Balance Sheet

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ASSETS

Golden Shot

The Salk polio vaccine turns 50 years old. For most Americans, the horror that was polio is just something in history books.

Spam Slammer

A North Wales court sentences a man to 20 months in jail for his part in a Nigerian e-mail scam. And if Peter Okoeguale brings $5,000 to prison, he'll get the $12 million an oil minister left in a bank account before he died.

Ogling Google

Google's practice of tying consumers to ads they are actually interested in could bring the company as much as $1 billion in revenue this year.

Snack Flack

According to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, children snacked much more a generation ago. The study found that the percentage that had five or more snacks in a day went from 30 percent in 1973-74 to 8 percent in 1993-94.

Nashville Sounds

College students at 45 schools in the Volunteer State avoid a $120-a-year levy as the Tennessee Board of Regents rejects the recording industry's request for a private tax on broadband use.

Brain Gain

According to research presented at the American Academy of Neurology, gene therapy holds promise for treating Alzheimer's disease. Engineered chemicals known as nerve growth factor seem to slow the debilitating illness.

Snickers Defense

Police in Bournemouth, England, combat rowdiness at last call with chocolate bars. Rather than make arrests when crowds turn out of saloons, police find that handing out candy bars calms drinkers, satiates their hunger, and generally makes it easier for the drunks to get home safely.

LIABILITIES

Spyware War

Fresh from years of useless anti-spam legislation, Congress turns its gaze toward spyware. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) vows to "cure this cancer on the Internet."

Squeal Estate

The California Department of Real Estate says advertising your home for sale on the Net requires a real estate license.

Dirtiest Laundry

The Internal Revenue Service proposes to amend implementation of the Privacy Act of 1974 so that targets of money laundering investigations will not receive any information about the investigation.

Err America

American Airlines gives 1.2 million passenger itineraries to the Transportation Security Administration and to four other companies looking to do work for the TSA.

Pot Pits

The official, government-approved pot the Canadian health system sends to AIDS and cancer patients is sent back about a third of the time as unusable. Canada is paying about $16,000 (Canadian dollars) an ounce for weed that activists say is nowhere near as good as the black market stuff available for $200 an ounce.

Balloon Not

The Federal Communications Commission fines Howard Stern $27,500 for comparing the human anus to a balloon knot, but it ignores a written complaint about Oprah Winfrey explaining that "tossing salad" means anilingus and that a "rainbow party" involves several women each wearing different-colored lipstick performing fellatio on the same man.

Bananas, Florida

Citizens of Manalapan, Florida, can rest easy now that police cameras will record an image of every car that passes through town. Police also plan to run background checks on the license plates they identify.

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