Intermediate Word:  Benelux -  (a) brand of ultra-violet sunlamp  (b) pre-World-War-II trade pact  (c) original Common Market countries  (d) 
Difficult Word: - fulmar  (a) fuller's teasel  (b) gull-like arctic bird  (c) head-and-shoulders rain cover  (d) sheet  spreader on board a sailing vessel

robot.jpg Robot 'learns' to walk like a toddler  - CNN  The difference between man and machine is shrinking. Scientists have developed a robot the "learns" to walk like a toddler, improving its stride and balance with every stride. The walking robot looks more like a moving Erector set than a human being, but the machine has the unmistakable gait of a person strolling along. The robot uses its curved feet and motorized ankles to spring its legs forward, its arms swinging at every step to help with balance. The passive dynamic design uses gravity, along with muscle-like springs and motors. The energy required is just a fraction of that needed by other walking robots, said Andy Ruina, a Cornell University researcher. Ruina said the walking robots move like humans, falling and catching themselves as they move forward. This essentially is the same movement people use, a motion toddlers must master to walk. "We let the machines take care of a lot of the motion."
India special: The silicon subcontinent India: The next knowledge superpower - New Scientist  There's a revolution afoot in India. Unlike any other developing nation, India is using brainpower rather than cheap physical labour or natural resources to leapfrog into the league of technologically advanced nations. Every high tech company, from Intel to Google, is coming to India to find innovators. Leading the charge is Infosys, the country's first publicly listed billion-dollar IT company. But the revolution is not confined to IT. Crop scientists are passionately pursuing GM crops to help feed India's poor. Some intrepid molecular biologists are pioneering stem-cell cures for blindness     

Image: Monkey and robotic arm

Monkeys think robotic arm into action - MSNBC  The monkey’s real arms are restrained in plastic tubes. To control the robotic arm, 96 electrodes — each thinner than a human hair — are attached to the monkey’s motor cortex, a region of the brain responsible for voluntary movement. Although there is an area of the cortex generally associated with arm motion, the exact placement of the electrodes is not crucial, Schwartz explained. "You don’t have to be exactly right because the brain is highly plastic," he said, referring to the fact that the brain will rearrange its structure to get things done. And food, it turned out, was a good motivator for the adaptable primate brain. Schwartz and his collaborators plan to move beyond the simple two-pronged gripper to a more realistic hand with fingers. "That’s where we want to go next," he said. "We will need to connect electrodes to 50 or 100 more neurons — we think."

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