- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 28, 2010

DISTRICT

Dinosaur tail feathers were carrot-colored

Scientists have for the first time confirmed color in a dinosaur. Don’t think purple Barney, but reddish-orange.

The first solid proof of pigmentation has been spotted in the fossilized tail feathers of a smallish meat-eating dinosaur found in China and named Sinosauropteryx. The creature seems to have russet-colored rings, according to a paper published online Wednesday in the journal Nature.

That 125-million-year-old tail has the same internal cellular coloring agents as the hair of a red-haired person, said study lead author Mike Benton, a professor of paleontology at the University of Bristol in England. And the same finding provides what some outside experts say is even more conclusive evidence that some dinosaurs had feathers, further linking them to birds.

Mr. Benton and his colleagues didn’t actually see the reddish color itself. Using an electron microscope, they spotted the specific cellular signs of the color. An earlier study by another group of researchers and Mr. Benton’s team found similar cellular color hints in prehistoric bird feathers.

FLORIDA

NASA sets launch date for shuttle

CAPE CANAVERAL | NASA has set an early February launch date for Space Shuttle Endeavour.

Senior managers met Wednesday and decided unanimously to proceed toward a Feb. 7 launch date for Endeavour. It will be a pre-dawn liftoff at 4:39 a.m. — in all probability the last shuttle launch in darkness.

Endeavour will carry up a new room and observation deck for the International Space Station, the last of the major U.S. components. The six-person crew will hook up the chamber, named Tranquility, during a series of spacewalks.

Some of the ammonia coolant lines for the chamber failed testing earlier this month, the result of design and manufacturing errors because of the extra length of the hoses. So engineers scrambled to fashion new hoses out of old, spare hardware.

NEW MEXICO

Spanish company plans solar plant

SANTA FE | A Spanish company plans to invest $1 billion to build a large solar energy production plant in New Mexico.

Gov. Bill Richardson joined Wednesday with executives of GA-Solar and its parent company, Gestamp Corp., to announce the photovoltaic solar plant. It will cover 2,500 acres near Santa Rosa in eastern New Mexico.

The plant will take four years to complete and will produce 300 megawatts of electricity, enough to supply power to 50,000 households a year.

The project will employ 300 construction workers and provide 75 permanent jobs.

NEW YORK

New WTC rebuilding schedule sought

NEW YORK | An arbitration panel is sending the owners and developer of ground zero back to the negotiating table to hammer out a new schedule for rebuilding the World Trade Center site.

But the arbitrators have denied developer Larry Silverstein’s request to stop paying millions of dollars in rent at the site for the next decade.

Both Mr. Silverstein and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said Wednesday that arbitrators gave them 45 days to renegotiate a timetable.

Mr. Silverstein had claimed the agency was behind schedule and pushed it to guarantee more than $3 billion in financing for his towers.

The arbitrators ruled that any delays weren’t sufficient to warrant canceling a 3-year-old agreement that divides responsibilities for rebuilding the site.

OHIO

Mother sues school over son’s ponytails

CINCINNATI | An Ohio woman accuses a teacher and an aide in a lawsuit of humiliating her son for his long hair by tying it into ponytails and encouraging students to mock him.

Amanda Anoai sued Monday in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati on behalf of her 11-year-old son. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and accuses school officials of violating the boy’s constitutional rights and inflicting emotional distress.

The suit was filed against a sixth-grade teacher, a teacher’s aide, the Boyd E. Smith Elementary School principal, and the Milford school district and its superintendent.

It accuses the teacher and aide of tying the boy’s hair into three ponytails, one above each ear and one atop his head.

School officials declined to comment on Wednesday.

OREGON

Burning bagel clears Portland City Hall

PORTLAND | An overdone bagel has forced the evacuation of Portland’s City Hall.

The Oregonian reports that City Hall emptied for about 20 minutes Wednesday morning while firefighters dealt with the burning bagel in the break room of Mayor Sam Adam’s office. There’s no immediate word on who burned the bagel in the toaster oven or what type of bagel it was.

SOUTH CAROLINA

TV hosts on plane in emergency landing

MYRTLE BEACH | A plane carrying two MSNBC television show hosts has made an emergency landing in South Carolina after a pilot reported smoke in the cockpit.

MSNBC personalities Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough were among the 16 passengers and three crew members on the Delta Connection flight from New York to Charleston. Horry County Department of Airports spokeswoman Lauren Morris said the plane landed at the Myrtle Beach airport around 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Ms. Brzezinski and Mr. Scarborough are scheduled to moderate the South Carolina Republican gubernatorial debate Thursday night in Charleston. Mr. Scarborough says on his Twitter account he and Ms. Brzezinski were driving to Charleston from Myrtle Beach.

WYOMING

Court lets tribe intervene in appeal

CHEYENNE | An Indian tribe will get a chance to argue the state of Wyoming never should have prosecuted a member in the beating death of his baby daughter because the attack happened in an area the tribe claims is still legally part of the Wind River Indian Reservation.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver has approved the request by the Northern Arapaho Tribe to file a friend of the court brief in support of Andrew Yellowbear Jr.’s appeal.

Yellowbear is serving a life sentence in state prison in the 2004 beating death of 22-month-old Marcela Hope Yellowbear.

The girl was pronounced dead at a Riverton hospital after her mother, Macalia Blackburn, took her there with a variety of injuries, including broken bones, severe burns and cuts and bruises to most of her body.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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