2/12/2005:

Intermediate Word:  khedive (a) Turkish viceroy ruling Egypt  (b) honky-tonk  (c) parody of a high dive  (d) endive used in cooking
Difficult Word:
  borscht circuit -  (a) a jury-rigged circuit  (b) a thoroughly tested electrical circuit  (c) an evasive reply  (d) Jewish Catskill resort hotels

Quantum gravity for real - PhysicsWeb  Indian physicists have put forward a new way to test for "quantum gravity" -- the field of theoretical physics that attempts to reconcile Einstein's theory of general relativity and quantum mechanics. If successful, the test -- which is based on "loop quantum gravity" -- would be the first ever experimental evidence for quantum gravity. The experiment involves observing a dying star dimming briefly at the end of its life, rather than undergoing a "naked singularity" to create an ultra-dense fireball (Phys. Rev. Lett 96 031302). Physicists expect that quantum gravity would modify Einstein's theory near the singularity so that it is not formed at all.     
Potentially Harmful 'Undead Cells' Collect with Age - Live Science  Earlier studies suggested that senescent cells made up only a few tenths of a percent of living organisms. This study, performed on baboons, indicates that the amount could be as much as 20 percent in the elderly. Baboons and humans are very similar on a cellular level, so these findings likely hold true for us as well, the scientists figure. "Twenty percent is a scary number in aged skin and could be harmful," Sedivy told LiveScience.     

Image: Green and black worms

Scientists force evolution in the lab - Live Science  Scientists have forced a little evolution in the laboratory, controlling whether a caterpillar becomes green or black. The study was done on Manduca sexta, a caterpillar commonly called the tobacco hornworm. Its larvae are normally green. A related species, Manduca quinquemaculata, becomes black or green depending on temperature. The idea was to use similar temperature shocks to evolve a similar change in M. sexta. Similar differences show up in genetically identical ants, which can develop into queens, soldiers or workers, based on the hormones they're exposed to early in development. Scientists have not understood evolution's exact role.  




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