Morning Buzz: July 19, 2007

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An 83-year-old steam pipe burst yesterday afternoon in New York City, creating a giant geyser in the heart of midtown Manhattan. The blast flung steam and debris containing asbestos into the air. Authorities said today that the air is safe to breathe. One woman died in the incident--from an apparent heart attack--and about 30 others were injured. The head of Con Edison, the utility company in charge of the steam-pipe system, said the site had been inspected several hours before the geyser erupted, a routine precaution after a heavy rainfall. Inspectors had found nothing to cause alarm. The cause of the burst has yet to be determined. U.S. News reported on the country's aging water infrastructure in May.

Apple's newest must-have toy, the iPhone, may be clogging Duke University's wireless network. After the iPhone debuted on June 29, 100 to 150 of them were registered with the university's wireless Internet network. The added traffic caused parts of the system to freeze for 10 minutes at a time. Students don’t start their fall term until August, so the university still has time to fix the problem before the campus is flooded with more iPhones. U.S. News's David LaGesse explored the top pros and cons of the trendy new cellphone before its June debut.

Sunni lawmakers in Iraq are headed back to parliament after a five-week boycott, raising hopes that the nation’s leaders can meet benchmarks being demanded by the American government.

Harry Potter is popular just about everywhere. Newsblog reported in May that the boy wizard often unseats President Bush as the most-blogged-about person on the Internet. With the debut of the final book installment coming this Saturday, one Oregon couple decided to make purchasing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part of their wedding night. Courtney Lanahan and Shawn Gordon are heading straight from their reception to the local Barnes & Noble to get their hands on a copy. And as a wedding present, the store has promised they can be first in line.