High-Tech Dropping Tracker

Article excerpt

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- A Colorado man has found a more down-to- earth use for satellite-tracking devices than stopping drug smugglers or pinpointing military targets: locating dog droppings.

With a global positioning device in hand, botanist Patrick Murphy charts piles of feces along a trail in an attempt to persuade city leaders to ban dogs from the area. "They, too, will think I'm a nut," said Murphy, 50. "I'm making people aware of the obvious. The dog poop is abundant there. It stinks, it pushes out the deer and the birds."

In this college town where the library recently displayed an exhibit of ceramic penises, some people just shake their heads. "I think it's pretty silly," dog owner Jenny Boid said as she walked her golden retriever-chocolate Labrador mix on the trail. "He has a good point, but he could probably put his efforts into organizing a solution, like scheduling community poop pickups."

Three times in the past year, Murphy has walked the Sanitas Valley trail with his GPS device, counting piles of droppings along the gravel footpath. He then plugs the GPS into his computer and generates maps with each pile marked with a green X. On his last count, he tallied 1,494 mounds in a one-mile stretch, compared with 708 in December 2000.

The former dog owner plans to present his latest chart to the City Council on today. But council members said they are hard- pressed for a solution. "Somehow we need to encourage people to be more responsible," Deputy Mayor Tom Eldridge said. "I wish I had an answer."

A rose by any other name

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Most mothers and fathers are sticking to tradition when picking names for their babies -- more so when it comes to sons. Jacob, Michael and Joshua are the three most popular U.S. names for boys in 2001. Emily, Hannah and Madison top the girls' list, the Social Security Administration reports.

In the past 37 years, Michael has been bumped from the top spot only twice -- in 1999 and this year -- both times by Jacob. Emily's been the No. 1 girl's name for the past six years. Hannah and Madison both have been in the top ten since 1997.

Rounding out the top 10 names for boys in 2001 were, in order: Matthew, Andrew, Joseph, Nicholas, Anthony, Tyler and Daniel. The list for girls continued with Samantha, Ashley, Sarah, Elizabeth, Kayla, Alexis and Abigail.

The data is a 1 percent sample of Social Security number card applications received from January to August.

Only 19 shopping days left!

NEW YORK (AP) -- Today is the 338th day of 2001. There are 27 days left in the year. Here are some business and legal highlights from this date in history:

In 1783, Gen. George Washington bade farewell to his officers at Fraunces Tavern in New York.

In 1816, James Monroe of Virginia was elected the fifth president of the United States.

In 1839, the Whig Party opened a national convention in Harrisburg, Pa., during which delegates nominated William Henry Harrison for president.

In 1875, William Marcy Tweed, the "Boss" of New York City's Tammany Hall political organization, escaped from jail and fled the country.

In 1918, President Wilson set sail for France to attend the Versailles Peace Conference.

In 1942, President Roosevelt ordered the dismantling of the Works Progress Administration, which had been created to provide jobs during the Depression. Also in 1942, U.S. bombers struck the Italian mainland for the first time in World War II.

In 1945, the Senate approved U.S. participation in the United Nations.

In 1965, the United States launched Gemini 7 with Air Force Lt. Col. Frank Borman and Navy Cmdr. James A. Lovell aboard.

In 1978, San Francisco got its first female mayor as city Supervisor Dianne Feinstein was named to replace the assassinated George Moscone.

Ten years ago: Pan American World Airways ceased operations (however, a new, smaller version of Pan Am was later formed. …