Home phones taking a hit
NASA sets price tag for shuttle shoppers
Want a space shuttle for your museum? NASA has started taking requests for its soon-to-be-retired fleet and has set the price tag at $42-million. But that is delivered (including $6-million for shipping and handling). The Orlando Sentinel reports that the price was set to gauge interest in the crafts. For comparison shoppers, the $42-million is some serious depreciation. NASA says that Endeavour cost about $1.7-billion. But there is a markup on the shipping, because NASA pays less than $2-million to fly the shuttle to Florida when it lands in California. But that "handling" charge also includes a serious cleaning that will rid it of all its smelly fuel system crud, making it less dangerous.
In South Korea, actor convicted of adultery
Ok So Ri, one of South Korea's most famous actors, was convicted of adultery Wednesday in a high-profile case that drew renewed attention to a decades-old law prohibiting extramarital affairs. "I would like to say I'm sorry for causing so much trouble to society," a somber Ok told reporters after the verdict. Her jail sentence of eight months was suspended. Her lover, an opera singer who is a friend of her husband, got six months, also suspended. Ok's petition to have the adultery ban ruled an unconstitutional invasion of privacy was denied in October.
When did Peking become Beijing and Bombay become Mumbai?
Although Mumbai was changed from Bombay in 1995, the old name remains popular among Westerners and many of the city's inhabitants. It is named for the Hindu goddess Mumbadevi and Aai, or "mother." Portuguese explorers named the area "Bom Bahia" or Good Bay in the 16th century. After the British gained possession of India, the name was anglicized to Bombay. The Chinese capital did not change its name; rather, the English spellings of Chinese words were changed. The People's Republic of China, established in 1949, adopted the pinyin system for spelling Chinese names and places in Roman letters. Beijing has also been known as Ji, Zhongdu and Dadu.
Atlanta Journal Constitution
A woman who had suffered severe facial trauma got essentially a whole new face in a first-of-its-kind operation at the Cleveland Clinic two weeks ago, hospital officials said in a press conference on Wednesday.
Only the woman's upper eyelids, forehead, lower lip and chin were left — the other 80 percent of her face was replaced with one donated from a female cadaver during the 22-hour surgery.
It was the nation's first face transplant and the fourth worldwide, though the others were not as extensive as this one.
The patient's name and age were not released, nor details on how she was injured. She lacked a nose and palate, and required an opening into her windpipe to eat and breathe.
After the transplant, "I must tell you how happy she was when she could go over her face and feel that she has a nose, feel that she has a jaw," said lead surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow.
The woman is doing well and showing no signs of rejecting the new face, doctors said.
It is the first facial transplant known to have included bones, along with muscle, skin, blood vessels and nerves. The woman received a nose, most of the sinuses, the upper jaw and even some teeth, said Dr. Frank Papay, the clinic's plastic surgery chief.
"This patient exhausted all conventional means of reconstruction and is the right patient," Siemionow said.
So many disfigured patients are stuck "in their houses who are hiding from society," she said.
"Our patient was called names and humiliated," she said. "You need a face to face the world."
The portion of homes with cell phones but no landlines has grown to 18 percent, led by adults living with unrelated roommates, renters and young people, according to federal figures released Wednesday.
An additional 13 percent of households have landlines but get all or nearly all calls on their cells, the survey showed. Taken together, that means about three in 10 households are essentially reachable only on their wireless phones.
The figures, covering the first half of 2008, underscore how consumers have been steadily abandoning traditional landline phones in favor of cells. In 2005, about 7 percent of households were cell only. Among households of unrelated adults, such as roommates or unmarried couples, 63 percent have only cell phones.
The survey also found:
• Just 9 percent of homeowners are cell-only, compared with 34 percent of renters.
• Older people are less likely to have only cell phones, with just 9 percent of those 45-64 and 3 percent of those 65 and up living in such households.
• By race, 22 percent of Hispanic adults, 19 percent of blacks and 15 percent of whites live in cell-only homes.
• The South and Midwest have more cell-only households than the Northeast or West.