4/13/2004:

Intermediate Word:  prestidigitation  (a) juggling  (b) picking pockets  (c) sleight of hand  (d) playing a musical instrument
Difficult Word: - heterotropic  (a) lives on organic food  (b) heterosexual  (c) drawn toward an opposite  (d) strewn in different directions


Outerplanet Exploration Will Take Much Robotic Teamwork - SpaceDaily  Left:  If only robots could make robots!  Of the 17 landers sent to investigate Mars, only 5 have survived to perform their missions. In spite of this, scientists are already looking for their next planetary targets, with Saturn's moon Titan and Jupiter's moon Europa being distinct possibilities. One alternative, proposed in 1989 by Rodney Brooks of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is finally coming to fruition - the idea of replacing solitary rovers with swarms of cooperative robots. James Law cites David Barnes of the University of Wales at Aberystwyth, who is developing a swarm of aerobots
Molecular Midwives Hold Clues To The Origin Of Life - SpaceDaily  Adding a small molecule, dubbed a "molecular midwife," researchers increased the rate of DNA formation in a chemical reaction 1,000 fold over a similar reaction lacking a midwife. Our theory is that small, simple molecules acted as templates for the production of the first RNA-like molecules. Many of these small molecules, or molecular midwives, would have worked together to produce RNA by spontaneously mixing and assembling with the chemical building blocks of RNA," said Nicholas Hud. Many scientists believe that RNA, or something similar to RNA, was the first molecule on Earth to self-replicate 

Quasar Research Keeps Fundamental Constant - Constant - SpaceDaily  Previous astronomical measurements of the fine structure constant - the dimensionless number that determines the strength of interactions between charged particles and electromagnetic fields - suggested that this particular constant is increasing very slightly with time. If confirmed, this would have very profound implications for our understanding of fundamental physics. New studies conducted using the ESO's Very Large Telescope, combined with very careful analysis have shown that the fine structure constant remains unchanged.





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