Balance Sheet

Assets

Packet Catcher

Sprint is the first phone company to switch its local phone traffic to an Internet-like packet-switched network. Although the upgrade will take years to finish, it could be the start of a real 21st-century phone network.

Quick Check

The FBI claims it has improved the speed of the background checks on gun buyers required by the Brady Law. The checks used to take days, but about 91 percent of gun dealer inquiries are now resolved on the initial phone call, the feds say.

Minute Persons

The University of Massachusetts elects to keep its Minuteman mascot despite citing "gender, firearms and ethnicity issues" as reasons to abandon it. Turns out a redesign of the 30-year-old Minuteman that might sell more T-shirts was a better solution.

Land Ahead

Montana is the first state in the nation to ban the sale of state-owned land to the feds. State officials fear that if Washington gets its hands on land, it'll forbid productive uses that generate tax revenue for schools.

Flat Earth

China takes a close look at flat tax reforms. Don't tell U.S. politicians, but flat is something of a trend. Estonia, Latvia, Russia, and Ukraine have flat taxes, and Slovakia is studying one. All are at rates of 20 percent or lower.

Skinny Tripping

One of the few travel markets resistant to terror anxiety turns out to be nudist vacationing. Nude cruises are all the rage, part of an annual $400 million nude recreation business. Don't forget the sunblock.

Liabilities

Hunting Reason

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