This is unusual. When I started as a journalist in the late eighties it went pretty much without saying that some territories would be ahead of my own home in the UK for technological take-up. America and Japan would typically be three years ahead of us while Germany would be one or two. That seems to be changing a little. Of course, mass communication means change is faster overall so the gap was always going to narrow. Then there are individual product launches in which companies decide we're going to get stuff later - we still don't have Amazon's Kindle …

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A lousy way to start off the week on Wall Street. Stocks were down 250 points by 1 PM Monday, mostly from downbeat earnings expectations from financial giant AIG. Adding fuel to the fire was a modest spike in oil prices (to $115 per barrel) mostly due the onslaught of the hurricane season and uncertainties about the health of Georgia’s oil supplies after its wrestling match with Russia. Some good news? Housing sales were up 3.1% last month – way better than real estate analysts had expected and gasoline prices have fallen significantly (down to $3.40 a gallon in bucolic …

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The End.