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SCIENCE Measuring the sea breeze

washington - A new ocean-observing satellite goes into orbit tomorrow to begin at least two years of daily measurements of critical wind-sea weather patterns. The sole instrument of the NASA Quick Scatterometer satellite is a radar that will sweep ocean tops covering two-thirds of the world and measure the wind speeds that stir them. Scientists say that knowledge of which way and how hard the wind blows is critical to improving weather forecasting, early storm detection, and identifying subtle changes in global climate.

BOOKS Bookseller stops acquisition Barnes & Noble Inc., the largest book retailer in the US, has abandoned plans to acquire the Ingram Book Group, the nation's biggest book wholesaler, in the face of a possible challenge from federal antitrust officials. Barnes & Noble said it would expand distribution networks in other ways rather than face months of uncertainty and legal wrangling.

Quentin Blake honored Writer and illustrator Quentin Blake has been appointed the first children's laureate in Britain, an award created to recognize lifetime achievements of authors and illustrators. He was shortlisted for the post, which lasts for two years, alongside Anne Fine and Peter Dickinson. As the first children's laureate, Mr. Blake will play a large part in developing the role.

TECHNOLOGY Microwave on autopilot Imagine an "intelligent" microwave that knows exactly how to cook your food. Samsung Electronics has designed a prototype that does just that. Users scan specially programmed bar codes on food packages that tell the microwave how they should be cooked. Then the oven automatically adjusts settings to optimal levels. It can even hook up to a computer and surf the Net to find cooking secrets for new foods.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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