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  • Feature

    The long and winding Colorado

    Standing on a mesa high above the town of Rifle, Colo., Andres Aslan is having a hard time staying quiet. The lanky geologist from nearby Colorado Mesa University normally speaks in a low-key professorial drone. But here, looking down at a sprawling river valley blazing with autumnal cottonwoods, his enthusiasm cranks up his volume. “This could be it,” says Aslan, gesticulating wildly. “This...

    01/10/2014 - 14:00 Earth, Planetary Science
  • Feature

    That's One Weird Tooth

    What Martin Nweeia noticed first when he encountered narwhals, he says, was the sound. In May 2000, as spring was just reaching Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, a famed local hunter took Nweeia out on the ice searching the open water for those tusk-bearing, high-Arctic whales. "I was sitting on a bucket out on the ice doing polar bear watch," he says. At that time of year, daylight lasts...

    03/21/2006 - 14:43 Animals
  • News

    Network Inoculation: Antivirus shield would outrace cyber infections

    The best way to stop an epidemic might be to start one. That's the gist of a new strategy against computer viruses that was just unveiled by Israeli researchers. In their theoretical approach, when a computer network detects a new virus, it launches an internal counter-epidemic of self-propagating, protective messages. Upon receiving such a message, an uncontaminated computer immunizes itself...

    11/30/2005 - 09:55 Computing
  • Feature

    Digital Cells

    Imagine a future in which a single drop of water holds a veritable army of living robots; in which people download software updates not for their computers, but for their bacteria; and in which specially programmed cells course through a person's arteries, monitoring blood sugar concentrations and keeping an eye out for cholesterol buildups.

    These...

    04/21/2003 - 10:56 Technology
  • Feature

    Electronic Jetsam

    Twice each day at more than 1,100 sites around the world, scientists simultaneously loft weather balloons to collect data about Earth's atmosphere. During each balloon's ascent, which lasts a couple of hours or so, instruments garner information about air temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed, and wind direction. Meteorologists feed all of these data into their computer...

    01/27/2003 - 13:58 Earth
  • Feature

    Guessing Secrets

    Even on uneventful days, traffic on the Internet can sometimes stutter to a crawl. It gets much worse when millions of people go online at the same time to view the latest images from a Mars expedition, download a trailer for an upcoming Star Wars movie, or take in a titillating fashion show. The mushrooming demand on such days can rapidly clog this worldwide web of computer networks, causing...

    04/01/2002 - 13:07 Numbers