Originally created 11/05/01

Briefcase



Bug flight is baffling, Scientists and engineers have developed aircraft the size of football fields and can launch spacecraft into orbit, but they don't know how insects fly.

It seems that being on familiar terms with the aerodynamics of vortex production, delayed stall, rotational circulation and wake capture doesn't reveal all the secrets of defying gravity.

Scientists who are studying the mystery of bug flight say that if it can be solved, it might have profound implications for improving other modes of flight.

Deli meats square off

After conducting taste and nutrition tests on 50 different brands of bologna, turkey and ham, Consumer Reports magazine has confirmed what many cold-cut connoisseurs have long suspected: Bologna and turkey deli counter meats outscored their prepackaged counterparts for flavor.

The magazine added in a recent issue that deli turkey costs an average of $7.28 a pound, while prepackaged turkey fetches $5.32. Similar costs for ham were $6.61 and $4.41, and for bologna $4.80 and $2.86.

The magazine also found that bologna failed to cut the nutritional mustard: 2 ounces of the wurst has about 175 calories, 15 grams of fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol and 550 milligrams of sodium.

Software spells trouble

The crutch that is proofreading software has spawned a generation of students and young professionals who have trouble with basic grammar and spelling.

The ability to communicate with grace and precision can either broaden or constrict a person's range of employment choices, says Anne Soukanov, the U.S. general editor for the Microsoft Encarta College Dictionary.

"The person who speaks or writes the language better than another candidate who's almost as qualified will get the job," she said.

Her recently published reference book is tailored to users who don't know certain basics, such as the difference between "their," "there" and "they're."

The dictionary contains notes identifying 400 homonyms, 700 commonly misspelled words and 600 usage notes that call attention to frequently made mistakes.

"Many, if not all, in the past were taken care of on the high school level," Ms. Soukanov said, but now students in college and graduate school don't have this skill base.

Dot-commers, take heart

Though demand for information technology professionals has slackened in the past year, plenty of companies still want to beef up their IT staffs.

Of 1,000 executives surveyed by Management Recruiters International, 42 percent plan to hire more people and another 46 percent are going to maintain current staff sizes.

"The hiring climate for IT people is decidedly uneven," said Alan Salikof, the president and chief executive officer of the Cleveland, Ohio-based search and recruitment company. "While some segments of the industry are faltering, others have the opportunity to hire the talent that was unavailable to them six months ago."

The survey also showed that 61 percent of the respondents in New England plan to hire.

Workplace anger hurts

Employees with short fuses and managers who don't know how to deal with them can be costly to a company.

Anger contributes to health problems and hinders productivity, reports a newsletter published by RainmakerThinking Inc., a New Haven, Conn., recruitment and consulting company.

It's a good idea to reprimand yelling-prone employees to avoid disruptions that harm job performance, workplace anger expert Donald Gibson writes in the newsletter.

"Good employees won't (and shouldn't) work in places where they feel threatened, disrespected and harassed," he said, but managers should foster an environment where "appropriate expressions of anger are accepted."

If a subordinate blows up, he said, managers should listen carefully but withhold judgments, investigate the source of the rage and do something to resolve it.

Street work takes toll

Women working on Wall Street are finding it harder to "have it all" than men are, reports a study by Catalyst, a New York-based research group that lobbies for the advancement of women in the corporate world.

Catalyst said it found that fewer women in the financial services sector have spouses and children than do men.

Of the 838 respondents from seven securities companies who responded to the survey, 67 percent of the women said they were married or living with a partner. Only 50 percent have children. But 74 percent of the men have children and 86 percent said they were married or living with someone.

The possible reason?

"We heard repeatedly from women that they felt great difficulty balancing their work and family responsibilities," said Marcia Kropf, Catalyst's vice president of research. "One in three said they decided to postpone having children to maintain their careers, and 14 percent decided not to have children."

Jalopies get tribute

Hemmings Motor News pays tribute to a dozen oldies but goodies in one of its calendars for 2002.

The Bennington, Vt., publication's calendar features photographs of 12 "aesthetically abandoned ancient American automobiles," found strewn across the nation's deserts and fields.

For example, the March 2002 poster child is a slightly rusted, hulking 1934 Packard Convertible Victoria at the edge of a central Nebraska field. The photo caption says the jalopy "sits sadly unprotected but stoutly resisting the accumulated assaults and abuse of nearly seven decades."

But it also predicts the car, which is highly coveted among collectors, will eventually fall into the hands of a proud owner somewhere.

Meet the astronauts

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex puts patrons in touch with real-live astronauts.

The Astronaut Encounter Program, held several times each day, gives visitors a chance to ask questions and listen to stories from Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts and those involved in the space shuttle program.

A schedule of astronaut appearances can be found on the organization's Web site, at www.kennedyspacecenter.com.

The visitor complex's operator, Delaware North Parks Services, also has a travel company to package and book trips oriented around the space center.

KSC/Space Coast Travel will offer multi-day and seasonal packages that combine tickets to the complex with Brevard County hotels, and tickets to other area attractions and day trips to Orlando.

The travel company can be reached at (321) 449-4444 and through the organization's Web site.