Check out our daily list of must-read articles that will have you chatting at the lunch counter, over instant message or wherever people actually talk these days.
- A man from Bangladeshwon a rat-killing contest after wiping out 39,650 rats in a one-year period using traps, poison and flooding to kill the vermin. The 40-year-old farmer collected the rats' tails as proof of their slaughter and won a 14-inch Song color TV for his efforts. The competition was part of an effort across the country to stop rats from gnawing on food supplies.
- As many as 37,964 planets in the Milky Way could be home to intelligent life that is as advanced as humans, researchers claim. The estimate was extrapolated from data on 330 planets and took into account temperature and availability of water and minerals.
- Remember all the talk of lock-boxes and social security privatization of years past? Turns out Al Gore was right. Retirement plans would have taken a major hit if social security were privatized. Perhaps the economic crisis is the nail in the coffin of the whole concept. Eliot Spitzer (yes, that Spitzer) explains.
- Barack Obama knocked Tom Hanks from the No. 1 spot on the list of most influential celebrities. The annual independent survey is used by brand marketers and advertising agencies to figure out a celebrity's influence on brand an purchasing decisions. Hanks held the top spot for two years in a row.