Oops! NASA wasn't ready to name names
The name of the new vehicle that NASA plans to send to the moon was supposed to be kept quiet until next week. Astronaut Jeff Williams, floating 220 miles above Earth at the international space station, apparently didn't get the memo. "We've been calling it the crew exploration vehicle for several years, but today it has a name: Orion," Williams said Tuesday, taping a message for the space agency, which was transmitted accidentally over space-to-ground radio. NASA planned to reveal the new name Aug. 31. The new vehicle will replace the space shuttle after it ends in 2010. NASA spokesman Michael Braukus in Washington, D.C., said nothing is official until the formal announcement. "My next phone call is to Houston asking, 'What's going on?' " Braukus said.
Depression turns into Tropical Storm Debby
The fourth tropical depression of the season became a tropical storm Tuesday night, but so far remains a distant and unlikely threat to Florida. Tropical Storm Debby was centered 300 miles west of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands at 11 p.m. - about 3,000 miles from the United States - and moving west-northwest near 18 mph. The storm had maximum sustained winds near 40 mph, just over the threshold for a tropical storm and well below hurricane strength of 74 mph. Some strengthening is forecast for the next 24 hours. National Hurricane Center forecasters say it could near Bermuda in about a week, but it's too soon to say if it will hit land.
UF hits milestone with half-billion in research
The University of South Florida and the University of Central Florida have been touting multimillion-dollar increases in research money recently, but their big cousin in Gainesville just earned bragging rights. The University of Florida received $518.8-million in the budget year that ended June 30 - a personal best and $208-million more than any other public institution in Florida. It is the first time that UF passed the half-billion mark, and the increase includes an extra $13-million from the National Institutes of Health. Most of UF's money is federal, $324.4-million. By comparison, USF's total surpassed $300-million for the first time, to $310-million. And UCF just passed $100-million.
Lesson to pizza boys: Don't leave vehicle on
Jayson Nieves, 18, was delivering four Domino's pizzas to a Tarpon Springs apartment Monday night when he noticed a woman approaching with a curiously quick gait. A few feet away sat his 2001 Toyota Celica, still running. By the time Nieves lunged back to the car, the woman was inside, he said. But instead of a quick getaway, the car stalled. Susan M. Russo, 44, of New Port Richey was apparently not expecting a manual transmission. Nieves said Russo continued "jerking around the gears" until he wrested her out of the car.