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The skinny

By TIMES WIRES
Published April 17, 2007


Space pace

Marathoner races 26.2 tied to treadmill

One of the runners in Monday's Boston Marathon managed to circle the world almost three times while covering her 26.2 miles. NASA astronaut Sunita "Suni" Williams, 41, completed her version of the race while tethered to a treadmill in the international space station, more than 210 miles above Earth. While she had to contend with zero gravity, at least the temperature was under her control. Williams ran in the space station's balmy 78 degrees, while her peers in Boston, including sister Dina Pandya and NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg, faced rain and 52 mph winds, the remnants of a chilly, soaking nor'easter. Williams finished, unofficially, in 54:23:46. She qualified for the Boston race by finishing the Houston Marathon in January in 3:29:57.

Fluffy mayhem

Rabbit deluge closes highway

Thousands of rabbits broke free from a truck carrying them to the slaughterhouse Monday in Hungary when the truck collided with another vehicle. Neither driver was hurt, but some 500 rabbits were killed in the accident, authorities said. The M1 highway - the main road between the capitals of Hungary and Austria - was closed for hours while authorities searched for the 4,500 rabbits, Highway Patrol spokeswoman Viktoria Galik said. Officials ended their search at midday with 100 bunnies still missing, saying they were free to roam the fields surrounding the highway. The rest weren't so lucky: They were expected to complete the trip to the slaughterhouse.

Hover for safety

Flaming bidets threaten Japan

Japan's leading toiletmaker is offering free repairs for 180,000 bidet toilets after wiring problems caused several to catch fire, the company said Monday. The electric bidet accessory of Toto Ltd.'s Z series caught fire in three separate incidents between March 2006 and March 2007, according to company spokeswoman Emi Tanaka. The bidet sent up smoke in 26 other incidents, the company said. "Fortunately, nobody was using the toilets when the fire broke out, and there were no injuries," Tanaka said. "The fire would have been just under your buttocks." Toto has been a pioneer in high-tech toilets fitted with pressurized water sprayers - a standard fixture in Japanese homes. The popular Z series features a pulsating massage spray, a power dryer, built-in-the-bowl deodorizing filter, the "Tornado Wash" flush and a lid that opens and closes automatically. Prices range from $1,680 to $2,600. The model is not sold overseas.

Compiled from Times wires.