What's New

TECHNOLOGY

Gone with the printed page

NEW YORK - Microsoft Corp. launched its new free Reader software for electronic books on Tuesday in conjunction with the advent of e-book sales by Barnesandnoble.com, a first for a major online bookseller. Its books will be available for downloading and reading on a screen or in single paperback copies printed on demand.

Laurence Kirshbaum, chairman and chief executive of Time Warner's Trade Publishing unit, said the new medium could boost book-industry growth from its current level of 5 to 6 percent a year into double digits.

SCIENCE

Tsunami culprit found

HONOLULU - It is suspected that an earthquake-triggered tsunami that killed more than 2,000 people in Papua New Guinea two years ago was bolstered by an undersea landslide.

An international team of scientists using multibeam bathymetric surveys and manned submersibles to explore the offshore area found evidence of ocean-floor landslides in August 1998. The earthquake's 7.1 magnitude is considered relatively weak to have generated a major tsunami, says Eddie Bernard, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle.

ENVIRONMENT

Spotted owls in trouble again

SEATTLE - Protected under the federal Endangered Species Act it may be, but the spotted owl isn't out of the woods yet. That may happen soon, however, if the rival barred owl continues to migrate to Washington from the Eastern United States.

Barred owls appear to be shoving spotted owls off their turf, biologists say - in some cases even butchering their spotted cousins. "When these kinds of range expansions occur, one species is going to win and one is going to lose," says Eric Forsman, a spotted-owl expert with the Forest Service. Other scientists say that it could be 30 years or more before the effect of the barred owls can be fully assessed.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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