4/19/2005:

Intermediate Word:  lucubrations (a) contractions of childbirth  (b) corrugations  (c) laborious studies  (d) enlightening ideas
Difficult Word:
  rapparee-  (a) spiral-wound puttee  (b) someone who likes to socialize  (c) rap music aficionado  (d) piratical 16th C. Irish soldier

Automakers put design in drive Automakers put design in drive  - C/Net  Left:  The ZAP (Brazilian) Obvio 828 three-seat  hybrid that runs on gasoline, electricity, and alcohol. There have already been major car shows in Detroit, Chicago and Geneva this year, but that doesn't mean there won't be a slew of new cars, concepts and hybrids at the New York International Auto Show. First, the old news. Volkswagen announced that will begin mass producing Rabbits this summer. Volkswagen sold 1.3 million Rabbits over its original 10-year life span but sales of its successor Golf, introduced in 1984, were disappointing. The Golf brand is being replaced by the Rabbit.      
Shopping centre (Image: BBC) Britain now 'eating the planet'  - BBC  The UK is about to run out of its own natural resources and become dependent on supplies from abroad, a report says. A study by the New Economics Foundation (Nef) and the Open University says 16 April is the day when the nation goes into "ecological debt" this year. It warns if annual global consumption levels matched the UK's, it would take 3.1 Earths to meet the demand. But bio-geography professor Philip Stott criticised the "doomsday report", arguing it would hit poorer nations. "What we tend to have - not just with this report but alternative reports on the other side - are two theological positions," said Prof Stott, of London University. "This one is the kind of Doomsday report - on the other hand the total free-traders are far too optimistic." He went on: "If we did follow this report for example the damage to the Third World would be very great indeed because of course trade is the main dynamo of growth." In 1961, the symbolic "ecological debt day" was 9 July; in 1981, it had shifted forward two months to 14 May. The authors of the UK Interdependence Report hope to highlight the need to curb rising consumption levels. In 1961, the Earth could have supported everyone having a UK lifestyle.

Flybot on the Wall?

 Tiny flyer navigates like real fly - Discover  An ultralight autonomous aircraft that mimics the navigational abilities of a fly could one day become a real fly on the wall. The 10-gram microflyer, being developed by a team of researchers lead by Dario Floreano at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, has a 36-centimeter (14-inch) wingspan. But it could one day be shrunk to insect size and used for search and rescue. For example, in order to zip around indoor obstacles walls, corners, bookcases, furniture, ceilings, etc. a flyer needs to see the objects and have the brain power to steer away. On a more conventional robot, this typically requires powerful computing resources, high-resolution cameras, or some kind of distance sensor such as a laser range finder system. 



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