SBC and Prodigy have initiated a merger of their internet operations. This may position the combined unit to become the second larges ISP after AOL. Coverage: Wired, ZDNN.

Over in the land of roaming charges, the number of cellphones is expected to reach 88 million in the U.S. by year’s end and one billion worldwide by 2003 leading to several $US 100 billion mergers. They seem to have become a necessity, even as evidence mounts that we’re doing something akin to a slow microwave of our brains.

Follow-ups. One of our pet-peeves is the lack of follow-up and the general short-sightedness of the western media. So… Space.com reports that China’s biggest gain from joining the U.S. and Russia in the space flight big leagues is prestige. And, if you like weblogs, but just want to hit "the best" (whatever that means), Beebo.org uses the frequency of links between weblogs to rate them. And, in Echelon-related news, Wiring Taping Abuses are far too common for some people’s taste and the ACLU and EPIC filed a lawsuit challenging new wiretap rules that would dictate the design of the nation’s communication infrastructure so the FBI could track the physical location of cellphone users and increase eavesdropping on the internet.