Intermediate Word:  kibitz -  (a) sponge off  (b) four-stringed lute  (c) to watch and meddle  (d) collective farm
Difficult Word: - quale  (a) abstract property, such as "whiteness"  (b) Indian tribal boundary  (c) wide-striped corduroy fabric  (d) variant of "quail"

The New and Improved SETI - Space.com  Despite all the difficulties that beset it (mostly connected with funding), SETI is currently experiencing a paroxysm of creative ferment. The new year is sure to be memorable, as glossy new instruments come on-line. Success in SETI depends on speed: how quickly can you check out large expanses of celestial acreage? Well, SETI is about to seriously crank up its speed, and metaphorically trade in chariots for jets.      

Woman sneezing

Protein offers allergy care hope  - BBC  Scientists believe they have identified a protein which could be crucial in creating new treatments for allergies. Researchers told Nature that blocking p110delta in mast cells - which cause allergic reactions - substantially reduced symptoms in tests on mice. Researcher Dr Bart Vanhaesebroeck said: "Our work points towards a promising future for developing inhibitors for allergic conditions." "But a treatment for humans is still some way off. This is just one brick in the wall." And he added it would be another 10 years before a treatment for humans was available.

A solid drive to add more data to devices - Seattle Times  Within five years, the average tech-savvy home will have 10 to 20 hard drives, according to one drive manufacturer, although analysts believe that's optimistic given the competition from other storage devices. Five years ago, IBM helped usher in the iPod craze by developing the Microdrive, a matchbook-size hard drive that can now store up to 4 gigabytes on its 1-inch platter. Yet some analysts say the proliferation of hard drives will slow as cheaper, simpler and more durable storage technologies emerge. With multi-gigabyte flash-memory products appearing and prices falling, it's only a matter of time before they displace the smaller capacity hard drives. Flash memory uses less power, generates less heat and is more durable 

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