MUST-HAVES

You've moved into a new office and need to decorate. Or your dorm room, plastered with those Che Guevara posters, could use a more personal touch. Go shopping for a "designer toy." These collectible figurines, inspired by the imaginative toys sold in Tokyo vending machines, are created by Gen-X artists and designers in limited editions. They made their toy-fair debut last week in New York, and are rapidly spreading from a niche movement to mass popularity. "It's all about dealing with fear and...

VIDEO STORE STICK FLICKS

If last week's release of "Miracle," about the 1980 Miracle on Ice, has made you hungry for hockey flicks, check out these old and new classics: 'Slap Shot' Paul Newman heads a scrappy team of minor-league goons. Funny, well written--and the final scene tops "The Full Monty."'Mystery, Alaska' A hick pond-hockey team takes on the New York Rangers. Good puck action and a great cast, but the writing takes it in the eye.'Love Story' Upper-crust Harvard jock meets blue-collar Radcliffe girl. Sweet,...

CHEAT SHEET: BARKING RIGHTS

This week, 2,632 pooches and their stylists will descend on Madison Square Garden for the 128th Westminster dog show. Before you turn on the tube, get acquainted with the top dogs. "The hottest dog in the country right now is a Norfolk terrier named Coco," says David Frei, director of communications for the Westminster Kennel Club. In the past year, Coco has swept nearly every major competition in the country, earning more than $50,000 in prize money, plus a Suzuki 4WD for her owners. At...

HOLIDAYS: ANOTHER NEW YEAR

If you're feeling a post-holiday letdown, don't despair. This week marks the start of the Chinese Year of the Monkey, a.k.a. 4702. Here's how to celebrate, whether your roots are in Beijing or Baltimore.Watch: Head to your local Chinatown to see the lion and dragon dancers. The costumes are meant to scare away demons and usher in good luck.Eat: Long noodles for longevity, boiled dumplings for friendship and togetherness, and whole fish or chicken for abundance and prosperity.Decorate: In spoken...

Monkey's Best Friend

Prudy is one of the most popular baboons in her group. When her fellow monkeys pass by, they raise their tails in deference. When her fur grows dusty there's always a volunteer to give it a good grooming. For eight years, she's even had that rare thing in the baboon world: a steady male companion. Rocky would carry her children on his back and accompany her on foraging expeditions through the savannah at the foot of Kenya's Mount Kilimanjaro. Even though Rocky left the group in August, Prudy...

Where Colorful Birds Sing

The moment Saira Shah and her camera crew glimpsed the small mud house in northern Afghanistan, they knew something awful had happened there. "We all felt it," she writes in her new memoir, "The Storyteller's Daughter" (272 pages. Knopf). "It had left a residue, as tangible as a smell you can't get rid of--a kick of ammonia." In the courtyard sat three little girls dressed in colorful veils, who told Shah their story: a group of Taliban soldiers had ordered the family to leave so the troops...

Get A Move On

Before leaving to meet his friend for dinner the other night, Sakae Fujimoto checked the local traffic report. Instead of flipping stations on the radio, he booted up his in-car navigation system. "Where would you like to go?" a computerized female voice inquired. Fujimoto specified an address in Shinagawa, a Tokyo district 16 miles north of his apartment. When a map appeared on his monitor, red arrows showed that a traffic jam was blocking one of the main roads into the city. The voice came...

Paris On The Amazon

The last remote and pristine forest on our distressed and overcrowded earth" is how Greenpeace describes the Amazon River Valley. For decades now, this romantic view of the Amazon, as a vestige of the once free land corrupted by the arrival of Europeans in the 15th century, has persisted in the popular imagination. Scientists also assumed, without evidence to the contrary, that indigenous tribes tiptoed their way through the forest, living their lives while leaving nature almost completely...

Taste Tricks

Bitterness is in. Lately customers at Studio, a French-Mediterranean restaurant in Laguna Beach, California, have been ordering more frisee salads, endive, dark chocolate gateaux and strong coffee, says executive chef James Boyce. "Years ago, we didn't see a lot of that," he says. The surge in popularity, though, actually makes the chef's task of juggling flavors more difficult. Bitter flavors are hard to control. Raspberries and blackberries picked before their prime--and just about any...

Truly Total Recall

In 1885 German philosopher Hermann Ebbinghaus showed that two thirds of what we learn vanishes from our brains within an hour. That disheartening "forgetting curve" is the reason we paper our computer screens with Post-it notes, mumble mental shopping lists like mantras and consult our PDAs at every opportunity. Sunil Vemuri, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab, is hoping to fill in the holes left by our sometimes fickle minds. How? "Our focus," he says,...

It's Better To Belong

Members' clubs have long been synonymous with cigars and old money. But over the past few years a new, hipper crop has emerged that welcomes women and seduces members with champagne, celebrities and late-night extravagance. Should you join? A survey of what to expect:Soho House, New York and London: This eight-year-old London club just opened its first Manhattan outpost, and owner Nick Jones hopes to eventually expand to Miami, Los Angeles and Paris. Members are mostly film and media...

Flying Coach

Business travel used to be almost fun. Agnes Mercier, 31, an account manager for a Paris-based advertising company, remembers jetting freely across Europe, meeting clients over multicourse feasts at some of the best restaurants in London, Brussels and Paris. Now, with her expense account slashed by a third, Mercier can barely afford a sandwich on the Eurostar to London. "They're so expensive," she says. "I don't want to blow my whole per diem on lunch."It's not just the food. Two years ago...

Sars: Contain Yourself

As of last week, the respiratory illness SARS had infected 2,890 people worldwide and killed 116. But despite the disease's onslaught, health officials emphasize that 96 percent of victims recover fully and that there is no hard evidence of airborne or blood-borne transmission. "We are overisolating, overdiagnosing and probably overdoing the whole effort to achieve containment," says Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She adds that the U.S. tally (166...

'A Matter Of Hygiene'

Each year, it seems, a new microbe emerges to strike fear in the hearts of microbiologists--and, every once in a while, the rest of us as well. SARS is only the most recent of a succession of new pathogens to have emerged in recent years. Health experts worry that our global culture means that many more, and more destructive, pathogens are on the way. NEWSWEEK's Anna Kuchment spoke with Robert Webster, professor of virology at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, about...

Dna, Five Decades On

James Watson was just 24 years old when he helped make the discovery that would earn him, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins a joint Nobel Prize in science. Exactly 50 years ago next Friday, Watson stood in his Cambridge University office marveling at the cardboard model he had just built of the molecule of heredity: the DNA double helix. Since that day, Watson has written a best-selling memoir ("The Double Helix"), built the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on New York's Long Island into a...

Spring Forecast: Baubles That Pop

For much of the past decade, women's jewelry has been virtually invisible. Simple silver rings, stud or hoop earrings and slender chain necklaces seemed the way to go, unless you wanted to risk looking (gasp!) like a hippie. No longer. "This season the feeling is very jubilant, which was quite a surprise," says Carmen Borgonovo, editor of W Jewelry, the first consumer magazine for baubles, which will debut in April. The styles now appearing in jewelers' windows and in department stores are...

Dollars And Degrees

American economists once spoofed university education as the only industry in which those who consume its product do not purchase it; those who produce it do not sell it, and those who finance it do not control it. That apt description, made in the 1970s, has been undermined since then by the emergence of the first for-profit universities in the United States. Controlled by entrepreneurs, these schools--which number about 700 and counting-- sell a practical education to career-minded students...

Style: Not Your Grandma's Mink

For fur lovers, the 1980s and 1990s were harsh years. Groups like PETA took to splashing ink on minks and parading hideous images of suffering animals outside fashion shows. The 1990s brought a wave of minimalism that forced many to put their pelts on layaway. But lately the controversial clothing has made a roaring comeback. For the fall/winter 2002 shows nearly all the major designers, from Gucci to Jean Paul Gaultier to Dolce & Gabbana, included fur in their collections. "We said, 'There is...

A Rose Takes Root

When the Globe Theater opened in London in 1997, no one knew what to expect. Critics smelled a gimmick in the heavily hyped reproduction of Shakespeare's famous stage and worried that the venue would be more concerned with tourist pounds than artistic merit. Theatergoers felt disoriented. "The audience felt it was a bit of a theme park and thought, 'What's required of me here is to throw vegetables or leave my mug of beer on the stage'," as the groundlings of Shakespeare's time might have, says...

Lending A Helping Hand

Wearing a hard hat and face shield, Stan Vicich stands beneath a 50-foot eucalyptus tree on a volcanic island off the coast of Australia. His arms outstretched, he's waiting for a grunting, silver-haired koala named Delma to shin far enough down the tree trunk to be grabbed and thrust into a burlap sack. Several other tourists like Vicich are stationed nearby, some waving aluminum poles with rags on the end near the koala's face, one documenting it all on video. After a few more maneuvers,...

Time To Read An E-Book?

Marc Steuben is hooked on electronic books. "I love the e-reading experience," says the 37-year-old programmer from Boulder, Colorado. "I like the search functionality, I like that I can resize text to make it bigger and I like the fact that it's backlit, so I can read at night without the lights on." He feels no different about his e-book, he says, than another reader might feel about a well-worn copy of "The Catcher in the Rye." "People say there's something sensual about books that they...

Queens: Moma And Beyond

This week New York's Museum of Modern Art opens MoMA QNS, the temporary outpost that will serve artgoers until its new $800 million Manhattan building opens in 2005. While you are there, check out these other Queens hot spots.1. Isamu Noguchi Museum, Sunnyside 718-204-7088. This Japanese-American artist's sculptures have a calming Zen quality. (Take the No. 7 train to 33d Street.)2. Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City 718-956-1819. Breathtaking views of Manhattan, and art you can climb...

Design: Sitting Pretty

The movie business has Cannes; office furniture has NeoCon, a three-day extravaganza in Chicago, Illinois. At last week's event, companies fought to unseat Herman Miller's iconic Aeron chair as the top choice of style-conscious executives. Did they succeeed? Tip Sheet put each one through the tush test.Life, by KnollLife's makers compare the Aeron to Darth Vader: black and robotic. Life is more organic, conforming to the body naturally, without the use of knobs and levers. Petite women may have...

The Insidious Spread Of A Killer Virus

Doctors have told Saeed Taha that he has only weeks to live. The 48-year-old electrician is sprawled on a Cairo hospital bed with tubes connected, seemingly, to every major vein and artery. A decade ago he was diagnosed with hepatitis C. Overcome with fatigue, the father of three quit his job and spent his life's savings on interferon, one of two drugs approved to fight the virus. But it didn't help. "Don't believe what is said about medicine and doctors," he says. "In this disease nothing...

The Dish On Diners

The preacher was break-dancing. "Save Jones Diner!... Save Jones Diner!" We chanted along, some imitating his break-dance moves, all of us packed cheek to cheek into a tiny, subway-car-sized eatery in lower Manhattan. The Rev. Billy is no priest, but then I'm no social activist, either. Yet here we are, he a performance artist who dresses up like Father, the rest of us friends of the 'hood, rallying to rescue a 64-year-old diner from urban extinction. George W. Bush wouldn't know an evil axis...

SCHOOL BY THE BOOK

Two dozen soldiers stand guard at the main gate of Istanbul University. They are posted there every day to watch the students walk through the great Ottoman arch. The troops will stop any young woman student who dares wrap her head in a scarf, any male student with a turban. Violators risk expulsion--it's the law. The country's leaders have been trying to suppress radical Islam ever since the birth of the Turkish Republic, back in 1923. They believe (not without reason) that some militant...

State Of The Ice

The conventional wisdom about global warming holds that the polar ice caps are melting. Enormous chunks of ice will break off the Antarctic mainland and float into the sea to melt, sending water levels rising around the world, inundating seaside cities and submerging islands. But recently, glaciologist Ian Joughin at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, threw even that basic theory into question. After analyzing satellite data, he concluded that a massive ice sheet along the...

Superbug Killers

Alfred Gertler had never been so ill. In 1997 the 45-year-old jazz musician was hiking in Costa Rica when he fell and broke his ankle. He contracted a staphylococcus infection so severe that flare-ups kept him in bed for weeks at a time. Antibiotics were of no use: the circulation in his ankle was too poor to transport the medicine to its target. When doctors told him that they might have to amputate his foot,Gertler buried himself in books and magazines, looking for a solution. He found one:...

Selling The U.S.A.

Most of the new PR plan was ready to go. As the new moon ushered in the month of Ramadan last week, U.S. officials prepared "Mosques of America" posters, showing glossy images of domes and minarets, for distribution across the Arab world. President George W. Bush and ambassadors in the Middle East and Asia would welcome Muslims into their homes to mark iftar, or the breaking of the fast. Muslim Americans were set to mingle with foreign Islamic journalists from the Washington area, no doubt to...

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