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the other y2k problem

chicago - The year 2000 could see power outages, satellites veering off-course, and cell-phone disruptions as sunspots, flares, and solar storms hit their cyclical maximum, scientists said Monday. Geomagnetic storms on Earth and increased solar activity are expected to reach their 11-year peak between January and April 2000. The accompanying release of highly charged particles and radiation toward Earth on solar winds could disrupt radio communications and cause satellites to lose altitude.

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A new moon

An 18th moon has been found orbiting Uranus, placing it with Saturn in the "planet with most moons" category. The moon, about 25 miles in diameter, was photographed 13 years ago by Voyager 2. An astronomer discovered the moon while poring over images from the mission. The moon has not been named.

Stay downwind of this snozz

CHICAGO - Scientists examining the largest Tyrannosaurus rex ever found said last week they had discovered it had a particularly acute sense of smell. "We knew they had a strong sense of smell but not to this degree," said Chris Brochu of Chicago's Field Museum, which purchased the 67-million-year-old skeleton called Sue in 1997. Its acute sense of smell may have helped it hunt prey, Dr. Brochu said.

RELIGION

Jewish law contested

JERUSALEM - A decision by Judaism's liberal Reform movement to revive some traditions is not enough to bring recognition from the Orthodox religious establishment of Israel, the country's chief rabbi Israel Meir Lau said last week. The Reform movement endorsed a return to practices such as wearing skullcaps and keeping kosher, saying that the guidelines were not a move toward Orthodoxy but an absorption of the traditions into a liberal framework. Rabbi Lau welcomed the decision but said there is "no basis for dialogue" until the Reform group adopts the strict Orthodox view of Jewish law.

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