3/2/2005:

Intermediate Word:  altricial (a) snoopy  (b) helpless when hatched  (c) related by marriage  (d)  
Difficult Word:
  maniple -  (a) wand used to sprinkle holy water  (b) hand shackle  (c) forelimbs used for manipulation  (d) ecclesiastic silk band hanging from left wrist

Is it small or just far away?  - Nature  Left: Andrew Glennerster takes a spin in his own virtual room.  Virtual-reality room shows how we can be blind to the size of our environment. We've all heard that seeing is believing, but scientists know that it may be the other way around. Researchers have constructed strange environments in order to pick apart how our eyes and brain work together to present us with an understanding of what's going on around us. Classic experiments, which often turn up at science museums, show that we can be easily fooled into believing objects are smaller, bigger, lighter or darker than they really are, just by putting them against a different backdrop. Now Andrew Glennerster and his colleagues at Oxford University, UK, have constructed a virtual reality in which people don't notice that the room they are in has expanded. This fools them into thinking that two objects, one seen before and the other after the expansion, are the same size, when in fact one is several times larger. This clever tweaking of the environment means that static photographs taken of both sides of the room would look much the same.
Testing times for Einstein's theory  - Nature   Research on 'relativity violations' is reaching fever pitch, with the number of manuscripts on the subject up ten-fold from a decade ago, physicists heard at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting, held in St Louis, Missouri, on 20 February. Equipment used to measure certain properties of particles is now near or at the sensitivities needed to find the tiny effects that would hint at a physics beyond Einstein's relativity, they say. "There is a dramatic increase in interest in this topic," says Neil Russell, a physicist from Northern Michigan University who led a session on the topic on Monday. Russell trawled through the popular preprint server ArXiv to confirm the recent boom in work in this area. Physicists are struggling to reconcile our understanding of the basic forces of the Universe. They have one set of laws for gravity, which come courtesy of Einstein's general theory of relativity. But another set of laws, as dictated by quantum theory, are needed to describe the other three fundamental forces: electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces. Many are working on 'quantum gravity' theories that will unify these laws and theories. In pursuit of this, many physicists are looking for clues that one of the pieces of Einstein's theory of relativity isn't always true. If they can observe certain properties of particles, such as their speed, spin or mass, changing depending on their direction, they will have shown that the Universe isn't directionless but rather cares which way things are going. Such relativity violations would provide hints for which rules are at work.

Physicists Step Closer To Understanding Origin Of The Universe - Science Daily  Left:  Work on the SCT Barrel of Atlas -- part of the inner detector at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), based at CERN, the European Centre for Particle Physics Research, in Switzerland. (Image courtesy of CERN)  The world's largest particle detector is nearing completion following the construction of its 'endcap' at the University of Liverpool. The endcap is part of a semiconductor tracker (SCT) based at the heart of ATLAS -- a giant particle detector the size of a five-storey building. The SCT will become part of the world's largest particle accelerator -- the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), based at CERN.  




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