Via Unfogged, an article in Discover:
"As Malaysia's space program prepares to send the country's first astronaut to the space station next year, it is confronting some of the standard first-astronaut questions: what scientific research to pursue, which local delicacy to bring aboard, and who among the eager candidates should go. It is also tackling some more unusual quandaries, such as when to conduct the five daily Islamic prayers on an orbiting ship where a day lasts only 90 minutes.
In April the Malaysian national space agency held a two-day conference, Islam and Life in Space, to address these issues. One of the star attractions was a computer program called Muslims in Space, which calculates when spacefaring Muslims should pray and, using spherical trigonometry, discerns the direction of the Ka'aba, the holy shrine in Mecca that Muslims face during prayer. To settle the timing question, the software divides the space station's 90-minute "days" into the same five periods used for prayer in conventional, ground-based Islam. The program then links these periods to standard Greenwich time, so the astronauts can pray at both the correct Earth time and the correct time of day that they perceive on the space station."
In other news, the administration is pushing for mandatory minimum sentences on "nearly all" federal crimes. No word yet on whether they plan to include a special exemption for Scooter Libby. Oregon's governor ordered the state's flags flown at half-mast in honor of Flag Day. And who knew there was an ice cream flavor called 'Staten Island Landfill'?
Update: Forgot to add: the last two stories via Governing magazine's 13th Floor, which is a great blog if you happen to be interested in state and municipal government.