9/23/2005:

Intermediate Word:  falcate (a) predatory  (b) pertaining to falcons  (c) ominous  (d) sickle-shaped
Difficult Word: - non obstante  (a) suing separately (in a class action suit)  (b) not contesting a piece of evidence  (c) notwithstanding  (d) anonymous

Photo of the brain Scientific proof that the human brain is still evolving  - BBC  By comparing modern man with our ancestors of 37,000 years ago, the Chicago team discovered big changes in two genes linked to brain size. One of the new variants emerged only 5,800 years ago yet is present in 30% of today's humans, they believe. This is very short in evolutionary terms, suggesting intense selection pressures, they told Science. The microcephalin variant appeared along with the emergence of traits such as art and music, religious practices and sophisticated tool-making techniques, which date back to about 50,000 years ago, and is now present in about 70% of all humans.    
Ancient humans 'altered' climate  - BBC  Humans were influencing the climate long before the Industrial Revolution, new research suggests. Levels of methane rose steadily in the atmosphere in the first millennium, according to an analysis of gases trapped in ice beneath Antarctica. Much of the greenhouse gas came from huge fires lit by humans as they cleared land for settlements and farming, researchers report in Science. It appears that much of the gas came from the burning of biomass - the likes of wood and grass - rather than other known sources of methane, such as the burning of fossil fuels, or natural emissions of methane from swamps and wetlands. "It shows that in pre-industrial times there were much higher levels of methane from wood and grassland fires than we ever thought before. "The end result is that in the future, with climate change and inevitably warming, we are likely to experience more wild fires in the bush in many areas of the planet as it becomes warmer and drier." The data suggests that methane emissions from burning tailed off by about 1700.

Largest Asteroid May Be Icy 'Mini Planet' - SpaceDaily  Left: 2001 Hubble Space Telescope ultraviolet image of Ceres.  Observations of 1 Ceres, the largest known asteroid, have revealed that the object may be a "mini planet," and may contain large amounts of pure water ice beneath its surface. The observations by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope also show that Ceres shares characteristics of the rocky, terrestrial planets like Earth. Ceres' shape is almost round like Earth's, suggesting that the asteroid may have a "differentiated interior," with a rocky inner core and a thin, dusty outer crust. "Ceres is an embryonic planet," said Lucy A. McFadden of the Department of Astronomy at the University of Maryland,. "Gravitational perturbations from Jupiter billions of years ago prevented Ceres from accreting more material to become a full-fledged planet."   




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