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Always the Heat  
The researchers get no special treatment. Ivy League credentials mean nothing here. Dressed in company-supplied orange cotton coveralls, knee-high gum boots and hard hats, they join the miners - and the tension - collecting on the surface, near the 2 Shaft entrance, waiting for the cages. Here they are issued a charged battery pack and headlamp, the only light they will see in most areas of the mine. (Read more.)
 
In Hot Pursuit: Research in the Exclusion Zone  
At one a.m. on April 26, 1986, Chernobyl nuclear power plant No. 4 exploded with such force it lifted a 1,000 t cover off the top of the reactor, showering the environment with burning chunks of radioactive graphite and spewing 10.9 pBq of radioactive debris into the atmosphere, dusting an area larger than California. University of Georgia environmental toxicologist Cham Dallas, one of the few Western scientists conducting research there, is trying to understand the environmental effects of the world's worst nuclear accident.(Read more.)
 
The Outpost at Alert  
On the uppermost nib of Ellesmere Island, 800 km from the North Pole, the military post and weather station at Alert is the most northerly permanent settlement on Earth. Every winter, its 200 occupants - including a few meteorologists - endure -50 degC temperatures and five months of total darkness.(Read more.)
 
Avalanche Research: Scientists Behaving Badly  
In the past three years avalanches have killed 482 people, including three researchers. Any research that leads to better avalanche prediction is therefore valuable. Obtaining avalanche data, however, is always difficult and frequently dangerous. Douglas Page profiles a team of scientists who have devised a novel means of data collection - they place themselves inside a flowing avalanche.(Read more.)
 
Decoding the Polar Bear Paradox  
Alien abduction is no tabloid fantasy for the world’s largest land predators.(Read more.)
 
A Few Notes on Pitch  
After 2,500 years of contemplation, musical pitch is as much an issue as ever. Musicians may have finally agreed on standardized 'concert pitch', but there is still no scientific consensus on what percentage of the population possesses 'perfect pitch', whether the skill is inherited or learned, or even how perception of pitch is achieved by the brain. (Read more.)
 
The Roisters of Tornado Alley  
In spite of the dangers, or because of them, storm chasers can be found in the spring of each year churning up a little dust of their own barreling down some dirt road outstripping a Sooner wind in hot pursuit of the unattainable. Once you've stood close to the pulse and sensed the charge of a 40 tera-Watt storm you are changed forever. From then on, one eye remains on the forecast and the other on the horizon, scanning for the telltale signs of helicity and instability. The lure of the chase never leaves you. Matadors never put down the cape. (Read more.)
 
The Isua Rocks  
On the southwestern coast of Greenland rest the oldest greenstone rocks known, which not only contain clues to conditions on the callow Earth, they have already yielded compelling evidence that life existed over 3.8 billion years ago. (Read more.)
 
Snake, Rattle, Enroll  
In a piebald wildlife management reserve near the Carolina coast, Davidson College herpetologist Michael Dorcas recruits eastern diamondback rattlesnakes to serve the interest of conservation biology. The diamondbacks enrolled in his research carry radio transmitters and data loggers in their body cavity, surgically implanted by Dorcas himself. Douglas Page profiles this research, and how Dorcas and his colleagues stay safe while handling the most dangerous snake in North America.(Read more.)

 
Technology
A university researcher has announced a breakthrough data transfer scheme that makes conventional high-speed connections like DSL seem like tin cans and string. (Read more.)
 
In the early 19th Century, Sir Robert Peel lead law enforcement out of the dark ages. A Los Angeles sheriff captain is leading another renaissance. (Read more.)
 
While America debated issues like new missile-intercept technologies, few noticed her maritime front door was open. (Read more.)
 
‘Smart dust’ technology offers possibity of sensing biochemical agents from one kilometer away. (Read more.)
 
It’s one of firefighting’s worst nightmares. An apparatus takes a corner too fast responding to a fire and rolls over, resulting in firefighter entrapment. (Read more.)
 
Recent emphasis on reducing pollution in the nation’s harbors has not only helped the return of fish species, but paradoxically the cleaner waters has encouraged growth of marine creatures that feed on wooden pier pilings. (Read more.)
 
During the first seven days of operations under the high risk Orange Alert status, U.S. Customs Service inspectors, canine enforcement officers, Native American patrol officers, and special agents working the porous 340-mile Arizona-Mexico border made 49 drug seizures, including 7,274 pounds of marijuana, 242 pounds of cocaine, and 33 pounds of methamphetamine. (Read more.)
 
In the last 50 years window glass has gone from functional to ornate. Now, with ‘smart’ windows looming, driven by energy-efficiency demands, glass may be about to become obedient. (Read more.)
 
Aerogels have been called potentially the most useful substances ever created. This curious material, composed of as much as 65 to 90 percent air, are the lightest solids ever produced. A six-foot block of it would weight less than a pound yet can support 1,500 times its own weight - enough to support an automobile. (Read more.)
 
The explosive growth of computer internetworking and the demands of multimedia, high-speed LANs, telemedicine, supercomputer-to-supercomputer interconnections, digital libraries and virtual reality applications are driving data transfer requirements beyond the Megabit/sec into the Gigabit/sec range and beyond. (Read more.)