Web aid for parents

A new publication from the U.S. Department of Education, "Parents' Guide to the Internet" will introduce you to the online world, fill you in on hardware and software and teach the meanings of words like browser and homepage.Even better, the free booklet helps you recognize which sites need monitoring and discusses how to block sites you don't want children to visit. To order, send 50 cents to Consumer Information Center, Dept. 372E, Pueblo, CO 81009, or call (719) 948-4000 and ask for Item 372E.

E-mail tales

From time to time, Bits & Bytes will publish excerpts from the jokes, advice and sayings that sweep through the ether by way of mass e-mailings. Readers are invited to send examples to one of our compilers, Joe Bauman ([email protected]) or Steve Fidel ([email protected]).

This week's electronic wisdom comes from Beverly Machaud of who passed along "Instructions for Life" that are circulating by by e-mail. They include:

- In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

- Don't judge people by their relatives.

- Talk slow but think quick.

- When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, "Why do you want to know?"

- Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

- Call your mom.

- Trust in God but lock your car.

- In disagreements with loved ones, deal with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.

- Be gentle with the earth.

- Pray - there's immeasurable power in it.

- Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a stroke of luck.

- Learn the rules and then break some.

- Remember that your character is your destiny.

- Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

Beware of quiet ground

A new study by Walter Arabasz of the University of Utah Seismograph Station and Max Wyss of the University of Alaska Geophysical Institute indicates that periods of "seismic quiescence" sometimes precede the strongest and most damaging earthquakes.

Deceptively, for months or years a region may experience far fewer small quakes than normal. Then, WHAM!

The geophysicists reached their conclusions after searching records of quiet periods before seven good-sized earthquakes recorded in Utah from 1974 to 1996.

Wyss also studied incidents when large quakes hit after periods when the ground wasn't so quiet. "Scientists who predict the weather experience false alarms frequently, which just means the t hypothesis doesn't work in those few cases," he said.

Heavenly sights

Beginning April 17, the Salt Lake Astronomical Society and Hansen Planetarium resume a 27-year tradition of public star and sun parties, providing free, awe-inspiring views through high-quality telescopes.

Hansen Planetarium's Patrick Wiggins says four locations alternate as sites for the parties.

The Stansbury Park Observatory Complex (SPOC) can be reached by taking Interstate 80 west from Salt Lake City to the Stansbury/Tooele exit and following signs, first south to Stansbury Park and then turning off to the observatory. It's about 35 minutes from Salt Lake City.

To reach Little Mountain, drive east up Eighth South, then along Sunnyside and through Emigration Canyon to the summit, where an access road leads south through a gate on the site. Drive time from downtown Salt Lake City is about 20 minutes.

Harmon's Family Center is located at 980 E. Fort Union Blvd., Midvale.

Red Butte Garden and Arboretum is at 300 Wakara Way in Research Park.

All evening events begin at dusk and last until everyone goes home. Daytime sun parties run from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. All are held only if the weather cooperates.

Parties during the next two months are planned for:

- April 17, evening, SPOC.

- May 1, evening, Harmon's.

- May 2, evening, Little Mountain.

- May 9, 10 a.m., sun party, Arboretum.

- May 15, evening, SPOC.