Virgin Spaceport to Be Built in N.M.
By JANE WARDELL
AP Business Writer
Dec 13 9:11 AM US/Eastern
LONDON - Virgin Galactic, the British company created by entrepreneur
Richard Branson to send tourists into space, and New Mexico announced an
agreement Tuesday for the state to build a $225 million spaceport.
Virgin Galactic also revealed that up to 38,000 people from 126
countries have paid a deposit for a seat on one of its manned commercial
flights, including a core group of 100 "founders" who have paid the
initial $200,000 cost of a flight upfront. Virgin Galactic is planning
to begin flights in late 2008 or early 2009.
It's Sensitive. Really.
By WILLIAM J. BROAD
Published: December 13, 2005
For centuries, the tusk of the narwhal has fascinated and baffled.
Narwhal tusks, up to nine feet long, were sold as unicorn horns in ages
past, often for many times their weight in gold since they were said to
possess magic powers. In the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth received a
tusk valued at £10,000 - the cost of a castle. Austrian lore holds that
Kaiser Karl the Fifth paid off a large national debt with two tusks. In
Vienna, the Hapsburgs had one made into a scepter heavy with diamonds,
rubies, sapphires and emeralds.
Scientists have long tried to explain why a stocky whale that lives in
arctic waters, feeding on cod and other creatures that flourish amid the
pack ice, should wield such a long tusk. The theories about how the
narwhal uses the tusk have included breaking ice, spearing fish,
piercing ships, transmitting sound, shedding excess body heat, poking
the seabed for food, wooing females, defending baby narwhals and
establishing dominance in social hierarchies.
But a team of scientists from Harvard and the National Institute of
Standards and Technology has now made a startling discovery: the tusk,
it turns out, forms a sensory organ of exceptional size and sensitivity,
making the living appendage one of the planet's most remarkable, and one
that in some ways outdoes its own mythology.
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*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics