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NAME THAT TUNE

Would you recognize the "Star Spangled Banner" if it were performed as a rap? Maybe. Still, it's arguably more familiar when sung a capella in traditional fashion.In France, however, the government is distributing thousands of CDs of the famous "Marseillaise" to the nation's schools, featuring the anthem sung reggae-style. Reason: concern that young people are forgetting its distinctive and stirring melody. The aim, said Education Minister Jack Lang, "is to make children better understand their history and heritage."

WE'RE GLAD YOU CALLED

In Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, two men and a teenager climbed into the limousine they'd hired and sat back for a luxurious ride to ... jail. Yes, you read that correctly. According to police, their transportation was to be paid for with a credit card, later found on one of the suspects, that had been reported stolen. So a cop, posing as the chauffeur, picked them up individually and drove directly to the pokey, where they were charged, among other things, with theft of services.

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Black inventors: They gave us fire extinguisher, fridge

Granville T. Woods was known as "the black Thomas Edison" for his many inventions. Example: his 1889 automatic cutoff switch, an ancestor of the circuit breaker. In honor of Black History Month, the website of home improvement retailer Lowe's pays tribute to Woods and other African Americans who invented or helped develop items found in its stores. Some of them, with the year of patent:

Lewis Howard Latimer: carbon filament for light bulbs 1881

Sarah Boone: curved ironing board for sleeves 1892

T. J. Marshall: fire extinguisher, 1872

George T. Sampson: clothes dryer 1892

John Stanard: refrigerator 1891

Joseph H. Smith: lawn sprinkler 1897

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George Washington Carver: paints and stains made of soybeans 1920s

- PR Newswire