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USE YOUR SMARTS

Let's see: If you diCompiled from wire service reports by Robert Kilborn, Stephanie Cook, and Seth Sternvide half a million by

8,000 and carry the decimal point, you end up with 62.5, right? Yes, and that's the average number of bright ideas each participant in the world's largest brainstorming session Wednesday night in Singapore had to come up with - in one hour - if it was to meet expectations. The attendees from businesses, schools, and government agencies were challenged to think of ways to improve the quality of life in the buttoned-up city-state. With soft music playing, they crammed into a sports arena whose lights had been dimmed to stimulate creativity. One idea already thought of: submitting the "Thinkathon" for possible listing in the Guinness Book of World Records.

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DIDYA HEAR THE ONE ABOUT ...

Meanwhile, at Hertfordshire University near London, the search is on - via the Internet - for the world's funniest joke to better understand "the psychology of humor." And you're invited to participate. Entries may be submitted at www.laughlab.co.uk.

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What recent US presidents love to eat: lobster, Oreos

President Bush makes no secret of his down-home food preferences: spicy meat steaming with the wood smoke of the barbecue pit. He also hankers for Tex-Mex cooking, hot chili peppers, and Oreo cookies. His father, George H. W. Bush, on the other hand, is a lobster kinda guy. Jimmy Carter preferred a sirloin steak (medium rare), while Ronald Reagan loved meatloaf. Some favorite foods (and dislikes) of recent US presidents:

Jimmy Carter: Sirloin steak, cornbread, salad with Roquefort dressing. Dislike: beans

Ronald Reagan: Meatloaf, split-pea soup, eggplant lasagna, macaroni and cheese, carrot cake.

George Bush: Pork rinds in hot sauce, lobster, candy bars crumbled on cereal. Dislike: broccoli

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Bill Clinton: Chicken pot pie, Big Macs. Dislike: olives

George W. Bush: Chili peppers, barbecued ribs, crab cakes, enchiladas, Oreo cookies. Dislikes: broccoli stalks, beets


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