Balance Sheet



Low Endoscope

A doctor in Vietnam balks at the $30,000 needed for an endoscope and builds his own with a Web cam, a Pentium, and a color printer. Out-of-pocket cost: about $800.

Oh, Atlanta

Georgia studies truck-only toll lanes as a possible solution to traffic congestion around Hotlanta. Such TOT lanes could save time and money for all travelers in and around the Southern transport hub.

Heather's Mommies

The California Supreme Court recognizes the parental obligations of lesbian couples who have children together.

Copy Canine

South Korean researchers have succeeded in creating the first dog clone. Snuppy (short for Seoul National University Puppy) joins the growing menagerie of cloned critters, including cats, mules, cows, and mice.

Switched-On Packets

Market research firm In-Stat predicts that Internet protocol?based telephone switching equipment should outsell old circuit-switched equipment this year, evidence that regulatory confusion over telecom has not dented the adoption of new technology. So far.

Converted Rice

An international team of scientists map the genetic code of rice, prompting hopes that science can find a way to improve the crop that feeds more than half the world's population.


Researchers in Texas and Australia find a way to produce nanotubes in quantities sufficient for industrial applications. Sheets of the material could be used as solar cells, light sources, you name it.


Stark Raving

Some 90 masked and heavily armed officers from various jurisdictions swoop in on a peaceful rave in Spanish Fork Canyon, Utah, and arrest about 60 people, mostly on drug charges. But at least the terrorists didn't win.

Sudafed Madness

Oregon ends over-the-counter sales of effective decongestants as part of a hysterical war on meth production.

Curious George

New York Gov. (and presidential hopeful) George Pataki flips over New York Post transcripts of old phone calls between the governor and his wife, among others. Pataki urges prosecutors to find out how the Post got the material and mulls a civil lawsuit.

Comparable Mirth

Supreme Court nominee John Roberts endures criticism for belittling wacky comparable worth notions back in the '80s. You recall that one–the idea that bureaucrats and judges should set wage scales for occupations because the market did such a bad job. No, really.

Pill Poppers

A Texas jury leaves planet Earth to find Merck liable, to the tune of $253 million, for the death of an artery-clogged man who once took Merck's Vioxx.

Universal Disservice

The FCC opts to keep subjecting DSL lines to universal service fees. Expect the multibillion-dollar slush fund they finance to continue long after every American has a cell phone, broadband, and a cybernetic satellite uplink.

Lack of Support

E.U. quotas for Chinese textiles lead to a shortage of autumn clothing in Britain. While officials scramble to renegotiate, the "bra wars" may put small retailers out of business.