Intermediate Word:  catafalque -  (a) rope-supported elevated platform   (b) cougar  (c) funereal dais  (d) multi-hulled boat
Difficult Word: - oblation   (a) act of obeisance  (b) religious offering  (c) a bulge  (d) a weak spot

Congress Passes Space Tourism Bill - Space.com  Outer space could become the final frontier of tourism under legislation passed Wednesday by the Senate to regulate commercial human spaceflight. The bill, approved by voice vote in the final minutes of the 108th Congress, would authorize the Federal Aviation Administration to issue permits allowing private spacecraft operators to blast paying passengers into space. The agency would also regulate the young industry.    
Speed Of Tectonic Plate Activity Controls Geologic Processes - SpaceDaily  A new study has revealed a mechanism that counters established thinking on how the rate at which tectonic plates separate along mid-ocean ridges controls processes such as heat transfer in geologic materials, energy circulation and even biological production. Previous research has shown that slow rates of plate separation, or spreading, correlate to dramatic changes in various processes occurring at mid-ocean ridges. But researchers have not had a thorough understanding of this cause and effect relationship.     

Blair Seeks To Secure Bush Backing For New Climate Treaty: Times - SpaceDaily  British Prime Minister Tony Blair is seeking to secure US President George W. Bushs backing for a new international treaty that would end US isolation in the fight against global warming, a newspaper said Thursday. One source described the deal as "Kyoto-lite," it said. The deal would involve scientific agreement on the scale and nature of the threat, as well as an international program to develop the technology needed for renewable energy and the reduction of carbon emissions, it said. Byers said: "We want action from the US that makes a real difference." 

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