Intermediate Word:  chandelle  (a) pirouetting ballet step  (b) aircraft's sudden, steep, climbing turn  (c) small, tall vase for rosebuds  (d) short French maid's apron
Difficult Word: - riviére  (a) broad creek  (b) diamond necklace  (c) concierge' assistant  (d) beach

Virtual Humans Proposed As Space Travelers - Space.com  "In a sense, our space probes are a kind of virtual human," Plantec told SPACE.com after speaking at the 5th Annual Telluride Tech Festival, held here August 13-15. "They are very sophisticated. They have to make decisions on their own…not many, but some. It’s a very primitive stage of virtual human technology," he said. It’s likely that extraterrestrial civilizations might send surrogate entities our way. 
ET write home  - Nature  Left:  The Voyager 1 and 2 probes carry this gold-plated disc containing sounds and images from Earth.  A new analysis has concluded that a physical object would be a more efficient way to send a long message to the stars than a beam of radio waves. So while we scour the heavens for radio broadcasts from other worlds, we should also search our planetary backyard for a parcel of alien information, says Christopher Rose, an electrical engineer at Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey, who argues his case in this week's Nature1. "Communication by the transmission of matter once seemed ridiculous compared to using radiation, but it's not, and we should be looking for both," Rose says. He thinks that a stable orbit around Jupiter, or on the Moon or even the Earth could all be potential mailboxes - all locations occupied by the alien monoliths in Arthur C. Clarke's novel 2001.

A Novel Method For Studying Ancient Life Forms - SpaceDaily  Reporting in the August 23 edition of the journal Geology, California Institute of Technology geobiology graduate student Tanja Bosak and her coauthors describe their success in growing calcite crusts in the presence and absence of a certain bacterium in order to show that tiny pores found in such rocks can be definitively attributed to microbial presence. The new results show that there is a definite link between microbes and micropores. "We were primarily interested in directly observing how the microbes disrupt the crystal growth of the carbonate rocks," adds Bosak. The micropores in the study tend to be present throughout the crystals, and they not only mirror the shape and size of the bacteria, but also tend to form characteristic swirling patterns. If the micropores had been formed by some kind of nonliving particles, the patterns would likely not be present.

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