3/26/2005:

Intermediate Word:  eclair (a) substitution of an inoffensive term for an offensive one  (b) expression of endearment  (c) lucky turn of events  (d) custard-filled, chocolate-iced cream puff
Difficult Word:
  ricin -  (a) edible rice protein  (b) deadly poison in castor bean  (c) cross-linked protein that stiffens stalks  (d) Laotian rickshaw

Space probe backs up dark view of the Universe  - Nature  Left: WMAP's new, more detailed picture of the infant universe. Red patches indicate warmer spots, blue patches cooler ones. The white bars show the polarization direction of old light. Researchers have released the first data mapping the faint afterglow of the Big Bang. The much anticipated results support the idea that our Universe contains a good chunk of 'dark' material, and fits the theory that it expanded rapidly in its first moments.       
Blood vessel generation Hope over diabetes wound healing  - BBC  Scientists have engineered a protein which may help speed up impaired wound healing in people with diabetes. Korean researchers gave the protein to diabetic mice, and found it helped to speed up wound healing by promoting new blood vessel growth. The researchers, writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, say they are working on a human form. The protein in question, angiopioetin-1, is naturally produced by the body, where it helps to promote growth. The wound closed faster in those animals who received the injection, and the skin regenerated more quickly.  

Image: Enceladus

Alien water discovery sparks reality check - MSNBC  Left:  An enhanced-color photo of Enceladus, snapped by the Cassini spacecraft, highlights dark streaks in the south polar region nicknamed "tiger stripes." Those cracks are thought to be the places where geysers well up from the Saturnian moon's icy surface.  To scientists scanning the cosmos for signs of life, the stunning discovery of what appears to be water on an obscure moon orbiting Saturn couldn't come at a more pivotal time. With a fresh focus on returning astronauts to Earth's own moon, NASA has squashed several missions that over the next decade were to have continued the search for extraterrestrial life. Can images from Enceladus, an icy moon located more than 800 million miles (1.28 million kilometers) from Earth, supercharge interest and funding for life-finding missions? Probably not any time soon. Missions take years to launch and what enthusiasm NASA has for finding otherworldly life already is focused on Mars and the Jupiter moon Europa, where promising leads have been studied for years. Even those missions aren't on the fast track. Budget woes last year scrapped a NASA project to send a nuclear-powered spacecraft to Europa, which may hide vast oceans of water under thick ice sheets.  




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