3/3/2005:

Intermediate Word:  intaglio (a) complicated predicament  (b) design incised into hard surface  (c) harem  (d) slow, stately dance
Difficult Word:
  rorqual -  (a) pennon bearing coat-of-arms  (b) whale  (c) manifestation of superiority  (d) mythical unicorn

Image: Castorcauda lustrasimilis ‘Jurassic beaver’ unearthed - MSNBC  For years, the mammals living in the era of dinosaurs have been thought of as tiny shrewlike creatures scurrying through the underbrush. Now the discovery of a furry aquatic creature with seallike teeth and a flat tail like a beaver has demolished that image. Some 164 million years ago, the newly discovered mammal was swimming in lakes in what is now northern China, eating fish and living with dinosaurs. “Its lifestyle was probably very similar to the modern-day platypus,” Zhe-Xi Luo, curator of vertebrate paleontology at Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, said in a statement. “It probably lived along river or lake banks. It doggy-paddled around, ate aquatic animals and insects, and burrowed tunnels for its nest.” Thomas Martin of the Research Institute Senckenberg in Frankfurt, Germany, said the discovery pushes back the mammal conquest of the waters by more than 100 million years.    
Light and mirror entanglement Entanglement heats up - PhysicsWeb  "Entanglement" could occur at any temperature and not just in systems cooled to near zero according to new calculations by a team of physicists in the UK, Austria and Portugal. Vlatko Vedral of the University of Leeds and colleagues at the universities of Porto and Vienna have found that the photons in ordinary laser light can be quantum mechanically entangled with the vibrations of a macroscopic mirror, no matter how hot the mirror is. The result is unexpected because hot objects are usually thought of being classical. The finding suggests that macroscopic entanglement is not as difficult to create as previously believed.     

Image: Neanderthal and human

Did Neanderthals make a quicker exit? - MSNBC  Left: The Neanderthal skeleton, at left, is compared with a modern human skeleton.  The ancestors of modern humans moved into and across Europe, ousting the Neanderthals, faster than previously thought, a new analysis of radiocarbon data shows. Rather than taking 7,000 years to colonize Europe from Africa, the reinterpreted data shows the process may have taken only 5,000 years, scientist Paul Mellars from Cambridge University said in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature. The reassessment is based on advances in eliminating modern carbon contamination from ancient bone fragments and recalibration of fluctuations in the pattern of the earth’s original carbon-14 content. Populations of anatomically and behaviorally modern humans first appeared in the Near East region about 45,000 years ago and slowly expanded into southeastern Europe. Previously it was thought that this spread took place between 43,000 and 36,000 years ago, but the re-evaluated data suggests that it actually happened between 46,000 and 41,000 years ago — starting earlier and moving faster. He said the invasion could have been helped by a major change in climate that modern man would have been technologically and culturally better equipped to handle than the more primitive Neanderthals. “There are increasing indications that over many areas of Europe, the final demise of the Neanderthal populations may have coincided with the sudden onset of very much colder and drier climatic conditions,” Mellars wrote. “This could have delivered the coup de grace to the Neanderthals."




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