2/25/2005:

Intermediate Word:  tarn -  (a) mountain lake  (b) tarpaulin  (c) type of chocolate fudge divinity  (d) short for "tarnished"
Difficult Word: - erysipelas  (a) type of coelenterate  (b) strep skin disease  (c) Greek cloak (d) stele with inscriptions 
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Omo II skull () Age of ancient humans reassessed  - BBC  Two skulls originally found in 1967 and estimated to tbe 130,000 years old have now been shown to be about 195,000 years old, agreeing with genetic studies that point toward an East African origin for homo sapiens of just over 200,000 years ago. This contrasts with "modern behavior", which is thought to have originated about 50,000 years ago. Evidrnce of eating fish, of harpoons, of bone carving for religious reasons, of ornamentation, drawn images, and arrowheads appear as a coherent package by the time the first humans left Africa between 40,000 and 50,000 years ago.   
A New Model Army Soldier Rolls Closer to the Battlefield  - NY Times  The robot soldier is coming. The Pentagon predicts that robots will be a major fighting force in the American military in less than a decade, hunting and killing enemies in combat. Robots are a crucial part of the Army's effort to rebuild itself as a 21st-century fighting force, and a $127 billion project called Future Combat Systems is the biggest military contract in American history. Military planners say robot soldiers will think, see and react increasingly like humans. In the beginning, they will be remote-controlled, looking and acting like lethal toy trucks. As the technology develops, they may take many shapes. And as their intelligence grows, so will their autonomy. Even the strongest advocates of automatons say war will always be a human endeavor, with death and disaster. And supporters like Robert Finkelstein, president of Robotic Technology in Potomac, Md., are telling the Pentagon it could take until 2035 to develop a robot that looks, thinks and fights like a soldier. By April, an armed version of the bomb-disposal robot will be in Baghdad, capable of firing 1,000 rounds a minute.   

Close-up of computer chip, Eyewire

Intel unveils laser breakthrough  - BBC  Scientists at Intel have overcome a fundamental problem that before now has prevented silicon being used to generate and amplify laser light. The Intel researchers said products exploiting the breakthrough should appear by the end of the decade. Dr Paniccia said that the structure of silicon meant that when laser light passed through it, some colliding photons rip electrons off the atoms within the material. But the Intel researchers have found a way to suck away these errant electrons and turn silicon into a material that can both generate and amplify laser light. 




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