Intermediate Word:  carafe (a) glass bottle with flared lip  (b) sidewalk lunch counter  (c) expression of endearment  (d) embroidered shift
Difficult Word: - mordant - (a)
melodic trill  (b) caustic  (c) fatal  (d) good-natured

Private Spacecraft Developer Settles on New Design - Space.com  Poway, California-based aerospace firm SpaceDev has a new design for its Dream Chaser vehicle and hopes to offer suborbital rides within two years, with orbital flights to follow. Instead of deriving a spacecraft from NASA’s X-34 space plane concept, the firm has opted for a blunt-nosed lifting body approach to cut down on reentry heating stresses, SpaceDev chief Jim Benson said in a telephone interview.     
Shedding star offers preview of Sun’s death - New Scientist  Left: The twin shells of gas being spun into space from M2-9 contain remarkably intricate patterns  A star caught in the act of shedding delicate concentric shells of gas as it metamorphoses into a white dwarf provides a glimpse of the fate that awaits our own Sun, several billion years from now. The star’s fate is broadly similar to the end thought to await most small and medium-sized stars as they run out of fuel in old age. The twin lobes of gas being spun into space from M2-9 contain remarkably intricate patterns – a stellar spectacle known for historical reasons as a planetary nebula, because astronomers originally mistook them for distant planets. Once no more fuel remains, the star will shed its outer layers, as M2-9 is, before collapsing into a smaller, denser form, completing its transition into a white dwarf.    

Discovery Disproves Simple Concept Of Memory As 'Storage Space - Science Daily'  Left:  a. Example of the memory filtering test conducted by University of Oregon researchers. Participants must remember only the red rectangles and ignore the blue rectangles. b. Brainwaves for high capacity and low capacity participants. Blue line is activity for 4 red items; Black line is for 2 red items; Red line is for 2 red items and 2 blue items. If the red line is close to the black line, subjects are efficient at keeping out the blue items. If the red line is close to the blue line, the subjects are unable to keep the blue items from popping into memory. c. Correlation between a person's memory capacity and how good they are at keeping the irrelevant items out of memory. (Image courtesy of University of Oregon)  Even if you could get more RAM for your brain, the extra storage probably wouldn't make it easier for you to find where you left your car keys. What may help, according to a discovery published Nov. 24 in the journal Nature, is a better bouncer – as in the type of bouncer who manages crowd control for nightclubs. The study by Edward Vogel, an assistant professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Oregon, is the first to demonstrate that awareness, or "visual working memory," depends on your ability to filter out irrelevant information.

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