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Americans spend $40,000,000,000 annually (more than the gross domestic product of many countries) on caring for their lawns. - Ottawa Citizen, 5/21/06

German thieves have stolen a 20-ton roller coaster that was being transported to a fair. - The Week Magazine, 5/26/06

International Space Station crew members stuffed an old space suit with a radio transmitter (complete with digitized recordings of children's voices), and old clothes, and jettisoned the suit. This new satellite broadcast the voices to ham radio operators worldwide before the batteries died. The suit is expected to burn up in the atmosphere in August 2006. - Popular Science, 6/06

164 of 168 nations guarantee paid maternity leave for working mothers. The four that don't are Lesotho, Swaziland, Papua New Guinea and the United States. - The Week Magazine, 5/26/06

Roadside billboards are prohibited in 4 of the United States: Alaska, Hawaii, Maine and Vermont. - San Diego Union, 5/24/06

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has linked exposure to artificial butter flavoring in microwave popcorn to lung disease that sickened nearly 200 workers at popcorn plants and killed at least three. - ABC News, 4/24/06

John Koza has networked 1,000 computers together to form an "invention machine". Koza feeds information into the machine, and the machine randomly comes up with potential solutions, and then tests them. One of the invention machine's creations has earned a patent, as the patent examiner did not know it was the work of a computer. - Popular Science, 5/06

$30 of raw popcorn can translate into as much as $3,000 in sales at the movie theaters. - Chicago Tribune, 3/18/06

A Malaysian man received a $218,000,000,000,000 phone bill and was ordered to pay up within 10 days or face prosecution. - MSNBC, 4/10/06

Coca-Cola indeed once did contain cocaine, but the company insists it does not now buy coca leaves. However, the only legal importer of coca leaves is the Stepan Co. of Maywood, New Jersey. Much of the 382,000 pounds of coca leaves it imports is made into a "flavoring extract"; its main customer for that "flavoring extract" is reported to be the Coca-Cola Company. - The Week Magazine, 3/31/06

In South Bend, Indiana, a man was arrested for selling bogus flat-screen TVs to unsuspecting victims. The item was bubble wrapped, had Wal-Mart markings and came with a remote control. The flat-screen TV was actually an oven door. - South Bend Tribune, 4/1/06

The Chicago Public School system requires all students take driver's education, including blind students. - MSNBC, 3/10/06

A Qantas Airways baggage handler was suspended after he was caught opening a passenger's luggage and discovered a camel costume. He drove around the tarmac of Sydney airport wearing the head. - Business 2.0 Magazine, 1/06

The Canadian Recording Industry Association's own research now concludes that Peer-to-peer illegal downloading constitutes less than one-third of the music on downloaders' computers. Also it found that P2P users frequently try music on P2P services before they buy, and that the largest P2P downloader demographic is also the largest music buying demographic. - CRIA Consumer Study, 2/06

Kraft Foods has reformulated Alpha-Bits cereal using a whole grain formula. Unfortunately it yields letters that are too chunky to read, and the elimination of the sugar coating causes the letters to break apart more readily in milk. - New York Times, 8/11/05

Russell Stover has introduced a new confection for this Easter: six inch chocolate crucifixes. - Business 2.0 Magazine, 1/06

The United States meat industry discards $1,000,000,000 worth of edible meat annually as it is considered too "ugly" to sell. - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/19/06

Each and every day, Saudi Arabia receives $500,000,000 from oil-consuming nations, including almost $100,000,000 from the United States. - The Week Magazine, 3/17/06

Apple recently celebrated the sale of the 1 billionth song on their music download service iTunes. Illegal peer-to-peer sites still are responsible for traffic of about 1 billion songs each month. - Rolling Stone, 3/23/06

A congressional committee was told that 24 people have disappeared from cruise ships in the past two years. - The Week Magazine, 3/10/06

U.S. airlines last year lost about 10,000 bags a day on average. - USA Today, 2/16/06
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