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Space station's fancy new $27M lookout attached

Man wins millions, goes out for bacon

Nigel Page, a 43-year-old janitor, said Monday that he, his partner and their children ate bacon sandwiches at a grocery store to celebrate the fact that Page is now Britain's richest-ever lottery winner. Page won $88 million — half a jackpot worth about $175 million in Friday's EuroMillions lottery draw, which is open to players across Europe. The second winning ticket was bought in Spain, but the winner has not been named. Page learned of the big win early Saturday when he signed in to his online lottery account.

28 whales die on New Zealand beach

Twenty-eight pilot whales died or were euthanized by conservation workers after a mass stranding on a remote New Zealand beach, an official said Monday. Department of Conservation workers found nine whales dead on Stewart Island's West Ruggedy Beach on Sunday after they were alerted by a passer-by, biodiversity manager Brent Bevan said. Wild seas and strong winds made it impossible to mount a rescue for the 19 survivors, he said. Conservation officials were forced to euthanize the animals, or they would have suffered greatly. It was the fourth mass stranding on the New Zealand coast in recent months. Some 140 pilot whales died in the three other beachings, while 76 were refloated by rescuers.

Baltic a popular pooch in Poland

The incredible story of Baltic, the Polish pooch rescued from an ice sheet at sea, has struck a chord worldwide. The seagoing mutt is being bombarded with e-mail, will likely soon have a Facebook page and one family drove more than 300 miles from the Czech Republic in the false hope he was theirs. Baltic was rescued Jan. 25 after the ship's crew spotted him floating 15 miles from land, trapped on an ice floe. The rescue was difficult because the frightened, shivering dog kept falling into the icy water. Since his rescue, several people have tried to claim him, but the dog has rejected them all.

Space station gets its new perch

Astronauts successfully attached a new observation deck to the International Space Station early Monday after a long, frustrating night spent dealing with stuck bolts and wayward wiring.

But they will have to wait a few more days before gazing out the $27 million domed lookout, expected to provide unprecedented 360-degree views of Earth, outer space and the space station itself.

The shutters on its seven windows, including the largest ever sent into space, will be unlocked during the mission's spacewalk tonight and cranked open by Thursday — and neither astronauts nor flight controllers can wait to soak in the views.

A pair of astronauts used a giant robotic arm to move the observation deck from one side of the space station's newest room, called Tranquility, to the other. The lookout had been attached to the room in a temporary position that allowed it to fit inside shuttle Endeavour's payload bay.

Space station commander Jeffrey Williams was loosening a series of bolts to release the lookout when several jammed Sunday. With commands from Mission Control, astronauts were able to increase the torque and free the bolts — but then they saw an electrical connector popping out.

Williams assured everyone the wiring would not interfere, saying he had seen the wire like that before. He was right.

The lookout — described as a bay window — is 5 feet tall and nearly 10 feet in diameter at its base. Its round central window is the largest at 31 inches across.

Israeli archaeologists said Monday that they've discovered an unusually shaped 1,400-year-old wine press that was exceptionally large and advanced for its time.

The octagonal press measures 21 feet by 54 feet and was discovered in southern Israel.

"What we have here seems to be an industrial and crafts area of a settlement which was situated in the middle of an agricultural region," said excavation director Uzi Ad.

During this period, the whole area was part of the Byzantine Empire — the eastern half of the old Roman Empire.

"The size of the wine press attests to the fact that the quantity of wine that was produced in it was exceptionally large and was not meant for local consumption," Ad said. He said the wine was probably intended for export to Egypt, then a major export market, or to Europe.

The shape of the press' collecting vats was impractical because sediment would collect in the corners, Ad noted. They must have been built in this manner, and not in the customary circular or square shape, for aesthetic reasons, he concluded.

The entire apparatus originally measured 49 feet by 54 feet and included a central treading floor with a mosaic pavement where the grapes would be trod on. The juice produced from the grapes would flow from the treading floor to a distributing vat and from there through holes into two collecting vats located on either side, he said.

Byzantines were busy making lots of wine

Space station's fancy new $27M lookout attached 02/15/10 [Last modified: Monday, February 15, 2010 9:29pm]
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