Jockstrip: The world as we know it

By United Press International  |  March 17, 2005 at 6:00 AM
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Poll finds de Gaulle greatest Frenchman

PARIS, March 16 (UPI) -- A national poll to name France's greatest people puts former President Charles de Gaulle above a comedian, singer and Jesuit priest, the Independent reports.

The preliminary data is being used to produce the "Greatest French Person of All Time" television show and began with a national poll, which was whittled to a top 100.

The top 10 will all be featured in their own biographical show on the France 2 television network, and then the winner will decided by viewers voting by telephone, text message and the Internet.

After de Gaulle came singer Edith Piaf, undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau and author Victor Hugo.

The only living person in the top 10 was Abbé Pierre, 92, a Jesuit priest and campaigner for the under-privileged.

The comedian Coluche, whose real name was Michel Colucci, was a pudgy, slapstick clown who created a network of soup kitchens for homeless people. He died in a 1970 motorbike accident.

The remaining top 10 nominees are singer/actor Bourvil, scientists Marie Curie and Louis Pasteur, and playwright Moliere.

Hydrogen bike faulted for being too quiet

LONDON, March 16 (UPI) -- The British makers of the world's first hydrogen-powered cycle have had to add a noise-maker because its silence could prove unsafe, the BBC said Wednesday.

Known as the Emissions Neutral Vehicle, the $8,300 product has a top speed of 50 mph and a range of at least 100 miles as well as absolutely zero harmful emissions. But because the bike is silent some fear it could contribute to accidents.

The bike's makers, Intelligent Energy, has added an optional noise-maker for customers who want it.

"What we are doing is introducing flexibility into it, so that you can have ambient noise that is tolerable -- low-level noise sufficient for safety reasons -- but which can be switched off when desired," said Harry Bradbury, chief executive of the company.

Antique peat bucket sells for $246,000

DUBLIN, Ireland, March 16 (UPI) -- An antique peat bucket from the time of King George III has sold for more than $246,000 at an auction in Dublin, The Irish Times reported Wednesday.

Two well-known Dublin property developers fought it out by phone Tuesday to buy the brassbound mahogany bucket, which was auctioned by James Adam Salesrooms. The auction house had expected the bucket to fetch $34,000 at most.

According to Adam's director James O'Halloran, the bucket is special because of its size and its general quality. "It's very large -- you could fit a family in there -- it's beautiful timber and it's in lovely condition, which makes it rare. Rarity will always draw people out, but we certainly didn't expect it to break the ($170,000) mark."

A particularly Irish item of furniture, peat buckets were used to haul fuel from room to room and were designed to sit by the fireplace. Far larger than the traditional bucket, the one sold Tuesday is nearly 26 inches high and has a scallop shell on the front, a typical motif in Irish Georgian furniture, though not often found adorning buckets. The size and the decoration suggest that it was made for one of Ireland's grand houses.

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