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Featured Stories

  • Missile Defense: The Sequel

    Today’s programs for defending against missile attacks are less ambitious than the Reagan-era Star Wars efforts. But the new systems are still too easily foiled, and their deployment would slow arms cuts.

  • Clicking onto Webzines

    Collecting, selecting, and refining the stories that go online, web-based magazines are transforming the internet experience. But these embryonic publications don’t yet fully exploit the new medium’s potential-and their financial viability is in question.

  • Dividing the Water

    Water may seem to be everywhere, but for a rising portion of the world’s population, there may soon be hardly a drop to drink -or to use for growing food, supporting industries and cities, and preserving life-giving ecosystems.

  • When the Sun Disappears and Dolphins Do Back Flips

    During total eclipses of the sun, at least one ancient culture performed mass human sacrifice to placate the gods. While our understanding of these celestial phenomena has grown, the author rediscovers the scientific curiosity they engender.

  • An Artist Explores the Lab

    A recent photography exhibit goes behind the closed doors of major laboratories to shed fascinating light on the research shaping modern life.

  • Defusing Airline Terrorism

    A variety of high-tech bomb detectors are under study, but certification, cost, and privacy dilemmas could keep them from your local airport.

  • Creating The People's Computer

    One of the nation’s foremost computer scientists, exasperated by the unfriendliness of today’s computer systems, suggests what designers can do to make machines serve human needs–rather than the other way around.

  • Paint the Town White--and Green

    Urban heat islands are not inevitable, but the product of dark roofs, black pavement, and loss of vegetation. A “cool communities” approach would lower air-conditioning use and make the air healthier.

    1 comment

  • Unlocking the Legacies of the Edison Archives

    150 years after Thomas Edison’s birth, his record of 1,093 diverse patents is still unrivaled. A massive effort to catalogue his voluminous collection of papers and artifacts is yielding clues to account for his phenomenal success.

  • It's a Small, Small, Small, Small World

    With the tools of the nanotechnology trade becoming better defined, the ability to create new materials and devices by placing every atom and molecule in the right place is moving closer to reality.


From the Archives


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