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Tuesday,  09/09/03  09:15 PM

The Ole filter in action...

I can't even believe this, France Heat Wave Death Toll at 15,000.  Wow.  "The heat wave brought suffocating temperatures of up to 104 Fahrenheit in the first two weeks of August in a country where air conditioning is rare.  The high death toll has triggered an angry debate in France over shortcomings of the health system.  The French lifestyle has also come under scrutiny, since some of the elderly victims died alone in their homes while families were away on lengthy August vacations."

I don't mean to make light of this, at all, but it sure puts the 337 American military deaths in Iraq in perspective.

Also for comparison, SARS killed about 800 people worldwide.  (And on that front, get ready for round two...)

And finally, about 2,800 people died in the World Trade Center attacks.

Here's an interesting keyboard - currently being auctioned on eBay - where every key is the letter "X".  Handy for practicing your touch typing skills.  Reminds me of that "pirate" keyboard with only "R"s...  [ via Xeni Jardin, of course :) ]

No Joy in Sunville...  Sun co-founder Bill Joy is leaving after 21 years.  Is this a super successful techie looking for his next challenge, or a rat leaving a sinking ship?  Or both.

You've no doubt read about the 261 people the RIAA have sued, alleging copyright infringement.  Well, guess what?  According to this article on Wired, in the seven weeks since the RIAA launched its legal campaign against file trading, CD sales have declined 54%.  Now that's what I call a successful strategy!  [ via Bigwig ]

So Disney is going to start selling "disposable" DVDs.  They're wrapped in an airtight package, and upon exposure to oxygen they self-destruct over about 48 hours.  In other words, you have two days to make a copy.  The price will be about $5, low enough to encourage some people to buy them in lieu of "permanent" DVDs (which are typically around $20), but too high to discourage online file sharing.  (And higher than Netflix per-DVD rental fee.)  [ via Mark Frauenfelder ]