1/1/2004:

Intermediate Word: 
xanthous  (a) pertaining to the growing layer in trees  (b) resinous  (c) reproducible  (d) light brown or yellowish
Difficult Word: - pelorus - (a) valve at the bottom of the stomach  (b) transition zone between the esophagus and the stomach  (c) steam pressure relief valve  (d) magnetic compass


Balloonists set new solar target   - BBC  Record-breaking aviators Brian Jones and Bertrand Piccard hope to harness the Sun's power to fly round the world. Shaped like a glider, the plane will be black and covered in blue photovoltaic cells. Sixty-metre wings and two tail-mounted engines will enable it to take off unassisted and carry the heavy batteries needed to store energy for night flying. Jones and Piccard are consulting the world's best glider and yacht manufacturers to help them source state-of-the-art composite materials. "The design incorporates a computerised body vest," explains Jones. "If there's stress on part of the wing, the pilot would feel pressure on that side."
Tuberculosis bacteria 'Super-TB' created by scientists  - BBC  A virulent form of tuberculosis was created in the laboratory by experts trying to alter its genetic structure. The mutant form of the bug multiplied more quickly, and was more lethal than its natural counterpart. Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley, US, had actually been trying to disable genes and make the bacterium less deadly. "This is one of the very few hyper-virulent organisms ever created," said scientist Dr Lisa Morici. It killed laboratory mice within seven months of exposure, while those infected with normal TB survived the experiment.

A TV representation of a Neanderthal

Late Neanderthals 'more like us'  - BBC  Neanderthals were shedding their sturdy physique and evolving in the direction of modern humans just before they disappeared from the fossil record. Newly identified remains from Vindija in Croatia, which date to between 42,000 and 28,000 years ago, are more delicate than "classic" Neanderthals. One controversial explanation is that these Neanderthals were interbreeding with modern humans in the region. "You know, the Vindija material is interesting because it is more gracile than classic Neanderthals. "It suggests some contact between Neanderthals and modern humans but we don't know yet whether there was some interbreeding." Comparisons of mitochondrial DNA from Neanderthals and modern humans have failed to reveal any signs of mixing between the two populations. "They were evolving in the same way because they were part of a larger human species." The evolution of a modern, or slight, physique by humans in Africa is thought to coincide with an emphasis on cultural and technological ways of dealing with everyday tasks that earlier people - including the Neanderthals - solved with brute force. Innovations believed to coincide with the appearance of modern human anatomy include hunting with bows and arrows and the use of harpoons for fishing.

 




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