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Reporters on the Job

Internet Cafe in Banda Aceh: Correspondent Tom McCawley was a beneficiary of the computer "geeks" in Banda Aceh, Indonesia (this page). "They've set up an outdoor Internet cafe which consists of a table, six chairs, and a series of cables where you can plug in your laptop. It's outside the Aceh governor's residence and near a refugee camp. A 5-year-old named Fadel kept drifting over while I filed my story," says Tom.

The "cafe" is a locus for relief workers sending e-mail to their organizations and families. And there's an assortment of random volunteers, says Tom. "While I was there, a Muslim man from Manchester, England, of Pakistani origin, sat down. Also, a woman from San Francisco came by. She is providing massage therapy to aid workers and victims."

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Worst Day of the Year? Cliff Arnalls, a British psychologist at Cardiff University, has a formula that suggests Jan. 24 is the most depressing day of the year in Britain. The equation:

[1/8W+(D-d)] x 3/8TQ

M x NA.

The variables: (W) weather, (D) debt, (d) monthly salary, (T) time since Christmas, (Q) time since abandoned resolution, (M) low motivational levels and (NA) the need to take action.

A BBC forum (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/4197439.stm) asked readers how to beat the blues. Among their suggestions:

• Create your own formula: "How do you put a numerical value on weather, motivation, and initiative?" asked Keith in Canmore, Canada.

• Solstice solace. The days are getting longer.

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• Count your blessings.

• Watch "The Sound of Music": "The heady mixture of drama, action, romance, and music lifts the spirits no end," offered Ketan B. Shah, of Harrow.

David Clark Scott
World editor