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The Panic/Euphoria Market Indicator


Many cities looking to lure visitors have used fish as bait: Nearly half of the nation's 37 aquariums have been built just since 1990. But when the new Georgia Aquarium opens its doors on Nov. 23 in Atlanta, it will leave all those other fish tanks gasping for air. Funded largely by Home Depot (HD) co-founder Bernie Marcus, the $200 million Georgia Aquarium will be the world's largest, with 8 million gallons of water housing more than 100,000 denizens of the sea -- everything from beluga whales to hammerhead sharks to sting rays.

From the outside, the aquarium looks like an ocean liner breaking through a wave. Inside, the biggest stars will be two whale sharks named Ralph and Norton. The largest fish on the planet, whale sharks prefer to dine on plankton -- unlike their scary, meat-eating brethren -- and they have rarely been on display at aquariums outside of Asia. Visitors will be able to view them through a massive, 23-foot-tall by 61-foot-wide window or a 100-foot underwater acrylic tunnel. For ticket information, call 404 581-4000 or go to georgiaaquarium.org.

A stiff back. An aching shoulder. A strap slipping off as you pick up your coffee. These are telltale signs of an overloaded shoulder bag. But while backpacks are more comfortable, they can make professionals feel as if they're back in college. Enter the hybrid Bumbakpak. In single-strap mode, it's a shoulder bag with pockets aplenty and thoughtful touches such as a slot to allow for mounting on the handle of rolling luggage. If your load gets heavy, a few adjustments transform it into a low-riding backpack that rests on your "bum" and puts less strain on your shoulders and back. The StreetFlow model, which includes a padded laptop compartment, goes for $75 (bumbakpaks.com).

Now that's designing a financial product to fit a need: Ted Blanch Jr., an insurance executive from Boerne, Tex., wanted to guarantee his grandchildren a college education. So he created an insurance and trust product, backed by several major insurers, that locks in four years of tuition (with or without room and board) for any school at a slight premium to today's prices for a private university.

Available for children newborn to age 5 only, the policy requires either a lump sum payment or installments over seven years. A healthy middle-aged couple would pay about $141,000 now to cover all college costs. On the payment plan, it's about $21,000 more. You can get more details about the policy at securededucation.com.


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