I'm SORRY, HE'S NOT AVAILABLE
Are you likely to take your cellphone along on vacation, even though you wish you had the discipline to leave it at home? Now there's a resort for people like you: Kinlochbervie Hotel in the Scottish coastal town of the same name. It's offering a round-the-clock answering service for guests who own Nokias, Motorola StarTACs, and the like. You hand over the phone on checking in, and staffers log all your calls. If any are urgent, your leisure will be interrupted. Otherwise, the messages will be given to you as you leave. Owner Stewart McHattie calls the innovation "the ultimate in call-waiting."
It only lasted a minute, but something rare happened Wed-nesday (although you need the Gregorian calendar and military time to make sense of it). At 8:02 p.m. there was a perfect palindrome - a set of numbers that read the same forward and backward: 20:02, 02/20, 2002. That last happened at 11:11 a.m., Nov. 11, 1111.
President Bush's proposed 2003 budget contains $379 billion in defense spending - the biggest increase since the Cold War era. And the companies that build weapons and equipment for the US military expect a sizable chunk of that money will go toward new orders. The top 10 defense contractors last year, with contract values in billions of dollars, according to the Pentagon:
Lockheed Martin Corp., Bethesda, Md. $14.7
Boeing Co., Chicago 13.3
Newport News Shipbuilding, Va. 5.9
Raytheon Co., Lexington, Mass. 5.6
Northrop Grumman Corp., Los Angeles 5.2
General Dynamics Corp., Falls Church, Va. 4.9
United Technologies Corp., Hartford, Conn. 3.8
TRW Inc., Cleveland 1.9
Science Applications International Corp. San Diego 1.7
(tie) General Electric, Fairfield, Conn. 1.7