'Did you hear...'

Like it's 1999. Hurricane Isabel didn't quite blow the East Coast back to the Stone Age, but it forced some Internet users to revisit the late 20th century. One Maryland DSL user cut off from the Web reported that she and her neighbors dug through the trash looking for those ubiquitous-but-who-needs-'em AOL disks, in desperate hope of getting a dial-up connection.

Spiritual spam. Brightmail Inc. of San Francisco gets even better spam than Buzz. Last month, the antispam vendor reported that psychic spam dropped to only 1 percent of the 61 billion junk messages it opened. Mortgage refinance offers fell, to 14 percent, but spam scams tripled, to 10 percent. The newest spam subject line: 'Terminator for governor' of California. Another hot category: adult DVDs showing gubernatorial candidate Mary Carey, who advocates taxing breast implants to fill out the state's meager budget.

Guv.gov? Carey proposes putting pay-per-view webcams in the governor's mansion, with proceeds going toward deficit reduction. We know pols love time on camera, but we'd put our money on a big bake sale.

Virus cells. Medical investigators in Israel have identified a source of a deadly virus'cell phones used by doctors and nurses. A team from the Soroka University Medical Center in Beer-Sheva screened personnel for A. baumannii, an antibiotic-resistant bacterium found in intensive-care units that has a 50 percent to 60 percent mortality rate among infected patients. They found that 12 percent of cell phones were infected with the bacterium, which survives on dry surfaces. The center banned cell phone use by medical personnel while caring for patients. Got a hot tip? Spread it via [email protected].


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