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Running a hotel by the books

new york - A New York hotel owner is offering the opportunity to spend a night among one's favorite books by turning its guest rooms into small libraries arranged by subject matter. Literature lovers stay on the eighth floor and philosophers on the 11th. When astronaut Neil Armstrong touched down at the Library Hotel, he naturally chose the astronomy room. Rates are from $265 to $375 a night.

Ducks fall for robotic mates

Sacramento, Calif. - High-tech hunters are using battery-operated moto-ducks to lure unsuspecting birds into the firing zone. Ducks fly in from great distances, even in poor weather, at the sound of the twirling mechanical wings.

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A recent study found the moto-ducks (or as one model is called, the Widdow Maker) attracted 6.4 times the number of ducks into the shooting range than using no decoy at all. Environmentalists are crying foul, saying the use of the device is taking a toll on the local mallard population. California wildlife officials are considering restrictions on its use.

Extra-terrestrial real-estate

Las vegas - A prototype habitat, designed to house explorers for as long as 18 months on Mars, was shipped earlier this summer to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for public display at its visitors' center. Its creators include the international Mars Society and mechanical engineering students and faculty at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Together, they built a domed cylinder, 29 feet tall and 27 feet in diameter. Its backers hope to sell NASA on the concept and to rally public support for human exploration of Mars.

CORRECTION

In an item on the Whatever page Aug. 16 about religion possibly affecting mortality, Kenneth Pargament should have been identified as a professor of psychology at Bowling Green State University.