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little green comet streaking past Earth

February 24, 2009

Tonight, skies permitting, a greenish, “two-tail” comet that likely contains ice and dust from the beginnings of the solar system will offer a celestial spectacle on its first — and only — fly-by of our Earth.

Comet Lulin will make its closest pass to Earth (about 38 million miles), reaching its peak brightness and fastest apparent speed at 10:43 p.m. ET. You should be able to see it all night, from dusk until dawn, in either hemisphere, with telescopes, binoculars or even the naked eye if you’re far away from city lights. It will appear just below Saturn, in the constellation Leo. Here’s a sky chart.

Lulin, a remnant of the creation of the galaxy 4.5 billion years ago, will look like a tiny fuzz ball with two tails, one trailing and one pointing toward the Sun. But the latter is an “anti-tail,” a rare optical effect. One other oddity: Lulin is orbiting “backward” compared with the planets.

The comet’s color comes from a type of carbon and cyanogen, a poisonous gas.


Wolves trade McCants to Kings

February 19, 2009

The Minnesota Timberwolves have agreed to trade guard Rashad McCants to the Sacramento Kings for forward Shelden Williams in a swap of disappointing lottery picks, two people with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Thursday. The Wolves also got rookie guard Bobby Brown from the Kings and sent rarely used center Calvin Booth to Sacramento.

The sources requested anonymity because the trade has not been announced.

McCants was the 14th overall pick in 2005. He is averaging 9.1 points per game, but has appeared in only six games since Jan. 1.

The moody shooting guard from North Carolina fell out of the rotation shortly after Kevin McHale took over as coach. He hasn’t played more than 15 minutes in a game since Dec. 27 and has often been seen brooding on the bench because of the decrease in playing time.

At his best, McCants is a capable scorer off the bench. He averaged 14.9 points in that role last season in his first full year back from microfracture knee surgery.

Williams was the fifth overall pick in 2006 by Atlanta. He has never fulfilled the promise he showed while at Duke and is averaging just 3.7 points and 2.6 rebounds for the Kings.

The burly power forward has only reached double figures in scoring three times this season and has done it just twice in rebounding.

The deal doesn’t hinder either team’s quest to clear salary cap space for the future. McCants will be a restricted free agent this summer and Minnesota had no intention of bringing him back.

Williams will be an unrestricted free agent when the year ends.

Brown has averaged 5.2 points and 1.9 assists as a backup point guard in his first season out of Cal State-Fullerton.

Booth has played just 1 minute this season for the Timberwolves after being acquired from Philadelphia in the offseason. His contract is up after the season, meaning the Kings will be off the hook for his salary once the season ends.

Who IS Chris Brown, Anyway

August 19, 2008

Rihanna’s got hit singles, happenin’ style, and a hot attitude. We’re not worthy, we’re not worthy!  But apparently Chris Brown is. So, who is the rapper rapper/R&B singer she’s so comfy with that he

A) gets to see her hair wet,

B) comments that she needs to “cover up” to stop attracting male admirers, and

C) still claims they’re just friends?

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Love of Olympics that started with Nadia is rekindled this summer

August 19, 2008

That is so unfair to the great track and field athletes who now are having their turn in the international spotlight. But truth be told, I know none of them. And that seems surreal to me, because I used to be a huge summer Olympics fan.

My first Olympics was the ’72 Games, and while watching Mark Spitz win seven gold medals was exciting, and being charmed by Olga Korbut made me actually think about taking up gymnastics, that competition will always be known as the games marred by massacre of Israeli athletes.

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Aussie girls fall to China

August 19, 2008

Hosts China entered the Olympic women’s field hockey semi-finals after holding former champions Australia to a tense 2-2 draw in a crucial league match on Monday.
The Chinese, who needed a draw to qualify, defended stoutly to overcome a spirited Hockeyroos fightback and finish second in pool A behind the Netherlands.
Both China and Australia ended with 10 points each, but the home side went through on a superior goal difference of plus-two to ensure a top four finish for the second second successive Olympics.

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A ‘Dream’ Come True: U.S. Approves the First Google Phone

August 19, 2008

Taiwan-based HTC, one of the largest mobile device makers in the world, was readying the first smart phone to use Google’s Android operating system.
Well, on Monday the Federal Communications Commission approved the device for use in the United States.

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General Dynamics settles Navy’s fraud suit for $4M

August 19, 2008

General Dynamics Corp., the second-largest shipbuilder for the U.S. Navy, has agreed to pay $4 million to settle a lawsuit claiming a now-closed Long Island unit fraudulently billed the government for Navy aircraft parts that were defective.

U.S. District Judge Denis Hurley approved the settlement yesterday in Central Islip. General Dynamics, based in Falls Church, Va., didn’t admit or deny any wrongdoing, according to court filings.

Federal prosecutors said that from September 2001 to August 2003, the formerly Glen Cove-based division, General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, defectively manufactured or failed to test parts used in aircraft such as the C-141 transport plane and submarines.

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