3/7/2005:

Intermediate Word:  fusillade (a) matted plant fiber left after extraction of fusil oil  (b) spray of projectiles  (c) fusil-oil-burning lamp (d) touch match for matchlock  
Difficult Word:
  constantan -  (a) Cu-Ni alloy with contant resistance over a wide temperature range  (b) eponymous founder of Troy  (c) Roman general for whom the Dardanelles are named  (d) illustrious Roman sculptor

Glass Chip Cancels Starlight To Reveal Exoplanets - SpaceDaily  A thin and tiny glass chip called an optical vortex mask might hold the key to direct imaging of planets orbiting around neighboring stars. The glass chip can block out starlight so completely it could allow telescopes to image a star's solar syst  The chips work by redirecting light waves. When light hits them dead on, they slow it down more in the thicker layers than in the thinner ones. Eventually, the chips split the light and phase-shift it so some light waves move 180 degrees out of phase with others. The light spins through the chip like wind in a hurricane, until light waves that are 180 degrees out of phase cancel out one another, leaving a totally dark central core.     
Why a little chocolate might actually be good for your health  - BBC  Dutch scientists found elderly men who consumed cocoa had lower blood pressure levels, and were less likely to die from cardiovascular problems. The Dutch team, from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in Bilthoven, focused on 470 men aged 65 to 84 years. Over the next 15 years, men who consumed cocoa regularly had significantly lower blood pressure than those who did not.  Men in the group with the highest cocoa consumption were half as likely as the others to die from cardiovascular disease.    

Send in my android twin - New Scientist  In a brilliant ploy to free up a busy diary, Japanese roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro says he plans to send his android doppelganger to conferences in his place in the future. Ishiguro, of Osaka University, is well known for creating eerily human androids. But he told delegates at a recent conference in Australia that he's now working on one modelled on himself.You can see a video of one of Ishiguro's female androids, called Repilee Q2, introducing herself here and another, of Ishiguro talking about his work, here. He foresees a time when many busy people will become willing to have an android replica stand in for them on a regular basis."I will not need to come here again…I will send my android instead," Ishiguro said - Sydney Morning Herald.      The image above shows one of Ishiguro's androids without it's very realistic skin. This recent New Scientist feature explores many ongoing efforts to make robots more human-like and there's plenty more information in our Robots Special Report.




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