7/2/2005:

Intermediate Word:  reticle -  (a) cabinet for storing the Eucharist  (b) watch fob  (c) distance scale in a lens  (d) lawyer's briefcase
Difficult Word: - habitus  (a) abbot's garb  (b) habit bordering upon compulsion  (c) (physical) constitution  (d) disputed tract of land

 Heavy rice stands tall  - Nature   Biologists say they have built a better rice plant: one that is heavy with seeds, but not so tall that it will fall over in the rain. The work is expected to help increase yields of rice, which is the staple grain for the majority of the world's population. The many-seeded variety is less likely than others to bend double in high winds or rain, and this keeps the tops out of the water and reduces their chance of rotting. The variety makes 25% more seeds than the popular Koshihikari type, which was one of its parents. Such high-yield plants may be in the fields in the "very near future", according to the researchers.The researchers stress that although their plants are not genetically engineered, they believe that genetic engineering may be a useful tool to improve crop yields. "Our approach is one of the powerful methods. However it is not all-powerful," says Ashikari. Genetic engineering might one day be employed to move useful areas of DNA from rice into other crops, such as wheat and soy, they suggest.   
How the Universe got its hydrogen pairs  - Nature  A computer model has made progress in solving an astronomical mystery: why is so much hydrogen in the Universe paired up into molecules instead of existing as single atoms? The secret is simple. It comes down to the fact that space dust is probably bumpy rather than smooth. Hydrogen is the simplest and most abundant element, making up about 90% of the Universe by weight. It is estimated that half of the hydrogen in the majority of space exists in molecular form, but in the dense dust clouds in which stars form, almost all of the hydrogen is paired up. Researchers are keenly interested in these dust clouds because of their role in the formation of stars and galaxies. It has long been assumed that hydrogen atoms sticking to these dust particles are jostled together, encouraging hydrogen atoms to pair up into H2. But when one team of researchers tested this theory, it came up short. But in dense interstellar clouds, molecular hydrogen forms in temperatures up to 50 kelvin. "You need the reaction to be 100% efficient over that temperature range to explain how there's a nearly total conversion of atomic to molecular hydrogen in these denser regions,"

Jennifer Aniston strikes a nerve  - Nature  Is a single cell in your brain devoted to Jennifer Aniston or Bill Clinton? Maybe so, according to new research. A recent experiment showed that single neurons in people's brains react to the faces of specific people. Researchers see the findings as evidence that our brains use fewer cells to decode a given image than previously thought. At one end of the spectrum of possibilities, a network of cells would process various bits of information in a scene and piece it all together to form an understandable picture. At the other extreme, the brain would contain a separate neuron to recognize each and every object in the world. Neurobiologist Jerome Lettvin coined the term 'grandmother cell' to parody this view, as it would mean that the brain contains a specific cell to recognize one's own grandmother. For example, a neuron of one patient responded almost solely to different pictures of Bill Clinton.




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