Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

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December 4, 2012

Spider adapted to life on space station

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

Back in the grip of Earth's gravity, though, Neffi initially had trouble catching food. "She overshot when trying to leap," said Babbit. Humans, too, need to readapt to life on Earth after months in space. Bones weaken, eyes lose focus, muscles shrink.

After splashing down and being transferred to a laboratory in Colorado, Nefertiti needed one last ride. The company that built her habitat, BioServe Space Technologies, chose the Smithsonian's Insect Zoo as her retirement home.

It just so happened that the museum's new director, Kirk Johnson, was passing through Colorado. Johnson stowed Neffi inside a small plastic box, stashed her in his pocket and flew to Washington, delivering Neffi on Nov. 21.

Johnson called the responsibility stressful: "This spider has traveled 41.5 million miles. Splashed down in the Pacific Ocean. Flew to Japan, flew from California. This [was] a special spider."

Neffi's spacefaring companion, Cleopatra, did not even survive the journey. Poisoning is not suspected.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

A. I support the ordinance
B. I do not support the ordinance
C. Not sure
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