CHICAGO - Computer systems in American colleges are becoming clogged. Students are downloading too much music from the Internet. To counter the jam, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has banned access to Napster, a site that helps download music. At times, this site has accounted for 60 percent of the school's Internet traffic, says Bob Foertsch, who works in the computing offices there. Students Against University Censorship, a student group protesting a similar ban at Indiana University, says almost 70 schools have banned Napster. The group, which hopes to take legal action to restore student access to restricted sites, has 2,700 names on a Website petition and a goal of 10,000 signatures.
Shoes that know how to move
BEVERLY, MASS. - "Our shoe has intelligence inside it that can sense what kind of activity you're engaged in," says Ronald Demon, chief executive officer of Vectrasense Technologies. The company has come up with computer chips that are implanted in running shoes. The chips know if the wearer is running or walking and automatically adjust how much support the "Raven" line of shoes gives the wearer. Mr. Demon and his three-person company plan to start selling the $150 battery-powered shoes in April.
Seeds that scrub pollution
AUBURN HILLS, MICH. - Daimler-Chrysler engineers are using sunflowers to clean up an abandoned manufacturing site here. Using a process called phytoremediation, sunflowers are planted first, followed by mustard plants, as a way of removing lead contamination from soil. The process, DaimlerChrysler says, saved the company about $1 million compared with the cost of removing the contaminated soil. Within one growing season, 5,750 cubic yards of contaminated soil was reduced to a few yards of lead-contaminated plant material, which was disposed of in a landfill.
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