Intermediate Word:  lowering  (a) overwhelmingly large  (b) top-heavy  (c) discouraged  (d) menacing
Difficult Word: - fourchette  (a) foulard knot  (b) croisant  (c) back-of-gloves reinforcement  (d) X-shaped crossing

Cat's Eye Nebula In Stunning Detail - SpaceDaily  Although the rings may be the key to explaining the final 'gasp' of the dying central star, the mystery behind the Cat's Eye Nebula's nested 'Russian doll' structure remains largely unsolved. Observations suggest that the star ejected its mass in a series of pulses at 1500-year intervals. These convulsions created dust shells that each contains as much mass as all of the planets in our Solar System combined (but still only one-percent of the Sun's mass). These concentric shells make a layered onion-skin structure around the dying star. The view from Hubble is like seeing an onion cut in half, where each layer of skin is discernible. 
Surfing The Wave - SpaceDaily  Left:  A tsunami, while not a cause of extinction, is one of the many hazards of living on Earth. Tsunamis are large waves caused by the disruption of seawater. Earthquakes on the ocean floor generate most tsunamis, but they also may result from the eruption or collapse of island or coastal volcanoes, or from giant landslides on the edge of the sea. A giant tidal wave, which could measure 100 meters from crest to trough, would hit the other Canary islands within an hour and reach the north African coast within two hours. Between seven and 10 hours later, waves tens of meters high would crash onto the Caribbean islands and the eastern seaboards of North and South America. But the Tsunami Society dismisses this as "scaremongering".

Hydrocarbons In The Deep Earth? - SpaceDaily  "These experiments point to the possibility of an inorganic source of hydrocarbons at great depth in the Earth -that is, hydrocarbons that come from simple reactions between water and rock and not just from the decomposition of living organisms." Dr. Henry Scott, of Indiana University South Bend, related the significance of the experiments to conventional hydrocarbon resources: "Although it is well-established that commercial petroleum originates from the decay of once-living organisms, these results support the possibility that the deep Earth may produce abiogenic hydrocarbons of its own."

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