LOSERS: Victims of Reye's syndrome. National Academy of Sciences researchers report that as many as 1,500 American children may have died because the federal government was slow to require warning labels on aspirin. Reye's syndrome occurs in relatively rare instances where children recovering from the flu or chicken pox suddenly take a turn for the worse, sink into a coma and die. Some recover but are left with brain damage. The cause is unknown and scientists do not understand why aspirin raises the risk, but the link to aspirin was known five years before warning labels were required in 1986. Since then, the number of cases has fallen sharply.
* WINNERS: Americans who work for foreign-owned companies. Much is often made of foreign interests buying up American firms and properties, but it turns out that U.S. workers employed by foreign owners earned an average of 22 percent more money than the nation's overall private work force. However, this is not because foreign owners are necessarily more generous, but because they tend to invest in higher-paying industries. British investors control companies with 1 million American employees. Canadian-owned businesses employ 714,000 Americans, and Japanese-owned firms, 663,000.LOSERS: Workers with a bad boss. A survey by an insurance company shows that one in three workers has negative, or at best neutral feelings about his or her boss. Those with poor supervisors have the most stress on the job, talk most about leaving and have lower productivity. And such people tend to take their problems home with them. What people want is a boss who sets clear and reasonable goals, who is not overly critical and who listens to employees and involves them in decisions that affect them.
LOSERS: Male yo-yo dieters. A study shows that such fluctuations, even as little as 11 pounds, can be dangerous to health. Men who repeatedly lost 11 pounds or more were 57 percent likely to die early within the 22-26 years of the study. Those who gained that and lost and gained that much were 36 percent more likely to suffer early death. The best medical advice is to lose excess weight and keep it off. People who stayed within two pounds of the same weight had the best chances of longevity.
LOSER: This is more a loss of nostalgia. Proctor & Gamble Co., whose Ivory soap was introduced in 1879, is putting out a new bar of Ivory. And it won't float in the bathtub. The old-fashioned Ivory was injected with air to help it float. But some customers have complained about dryness, and the new bar will be less dry and won't have air. But the old Ivory will still be available under the new name of Original Ivory. Got that?
LOSERS: Customers of prostitutes in Philadelphia. Under a new law adopted by the city, police can confiscate the cars of people caught soliciting prostitution. It will cost a $300 fine, plus towing and storage fees to get the car back. Gives a whole new meaning to the term street-walker.
ALLIGATOR TALES: In Florida recently, an 80-year-old alligator slithered onto a runway at Palm Beach International Airport. Firefighters used hoses to drive it away from runways. The alligator was roped around the snout and tail and the mouth was sealed shut with masking tape. He was taken away to become shoes and wal-lets.
An alligator in Florida is easy to understand, but Israeli officials are trying to discover what an alligator was doing crawling along the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway. Alligators are not native to Israel and none were missing from zoos and parks. A passing motorist spotted the 4-foot beast and wrestled it into the back of his pickup truck. Those Israelis are tough. The alligator is now in the Jerusalem reptile zoo.