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Bare essentials: Toothbrush beats PC

The toothbrush and the automobile are more important to daily existence than the PC, according to a survey conducted by the Lemelson-MIT program, a nonprofit organization dedicated to scientific education. Forty-two percent of U.S. adults and 34 percent of the teenagers polled said the toothbrush was the one invention they could not live without. The car ranked closely behind in both groups.

Sixteen percent of teenagers said they could not live without a PC, putting it at No. 3. Only 6 percent of adults viewed the PC as the ultimate necessary device, equal with the microwave and the cell phone.