Do we look like plumbers?
There was a damaging leak in Australia's government recently, and there are whispers that its version of the CIA may be responsible. It seems when Parliament House in Canberra was being built in the 1980s, the Security Intelligence Organization recommended that its cabinet room be fitted with see-through plastic under the water pipe in the ceiling - perhaps to discourage spies from planting electronic bugging devices there. Alas, over time seepage from the pipe became too heavy for the panel, which gave way April 18, cascading 10 inches of wet stuff onto the leather furniture, conference table, carpet, and other items below. The bill for repairs: $488,600. The room is expected to be back in use any day now - but this time with a metal panel where the plastic had been.
Better educated light up less often than dropouts
Smoking among adults in the US is not falling fast enough to reach the federal goal of 12 percent by 2010, the results of a new report make clear. It declined only slightly in 2002 - to 22.5 percent - according to the latest national survey on smoking released last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. To achieve a significant decline, perhaps people should be encouraged to stay in school longer. According to the CDC report, that's because the less-educated continue to be the heaviest smokers. The educational attainment levels of participants in the study, with the rate (in percentage terms) at which those in each cohort said they smoke:
No high school diploma 27.6%
GED (General Educational Development) diploma 42.3%
High school diploma 25.6%
Some college (but no degree) 23.1%
Associate (two-year) degree 21.5%
Undergraduate degree 12.1%
Graduate degree 7.2%