Etc...

Space-age technology

You know how companies love to claim that their products are "out of this world" ... even when they're not? Soon, though, one will be able to do so and still be in compliance with truth-in-advertising standards. It's Nissin Food Products Co., the pioneer of "instant" noodle cups, which can be found in supermarkets worldwide. In cooperation with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and a production studio, Nissin will provide the snacks for a commercial to be recorded aboard the International Space Station. The studio will send up a high-definition camera Oct. 1 aboard a Russian shuttle and, from mission control back on the ground, will direct the filming as a cosmonaut gobbles down a tasty cupful of noodles. The commercial - whose cost is sure to be, ah, far out - is due to air in November.

All hail the Monarchs, new rulers of women's hoops

Before a home crowd of 15,000 fans earlier this week, the Sacramento Monarchs won the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) title, bringing the California capital its first major championship in a professional sports league. The team defeated the Connecticut Sun 3 games to 1 in the finals to cap the WNBA's ninth season, which began in May. All is not rosy in the WNBA, however. Average attendance dropped by 400 paying customers, to 8,184 a game, and TV ratings were flat. Still, the the league is adding a 14th team next season, the Chicago Sky, and commissioner Donna Orender says attendance will rise as the athleticism of the players increases. The WNBA's championship teams, and the year each triumphed:
1997 Houston Comets
1998 Houston Comets
1999 Houston Comets
2000 Houston Comets
2001 Los Angeles Sparks
2002 Los Angeles Sparks
2003 Detroit Shock
2004 Seattle Storm
2005 Sacramento Monarchs
- 2005 ESPN Sports Almanac

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