Check's in the mailGOOD NEWS from the U.S. Postal Service...


June 06, 1998

Check's in the mail

GOOD NEWS from the U.S. Postal Service. The agency is testing a system of tiny radio transmitters for tracking specific pieces of mail. Late or waylaid, these letters or packages need not be lost, not with a tracking device.

That's a benefit for postal customers and, perhaps, bad news for those who depend on that old alibi, "The check's in the mail."

It also helps postal workers uncover bottlenecks in the system. The Associated Press reports that in a test of the device in Houston, a transmitter showed an item had been sitting still for 20 hours, although mail was regularly being moved out of that office.

It happened again the next day. Finally, a worker discovered the problem: mail sitting too long in a staging area on an upper floor.

We are left to wonder: If modern technology can trace late or lost mail, is there a glimmer of hope for all those lost socks?

Transcripts matter

BRAVO to the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education.

At its annual meeting this week, the group announced a new initiative to encourage employers in Maryland to request high school transcripts from job applicants.

That serves two worthy purposes. It can help businesses make better hiring decisions, since studies have found a strong correlation between performance at school and, later, in the workplace -- particularly in such areas as attendance, attitude and the ability to complete a task.

By asking for high school transcripts, businesses are also sending a message to young people that what they do in school does matter, that working hard in class can pay off on the job.

Fickle fat

AH, THE vagaries of life. Millions of people went to bed last week content that they were not committing one of the cardinal sins of late 20th century society -- being overweight.

Then, this week 29 million Americans awoke to the jolting news that they were officially fat.

Thank the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, whose guidelines for obesity are based on a "body mass index," or BMI. The index uses body weight and height to judge body fat, and officials at the institute have decided that the point on the index at which people are at higher risk for weight-related health problems is lower than they previously thought.

The adjustment brings the number of Americans with a fat

problem to some 97 million adults, or almost 55 percent of the population. Will we see mass dieting as people scramble to get back in the good graces of the BMI?

Somehow we doubt it.

More likely, we'll hear a lot more talk about miracle diets and weight loss tips. Now there's a depressing thought.

Pub Date: 6/06/98

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