DID YOU HEAR

DID YOU HEAR

' Good to the last drop. The famous Internet coffeepot at Cambridge University's computer lab launched the webcam craze in the early 1990s. Now it has poured its last drop. Reuters news service this month quoted Cambridge scientist Dan Gordon as saying that watching the level of coffee in the pot at www.cl.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/xvcoffee was only marginally more exciting than watching paint dry. But it drew 2.4 million views by users who wondered whether it was time to go brew another pot.

' Was it the earthquake or the speech? Late last month in a Seattle hotel, a screaming audience bolted for the exits in the midst of a speech by Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates. They were probably terrified by the tremors from Quake 7.0, but Microsoft's new trademark, WOW64'short for legacy Windows on Windows 64-bit'is pretty scary, too.

' Lunar gas pump. See low-G high-test and other truly spaced-out images in 'We never landed on the moon' at www.ews.uiuc.edu/~akapadia/moon.html, a University of Illinois site that spoofs NASA conspiracy theorists.

' Skin zapper. CNN reported this month that Air Force labs in New Mexico and Texas are perfecting a $40 million pain beam. Intended as an alternative to deadly force, the beam fires electromagnetic energy one-sixty-fourth of an inch into a victim's epidermis to produce a burning sensation. It's being tested on the skins of people and goats. Now if only they could make it inflict pain on bug-ridden software skins. What software would you zap?

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