9/27/2004:

Intermediate Word:  assagai  (a) African javelin  (b) grass skirt  (c) fence of thornbushes and sharpened stakes  (d) bead curtain
Difficult Word: - Eblis  (a) a sprite in "The Merchant of Venice"  (b) Norse god of the sea  (c) Muslim devil  (d) Alexander-the-Great's horse

Image of a microscope

Clue to 'blocking' bowel cancer  - BBC  Scientists say they have found a way to prevent bowel cancer from growing. The removal of a cell "switch" in mice stopped growth of lesions in the bowel that can turn cancerous with time. The Vanderbilt University team hopes a drug that blocks this switch, which has been developed in France, could have the same effect in humans. The scientists told Cancer Cell journal they planned to test this drug in mice. Cancer Research UK said it was a long way from human therapy. Bowel polyps are generally harmless but can become cancerous with time, leading to full-blown bowel cancer.

Mira Behind The Molecules - SpaceDaily  Left:  Scale of Mira star core and molecular shell, relative to our own solar system. The shell resembles a molecularly rich region akin to a stellar atmosphere. Credit: NOAO  For more than 400 years, astronomers both professional and amateur have taken a special interest in observing Mira stars, a class of variable red giants famous for pulsations that last for 80-1,000 days and cause their apparent brightness to vary by a factor of ten times or more during a cycle. An international team of astronomers led by the Paris Observatory/LESIA (Meudon, France) and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (Tucson, Arizona, USA) has used interferometric techniques to observe the close environments of five Mira stars, and were surprised to find that the stars are surrounded by a nearly transparent shell of water vapor, and possibly carbon monoxide and other molecules.

Cockroach-Like Robot Leads New Effort - SpaceDaily  Left:  RHex, a robot built at the University of Michigan based on discoveries by UC Berkeley's Robert Full about how cockroaches run. RHex is the center of a new, multidisciplinary effort to understand how we walk without falling over.  They will conduct biomechanical and neurological experiments on insects and develop mathematical models to improve the robot. This multi-pronged approach will allow them to uncover the neural and muscular control and feedback loops that lead to the remarkably similar patterns of whole-body motion in animals as diverse as crabs, cockroaches, lizards, dogs and humans. By tweaking the robot, they hope to tease apart the complex neural and muscular networks in insects.  




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