'Did you hear...'

Ho, Ho, Whoa! At a shopping center in south Wales, Santa Claus is hearing the Christmas wishes of children under the watchful eye of a webcam. The move is apparently in response to several high-profile pedophile cases in Britain, according to a Reuters report. Kids are also standing next to Santa, not sitting on his knee. Something's not right in the world.

How about 'dominant/submissive?' The Los Angeles County purchasing department made a little news. Late last year, it banned storage vendors from using the term 'master/slave' to describe products. This month, the incident was named 2004's most egregious form of political correctness by The Global Language Monitor at www.languagemonitor.com. Master/slave is commonly used to describe primary and secondary storage devices. L.A. quickly backed down but not before its affirmative action staff began purging the terms from product packaging.

New use for gigahertz. Reports indicate that Raytheon Co. has delivered its first so-called Active Denial System to the Defense Department. ADS is a nonlethal weapon that shoots a 95-GHz beam just under the skin and causes intense burning sensations. We thought the fastest Intel chips ran hot. ADS may soon head to Iraq to tangle with insurgents.

Magna cum meow. Pennsylvania deputy attorney general Kathryn Silcox succeeded in buying a bachelor's degree for her house cat Colby from Southern Trinity College, a diploma mill in Texas. The $299 deal was part of a sting by the state's Attorney General's Office to nab organizations using spam to sell fake degrees online. The feline received a 3.5 GPA for his life experience. Got an itch? Scratch it at buzz@postnewsweektech.com.

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