Ah, Miami in the summertime: temperatures in the 90s, heat waves boiling up from asphalt streets, sidewalks, and ... the steel benches at bus stops. Steel benches? Yup. Despite warnings that in sunny weather they'd be like a gas grill with all its burners firing, city planners OK'd 1,500 new ones to replace existing wood-and-concrete seating. Not surprisingly, installation has been halted after just 150. Those already in place will be modified, perhaps with an insulating plastic coating. Said a city official: "I sat on one myself; it's uncomfortably warm, even with a pair of pants on."
Ever felt drowsy while at the wheel of a car? Well, there's word from Australia that a Canberra company has won a cash award for a technological innovation designed to jolt sleepy drivers back to attention. It works by sensing the motorist's state, then triggering a loud blast from the radio or opening a power window for a gust of fresh air. It isn't, however, quite ready for the market yet.
Qwest Communications tops a list compiled by Fortune magazine of major US companies whose officials realized the most cash from the sale of stock even as share values declined 75 percent or more. At the 1,000-plus companies that met Fortune's criteria, executives and directors took home a whopping $66 billion between January 1999 and May 2002. Fortune's top 10 "cash-out kings" and how much stock was sold (in billions unless otherwise noted):
1. Qwest Communications International Inc. $2.26
2. Broadcom Corp. 2.08
3. AOL Time Warner Inc. 1.79
4. Gateway Inc. 1.27
5. Ariba Inc. 1.24
6. JDS Uniphase Corp. 1.15
7. i2 Technologies Inc. 1.03
(tie) Sun Microsystems Inc. 1.03
9. Enron Corp. 994 million
10. Global Crossing Ltd. 951 million