4/18/2005:

Intermediate Word:  malemute -  (a) harem slave surgically rendered mute  (b) elephant trainer  (c) Alaskan sled dog  (d) leather chest guard
Difficult Word: - turnsole    (a) type of flatfish  (b) coat that can be worn inside or out  (c) shoe with interchangeable soles (d) heliotrope
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 Explosions In Space May Have Initiated Ancient Extinction On Earth - SpaceDaily  Left:  Scientists say that a ten-second burst of gamma rays from a massive star explosion within 6,000 light years from Earth could have triggered a mass extinction hundreds of millions of years ago. In this artist's conception we see the gamma rays hitting the Earth's atmosphere. (The expanding shell is pictured as blue, but gamma rays are actually invisible.) The gamma rays would destroy the ozone layer, breaking apart and ultimately converting ozone molecules into brown, smog-like nitrogen dioxide. With the ozone layer damaged for up to five years, harmful ultraviolet radiation from the Sun would kill smaller life-forms and disrupt the food chain. Scientists say that a gamma-ray burst might have caused the Ordovician extinction 450 million years ago, some 200 million years before dinosaurs. Image credit: NASA.  Gamma-ray bursts in our Milky Way galaxy are indeed rare, but the scientists estimate that at least one nearby likely hit the Earth in the past billion years. "What's most surprising is that just a 10-second burst can cause years of devastating ozone damage,"
When The Lights Came On In The Universe - SpaceDaily  Left:  Hubble Ultra Deep image of the Universe in its infancy. 1024 Desktop available  The first stars lit up when the Universe was between 200 and 500 million years old, a team of British and American astronomers suggested on Wednesday. The so-called Big Bang which created the Universe occurred about 13.7 billion years ago. Last month, research announced by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) proposed that the Universe evolved into roughly its present form by the time it was five billion years old, far sooner than previously thought. 

Old Star's "Rebirth" Gives Astronomers Surprises - SpaceDaily  Astronomers using the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope are taking advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch an old star suddenly stir back into new activity after coming to the end of its normal life. Their surprising results have forced them to change their ideas of how such an old, white dwarf star can re-ignite its nuclear furnace for one final blast of energy. Computer simulations had predicted a series of events that would follow such a re-ignition of fusion reactions, but the star didn't follow the script - events moved 100 times more quickly than the simulations predicted. "We've now produced a new theoretical model of how this process works, and the VLA observations have provided the first evidence supporting our new model," said Albert Zijlstra, of the University of Manchester.    




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