Balance Sheet



New Coke

NAFTA brings Mexican Coke to the U.S., where it is stocked and sold at a premium by Latin grocers. Domestic bottlers grumble as their corn syrup concoction languishes, while the cane sugar?sweetened import flies off store shelves.

Cloud City

WiFi networks and appliances continue to disrupt old notions–and pricing–of human communication. Costly cell phone calls might soon be replaced by wireless voice calls made via the Internet.

Liquor Chaser

NASCAR lifts its ban on liquor sponsorship of its race cars. The line between liquor and beer had grown thin indeed with the move of brands like Smirnoff into the near-beer space–and door panels.

Open Sources

The folks behind Wikipedia, the collaborative online encyclopedia, branch out to news gathering. Wikinews lets amateur journalists report the stories of the day; it could develop into a real alt-news source, especially for developing countries.

Credibility Gap

A survey of 50,000 people in 60 countries by Gallup International finds that 63 percent think politicians are dishonest, compared to 43 percent for business leaders. Latin American politicians are the least favored, distrusted by 87 percent of those polled, while the Germans distrust everybody equally.

Bone Collectors

Purdue University researchers find that carbon nanotubes may help joint implants fuse with growing bone cells. Artificial joints that bond tightly with bone are likely to last longer and perform better for patients, doctors say.


Licensee Lock-Up

More than 60 ABC affiliates pre-empt Saving Private Ryan rather than risk fines from the Federal Communications Commission.

Mental Illness

Congress throws $20 million at a program the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons says will lead to public schools' conducting mandatory psychological testing of school kids without parental consent. Critics say the program is just a way for big drug companies to gin up demand for their psychiatric drugs.

Pittsburgh Stealers

The city of Pittsburgh considers taxing visiting pro athletes to raise cash to pay for public art projects. Art project money was used to pay for the bonds that built the stadiums the players play in, you see.

Big Flub

Boston's $14.6 billion Big Dig highway project is leaking. A state investigation reveals that millions of gallons of water are flowing into the tunnel system from more than 400 leaks. A subsequent Boston Globe report paints an even worse picture: "nearly 700 leaks in a single 1,000-foot section of an Interstate 93 tunnel."

Bases Empty

The Toronto Blue Jays spend $25 million Canadian to buy SkyDome, which cost $580 million to build, much of it public funds. The Blue Jays' first baseman cost the team $23 million last year.

Password: Sucker

A California court finds that a man accused of planting a keystroke monitor on a computer did not violate federal wiretapping laws, since the device was installed between the keyboard and the computer, not on the network.