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News briefs: March 8
Posted: Sat, Mar 9, 2002, 10:18 AM ET (1518 GMT)
  • WildBlue confirmed this week that it has suspended work on its satellite broadband system as it seeks additional funding. Work has been stopped on the first of two WildBlue satellites that would have provided high-speed Internet service, primarily for people in rural areas of the US without access to cable or DSL. One of WildBlue's original backers, EchoStar, backed out of the company last year.
  • The European Union has lashed out at American criticism of Galileo, a European satellite navigation system similar to GPS. After the US Sate Department said Thursday it saw "no compelling need" for Galileo, an EU spokesman said it was up to Europe, not the US, to decide what needs Galileo would satisfy. European transport ministers are scheduled to meet later this month to decide on funding for the system; they are expected to approve it after Germany recently decided to back the project.
  • Harvard astronomers have found the mechanism by which a class of variable stars becomes 1,000 times dimmer: sunscreen. They found that some red giant stars, known as Mira variables, can form titanium oxide and similar chemicals in their outer atmospheres. These chemicals, the same as those used in sunscreen, block light from lower layers of the star, making the star appear far dimmer. Their work will be published in the April 1 issue of the Astrophysical Journal.
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news links
Friday, October 19
Paul Allen, the Quiet Space Baron
The New Yorker — 6:37 am ET (1037 GMT)

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