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Published: Saturday, September 22, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

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Even merchants of death have to economize sometimes: The tobacco companies cut their advertising and marketing budgets by about 5 percent in 2010, according to a report by the Federal Trade Commission.

Big Tobacco could easily afford the scaled-back marketing, thanks to a whole bunch of free advertising in the form of those good-looking people constantly puffing on Lucky Strikes on the hit TV series, "Mad Men."

Big gulp: An exhaustive, decades-long study has proven that drinking soda pop and other sugary beverages amplifies the risk of obesity, especially for people genetically predisposed to weight gain. The study adds weight, so to speak, to efforts at curbing excessive consumption of sugary soda.

Who knows? One day, Season 40 of "Mad Men," set during the summer of 2011, will establish a period vibe by showing Don Draper's grandchildren casually swigging from 64-ounce containers of Coke Classic.

iSwipe: Switzerland's national railroad company claims Apple stole its station clock design for the clock icon in iOS 6.

If true, at least Apple didn't take any inspiration from Amtrak. If it did, the iPhone would operate under constant threat of being switched off permanently by Congress.

-- Mark Carlson, Herald staff

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