8/2/2005:

Intermediate Word:  burl -  (a) biceps muscle  (b) to gandy-dance  (c) large outgrowth on tree  (d) to trim around the edges
Difficult Word: - transhumance  (a) movement seeking to capitalize upon directed genetic modification  (b) humidity at or beyond the dew point  (c) seasonal change of livestock pasturage  (d) the surmounting of all obstacles

Richard Branson and Burt Rutan Form Spacecraft Building Company - Space.com  Called The Spaceship Company, the new entity will manufacture launch aircraft, various spacecraft and support equipment and market those products to spaceliner operators. Scaled Composites (Burt Rutan's company) will be contracted for research and development testing and certification of a 9-person SpaceShipTwo (SS2) design, and a White Knight Two (WK2) mothership to be called Eve.     
BMD Focus: The Test Of Reality - SpaceDaily  Left: But it is becoming increasingly difficult to dismiss the problems that the hardware people have long warned about, and these days Congress is listening too. Two new reports from the heart of the military -industrial complex and the Bush administration itself in the past few weeks have given official sanction to what hardware engineers have long warned: Setting artificial timetables and deadlines for political reasons and then pushing industrial plants and engineers far too hard in developing new technology repeatedly backfires, the reports concluded.     

Repliee Q1 plus Professor Hiroshi Ishiguru (Getty)

Japanese develop 'female' android  - BBC  Japanese scientists have unveiled the most human-looking robot yet - a "female" android named Repliee Q1Expo. She has flexible silicone for skin rather than hard plastic, and a number of sensors and motors to allow her to turn and react in a human-like manner. She can flutter her eyelids and move her hands like a human. She even appears to breathe. Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University says one day robots could fool us into believing they are human. She is designed to look human and although she can only sit at present, she has 42 actuators in her upper body, powered by a nearby air compressor, programmed to allow her to move like a human. "I have developed many robots before," Repliee Q1Expo's designer, Professor Ishiguro, told the BBC News website, "but I soon realised the importance of its appearance. A human-like appearance gives a robot a strong feeling of presence." She can be designed to follow the movement of a human wearing motion sensors or to act independently. "We have found that people forget she is an android while interacting with her. Consciously, it is easy to see that she is an android, but unconsciously, we react to the android as if she were a woman." "Repliee Q1Expo can interact with people. It can respond to people touching it.




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