News In Brief

WHAT'S SO ODD ABOUT THAT?

While most of us weren't looking, Wednesday turned out to be more than just Groundhog Day. It also, mathematicians confirm, was the first date in 1,112 years whose every digit was an even number. Think of it: 2/2/2000. That has not happened since Aug. 28, 888 (8/28/888). But now that the long interim is over, the phenomenon will be repeated 35 times this year ... beginning today.

IS THAT YOUR FINAL ANSWER?

Let's say you've been retired for 17 years and some unbelievably generous employer offered you $1 billion to return to work. Would you turn it down? The four former members of the Swedish pop group ABBA did. An American-British entertainment consortium dangled the lure to try to cash in on the current revival of ABBA hits - among them "Gimme! Gimme!" and "Mamma Mia" - that topped the charts in the 1970s. "It's a lot of money to say no to," agreed singer/ pianist Benny Andersson. "But we decided it wasn't for us." The shiny polyester-wearing quartet disbanded in 1983.

Prized Internet addresses command top-dollar bids

When Marcelo Siero registered the domain name "loans.com" for free in 1994, he had no idea what a hefty profit he would eventually reap. Last week, the URL was auctioned off for $3 million, the third-highest price paid for an Internet domain name. The unidentified buyer was among more than a half-dozen companies that placed bids. "This is like my first major financial success," said Siero, a computer and software designer in Ben Lomond, Calif. "You look at all the great intellectual ideas you develop over the years, and here you make money on a few letters." Competition for easily recognized domain names has intensified as companies try to gain optimal position on the Internet. Following are the top sales of domain names, in millions of dollars:

Business.com $7.5

Altavista.com 3.3

Loans.com 3.0

Autos.com 2.2

Bingo.com 1.1

- Associated Press

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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