Balance Sheet



Leak Plug. President Clinton vetoes a wacky move to create an official secrets act punishing anyone who "leaks" classified info. The law would have relieved prosecutors of the burden of showing that a leak actually harmed national security.

Silicon Rainbow. A study in the journal Demography finds that diverse culture, including a robust gay community, predicts how much tech-boom local communities see.

Block Party. Stodgy 68-year-old Lego releases the source code to its popular Mindstorms robot-building blocks. Adult coders are delighted and another generation of geeks ensured.

Plan Maryland. Amish and Mennonite farmers refuse to participate in Maryland's tobacco eradication program, calling it shameful welfare. Tobacco-settlement money pays farmers $1 per lb. per year for a decade to forego growing.

Filter View. Hacking gets backing from the U.S. Copyright Office, which rules that showing how so-called Web filtering software works does not break the law. The ACLU argued that keeping blocked sites secret violated free speech.

Millennial Masala. Modern life trickles down to women in India as they fill tech jobs in and around thriving Bangalore. A local association of women entrepreneurs teaches village women to set up businesses like small computer centers where customers can log on for a fee.


Driving Phoned. U.S. lawmakers rush to outlaw driving while talking on a cell phone despite paltry evidence that it causes accidents. Up next: a ban on talking to passengers or singing with the radio?

Log Rolled. Election officials and judges move to squash Nader-trader Web sites, arguing private deals to swap Gore votes for Nader votes across state lines violates the law. But when Congress does such swaps, it's called statesmanship.

Bad Choices. Overreaching school choice initiatives in Michigan and California keep the idea a total loser in ballot questions. Confirms that choice requires that oh-so-rare element-political leadership.

L. Ron Hubbub. Microsoft bows to German government pressure to remove a defrag utility from Windows 2000 there. The feature was designed by a firm with a Scientologist CEO, and Scientology is viewed with hysteria in Germany.

Vodka Chronic. Masked police in Moscow storm the offices of Smirnov as part of a dispute over the company's ownership. Guns, threats, and squatting often determine ownership in Russia's new economy. Whatever it is, it ain't capitalism.

Tech Trough. Surprise! Big corporate players line up behind tax breaks for closing the mythical digital divide. Telecom firms and fiber optics maker Corning push for wiring tax credits; Gateway and others want a new break for donating used PCs.