Intermediate Word:  loess -  (a) Muslim veil  (b) windblown dust  (c) salmagundi  (d) gratuity
Difficult Word: - ribband  (a) wooden strip holding ship's rib in place during construction  (b) wide, decorative ribbon  (c) wide ribbon used to cordon off an area  (d) cummerbund

Terraforming: Human Destiny or Hubris? - Space.com   Say the word “terraforming” amidst a gathering of space enthusiasts and it’s a bit like upending your beer mug in an Australian pub. It means you’re ready to duke it out with anybody in the joint: One team sees the quest to replicate the biosphere of Earth on other planets as a moral imperative, an inevitable destiny, or both. Others -- equally passionate -- recoil at such pretension, proclaiming with surety that humans have no right to interfere with Nature.     
Hyperventilating Over 'Space Weapons' - Space.com  Left:  'Scary tales about U.S. "death stars" hovering over target countries promising swift strikes from space rely merely on readers not understanding the basics of orbital motion in space. A satellite circles Earth in an ever-shifting path that passes near any particular target only a few times every 24 hours, not every 10 minutes. It's quicker and cheaper to strike ground targets with missiles launched from the ground.'  Mere military exploration of space hardware doesn't mean the next Star Wars is at hand. In fact, misinformation in such matters is quite dangerous in this world. Is the sanctity of the heavens about to be violated by the United States making a unilateral introduction of aggressive weapons that could spark a destabilizing arms race? Is the White House about to unleash an unprecedented expansion of regions to fight over in the future? But a sober reality check can put the issue into better perspective.  

Russia, China Join Against US 'Star Wars' - SpaceDaily  Left:  China has repeatedly made clear that it would vastly increase the size of its intercontinental ballistic missile force, building hundreds more nuclear armed ICBMs if necessary to swamp America's new ABM defenses.  Russia and China have joined forces in a major U.N. forum to oppose U.S. plans to develop new space weapons. And the move could herald a far more wide-ranging strategic cooperation between the two nations. Russia and China have joined forces to urge the U.N. Conference on Disarmament to launch a new round of international negotiations to prevent the increased militarization of space. The initiative is not likely to get anywhere.

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