Martha Brant

Stories by Martha Brant

  • Cars: Zipping Along

    Ed and Penny Cherubino have a love-hate relationship with cars. He loves them; she hates them. But even he had become fed up with their '87 Saab, which was costing $5,000 a year to hang on to--even though they typically walk or take public transportation in their congested Boston neighborhood. So they joined Zipcar, an hourly rental-car service, and now share a fleet of some 150 cars (including Mini Coopers) with about 4,000 other Bostonians.In densely populated American cities, where traffic, parking and insurance are all prohibitive, car sharing is revving up. It makes good financial sense: Zipcars rent for $8.50 an hour on average and the renter doesn't pay for insurance or gas (there's a gas card for refills). There are now 15 car-sharing companies in about 20 U.S. cities and membership has doubled since last year.The biggest growth has been in two companies going national--Boston's Zipcar and Seattle's Flexcar. The only big difference between the two renters is that Zipcar...
  • Log On And Learn

    When Becky, an 18-year-old Londoner, wanted to learn about sex, she did what any red-blooded teenager would do: she went online. At the controversial sex-education Web site www.supershagland.com, she discovered that if she picked up enough condoms and stayed "off the drink," she'd learn how to "shag" safely. "I found a few things I didn't know before," says Becky, who declined to give her last name. "This [Web site] allows you to have straight language," says Joan Worsley, a project manager for K-Generation, the British nonprofit that runs the site. "It has the potential to address issues teens don't want to hear elsewhere."What parents might call soft porn, today's "screenagers" call sex education. Increasingly, the Internet is a cyberteacher outside, as well as inside, the classroom. More than three quarters of kids 12 to 17 go online, says a 2002 study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. A lot of them are just surfing the Web and messaging friends. But 94 percent of...
  • Off Beat: The Campaign's New Math

    During campaign season, even math is political. This week, John Kerry formally announced that he was running for president. Much was made of the Vietnam vet's backdrop: an aircraft carrier. But what caught my ear was a little noticed comment he made on the "Today" show that morning: "The average American is actually paying more in taxes than they were before George Bush," Senator Kerry told Katie Couric.If true, that's a damning statement for tax-happy Bush & Co. Most experts, even those who think the rich made out like bandits with Bush's two tax cuts, will tell you that everyone's federal taxes have gone down. I figured the Kerry campaign would have a stack of documents to back up such a dramatic claim. But my early queries made it clear that his campaign is running much more off the cuff than I thought. After I tracked the quote down for the campaign, they tried to translate Kerry: "I believe he is saying the middle class pays a greater proportion of overall taxes than before...
  • Off Beat: Out Of Step

    Why is it politicians are always the last to know? The more time I spend in Washington, the more I realize that social change takes root everywhere but here.While politicians and judges dither over legislation, small but radical shifts are taking place outside the political arena. It's like Gandhi famously said and Martin Luther King Jr. famously quoted: "There go my people. I must catch them, for I am their leader."At the commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington last weekend, it was clear that many people consider gay rights the new civil rights. Mixed in with the cries for racial justice at the rally on the mall were appeals for tolerance for gays and lesbians. Gay issues came front and center this summer after the Supreme Court ruling on sodomy in Texas sparked debate on gay marriage. But while a political storm on gay rights is brewing in Washington, Corporate America has ended the debate. Some of the nation's biggest and best companies are moving forward on issues like...
  • LOG ON AND LEARN

    When Becky, an 18-year-old Londoner, wanted to learn about sex, she did what any red-blooded teenager would do: she went on the Internet. She logged onto www.supershagland.com, a Web site designed to teach kids about safe sex by way of a computer game. If Becky, who didn't want to give her last name, picked up enough condoms and stayed "off the drink" she could find her sex-starved prince, who was "gagging for it." "It was really good," says Becky of her virtual shag, adding coyly, "I found a few things I didn't know before." Indeed, the "F--- Me!!" link gives explicit advice on a variety of topics--counseling teens not to brush their teeth before engaging in oral sex, for instance, to avoid small cuts in the gums that might facilitate the spread of disease. "This [Web site] allows you to have straight language," says Joan Worsley, creative project manager for K-Generation, the British nonprofit group that runs the controversial site. "It has the potential to address issues teens...
  • Off Beat: Should the Military Protect the Press?

    Every reporter knows someone like Mazen Dana. The 43-year-old Reuters cameraman who was killed in Baghdad this week was the kind of journalist who was always where the action was. The day he died, Dana was filming near a U.S.-run prison just outside Baghdad where there had been a guerilla attack.U.S. troops said they mistook his camera for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and opened fire. Dana was gutsy, but not a crazy risk taker. His killing highlights the persistent miscommunication between the military and the press and it has prompted renewed demands for further investigations into several other journalists' deaths in Iraq.Photographers and cameramen--and a few women--take the biggest risks in this business. If they miss the shot, they miss the story. Reuters lost another cameraman, Taras Protsyuk, a Ukrainian, during the height of the war. He was killed at the Palestine Hotel on April 8 in Baghdad along with Spanish television's Jose Couso when U.S. troops again opened fire...
  • LOG ON AND LEARN

    When Becky, an 18-year-old Londoner, wanted to learn about sex, she did what any red-blooded teenager would do: she went on the Internet. She logged onto www.supershagland.com, a Web site designed to teach kids about safe sex by way of a computer game. If Becky, who didn't want to give her last name, picked up enough condoms and stayed "off the drink" she could find her sex-starved prince, who was "gagging for it." "It was really good," says Becky of her virtual shag, adding coyly, "I found a few things I didn't know before." Indeed, the "F--- Me!!" link gives explicit advice on a variety of topics--counseling teens not to brush their teeth before engaging in oral sex, for instance, to avoid small cuts in the gums that might facilitate the spread of disease. "This [Web site] allows you to have straight language," says Joan Worsley, creative project manager for K-Generation, the British nonprofit group that runs the controversial site. "It has the potential to address issues teens...
  • Off Beat: Appraising Arnold

    Like most Southern Californians, I had plenty of brushes with fame when I was growing up in Orange County--now of TV fame thanks to the new series, "The O.C." (Note to TV writers: we never called it that.)O. J. Simpson lived in my hometown of Laguna Beach. Peter Ueberroth, who is now running for governor on the recall ticket, spoke at my high-school graduation. But it is my vicarious brush with Arnold Schwarzenegger that has prompted this reverie about my homeland. News flash: Arnold and I once shared the same pedicurist!Yes, Arnold is the ultimate metrosexual. He not only wrestles with his soul over bikini waxes--as he told Jay Leno and the world--but he also has a dilemma with his toenails. If he does not get regular pedicures, he gets angry. And you wouldn't like him when he's angry. Oh, sorry, wrong superhero. Anyway, our mutual pedicurist told me about how he'd gotten mad at her once when he was in the hospital and she didn't make it to his bedside to give him his regular toe...
  • PROBLEM PARENTS?

    Really, they're trying to be helpful! But, Mom and Dad, maybe steaming open those letters from the admissions office isn't a great idea. It's their application, after all.
  • Off Beat: Such A Deal

    The tips keep pouring in. Saddam Hussein is in Mosul, Tikrit, Kirkuk. He's disguised as a vendor, a woman, an oil worker. All of a sudden, Iraqis seem very interested in helping Coalition forces find their former oppressor. One reason is as old as Byzantine history itself: money.Word has finally gotten out that a few weeks ago the U.S. government put a $25 million bounty on Saddam's head. The fellow who turned in Saddam's sons last week, Nawaf al-Zaidan, stands to receive $30 million--$15 million per son. The man and his family are already in protective custody and have gotten an advance on the reward. "It's important to pay these rewards quickly," says a top Central Command official, explaining that show-me-the-money isn't just an American concept.Al-Zaidan will soon cash in on the biggest award the Rewards for Justice Program has ever paid. The State Department program has been offering "up to $5 million" for tips on terrorists for more than a decade. Until now, the U.S....
  • Theme Songs: Campaign Trail Mix

    Stump speeches? They can wait. Democratic presidential hopefuls have more pressing concerns, like picking campaign songs. Sen. Joe Lieberman is trying to reunite the party with "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge. Sen. John Edwards is leaning toward the Smashmouth take on "I'm a Believer," the Monkees classic, because it plays to multiple generations. Rep. Richard Gephardt's been cranking Tina Turner's "Simply the Best," and Sen. Bob Graham was, too, for a bit. Gov. Howard Dean chose the Elvis remix "A Little Less Conversation." It says he's a man of action, but the song is so rife with sexual innuendo that another candidate nixed it: campaign songs should put people in the mood to vote. Al Sharpton's choice, "Get Up, Stand Up," by Bob Marley, is good, says song-selection guru Lance Jensen. "It says, 'It's not about me; it's about you'."Actually, it's all about Graham. Out this week: the "Bob Graham Charisma Tour 2004" CD. (No, seriously.) The 10-track tribute--he doesn't sing on it-...
  • Off Beat: Oprah For Wonks

    Washington is often called the Hollywood of geeks. Where else do bureaucrats get written up in the style pages? Where else is Medicare reform considered lively dinner-party conversation? It is just the kind of place where Newt Gingrich is a perennial celebrity. I went to see the former speaker of the House recently at his K Street office to see what he was up to. A lot, it turns out. He has just written two books: one on, yes, reforming health care. The other, published Monday, is an historical novel about Gettysburg. In "Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War" (Thomas Dunne Books), Gingrich turns history on its head and supposes that Gen. Robert E. Lee won the great battle. "We really want to launch an argument about active history as a better way of teaching young people to think historically," explains Gingrich.Arguing is clearly Gingrich's favorite sport. This week, he launched a second wave of attacks against the State Department by inviting a small group of reporters (not...
  • Off Beat: On The Road With Colin Powell

    I saw a whole new side of statesman Colin Powell early this week on his visit to Chile and Argentina: a side that wears blue track suits, sings Calypso tunes and is better than most PR slicks at handling the press.Unlike President Bush, who never came back to talk to reporters on Air Force One when I was covering the White House, Powell was no stranger to the press cabin. First he dropped by to greet the reporters he knew (several of them for more than a decade) and to meet those he didn't, like me. I assumed that visit would be the first and last time we'd see the secretary until we landed in Santiago 12 hours later. I had taken off my suit jacket and settled into my book when two press aides came back and placed portable speakers in the aisle. The secretary would be back soon for an on-the-record but off-camera briefing, they explained.Sure enough, a relaxed Powell soon wandered back in a royal blue jogging suit-something that could never happen if TV cameras were rolling....
  • Off Beat: My Tech-And-Threat Tour

    "We're not having a sarin gas attack," explained Deputy Assistant Secretary Bill Pierce of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I was eyeing one of the high-resolution screens that cover an entire wall in the new secretary's Command Center. It had an orange plume radiating over a map of Washington, D.C. "That's just a model," he said reassuringly. ...
  • Off Beat: It's Lonely At The Bottom

    I drove down to Chicago's South Side on Wednesday to find the Carol Moseley Braun for President headquarters. It took some looking. "Never heard of it or her," said one woman who asked me if I needed help as I wandered around South Wabash and 29th.The former U.S. senator--the first African-American woman ever in that job--announced in February that she was forming a presidential exploratory committee. But so far, she hasn't made much of a showing. She has come in last in the race for money to date: she raised $72,450 in the first quarter of this year. (That's about 1 percent of what Sen. John Edwards raised.)Last week, at a Washington event sponsored by EMILY's List--a group that supports women candidates (but is still evaluating the "merits" of Braun's race)--the former senator and ambassador to New Zealand under Bill Clinton made a candid pitch: "We need your help, we need your checks, we need your networking, we need your support," she said. "Without it, really it will be a...
  • Off Beat: Farewell To 'Ari Bob'

    Just hours after White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer announced Monday that he will leave his job in July, the press-office fax machine was humming with queries from book publishers and speaking bureaus.For now, Fleischer hasn't committed to anything. "If I can't have my first choice, playing short stop for the Yankees, then I'll take my second: catching up on my sleep," he jokes.Whatever he chooses, he's bound to make more money. His current job pays $145,000 a year; Fleischer will soon be able to pull in some $25,000 per speech. "If he just gives a speech to each of the "Pioneers," he'll do well," says another former press secretary, referring to the group of high-roller Bush fund-raisers. That's an understatement: If Fleischer managed to give a speech to all 538 Pioneers, he'd make $13 million.Fleischer has more in mind than simply cashing in, despite his plans to eventually move himself and his new wife into a swanky town in Westchester County, just outside New York City....
  • Tommy Franks

    Military commanders have long touted boldness and surprise as keys to victory. "L'audace, l'audace," said Napoleon, "toujours l'audace!" But how do you achieve surprise in the age of instant information? All Saddam Hussein had to do was turn on his TV and any number of retired American generals would tell him, with apparent certainty, where and when the Americans were going to attack him and with what force.And yet, Operation Iraqi Freedom was able to keep Saddam guessing. Using speed, unconventional tactics and some artful trickery, the Americans befuddled the Iraqi defenders. One ruse, NEWSWEEK has learned, played on Saddam's paranoia. Until it was too late, Saddam was led to believe that the Americans would attack from the north, through Turkey. The ruler of Baghdad was informed by secret agents that the Turks' refusal in early March to allow the Americans to unload in their ports was all a bluff--that at the last minute the Turks would change their minds and let the Americans...
  • Front Lines: The Unveiling

    The veil got lifted a little further on democracy in Qatar on Tuesday. Women--many with their faces covered--strolled into the Al Eman girls school, one of 125 polling places for the country's referendum on a new constitution.When they stepped behind the voting-booth curtain, they had company: a female police officer. In order to vote they had to first prove their identity by lifting their veils.Voting is a peculiar process in Qatar. Men and women vote separately, for one. This is only the third time Qataris have voted at all since the emir decided to open things up in 1999. Unlike in many of the other Persian Gulf countries, women not only vote here, they run for office. The first woman got elected to municipal government in April; she ran unopposed. Many of those who were voting Tuesday didn't quite get it. The referendum was a simple yes or no to approve the new constitution. Yes was outlined in green. But several people asked what to do with the ballot, and a few were on their...
  • Front Lines: Fade Away

    There had been speculation among reporters at Central Command in Doha, Qatar, that at the end of the war we would finally see what some dubbed the MOAB--the Mother of All Briefings.The wishful thinking was that Gen. Tommy Franks would give a final blowout briefing that would hail the end of the war. But the Central Command daily briefings came to a quiet close Tuesday with no final appearance by the general and a lingering sense that there would be a rolling end to this war.Franks had been cautioning his staff in Doha all along not to celebrate. The only exception he made was when the Iraqis--aided by the Marines--tore down that giant Saddam statue in central Baghdad. After watching television in delight along with his staff as the statue came down, he broke out the good smokes. There were rare cheers and high fives in the top-security Joint Operations Center--the high-tech "brain" of CENTCOM. Franks stopped in the JOC to hand out a few cigars, shake a lot of hands and say, simply, ...
  • A Crashing End

    Today was payday at Central Command in Doha, Qatar. Ever since the start of the war, military officials here have been hoping for just the kind of footage that came across TV screens worldwide today: jubilant Iraqis tearing down the vestiges of Saddam Hussein's power.They had hoped to have those images out of Basra weeks ago. They even had plans to fly in TV crews to film it. But that city proved a tougher nut than they anticipated. There were reports from southern Iraq of retribution against Iraqis who were filmed beating on Hussein posters and celebrating his imminent demise. Fear, the Coalition argued, was keeping people in check. Officials here tried to lower expectations as troops headed into Baghdad early this week. But to their surprise, the city quickly turned on its leader and provided just the evidence the Coalition wanted to convince audiences at home, and especially here in the Arab world, that theirs is a welcome war in the historic capital.Much more than great pictures...
  • A Soldier's Soldier

    If it had been completely up to General Tommy Franks we might never have known about his top secret trip "forward" into Iraq Monday. He's no fan of press--especially his own.But Franks liked the idea that bringing a pool reporter along on his seven-hour foray would help shine the spotlight on the troops in the field. He takes every chance to deflect attention toward them. When a soldier asked to have a picture taken with the general, Franks replied: "Why would anyone want a picture of me? I'm an old ugly son-of-a-(expletive)," reported John Broder of The New York Times, the chosen reporter who was the eyes and ears for the rest of the press corps back at Central Command.Franks had always planned to visit Iraq--it was just a matter of when. Monday the weather was right and so too were security conditions. That's his M.O. as a commander: visiting troops on the battlefield. "I love them. I actually love them and it's good for me to see them in the environment in which they're doing...
  • Front Line: Untold Stories--The War's Weathermen

    While everyone was watching the biggest sandstorm of the season plague troops in the south of Iraq, the real weather drama was in the north."It wasn't so much the sandstorm to the south as the gusty winds and low ceiling to the north that kept us on pins and needles," explains Air Force Capt. Mark Coggins, 35, one of about 500 deployed weather forecasters.It may seem folly to trust military victory to a weatherman. But World War II buffs know that D-Day depended on a fateful forecast. And military forecasters are different creatures than the TV anchors who tell you skies are clear when you can hear thunderclouds clapping overhead. Coggins, who works in the Joint Operations Center (JOC) here at Central Command in Qatar, has his finger on probably the world's most specific weather report: the Joint Operation Area Forecast.This five-day forecast culls information from myriad satellites high above the earth all the way down to satellite-phone calls from grunts monitoring conditions on...
  • 'She's Alive'

    It sounded like one of those fanciful Hollywood scripts. On Tuesday night, more than 1,000 Navy Seals, Army Rangers, Marines and Air Force pilots joined forces for a mission to get back one American POW: Private First Class Jessica Lynch, a "junior enlisted" soldier with a maintenance division.The military had received HumInt (human intelligence) that the 19-year-old--a member of a maintenance unit that was ambushed more than a week ago--was being held at Saddam Hospital in the southern city of Nasiriya. The intel also suggested that the hospital was being used as a military staging area. But the U.S. troops were after her, not Iraqi soldiers. "Some brave souls put their lives on the line, loyal to a creed that they know," Brig. Gen. Vince Brooks said at a middle-of-the night briefing announcing Lynch's rescue. "They will never leave a fallen comrade behind."The special-ops forces dropped in well outside the city and sneaked up on the compound in the dark for the "snatch." Just...
  • Front Line: The Io Options

    Every day coalition forces are bombarding Iraqi cities and towns with leaflets, nearly 30 million of them since October and counting. The latest message: Stay Home!They want civilians off the roads and bridges. With Iraqi paramilitary troops dressing as civilians and, in some cases, using them as human shields, it is even more imperative that the United States get that message out. Saddam's army has also been targeted with information. Some leaflets--and radio broadcasts--tell them how to surrender, others warn them not to use chemical or biological weapons. One leaflet enlarged on the big screens at the Central Command press briefing yesterday warned WE CAN SEE EVERYTHING.These days psychological warfare is called Information Operations because it's more informational than disinformational. The so-called "truth and consequences" leaflets have had some tangible effect so far. Even before the war officially started, 17 Iraqi soldiers surrendered waving leaflets. "They are like 'get...
  • Media: Live From Qatar!

    The "battle rhythm" at Central Command's press center in Qatar is set to the tune of Islam's call to prayer. That daily schedule shows the times of strategy sessions, meetings and briefings--and the exact times of the five daily prayer sessions for Muslims. The plans say that Gen. Tommy Franks will never do a press conference that overlaps with prayer. When he does brief reporters, his Texas drawl will likely be translated into Arabic.As part of the public opinion war, the Pentagon has been reaching out to the Arab Street and Main Street. Soldiers based in Qatar have been chatting with radio talk shows in their hometowns and joining Internet chats on Web sites from oprah.com to bbcnews.com. It's a strategy Franks's communications director, Jim Wilkinson, helped develop at the White House, where he worked until recently: take your message straight to the people.But that hardly means reporters are being ignored. The White House briefing room is famously dilapidated, but CENTCOM has...
  • In The Bunker With Tommy Franks

    It's already a cliche. Gen. Tommy Franks is no Norman Schwarzkopf--the loquacious general who ran Gulf War I. And that's just fine with this war's top general, who has been quoted saying that exact same thing about himself. Schwarzkopf was the face of Desert Storm. He and his ego became recognizable TV personalities. Franks did his first briefing here at Central Command headquarters in Doha, Qatar on Saturday, three days into the war. He came across as modest, earnest and not much of a story teller--at least from the podium. He made no apologies for his belated appearance or embargoing the news until today. "We're a bit sensitive about the possibility of leaking information that risks the lives of our people who are engaged in this work," the general told a packed room of international reporters.Fair enough, but there has been a feeling around here that even the most basic information is classified. After today, Franks will be turning most of the briefings over to the telegenic Gen....
  • Front Lines: Waiting

    One of the hottest selling items at the PX--the Post Exchange store--here at Camp As Saliyah in Qatar has been a folding deck chair.There has been a lot of sitting around waiting for diplomacy to take its course. On Tuesday morning, many soldiers rose at 3:45 a.m. and made their way to the TV lounges in their warehouse barracks to listen to President Bush's address. Most were relieved to hear the president give Saddam Hussein a firm deadline. The uncertainty will be over shortly--and so too the chance to sit.The soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines setting up the new press center here at Central Command already feel like they've run a marathon. On my last visit to base, phone lines were being installed for the hordes of reporters who will descend on General Tommy Franks's first briefing probably later this week. Reporters were moving into their offices along "Ernie Pyle Corridor," named for the great war correspondent. Just around the corner is "Coalition Way," where the Aussies...
  • Front Lines: High-Tech Battle Planning

    Talk about productivity gains. During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, it used to take hours to get the ATO (Air Tasking Order) to aircraft carriers. Some poor soldier at Saudi Arabia's Prince Sultan Air Base would have to print out the comprehensive flight schedules for the region-a telephone-book-size document that charts everything from cargo hauls to bombing runs.Then he'd lug that to a pilot who flew it to the carriers. Twelve years later, that same information is sent in a 10-megabyte file. "Nowadays we just hit the send button on e-mail," explains Navy Cmdr. Mike Wilson, who is helping run the Joint Operations Center, the war's technological hub at Camp As Sayliyah in Qatar.I joined a tour of the JOC, as it's called, the other night. From the outside, it looks like just another one of the ubiquitous desert-tan tents inside one of the ubiquitous desert-tan warehouses on base. And it looks pretty low-tech at that. Big air-conditioning tubes covered in a kind of tinfoil extend from...
  • Front Lines: The Comforts Of Qatar

    There are no highway signs directing you to Camp As Sayliyah, Central Command's desert headquarters in Qatar. Driving instructions are as follows: take the Western industrial road out of the capital, Doha, and just keep going across the flat, gravelly land for about a half an hour until you see a big checkpoint.In this hazy terrain devoid of landmarks, it's actually possible to miss the 262-acre site. And that's just the way both the U.S. military and the Emir of Qatar like it. "We don't want to leave a large footprint," Lt. Cmdr. Charles Owens, my guide around the base, explained.The emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, invited the U.S. military here in the mid-1990s. The oil- and natural-gas-rich country is a tiny peninsula that juts out off Saudi Arabia. On the map, it even looks precarious. Tensions with its giant neighbors in the region drove the royal government to befriend the United States in return for protection. Though it has only a small air force of its own, the...
  • Sci-Fi War Uniforms?

    It was the ultimate laboratory experiment. Prof. Ned Thomas and eight scientists from MIT last month traded in their white coats for military outfits at Fort Polk, La. The team was there to study soldiers in the field--and particularly their uniforms. Just what happens to a Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) "when an 18-year-old gets his hands on it?" asks Thomas, director of MIT's new Army-funded Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (ISN). It was all well and good for the Ph.D.s to use computer models up at MIT, but live data from the rainy woods where troops train were invaluable.The Army unit coming off a six-day exercise emerged in soaked, muddy uniforms. Thomas, along with the other engineers, wanted to know how many extra BDUs the troops had to carry along. Answer: none. Given a choice between dry clothes and extra weaponry, a soldier opts for ammo every time. Thomas then asked, "If you had a magic wand, what would you change?" Soldier after soldier replied he'd like a lighter load...
  • Frontlines: Greetings From Natick, Mass.

    The recruits call it Camp Happy. Instead of dodging bullets, the troops at the Army's Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Mass., test out new uniforms, food and gear. The work does have its hazards. You ever eat an experimental MRE--a "Meal, Ready to Eat"?To see how both the gear and their bodies hold up in different climates, the "human research volunteers" get hooked up to physiological monitors then exercise in the heat and cold. Natick's climatic chambers range from 70 degrees below to 165 degrees Fahrenheit, though no human has ever been subjected to those extremes. The research is a lot more scientific--and safe--than it was when the center opened in 1952. Back then, two commanders tested out new body armor by one trying it on and the other shooting a revolver at him.Natick, for all its success, was born out of failure. In World War II, soldiers found that the leftover gear from the last war wasn't made for the jungles of the South Pacific. Within days, their tents disintegrated...
  • Frontlines: Packing For War

    "Will you be around any refugees?" the nurse at the Traveler's Medical Service in Washington asked me. "Maybe," I said, still unclear exactly where all I might go in the Middle East if and when we go to war. "Then you'll need a vaccine for meningitis," she said. It was just a quick prick; I was clearly in good hands.When I told her that I was getting a visa for Turkey, she whipped out her malaria book. "Limited risk exists May through October in the southeastern part of the country from the coastal city of Mersin to the Iraqi border." In other words, possible refugee country--a likely place for a journalist. She hooked me up with a prescription for Aralen just in case.Just in case. That's been my motto as I get ready to cover this probable war. I leave in a week. Initially, I'll be what's known as--not affectionately--a "Hotel Warrior." I'm going to be based in the tiny country of Qatar, where Central Command will have its headquarters. My friends and relatives keep asking me if I'm...