A Canadian April Fool’s Day joke on the Internet reportedly caused the dollar to drop, as one news agency reported that the market was trying to grab at anything that resembled news. The news-watching Web site reported that Finance Minister Paul Martin was planning to quit politics in order to devote more time to his wife and to his interest in breeding Charlois cattle and “Fawn Runner” ducks. The posting noted that the Prime Minister was aware of Martin’s decision and was “said to be preparing to a dramatic overhaul to his cabinet.” The site also stated that the Bank of Canada was “ready to intervene with the Canadian dollar to stabilize it on world markets if necessary.”

Text at the bottom of the story -“However, in a stunning related development” – linked to another Web page wishing the reader a happy April Fool’s Day. The concern lies in that while the dollar did suffer on April Fool’s Day, it did not seem to bounce back once the prank was admitted.

Pierre Bourque, who runs the site, was surprised at the outcome of the article. “The ducks were the tell-tale sign,” he said.

Students become NOMADS

Students and teachers will be able to live the life of an arctic explorer through a recently announced collaboration between IBM Corp. and NOMADS Adventure & Education. Throughout 2002, NOMADS will take students from around the globe on an arctic expedition through online collaboration, documenting the sub-arctic region and the traditions of the Northern Ojibway and Cree (Oji-Cree) people, according to a press release issued by IBM. To learn more about environmental conditions and traditional culture, the students will be able to collaborate and communicate with the explorers and Oji-Cree elders, as well as with other students, by using IBM Lotus Sametime and IBM Lotus QuickPlace.

Taking a bite out of crime?

The CIA recently got caught using tracking software – or “cookies” – on its Web site, despite a regulation from the U.S. government which states that no federal agency may use “persistent” cookies, which are able to track Web usage habits over years. The CIA was using just that type of cookie, according to an article from the AP news wire. The article states that a private group was surfing the site when it noticed that cookies were being used. It brought the matter to the CIA’s attention via e-mail. The agency has apparently since removed the software from its site.

New Yorkers: get out your Palms

New Yorkers recently got a taste of the e-literary life with their Palm powered handheld devices. Palm Inc. announced in March that Palm Digital Media, the company’s publisher and distributor for eBooks, had struck up a deal with the Simon & Schuster publishing house to bring Stephen King’s latest short stories to New Yorkers’ hands. Simply by pointing their handheld devices at one of the 100 kiosks set up on Manhattan sidewalks, users could have an excerpt from King’s latest collection of short stories beamed to their PDA using infrared signals. The hardcover edition of King’s Everything’s Eventual, as well as eBook version of the collection were also released last month. In order to bring King’s words to the Palm-carrying public, interactive mobile media company Streetbeam Inc. partnered with Viacom Outdoor to create the kiosks.

No high-tech interest

A U.S.-based study conducted in the latter part of 2000 as part of the 2002 Workforce study: Connecting Today’s Youth with Tomorrow’s Technology Careers, found that two-thirds of Silicon Valley students in grades 8 and eleven do not plan to pursue a career in the high-tech industry. The study was conducted by global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney and Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network. The findings also indicated that of the students not planning a career in technology, a large number of them have negative perceptions of the IT field. Approximately 39 per cent said high-tech careers are uninteresting, and 25 per cent said these types of jobs are intimidating. The 2002 Workforce Study calls for stronger linkages between students and the IT career field, especially among female and Hispanic students.