Etc...

First aisle on your right

There is niche marketing, and then there's the innovation that Ma Bo has come up with. It seems that Ma, who's a he, operates a merchandise mart in Dalian, China, that carries tools and other products made exclusively for left-handed people. Such as? Well, scissors and can openers. Left-handers often are stigmatized in China, but Ma isn't shy about promoting his business. He says, "I just want to help the lefties ... so they can lead an easier and more convenient life," and his website carries the slogan "Left is Best." Just one problem, though: Ma can't test the items before he sells them because he's right-handed.

Smartest state? New survey declares it's Massachusetts

The Bay State won bragging rights to the title "smartest state" in a recent education study by Morgan Quitno Press. The Lawrence, Kan., research and publishing group assessed public schools on 21 criteria, such as graduation rates, per-pupil spending, class size, and parental involvement on homework assignments, comparing state figures with the national average. The states ranked highest and lowest in Morgan Quitno's 2003-2004 education survey (and last year's place, in parentheses):

Highest
1. Massachusetts (7)
2. Vermont (2)
3. Connecticut (1)
4. Montana (3)
5. New Jersey (4)
Lowest
46. Alabama (41)
47. Louisiana (49)
48. Mississippi (48)
49. Nevada (46)
50. New Mexico (50)

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