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Featured Stories

  • The Big Dig

    To bury Boston’s busiest highway underground, engineers are simulating traffic flows on their computers (to give the highway a brain) and starting huge fires in West Virginia (to give it a fire control system).

  • Field Work in the Tribal Office

    At Xerox’s famed Palo Alto Research Center their’s a new factor in innovation: teams of anthropologists who study how people interact with machines (and each other) in the workplace.

  • Cashing In On Medical Knowledge

    Some doctors have begun patenting not just devices but medical procedures and techniques. Proponents argue that this practice is needed to foster innovation in medical care. Critics claim that it perverts the Hippocratic oath and drives up medical costs.

  • To Mac or Not to Mac?

    A self-confessed Macintosh devotee contemplates the ultimate sacrifice: moving to a PC running Windows. Is life worth living on the Dark Side?

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  • Other Countries' Money

    Foreign companies are tapping into the vigorous U.S. system of innovation by sponsoring and increasing amount of research and development at American companies. Is this a boon, or a subtle form of industrial espionage?

  • Chess is Too Easy

    Forget about Big Blue vs. Kasparov–the best test of artificial intelligence is to ask a computer to write a story. Meet Brutus.1, a software agent that creates short tales of betrayal,self-deception, and evil worthy of a human creator.

  • Aviation's Next Great Leap

    Strapping rockets onto an aircraft creates a new breed of space plane. Look for cheaper satellite launch, ultrafast package delivery, and hypersonic passenger transport that would leave the Concorde in the dust.

  • Putting Teeth in the Biological Weapons Ban

    Pound for pound, microbes such as anthrax rival nuclear weapons in their ability to inflict mass casualties. But the enforcing the existing treaty banning biological weapons must not compromise the biotech industry’s valuable trade secrets.

  • Honey, They've Shrunk the Rover

    The Sojourner vehicle that trekked across the Martian surface captured the world’s fancy last summer, but we haven’t seen anything yet. Next will come rovers that can roam miles across Mars and “aerobots” able to survey other planets.

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