12/22/2005:

Intermediate Word:  condottiere (a) leader of Renaissance mercenaries  (b) form of confetti  (c) death-bed confession  (d) trenchcoat
Difficult Word: - extenterate - (a)
disperse  (b) eviscerate  (c) absolve  (d) broad and flat

Nearby Star Smaller than Earth, Massive as Sun - Space.com  The brightest star in our sky has a companion thatís smaller than Earth yet 98 percent as massive as the Sun, a new study reveals.The companion, called Sirius B, was known to be much hotter. It is the scorching ember of a Sun-like star now called a white dwarf, and itís the nearest of its kind. It was discovered in 1862 but close scrutiny is difficult because of the glare of the primary star. White dwarfs are involved in explosions called Type Ia supernovas.     
Corrosion-Resistant Material For Bridges - SpaceDaily  Left:  Robert Frosch, an associate professor of civil engineering at Purdue, displays various types of reinforcing bars used in bridge construction. At top left are two segments of conventional steel rebar, and the remaining segments are samples of corrosion-resistant plastic bars reinforced with glass or carbon fibers. Purdue News Service photo/David Umberger. "Bridge decks generally have to be replaced every 20 or 30 years, which is very expensive, but replacing the rebar with bars made out of fiber-reinforced polymers could extend the lifetime of a deck to perhaps 50 to 100 years," Frosch said. "If we could make bridges last longer, we could do other things with the money that now has to be spent on these repairs."  As steel rebar corrodes, it causes the rebar to expand, eventually causing chunks of concrete to break away from the bridge deck. This results in driving hazards and increases the exposure of underlying bridge components to road salt, which leads to more corrosion. The salty water also causes steel bars in both the upper and bottom portions of the bridge deck to act as the negative and positive poles of a battery, respectively, increasing the rate of corrosion.   

Honda's robot ready for office chores  - C/Net  Only last year, Honda Motor's now-familiar humanoid robot, Asimo, was learning how to run and avoid tripping over obstacles. Now, the 5-year-old droid is ready to take on simple office work, greeting visitors and fetching refreshments. "Welcome, Sato-san," Asimo said, bowing deeply as per  standard.




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