Balance Sheet



Blocks Tackled. The Supreme Court bars police roadblocks set up to snag the odd motorist that might, kinda, maybe have drugs. Seems somebody fought a war over this once.

Temp Tempest. The UN climate conference at The Hague blows up when Europe rejects sweeping U.S. concessions as insufficient to stop the certain looming catastrophe. The E.U. will have to go it alone with high energy taxes and economic gridlock.

Secret Sharers. A New Jersey court rules that the anonymity of two Web posters is protected. The judge says the software company that didn't like their messages never proved they made defamatory statements or did anything unlawful.

Mr. Greenbyte. U.S. growers adopt "precision farming," using computers to track production in their fields right down to the row. Seed and fertilizer can be better applied, with less waste and runoff.

Ozone Whole. The hole in the ozone layer at the South Pole will start shrinking within a decade and should close completely in the next 50 years, scientists say. The Stratospheric Processes and their Role in Climate Panel says volcanic eruptions could slow the change, but it is definitely closing.

Personal Crunch. General Mills announces a plan to make Web-customized cereals. will allow over 1 million combinations and ship the concoctions to your door in a couple of days.


Charlotte's Web. A federal appeals court votes 2-1 to overturn a lower court's decision that found the public schools in Charlotte, N.C., were desegregated after 28 years of busing. Another 25 years of 50-minute bus rides should even things out.

Gallic Gall. Yahoo! lands on the wrong side of a French court decision requiring the global Web portal to block French surfers' access to Nazi auctions (see "No Liberté Online," Citings, October). Next up, making the Web comport with China's view of content?

Dorm Dodge. Colleges and universities give students a lesson in phone-charge robbery. Student bodies are hit with high mark-ups for phone services. UC-Berkeley, for one, hikes overseas calls over 200 percent.

Cloak and Stagger. The CIA fires four employees and suspends at least 10 others over a "secret" chat room within the agency's computer network. Chiefly used for "bitching about management," it went undetected for years.

Mourning After. The city of Los Angeles spent about $36 million to put on the Democratic National Convention in August, four times more than expected. Twenty-two million dollars went to security, $4.1 million for shuttle buses, and $4.2 million for logistical support.

Snuffed Outside. Friendship Heights, Maryland, moves to become the first jurisdiction in the country to ban smoking on public property. Outside. In parks and on sidewalks. In the fresh air.