Issue: 20030101

Wednesday, January 1, 2003
JANUARY 2003
1
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262
Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Articles
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POPULAR science
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0001.xml
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0_2,1
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GM Corp.: SILVERADO
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GM Corp.
SILVERADO
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0002.xml
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2
2,3
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Adobe
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Adobe
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0003.xml
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4
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Turbine Entertainment Software Corporation: NVIDIA
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Turbine Entertainment Software Corporation
NVIDIA
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0004.xml
tableOfContents
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5
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POPULAR science
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0005.xml
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6
6,7
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Advertisements
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Epson America, Inc.
Direct-Connect-Compatible
Epson America, Inc.
BorderFree
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0006.xml
article
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8
From the Editor
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2002: A Science Odyssey
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Scott Mowbray
IF WE NEEDED A YEAR TO REMIND US THAT SCIENCE supersaturates our lives and shapes our prospects, 2002 was that year. It was no harder to find a science angle to most of the headlines than to find a fat man drinking a Diet Coke and super sizing his fries. Wait: That wasn't a shot at fat men or fast food.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0007.xml
masthead
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POPULAR science
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0008.xml
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9
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Pinnacle Systems, Inc.
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Pinnacle Systems, Inc.
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0009.xml
article
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10,11
Letters
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uGotta Be Kidding
Why Not Real Horsepower?
Busting Ozone Depleters
Radio Rebuttal
Taking the Cake
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I had to stop for a moment to be sure it wasn't April 1 as I read your article on the new BMW iDrive. ["uDrive Me Crazy," Nov. '02]. Referring to interface designer Jef Raskin as he gives his assessment, you write, "Clearly we have a tough customer here."
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0010.xml
article
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CORRECTIONS
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Best of What's New
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In our December '02 issue, we recognized ThermoView Industries' smart windows as a "Best of What's New" winner. However, we failed to mention that the award was shared with Research Frontiers Inc., which developed the SPD-Smart light control technology and has licensed it to ThermoView and other companies like Polaroid Corp.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0011.xml
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11
11
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CANADIAN MIST
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CANADIAN MIST
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0012.xml
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12
12
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Sears, Roebuck and Co.: CRAFTSMAN
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Sears, Roebuck and Co.
CRAFTSMAN
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0013.xml
review
13
13
What'sNew
convergence
Web Metts TV, This Time by Remote
Philips iPronto allows same-time Webbing and watching.
COUCH SURFING HERE I COME
philips
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philips
iPronto
$1,699
There's always been chemistry between TV and the Web, but no one's made the marriage work. Philips takes a smart approach by merging Web surfing with the tube's closest cousin, the remote control. You can change channels, watch a show, then use iPronto to find the show's Web site. The device integrates a 6.4-inch, 640-by 480-pixel touchscreen, speaker and mike. To access the Web, you need a PC WiFi connection. iPronto can also control lights or a security system, and there's a built-in SD card slot. Like most weddings, it's not cheap: $1,699. www.philips.com
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0014.xml
article
14
14,15
What'sNew
NEXT TECH
3 VISIONS OF THE CELLPHONE FUTURE
PROTOTYPES FROM A GERMAN DESIGN LAB POINT TO PHONES MORE CLOSELY TUNED TO PERSONAL STYLE & NEEDS.
1 SURPRISING FORMS
2 OPULENT MATERIALS
3 MINIMAL CHIC
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3G networks will make cellphones more capable, but many phones on the U.S. market seem mass-market boring. Recently, Uli Skrypalle of Designafairs showed us prototypes he designed for Siemens that anticipate diverging needs for simplicity, style and functionality.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0015.xml
review
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15
What'sNew
mobile phones
On the Cutting Edge Today
Flipping the format, and an ultrasensitive headset.
wildseed
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wildseed
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The Delta2 from Kyocera and Wildseed has done a flip-flop—the keypad is at the top, the large color screen at the bottom. The companies claim the switch makes one-hand messaging easier (it wasn't available for testing at press time). Even cooler are the phone's so-called Smart Skins. These interchangeable plastic covers come preprogrammed with different ring tones, screensavers, games and Web links. They could even have extra buttons for, say, enhanced game play. The Delta2 also has FM radio and a stereo headphone jack built in. Price: approximately $200; the Smart Skins range from $20 to $35. www.wildseed.com and www.kyocera.com
wildseed
Delta2
$200
wildseed
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$20 to $35
wildseed
Boom
$150
The same microphone technology that enables stockbrokers to be heard on the trading-room floor is now available in a cellphone headset, proving that a whisper can be at least as powerful as a shout. The Umevoice Boom headset's uniquely shaped microphone reflects or cancels out virtually all sound except that directed into it. The irony: The best place to carry on a private conversation is now a crowded, noisy room. Price: $150. www.theboom.com
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0016.xml
article
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16,17
What'sNew
grand motoring
What $350,000 Gets You
It gets you a tour-de-tech. But only two flute holders?
INTERIOR
ENGINE
BRAKES
SUNROOF
BACKSEATS
TAILLIGHTS
SUSPENSION
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DAN CARNEY
Unless you worry about EBITDA for a living, you will never own this car. Even then, doubtful. At 300-grand plus, it's built to gratify the ludicrously rich with the almost-impossible-to-own. But at least they'll get their money's worth. Maybach is one of the most advanced hunks of metal this side of the Stealth bomber, and phenomenal to drive.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0017.xml
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18,19
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mazdaUSA
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mazdaUSA
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0018.xml
article
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What'sNew
JANUARY FOCUS AUDIO
MP3 War Update
Congress could soon end the five-year debate over digital music copyright.
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STEVE MORGENSTERN
FILES. THAT'S WHAT THE MP3 FORMAT TURNED MUSIC into: digital files that are compressible, reproducible, sharable and, of course, stealable. The technology is no longer new—several generations of machines have yielded the nifty, powerful devices at right.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0019.xml
review
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What'sNew
JANUARY FOCUS AUDIO
MP3 GETS EVEN MORE FUNKY
No antipiracy tech here. Just 5 supercool players.
TIMEX TMX2
BANTAM BA800
CENDYNE GRUVSTICK
CREATIVE LABS NOMAD ZEN
SONIC BLUE RIO S35S
timex
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timex
TMX2
$150
The ultimate combo: With 64MB aboard, the TMX2 transforms from wristwatch to pendant to carabiner. Price: $150. www.timex.com
timex
BA800
$299
Your pictures meet your music with the 256MB BA800—it incorporates a 1.8-inch color display. Price: $299. www .bantamusa.com
timex
CENDYNE GRUVSTICK
$179
Pop the 128MB Gruvstick (or Innogear Duex, below) into a USB port for easy MP3 transport. Both display artist and track information and cost $179. www.cendyne.com www.innogear.com
timex
NOMAD ZEN
$350
Plug it into a USB or Firewire port for ultrafast downloads to its 20GB, 8,000-song hard drive. Price: $350. www .creativelabs.com
timex
RIO S35S
$200
A rubber grip, one-button navigation, FM radio, 128MB and armband make it a perfect workout companion. Price: $200. www.sonicblue.com
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0020.xml
article
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What'sNew
JANUARY FOCUS AUDIO
CD-Quality Local Radio?
It's coming this year, as terrestrial broadcasters embrace the potential of digital signals.
DIGITAL GETS A FREE RIDE
SAT RADIO ANYWHERE
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STEVE MORGENSTERN
The move to digital radio began in late 2001 with the launch of XM Radio's satellite service, and a half-million people now pay to hear XM and Sirius' stations. But 2003 marks the beginning of digital radio for the masses—your favorite local stations delivered to your car or home stereo digitally, and for free.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0021.xml
review
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22
What'sNew
JANUARY FOCUS AUDIO
THE BEST SOUND...
DEVICES THAT LEAD THEIR PACK
FROM A PORTABLE
FROM TWO SPEAKERS
FROM A TABLETOP RADIO
FROM A PC
FROM A LAPTOP
sharp
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sharp
MD-DS8
Portable players aren't known as audiophile devices, but Sharp's MD-DS8 minidisc player comes close, thanks to a 1 -bit amplifier. The high-power amp requires very little juice, so the MD-DS8 gets an amazing 180 hours of playback. www.sharp.com
sharp
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Virtual Speaker
Prior attempts at creating 5.1 channels of sound from two speakers have greatly improved the sound field, but not fooled our ears. But listening to Dolby's Virtual Speaker, we'd swear we could hear five physical speakers. Dolby will incorporate tne technology into TVs and PCs. www.dolby.com
sharp
TABLETOP RADIO
$200
You don't need a high-end receiver to lock in faint FM stations anymore: Boston Acoustics' Recepter makes weak signals its specialty. It also has BassTrac circuitry, which the company claims delivers superior bass performance. Price: $200. www.bostonacoustics.com
sharp
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sharp
HiFi-Link Pro
$99
Most PC sound cards are not known for their audio quality, so bypass them with Xifel's HiFi-Link Pro. It processes MP3, Dolby digital and other audio formats, then delivers a high-quality audio signal directly to your stereo. Price: $99. www.xitel.com
sharp
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sharp
VPR Matrix laptops
$2,399
Laptop sound quality has improved over the years—some even ave subwoofers built in. By using 24/192 upsampling technology, Best Buy's VPR Matrix laptops up the ante, providing audiophile-quality sound to go. Price: $2,399. WWW .bestbuy .com
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0022.xml
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Microsoft corporation
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Microsoft corporation
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0023.xml
article
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What'sNew
pub tech
Cork Becomes Electric
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Put down your plastic darts and step away from the plastic board—the first electronic dartboard to accept steeltipped darts is on the way. The E-Steel prototype features a plastic overlay; copper wires inside are fed a current, creating an electric field over each scoring sector.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0024.xml
article
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What'sNew
Whatever happened to?
The Insulin Inhaler, August 1998
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JENNY EVERETT
Diabetics who require daily insulin injections may soon be able to throw away their needles." Within three years, we reported, they might be able to inhale insulin powder instead. The advance showed so much promise we gave inventor Inhale Therapeutics a Best of What's New Award.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0025.xml
article
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What'sNew
windows
ENERGY EFFICIENT & NOISE REDUCING
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The mark of a successful tech transfer is when space-age materials show up at the Comfort Inn. Such is the case with aerogel, that super-lightweight solid (it's 96 percent air) that's been employed by NASA for everything from insulation to cosmic dust collection.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0026.xml
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24a
24a
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Pioneer North America Inc.
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Pioneer North America Inc.
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0027.xml
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24b
24b
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Palm, Inc.: Zire
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Palm, Inc.
Zire
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0028.xml
review
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THE WHAT'S NEW WIRE: 1.03
BIG LITTLE ADVANCES
6 SMALL STEPS TOWARD A PERFECT WORLD
A FIRE EVEN SMOKEY CAN LOVE
ONE-TUG RUG MACHINE
TINIEST PERSONAL TRAINER
THE NEXT SPANDEX
SHOOT YOUR BREEZE
THE EVERYTHING WALKMAN
campfireonline
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campfireonline
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$300
Developed by a frustrated outdoorsman, the propane-powered Portafire ($300) is the only campfire approved for burn bans. The key: a ceramic-fiber log that won't spit embers, www.campfireonline.com
campfireonline
Steam-Vac V2
$299
Push Hoover's Steam-Vac V2 forward and it washes your carpet. Pull it back and it rinses it—a first for carpet-cleaning uprights. Price: $299. www.hoover.com
campfireonline
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A NASA-developed near-infrared hand-held reads tissue pH and oxygenation levels instantly, enabling you to optimize your workout. A consumer version is coming in three years, www.nsbri.com
campfireonline
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Heat and detergents destroy Spandex, but you can repeatedly wash Dow Chemical's, ahem, Freedom Fiber without affecting stretch. Expect to unknowingly wear it next year. www.dowxla.com
campfireonline
W-10
$119
A 0.3-megapixel camera built into Olympus' W-10 digital voice recorder enables you to add a visual context to your musings. Price: $119. www.olympus.com
campfireonline
MPD-AP20U
$299
Connected to your laptop, the Sony MPD-AP20U can play DVDs or record CDs. Cut the cord ana it's a portable CD and MP3 player with a Memory Stick slot. Price: $299. www.sony.com
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0029.xml
article
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BIG LITTLE ADVANCES
wireless
Juice Without Wires
COME UP TO MY PAD FOR A REFILL
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DARREN GLADSTONE
A nifty new way to recharge your portables. Think of them as electricity filling stations: Two new pads from MobileWise and SplashPower remove the last tether from portable electronics: the power supply. The MobileWise version incorporates hundreds of exposed contacts; set your laptop, cellphone or PDA on it and electricity is delivered through two conductors.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0030.xml
article
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26,28,29
Man&MAchine
HARD, FAST, SHINY OBJECTS & WHY WE LOVE THEM
With the Noise of a Stone Crusher
Back when the U.S. and its allies fought enemies who had technological parity, or even superiority, an airplane engine was almost the undoing of England.
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Stephan Wilkinson
the engine makes the airplane. An automobile, even a racecar, will run perfectly well with a variety of powerplants, configurations, horsepowers and displacements. But airplanes are different. They are simpler, purer vehicles than their ground-bound kin.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0031.xml
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Microsoft Corporation
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Microsoft Corporation
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0032.xml
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28,29
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Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
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Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0033.xml
article
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30,32
GeekDIY
WHAT'S UP IN THE WIRED WORKSHOP
Getting Gadgets to Yak for You
Machines get smarter but most still won't talk to each other. There's a DIY way around that problem.
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Paul Wallich
hummingbirds: Day after day in warm weather they would zing up to the feeder outside my office window, and every time I saw one out of the corner of my eye I thought how nice it would be to get some good pictures. Nice, but not quite worth sitting motionless behind a lens for great chunks of time to get the perfect shot.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0034.xml
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Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.: AMD Athlon
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Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
AMD Athlon
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0035.xml
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33
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BOSE: ADAPTiQ
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BOSE
ADAPTiQ
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0036.xml
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34
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Roxio, Inc.
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Roxio, Inc.
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0037.xml
article
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35
NewsFiles
aviation
At Last, 737's Head to the Shop
Why has it taken a decade to begin fixing a problem the FAA says caused two disaters?
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ERIC ADAMS
iT HAS NOW BEEN MORE THAN eight years since USAir Flight 427 plunged into a Pennsylvania hillside, leaving a blackened crater a hundred yards in diameter and killing everyone on board. The crash was the second involving a Boeing 737 in less than four years (the first was in Colorado Springs in 1991) that analysts suspected might have been caused by failures in the jet's complicated rudder system.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0038.xml
article
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NewsFiles
astronomy
Stalking the Dust Discs
NASA's new space telescope won't find new planets—but it will point the way.
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IRENE BROWN
WITH AN INFRARED EYE, NASA's Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF), scheduled for launch this month, will search the heavens for signs of planets. It will seek stars surrounded by discs of dust—the building blocks necessary for planet formation.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0039.xml
article
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NewsFiles
popsci update
TOP SCIENTISTS SAY LIE DETECTORS OFTEN LIE
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DAWN STOVER
A National Research Council committee of experts has concluded that current lie-detection systems simply aren't accurate enough to meet the nation's security needs. The most commonly used equipment, the polygraph, works better than chance at detecting lies about specific incidents—as long as the people being questioned haven't learned any countermeasures for defeating the test.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0040.xml
article
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NewsFiles
cyberspace
Wer'e All Connected
A portrait of the Internet as a young network.
READING THE MAP
WORLDCOM IN THE MIDDLE
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MICHAEL MOYER
This graph shows the enormously complex relationships among Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Each square represents an ISP, such as AOL or Earthlink. The lines show the connections between them. The graph is round to represent the globe:
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0041.xml
article
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NewsFiles
immunology
Dregs to Drugs
Nuclear waste may yield a potential HIV treatment.
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nUCLEAR WASTE usually calls to mind radiation and cancer. But May Nyman, a chemist at Sandia National Laboratories, recently found a potential new AIDS drug hiding inside a nuclear waste facility, as well as a new tool for cleaning up after nuclear power plants.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0042.xml
article
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NewsFiles
immunology
FIT AS A FIDDLE, SICK AS A DOG
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BEING FIT DOESN'T MAKE YOU HEALTHY, especially during the flu season. While most people catch about two upper respiratory tract infections per year, athletes get twice as many. Mike Gleeson, a professor of sport and exercise science at England's Loughborough University, says the very nature of exercise—breathing through the mouth rather than the nose, for example—increases the likelihood of catching germs.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0043.xml
article
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NewsFiles
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HAPPY NUCLEAR ACCIDENT
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A manufacturing defect in sponges used to collect nuclear waste produced a rare chemical compound, which, in turn, may lead to a new AIDS medication and methods of cleaning radioactive materials.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0044.xml
article
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NewsFiles
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CHOMPIN' BROCCOLI
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DAWN STOVER
NUTRITIONISTS AND MOTHERS say that broccoli is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. But researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have found that not all broccoli is created equal. Its nutritional value may vary depending on the strains and where it's grown.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0045.xml
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TOYOTA: PRIUS
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TOYOTA
PRIUS
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0046.xml
article
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40
NewsFiles
demography
Watch Us Move
Homeland security requires a new kind of population map.
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SUNNY SEA GOLD
CHICAGO'S SEARS TOWER has a population of zero—at least, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But it teems with daytime occupants, people who may need evacuation or medical attention in a disaster. LandScan USA, a system in development at Tennessee's Oak Ridge National Laboratory will help planners prepare for such emergencies by keeping track of population distribution.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0047.xml
article
40
40
NewsFiles
nanotechnology
TEENY ANTENNAS
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GREG MONE
BOMB-SNIFFING DOGS AND X-RAY screening may one day be replaced by infinitesimal silver antennas. Using mathematical simulations, researchers at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, have shown that arrays of these antennas could be used as chemical sensors, thousands of times more sensitive than current technology.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0048.xml
article
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NewsFiles
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ELEPHANT LOVE SECRETS REVEALED!
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GUNJAN SINHA
Elephant mating rituals are like a food fair. Bulls meander about dipping their trunks in puddles of female urine and tasting. When a female is in heat, her urine contains a potent sex pheromone; when a male gets a whiff, he will attempt to mount her.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0049.xml
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Microsoft Corporation
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Microsoft Corporation
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0050.xml
article
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NewsFiles
the PopSci unscrambler: making hard science a little less hard
Black Hole Death Match
Before Translation
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GREG MONE
rAVENOUS AND UNBELIEVABLY DENSE, a supermassive black hole is one of the most fearsome creations in the universe. With the mass of ioo million suns, these black holes swallow all the galactic material in their neighborhoods. But what would happen if two of these cosmic monstrosities actually bumped into one another?
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0051.xml
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43
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Microsoft game studios
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Microsoft game studios
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0052.xml
article
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44,45,46,47,48,49
stories
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bird of prey
THIS TEST PLANE FOR ULTRA-STEALTHY TECHNOLOGY FLEW MANY TIMES IN TOTAL "BLACK PROJECT" SECRECY. BILL SWEETMAN ANALYZES THE MACHINE— AND THE UNVEILING.
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when boeing and the air force unveiled the once ultra-secret Bird of Prey prototype aircraft on October 18, they were stingy with information. They informed guests that it had made 38 flights between 1996 and 1999, but didn't say where. They identified its test pilots but did not name its designers.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0053.xml
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50,51
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sportsillustraied
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sportsillustraied
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PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0054.xml
article
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52,53
stories
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JUMP JUMP!
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When Frenchman Michel Foumier turned up in Canada last September with his team to attempt the world's longest parachute dive he surprised American Cheryl Stearns, who wants to be the first to leap to Earth from space. But Fournier didn't jump, and now the race resumes.
PopularScience_20030101_0262_001_0055.xml
article
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54,55,56,57,58,59a,59b,60
JUMP JUMP!
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PART 1
FRANCE AND CANADA
A FRENCH FORMER PARATROOPER WITH NO FAMILY TIES, MICHEL FOURNIER ALMOST MADE LE GRAND SAUT. THEN HE BALKED.
THE LONGEST, FASTEST FALL TO EARTH
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BRUCE GRIERSON
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PLATE-FLAT CANADIAN prairie, not far from where writer Raymond Carver hunted geese, a flurry of activity broke out last September around a small, rural airfield. Here was ground zero for French skydiver Michel Fournier's audacious attempt to ride the pressurized gondola of a helium balloon to 130,000 feet—the cusp of space, the highest anyone has ever gone without a rocket—and topple out earthward.
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GPS V
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JUMP JUMP!
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PART 2
NORTH CAROLINA AND KANSAS
CHERYL STEARNS HAS A SEASONED CREW AND STELLAR SKYDIVING CRED. CAN SHE RAISE THE MONEY IN TIME?
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ROB GANNON
IT'S NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO HANDICAP THE race between Michel Fournier and Cheryl Stearns to be the first human to return from space on foot. Fournier, with his aborted fall mission and his promise to jump this spring, appears to have the edge; Stearns isn't planning to attempt her leap until fall at the earliest.
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XiumAir
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THE TOP SCIENCE STORIES 2002
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THE TOP SCIENCE STORIES 2002
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THE EDITORS
AS SCANDAL ROCKED THE BUSINESS WORLD in 2002 with tales of fraud and greed of unbelievable scope—why would any high-profil CEO need or dare to borrow $400 million from his collapsing public tech company?—it's hard to believe the science world could offer anything on this scale.
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THE TOP SCIENCE STORIES 2002
WEATHER
Is This Global Warming?
When forests burn, cities flood, crops wilt and glaciers melt, it's hard not to jump to conclusions. But the scientists who study climate say it's not that simple.
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DAWN STOVER
ON SEPTEMBER 20, A 30-YEAR-OLD Russian screen idol was working on his latest film when 20 million tons of mud, rock and ice came roaring down on him. A glacier had collapsed, unleashing an avalanche that buried Sergei Bodrov Jr. and an estimated 139 other people under 300 feet of debris in the village of Nizhny Karmadon.
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THE TOP SCIENCE STORIES 2002
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35 BITE-SIZE SCIENCE STORIES
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GREG MONE
1_IT LOOKS GOOD IN BEIGE Johns Hopkins University astronomers estimated how the human eye would see light from 200,000 distant galaxies if it were condensed to a single point. They revised their first answer, pale green, to beige after another group found a glitch in their calculations.
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THE TOP SCIENCE STORIES 2002
discoveries & NOTABLE ADVANCES
GAINING GROUND
From AIDS research to the search for extrasolar planets and black hole investigations, scientists are nailing the big questions.
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LARRY STEVENS
FOR YEARS, AIDS RESEARCHERS HAVE BEEN BOTH EXCITED and perplexed by the few HIV-positive people who never get sick. Their bodies are naturally immune to the virus; scientists knew that if they could figure out why and reproduce the effect in the lab, they might have an AIDS cure.
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THE TOP SCIENCE STORIES 2002
fraud, FAILURES & DUBIOUS SCIENCE
SCANDAL ROCKS A PRESTIGIOUS LAB
And other proof that the fundamental laws of human nature are not suspended in the elite halls of science.
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JR MINKEL
IN SEPTEMBER CAME THE STUNNING ANNOUNCEMENT THAT a possibly Nobel-bound researcher had cooked much of his data. Jan Hendrik Schön had claimed remarkable advances in nanoelectronics while working at world-renowned Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey.
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THE TOP SCIENCE STORIES 2002
COSMOLOGY
STRANGELETS IN THE NIGHT...
Dark matter revelation, big bang confirmation and speed-of-light confusion.
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MICHAEL MOYER
WHEN THE CHANDRA X-RAY Observatory turned its eye to what astronomers thought was a neutron star—an exotic object so dense a single teaspoon of it would weigh 100 trillion tons—they were shocked to find that it seemed even denser than expected.
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THE TOP SCIENCE STORIES 2002
OBESITY
Fat vs. Carbs: Round 13
It happens every few years, and in the hot summer of 2002 the high-fat diet advocates welcomed a new heavyweight to their corner. Let the food fight continue.
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REBECCA SKLOOT
MARION NESTLE, CHAIR OF NUTRITION AND FOOD STUDIES AT NYU, sat in her office last fall, phone pressed to her ear, weary from weeks of media calls. "Gary Taubes is ruining my life!" she yelled. "I can't go anywhere without someone asking about that damn article."
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THE TOP SCIENCE STORIES 2002
BIG IDEAS
IS LIFE A SIMPLE PROGRAM?
Wunderkind Stephen Wolfram goes back to basics, suggesting that nature, humanity, and indeed the entire universe may have sprung from bits of code.
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GREG MONE
IN MAY, PHYSICIST STEPHEN WOLFRAM'S self-published 1,200-page plan for a paradigm shift, A New Kind of Science, became an improbable best-seller. Its message: Complex phenomena can arise from very simple rules—indeed, a basic computer program, launched at the beginning of time, may have generated the entire universe.
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THE TOP SCIENCE STORIES 2002
controversies IN SCIENCE & POLITICS
A NEW FRONT FOR CHEMICAL WEAPONS
Experts warn of a trend toward "non-lethal" weapons— which, as a tragic incident in Russia demonstrated, can kill.
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JR MINKEL
IN AN OCTOBER 26 RESCUE ATTEMPT, RUSSIAN SECURITY forces gassed a Moscow theater where Chechen terrorists were holding more than 700 hostages. The chemical, later identified as an aerosol derivative of the painkiller Fentanyl, killed at least 128 hostages.
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THE TOP SCIENCE STORIES 2002
PALEOANTHROPOLOGY
7-Million-Year Man?
The "out of Africa" theory may need tweaking: Two surprising finds suggest our early ancestors spread out earlier and faster than previously thought.
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LAURIE GOLDMAN
WHEN THE DISCOVERY of two well-preserved ancient skulls was announced in July, paleoanthropologists, who are used to working on mere bone shards, were elated. Even more exciting: The finds challenged the prevailing theory of human origins: that humans began in eastern Africa 6 million years ago and spread to Europe between 500,000 and 1 million years ago.
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THE TOP SCIENCE STORIES 2002
SCIENCE AFTER 9/11
ANTHRAX & MINI-NUKES
The attacks on New York and Washington produced a year of science news colored by the fear and fallout of terrorism.
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WITH WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION REPORTEDLY HIDden underground in unfriendly nations such as Iran, North Korea and Iraq, there's renewed U.S. interest in so-called mini-nukes—5-kiloton or smaller nuclear weapons whose shock waves penetrate deeply [“The Bunker Nightmare Goes Nuclear," Oct. '02].
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ESCORT: PASSPORT 8500
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PASSPORT 8500
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TestPages
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Fire, Foam & 5 Minutes of Hell
Practicing for the worst: We take the heavyweight Striker into the crash zone.
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tHERE'S NO SNOZZLE ON OUR PLATE TODAY, and that's a shame. The Snozzle is a steel-tipped 4-foot-long carbon-fiber needle that can puncture the burning hull of a plane and fill it to the brim with fire retardant in no time flat. The trick is to poke your hole about 10 inches above a window and hope no one's in the way.
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TestPages
air traffic control
Bush Pilots Get Tech
Small-plane pilots in Alaska are used to winging it. Now they don't have to.
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STEPHEN FEATHERSTONE
a LASKAN PILOTS DON'T SUGARCOAT THE DANGER: "IN WHITEOUT conditions, a pilot fights to maintain visual contact with the ground," explains the FAA's Dennis Gerstung. "He flies under a sloping cloud deck and gets lower and lower...then bang! The airplane pancakes."
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Yellowstone Is Breathing
America's oldest national park is also its largest active volcano. And it's due for a big boom.
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DAVID SPARROW
hENRY HEASLER OPERATES ONE OF THE LARGEST STETHOSCOPES in the world. As the supervising geologist, his patient is Yellowstone National Park, the most active volcanic caldera in the continental United States, a 30by 50-mile hot spot that's exhaling again after a decade of retraction.
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TestPages
THE POPSCI TECH TEST
Is In-Car Navigation Worth It?
It depends. Follow our directions and you won't get ripped off.
ATLAS SHRUGS: NAV SYSTEMS BEST TO WORST
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DAN CARNEY
fOR UPWARD OF TWO GRAND, YOU'D THINK MY test Mercedes CLK55's navigation system would know the Annapolis Marriott from the Spa Creek bridge. But this type of mistake is all too common. We tested the nav systems of six luxury makers (along with the portable Garmin StreetPilot III, a cheaper alternative) and found huge differences in accuracy, mapping and ease of use.
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Select Comfort
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Select Comfort
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MEDIA
The Deadliest Drone
An American pilot on flying the unmanned Predator.
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RAMON LOPEZ
IN NOVEMBER 2002, A HELLFIRE MISSILE FIRED FROM AN UNMANNED PREDATOR killed a senior al Qaeda operative in Yemen, underscoring the value of this stealthy drone as the war on terror spills outside Afghanistan. In Spies That Fly (January 7, PBS), Nova reveals the awesome capabilities of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), including the Predator, and plots their role in future conflicts.
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the PopSci peer review
Cultured Brutes?
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Scientists rethink what they know about Neanderthals. THE BOOK: The Neanderthal's Necklace: In Search of the First Thinkers, by Juan Luis Arsuaga REVIEWED BY: Ofer Bar-Yosef, professor of anthropology at Harvard and curator of paleolithic archaeology at the Peabody Museum NO LONGER DO WE SEE NEANDERthals as apish brutes.
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FYI
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FYI
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GREG MONE
DAWN STOVER
Lou Bloomfield, professor of physics at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, suggests you imagine walking the piano across the patio on the way to the stairs. The point at which the weight of the piano is centered—the so-called center of gravity—is equidistant from both ends.
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Advertisement: 1957 Chevy Pro Street Hardtop
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MacNeil AUTOMOTIVE PRODUCTS LIMITED: WeatherTech
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WeatherTech
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FYI
JUST THE FACTS
Gamma Ray Bursts
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GREG MONE
Sometimes referred to as "God's fire-crackers," gamma ray bursts are quick but intense flashes of high-energy, short-wavelength radiation. Most astronomers agree that massive stars play a role in the creation of these spectacular events, but there is some debate over how:
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Looking Back
FROM THF POPUIAR SCIFNCF ARCHIVES
We Build a Bird, 1956
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In the years before the first satellite launch there was much speculation about what shape an American spacecraft would take. POPULAR SCIENCE Associate Editor Herbert R. Pfister built this model satellite, in which miniature electronic parts simulated instrumentation to collect data and transmit it back to Earth, for $150.
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Nissan North America, Inc.: NISSAN FRONTIER 4X4
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NISSAN FRONTIER 4X4
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