Oh, no! Don't! Not now

Ma Lihua has spent six weeks preparing for her big shot at fame. Painstakingly, she goes about setting up the dominoes - 350,000 in all - in Singapore's Expo hall that she plans to topple Monday for a new listing in the Guinness Book of World Records. But earlier this week she watched in horror as an entire day's labor, 10,000 tiles, was wiped out, leaving her no choice but to repeat her work. So, did she accidentally brush against one, starting the run? Maybe a sonic boom rattled the building? No, the culprit was ... a cockroach. To prevent that happening again, organizers of the event have spread pungent leaves around the hall to repel the pests. The current solo domino-toppling record: 281,581.

See, it already has a galley

In the US, diners are built to resemble railroad cars. Now, from China comes word that the private jet once used by Jiang Qing, wife of the late Chairman Mao Zedong, has been sold to an entrepreneur who intends to convert it into a restaurant.

Earning curve: States whose teachers are the best paid

Over the next month, according to the Census Bureau, 53.4 million children will begin the new academic year at public schools. As they do, the complaint will resurface that their teachers are underpaid. But are they? To research that question, the bureau took data from the most recent year they were available: 2001. It found the national average teacher salary was $43,300. New Jersey's was the highest: $53.300. South Dakota paid the least: $30,300. The 10 states, plus Washington, D.C., where public school teachers had the highest average salaries (in thousands):

1. New Jersey $53.3
2. Connecticut $52.7
3. California $52.5
4. New York $52.0
5. Michigan $50.7
6. Pennsylvania $49.5
7. Washington, D.C. $48.7
8. Rhode Island $48.5
9. Alaska $48.1
10. Massachusetts $47.8
(tie) Illinois

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