Vhs To Dvd: Convert Now

What's to love about videotapes? They take up shelf space, the picture gets grainy after multiple playbacks and they can fade to black after a decade or two.

The Phantom Media Blitz

Nobody makes you want it like George Lucas. I've been waiting for various "Star Wars" sequels since 1977, when I watched the first one, sitting on my father's lap in Grauman's Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard.

A Little Space Music

What Kind Of music do you like?" asks Jeff Snyder, systems vice president of XM Radio. I hesitate before answering. Snyder is threading a big maroon Cadillac through Washington, D.C., traffic while simultaneously showing off a cute piece of Sony hardware.

Comic Genius

My normal friends--the ones who don't collect comic books or know "Star Trek" episodes by their titles--watched the World Trade Center collapse with a sense of never having seen anything like that before.We geeks, though, had.

A New Wave Of Commanders

The war against terrorism has no front line and will probably never lead to a decisive battle like the climactic last day of Operation Desert Storm, when Gen.

The Science Of Summer

SAND: Building a Castle in the Sky The 80 master sand sculptors gathering at Harrison Hot Springs in British Columbia next month for the 2001 World Championship won't build their mermaids, cathedrals, swans and Bill Clinton caricatures with just any grains of sand.

It's Still Alive!

Have some sympathy for John Roberts and David Frederick. They're attorneys representing the government in Microsoft's appeal of the most famous antitrust trial since AT&T.

Getting Back In The Ring

It seems like a different era now, that distant time when the government's antitrust action against Microsoft was first filed in 1997. The dotcom era was dawning (now it's in a sullen cocktail hour), Bill Gates's riches were headed toward $100 billion (these days the poor guy scrapes by on less than $50 billion) and AOL wasn't yet in the business of making movies and selling Daffy Duck denim jackets. (It hadn't even bought Microsoft's browser rival Netscape.) Yet the case plods on, now headed...

Report From La: Coming Home

The moment I remembered how to be an Angeleno came, appropriately, on the freeway. The car in front of me wasn't taking full advantage of what a freeway at midnight has to offer--that is, stupidly fast driving.

The Big Bang Is Back

This is probably not the way the world ends: sometime this fall, researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory will tap a few commands into a computer terminal, bringing their new particle accelerator--the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, or RHIC--up to full power.

Making Small Planes Safer

Anyone who's flown in an airplane has felt the odd, disconnected sensation of looking out the window and seeing that the plane is banking into a turn, and yet knowing that the floor of the cabin is still solidly "down." It's called spatial disorientation, and for air passengers it's less annoying than, say, crummy food.

Nowhere To Go For Help

A seven-and-a-half-hour flight to the most isolated outpost on the planet is a tough mission. But once the Air Force C-141 Starlifter dropped its cargo into the bitterly cold Antarctic night, the flight crew got to turn around and go home.

Financial Exposure

Shortly after Easter 1998 a funny thing happened at the offices of one of Wall Street's great investment-banking firms. In the gleaming tower that's home to Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, amid the spreadsheets and debentures that only an M.B.A.

How Chip Designers Leave Their Mark

What happens to art majors once they graduate? Designing computer chips seems to be an option. Microscope buff Michael Davidson stumbled onto the practice of etching images on chip surfaces four years ago, when he found hide-and-seek champ Waldo staring back at him from a microprocessor.

It's A Pokemon Planet

LAURA THOMPSON ONCE HAD all she could do to get her 8-year-old, Spencer, out of bed before school every morning. Now the boy sets his alarm for 6:25, leaps out of bed a millisecond later and plops himself in front of the tube for the daily adventures of Pokemon.

Lynx To The Past

THE FIRST WILD LYNX TO roam Colorado's San Juan Mountains in 25 years initially wanted nothing to do with the place. Surrounded by a clutch of biologists from the Colorado Division of Wildlife last week, the young female from Canada remained obstinately curled inside her metal box.

The New War Against Migraines

It flattens you out, the woman says, describing the pain that seems to lie, throbbing, just inside the skull, so that she can feel her blood vessels pulse and tingle with every heartbeat.

When Pain Runs In The Family

When Anthony Stall got his first piercing headache at the age of 4, his mother, Karyn, recognized his pain, nausea and aversion to light and sound--she's had migraines since she was 7.

Well, Here We Go Again

BALANCING A DRUG'S BENEFITS against its side effects is tricky business. That was the lesson in September when American Home Products, the maker of two drugs for treating obesity--Redux (dexfenfluramine) and Pondimin (fenfluramine, which with the diet drug phentermine constituted ""fen-phen'')--pulled them from the market after suggestions that they might cause a deadly heart-valve disease.

The Shape Of Things That Didn't Come

WE GOT lucky last summer. The world should have ended on Aug. 29, when a secret government satellite called Skynet became self-aware and tried to eradicate all human life.

The Terrors Of Toxins

FOR ALL THE UPHEAVAL IT CAUSED, the last gulf war was essentially a regional dispute. The current crisis centers on a far bigger and scarier issue: the growing threat of chemical and biological weapons.

Rebuilding The Male Machine

PHYSICIANS HAVE SPENT CENTUries trying to pump life into flagging male sex organs. Until recently, the treatments were crude and the options limited. But impotence research has come of age in the past two decades, and the arsenal is exploding.

Trading On Diana's Name

IT HAS BEEN ALMOST TWO months since the tragic car crash in Paris, but Diana mania rages on. One tribute to the princess made history last week: Elton John's "Candle in the Wind '97" became the biggest-selling single ever, with 81.8 million CDs shipped worldwide in just 88 days.

Weighty Problems

FOR A WHILE THERE, IT SOUNDED great. Take a couple of pills, get rid of those pesky 10 pounds hanging around since last Christmas. The drugs - a tongue-twisting pair called fenfluramine and phentermine, or fen-phen - were intended to treat serious obesity, not cosmetic insecurity.

Miracles That May Keep You Going

RIGHT NOW THE BEST WAYS OF ADDING A FEW YEARS TO YOUR life involve a lot of hard work. But medical science has a knack for making quantum leaps, as it did with vaccines andantibiotics.

Magic's Kingdom

IT MIGHT NOT HAVE WOWED NEW- ton, but what Richard Garfield, then a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, did over three months back in 1991 surely ranks among the great achievements by a mathematician, right up there with the discove ry that people will pay 18 percent interest on their credit cards if you call it 1i percent a month.

Covering The World

BACK IN 1990 MICRO-soft overlord Bill Gates and cellular-telephone pioneer Craig McCaw introduced what was arguably the most audacious plan in modern telecommunications: a network of satellites--hundreds of them--forming a worldwide "Internet in the sky," beaming data anywhere in the world 35 times faster than the fastest analog modem.

Turning A New Leaf

WHEN ONE GUY IN A CASE FINALLY squeals, it's champagne time in the prosecutor's camp and ulcer time for the defense. Sure enough, tobacco opponents broke out in cheers and press briefings last week, when Liggett Group became the first of the major cigarette makers to say the magic words: cigarettes cause cancer, nicotine is addictive and we market directly to your kids.

War Of The Worlds

EVEN BEFORE scientists from NASA and Stanford University stunned the world last August by announcing that a meteorite contained evidence of past life on Mars, their research deviated a bit from run-of-the-mill science.

For $6,000, You Get A Pencil With The Answers Inc

IT WAS A SWEET LITTLE scam, as the Feds tell it. Prospective students respond to an ad promising a ""unique'' method that guarantees high scores on several standardized tests required for entry by most graduate schools.

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