1/25/2005:

Intermediate Word:  macintosh -  (a) type of galoshes  (b) rubberized cotton  (c) tartan plain  (d) highlander's purse
Difficult Word: - Melpomene  (a) fertility goddess  (b) goddess of the harvest  (c) Muse of tragedy  (d) Pericles' wife
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Race For Pale Blue Dot Image Quickens - SpaceDaily  Because it is nearly impossible with current telescopes to see a planet around a nearby star as bright as the Sun, Sigurdsson's team searched around near-by white dwarfs, whose dim glow is much less likely to obscure a companion planet. A white dwarf is up to thousands of times dimmer than the Sun and the contrast between it and a planet several times Jupiter's mass is about a factor of ten thousand less. The research is part of an intense race to take the first "photograph" of an extrasolar planet. Astronomers seek to compare the picture of an extrasolar planet with various theories about how such planets should look.    
Astronomy's Case Of The Missing Disks - SpaceDaily  Left: Illustration of a debris disk surrounding a young red dwarf star. The stellar wind from the red dwarf star removes the dust in the debris disk by causing the dust to slowly spiral into the star. Credit: UCLA.  Astronomers announced Jan. 10 that they have a lead in the case of the missing disks. This lead may account for the missing evidence of red dwarfs forming planetary systems.Despite red dwarfs holding a solid majority among the different kinds of stars in our galaxy, only two have been found with evidence of debris disks. If half of all red dwarfs started with the material to form planets, what happened to the rest of them?    

Climate: The Arctic Goes Bush - SpaceDaily  Left:  'The evidence for increasing shrub abundance is most comprehensive for northern Alaska. An extensive comparison of old (1940s) and modern photographs has shown that shrubs there are increasing in size and are colonizing previously shrub-free tundra.'  An increase in shrubbery could have a profound effect on future warming - what climatologists call a positive feedback - because soils store about three times as much carbon as plants. Shrubs allocate carbon to woody stems that have long turnover times compared with annual roots and ... leaves Since the pool is so large, even a small change could have a big effect on the atmosphere and therefore future climate.




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