who changed residences between 2002 and 2003, 51 percent moved for housing-related reasons, 26 percent for family reasons and 16 percent for work-related reasons.

Between 2002 and 2003, the Midwest and the Northeast experienced net losses of about 100,000 to other states, while the South gained 125,000 and the West gained 74,000.

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