John McCaslin

"Latest research indicates that global warming could have another unwanted spin-off — it may spur the formation of kidney stones. Dehydration, particularly in warmer climes and higher temperatures, will only exacerbate this effect."

The findings were presented at the 103rd annual meeting of the American Urological Association.

All eyes on Mars

NASA is gearing up for next Sunday's arrival to Mars of the Phoenix Mars Lander — an entry, descent and landing scheduled to begin at 7:46 p.m.

The spacecraft must perform a series of challenging transformations during the seven minutes after it enters the Martian atmosphere, not the least being slowing down from an incredible 12,000 mph to 5 mph and a soft touchdown.

More than half of previous international attempts to land on Mars have been unsuccessful, according to NASA.

Choo-Choo Charlie

Amtrak ought to take the words of one well-known congressman and turn them into a billboard advertisement.

Rising on the House floor last week in support of a resolution creating "National Train Day," Rep. Charles B. Rangel, New York Democrat, remarked of his Amtrak Acela commute between New York and Washington: "I find my commute by train a convenient, efficient and relaxing way to travel that enables me to read and work in comfort and arrive refreshed, usually on time, and downtown, closer to my destination."

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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