His invention is used and respected around the world. It's lightweight, efficient, and easy to maintain. Perhaps 100 million models have been built since production began in 1947. Yes, Mikhail Kalashnikov is proud of the assault rifle that bears his name. But the Russian Army general is sad, too because it has become the weapon of choice of rebels, guerrillas, and terrorists. At a new exhibition in the AK-47's honor in Berlin, he told journalists: "I'd have preferred to invent something that helps people and makes life easier a lawn mower, for example."
News flash: One of history's most important maps is fake! That's despite the fact that it purports to date back six centuries and is valued at more than $20 million. Well, which map is it, for goodness sake? Only the one supposedly drawn by Vikings of the North American territory discovered by Leif Eriksson's party hundreds of years before Columbus. Two British researchers say their tests show the ink used on it did not exist until 1923.
With its fashion-challenged hero and even odder villains, the third movie in the "Austin Powers" spy spoof series set box-office records in its first weekend in release. Its $71.5 million in ticket sales marks the best opening for a comedy, best July opening, and fifth-best overall ("Spider-Man" is No. 1, with $114.8 million). The top 10 in box-office earnings (in millions) July 26-28, according to industry tracker Exhibitor Relations:
1. "Austin Powers in Goldmember" $71.5
2. "Road To Perdition" 11.0
3. "Stuart Little 2" 10.7
4. "Men In Black II" 8.7
5. "K-19: The Widowmaker" 7.3
6. "The Country Bears" 5.2
7. "Mr. Deeds" 4.2
8. "Reign of Fire" 3.3
9. "Minority Report" 3.1
10. "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" 3.0