WhiteBoard News 2/3/95
Date: Fri, 3 Feb 95 17:05:50 PST
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: WhiteBoard News 2/3/95
[Two items of "interest" - although the second starts slowly it has a nice bit
of history... -psl]
Excerpted-from: WhiteBoard News for February 03, 1995
This item comes by way of Ed Grether:
SunGuard Data Systems says it has inadvertently sent
out a batch of disks containing a virus that even its
own anti-virus software can't detect.
Ironically, the infected disks contain a program to
help businesses recover data following a disaster such
as a flood or other loss-inducing incident.
Says Bruce Battjer, president of the SunGuard division
that's responsible: "Shame on me for getting bit once,
but shoot me if I get bit twice."
The chubby rodent that gets rudely dragged from its
comfy burrow each Groundhog Day may need a secretary.
Punxsutawney Phil is becoming a favorite pen pal of
About 300 letters have arrived in recent weeks,
according to Bud Dunkel, president of the Groundhog
Club's Inner Circle, which orchestrates the Groundhog
Day weather-predicting ritual every February 2.
Most letters plead for the groundhog not to see his
shadow when club members pull him out of his burrow.
Legend has it that if Phil sees his shadow the nation
will see six more weeks of winter weather. But this
year, for only the 10th or 11th time in 108 years,
Phil did not see his shadow. Thus spring is just
around the corner.
Each school that writes gets a response describing
Phil's life and a groundhog's diet of clover, dandelion
and "tender shoots of grass."
Actually, Phil's main meal at his home in a glassed-in
case in this western Pennsylvania town is high-quality
A plant-based diet, says one critic of groundhog
prognostication, is exactly what makes a groundhog all
wrong for his job as weather forecaster.
The tradition was born in Europe, where the appearance
of insect-eating hedgehogs was considered a harbinger
of spring, said Tony Vecchio, director of the Roger
Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island.
That makes sense, Vecchio says. The appearance of
hedgehogs, shadows or not, meant the insects they feed
on were out and spring was around the corner.
But when Europeans settled in North America, there was
nary a hedgehog to be found so they put their money on
the furry weed-eaters called groundhogs.
"By the first winter they probably realized the
groundhog didn't know what he was doing," Vecchio said.
© 1995 Peter Langston