3/23/2005:

Intermediate Word:  dewlap (a) type of melon  (b) fold of loose neck skin  (c) nictitating membranel  (d) balmacan
Difficult Word:
  buckra -  (a) Caucasian  (b) book stiffener  (c) leather buskin  (d) buckwheat, oats, and honey

Evolution Predictable Everywhere in the Universe, Scientist Says - Live Science  If the history of life on Earth could be rewound and replayed, many of the same innovations would reappear, although at different times and in slightly different forms. This is the conclusion of Geerat Vermeij, a paleontologist at the University of California, Davis. Vermeij's views contrast with those of the late Harvard biologist Stephen Jay Gould, who famously argued that if the "videotape of life" could be rewound and played again, vastly different life forms would evolve.     
Dark Matter Constituent May Have Lit First Stars - SpaceDaily  A form of the mysterious material known as dark matter could have helped to ignite the first stars in the universe. German and U.S. scientists said if dark matter is made of a strain of low-mass particles called sterile neutrinos - whose decay accelerates the formation of molecular hydrogen - they could have caused the first stars to form as early as 20-million years after the Big Bang. The light from those first stars could have been sufficient to ionize interstellar gas between 150-million and 400-million years after the Big Bang, rendering the universe transparent to electromagnetic radiation, including visible light.The scientists Peter Biermann at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, and Alexander Kusenko at the University of California, Los Angeles said they have conducted neutrino-oscillation experiments that suggest the existence of right-handed or "sterile" neutrinos. These particles cannot interact with visible matter directly, but they can interact by mixing with conventional neutrinos.     

Robo-bug The Pentagon's plans to send cyber insects into battle  - BBC  The Pentagon's defence scientists want to create an army of cyber-insects that can be remotely controlled to check out explosives and send transmissions. The idea is to insert micro-systems at the pupa stage, when the insects can integrate them into their body, so they can be remotely controlled later. The idea is to insert micro-systems at the pupa stage, when the insects can integrate them into their body, so they can be remotely controlled later. Experts told the BBC some ideas were feasible but others seemed "ludicrous". A similar scheme aimed at manipulating wasps failed when they flew off to feed and mate. The new scheme is a brainwave of the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), which is tasked with maintaining the technological superiority of the US military. It has asked for "innovative" bids on the insect project from interested parties. Darpa believes scientists can take advantage of the evolution of insects, such as dragonflies and moths, in the pupa stage. "Through each metamorphic stage, the insect body goes through a renewal process that can heal wounds and reposition internal organs around foreign objects," its proposal document reads. The foreign objects it suggests to be implanted are specific micro-systems - Mems - which, when the insect is fully developed, could allow it to be remotely controlled or sense certain chemicals, including those in explosives. The invasive surgery could "enable assembly-line like fabrication of hybrid insect-Mems interfaces", Darpa says. A winning bidder would have to deliver "an insect within five metres of a specific target located 100 metres away". Scientists who spoke to the BBC news website were unconvinced. Entomology expert Dr George McGavin of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History said the idea appeared "ludicrous". "What adult insects want to do is basically reproduce and lay eggs. You would have to rewire the entire brain patterns."  




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