Music hath charms

Baby rats exposed to the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart were able to find their way through a maze faster and with fewer errors than were rats exposed to silence, white noise or minimalist music, say experimenters at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh.

"By demonstrating that music induces improved spatial performance in the rat, this study lays the groundwork for further explorations into the neurophysiology factors (of music and learning) . . . in humans," says an article published by the group in the July issue of Neurological Research.

For those who were wondering, the miminalist composer who was bested by Mozart is Philip Glas.

Ancient calendars

"Sky in Motion, Etched in Stone," an art exhibit that claims to interpret ancient solar and lunar calendars, goes on display Saturday at Edge of the Cedars State Park, Blanding.

On that day, the public is invited to meet artists Jan Wright and Robin Baum at a free opening reception, 3 to 6 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

Using watercolors, painted shields and pottery, the artists attempt to show that the ancient inhabitants of the Colorado Plateau systematically tracked the movements of the sun. Their solar and lunar calendrical markers ensured that ceremonies were conducted at the right time for planting, harvesting, hunting and other activities, according to Wright and Baum. The exhibit will remain on display through Dec. 30.

Genealogy site

Genealogy Web site Ancestry.com has acquired exclusive electronic publishing rights to the American Genealogical Biographical Index, a collection of 12 million records that fills nearly 200 printed volumes.

Due to its massive size and hefty price tag of nearly $9,000 for each set, only 175 libraries are known to offer the complete printed collection. Once published online this fall by Ancestry.com, the entire collection, along with the company's nearly 590 other databases of 95 million records, will be available with subscriptions to the Web site starting at $5 per month.

Top technology

A national organization says the way Utah connects schools and colleges to the Internet is one of the nation's most innovative government uses of information technology.

UtahLINK, a service of the Utah Education Network, is one of 10 award winners for outstanding achievement in information technology from the National Association for State Information Resource Executives.

The Utah Education Network is a consortium of the Utah State Office of Public Education and the Utah System of Higher Education.

Seven other states and the District of Columbia were also given awards, which will be formally presented Oct. 20 in San Diego.

E-mail security flaw

Researchers at Oulu University in Finland have discovered a security flaw in several popular e-mail programs.

The "long file" e-mail bug can erase files on a hard drive or crash a computer. The bug works disaster through malicious code hidden in the file name of e-mail attachments. According to both Microsoft and Netscape, both of whose programs are affected, the label to those bugged attachments has to be longer than 200 characters. This creates a buffer overload.

Microsoft has confirmed that the flaw exists in its popular Outlook Express and Outlook 98 e-mail packages used on Windows, Macintosh and other machines. Netscape says it has confirmed the flaw on its Communicator e-mail software for Windows-based computers only. A spokesman for Eudora, another popular e-mail program, said it had not found the flaw in its products.

Though the long file bug is still confined to computer laboratories, Netscape, Microsoft and others are urging users to fix their e-mail programs. Microsoft has posted fixes and more information at (http://www.microsoft.com/ie/security). Netscape plans to issue a fix in about one week and is posting information about the bug at (http://home.netscape.com/products/security).