Fred Guterl

The Nerds Of Weather

The sun is just poking over the hills of central Pennsylvania. The cars in the parking lot are thick with dew. For hours now, Elliot Abrams, the chief meteorologist at AccuWeather, has been sitting in his cramped, windowless office, working the phones like a stockbroker during a crash.

Pondering The Future's Future

He changed the future without ever winning an election or commanding an army. All Albert Einstein did was have an idea. It's not a particularly easy one to grasp in all its ramifications, but the basic insight he expressed in his 1905 paper on special relativity is almost childlike in its simplicity.

Special Report: Futurology

He changed the future without ever winning a vote or commanding an army. All Albert Einstein did was have an idea. It's not a particularly easy one to grasp in all its ramifications, but the basic insight he expressed in his 1905 paper on special relativity is almost childlike in its simplicity.

All In The Family

Ahounta Djimdoumalbaye awoke before sunrise with his three fellow hunters. It was July 19, 2001, and they had driven nine days through the Djourab desert, a vast, primordial desolation in the central African country of Chad where renegade former soldiers roam in search of plunder, and daytime temperatures would clock 136 in the shade--if any existed.

Traveling Sharks

The huge shark in "Jaws" liked to hang around Martha's Vineyard. But it turns out that great whites prefer to roam. Marine biologist Peter Pyle attached electronic tags to four great whites off the coast of northern California two years ago. "We kind of had an idea they'd head south to Baja," where there's a feeding ground off the coast, he says.

What's Killing The Frogs?

As a boy, Gary Fellers spent summers chasing after frogs in the lakes and ponds of Yosemite National Park. He even kept a field notebook, just like naturalists in the early 20th century who described mountain yellow-legged frogs covering the lakeshores.

Evolution: Birds Do It

In his book about evolution "Origin of Species," Charles Darwin described how the daily struggle for food and sex ultimately determines the future of a species, be it dinosaur, bird or human.

A Delicate Challenge

By the time Lee Morin had rocketed up in the space shuttle Atlantis last week, he had rehearsed his mission for more than a year in NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Lab.

When Wells Go Dry

As Kenneth Deffeyes walks the five blocks from the Princeton University campus to his home, he veers sharply through a parking lot and then without warning takes a diagonal path across a side street.

In The Germ Labs

Bakyt Atshabar has worked for the anti-plague Institute for more than 25 years, and for much of that time there was little need for security guards and fences and heavy metal doors with keypad locks.

Brave New Foods

Watching plants grow was never Hugh Mason's idea of a good time. He was always more interested in organic molecules--DNA, proteins, viruses--than in the organisms themselves.

Down-Home Diplomacy

There was no vestige of the cold-war chill in Crawford, Texas, last week. President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, had Russian President Vladimir Putin down to their Prairie Chapel Ranch for a dose of diplomacy, Texas style.

What Can Iraq Do?

Unlike nuclear bombs and deadly chemicals, biological weapons are easy to hide and easy to smuggle. Unfortunately, that also makes them easy to underestimate.

How Real Is The Placebo Effect?

The medical establishment has long held that a substance can have a medicinal effect simply because a patient believes it will. The conventional wisdom about this placebo effect, which harks back to a paper published in 1955, has been that it works for one patient in three.

The Creation Equation

Pity the cosmologists. These wizards of science come to work each day and think about how the universe began, why it is what it is, and what exists beyond the mere 6 trillion-trillion-mile stretch that we can see with our most powerful telescopes.

The Wasteland

Sixteen years ago Ramzys Faizullyn had the misfortune of being born in Novaya Kurmanova, a poor village near the Ural Mountains in the shadow of the Mayak nuclear-fuel reprocessing plant.

The Space Siren

The Delta Clipper was a squat little rocket shaped like an inverted ice-cream cone. It never did much. One day in June 1995, out on the White Sands missile range in New Mexico, it rose slowly on a plume of exhaust to a modest height of 2,800 feet, hovered for a moment and settled itself gently back down on the desert floor.

The Legacy Of Mir: Falling Star

People who have lived on the Mir space station say that things seem particularly three-dimensional up there. The main living quarters, about the size of a Greyhound bus, are decorated with carpeting on the floor and lights on the ceiling, but weightlessness belies these conventions.

An Aids Drug-Price War

People infected with the HIV virus can stay alive indefinitely, but only if they can afford drug treatments that cost $10,000 to $15,000 a year in the United States.

A New Weapon Against Ebola

Scientists don't know very much about the ebola virus that has wreaked havoc since 1976, most recently in Uganda this autumn. But they have long known the disease's most potent weapon: its speed.

A Cosmic Gift Of Great Price

Jim Brook didn't actually see the fireball himself. Nor did he hear the thunderclap. On the morning of Jan. 18, 2000, he happened to be running an errand in Whitehorse, a town in the northeast corner of British Columbia about 10 miles from his home on Tagish Lake, where he and his elderly mother are the only year-round residents.

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