The Song of the South

Hanoi's Communists won the Vietnam War, but Southern-born reformers are leading an economic boom as the country opens up to the world.

Death Squads Online

Not long ago, Mohammed Kika found out that his name had appeared on a London-based Web site run by Sunni exiles from Iraq. The Baghdad man was accused of betraying other Sunnis to a Shiite militia in the mixed neighborhood of Mansour, receiving a $200 bounty for each one he identified. The posting even disclosed the name of the barbershop where Kika could be found. He ran for his life, friends and family told NEWSWEEK. At first he hid out in the Shiite neighborhood of Karrada, and then he fled...

The New Space Race

The future of the space industry is a 27-square-mile piece of desert in New Mexico near the White Sands Missile Range, about an hour's drive from the nearest city, Las Cruces. The skies are clear 320 days of the year--ideal for flight--and the only mark of civilization is a largely barren rocket launchpad. The idea is that civilian passengers from around the world will arrive by plane and depart straight upward into outer space. "I've always been a space nut," says Gov. Bill Richardson, who...

Straight To The Heart

Toward the end of July, Capt. Brad Velotta began daydreaming a lot. He thought about making the summer's last run of salmon in Alaska's Russian River, where bears lumber down from the woods and chase fishermen out of the water. He thought about getting a kitten for his 3-year-old daughter, Sophia. Most of all, Velotta hoped to see his 83-year-old grandmother Mary one last time before she died of cancer. "She thought she could hold on," says Velotta's father, Albert, at the family home in...

The Digital Dark Age

When Richard Masters worries about how much digital information is lost to posterity every day, he thinks back to 1972. That year Landsat began transmitting a steady stream of infrared images of Earth, giving scientists their first clear view of how the planet's surface changes over time. NASA stored the images for posterity on reels of tape, which aged so badly that researchers almost lost these priceless images. A clever NASA engineer recently revived the tape by baking the reels in an...

Bigger, Faster, Longer

Steve Fossett's fastest toys don't fit in his garage. That's impressive when you consider what he does keep under the roof at his oceanfront mansion in southern California: a $205,000 Ferrari 465 GT and a $234,000 Aston Martin Vanquish, both of which can hit 186mph. But when Fossett wants to go really fast, he takes a jaunt on his $17 million Citation X, the speediest personal jet on the market. For Fossett, a 61-year-old retired trader in soybean futures, the possibilities abound. Perhaps...

Luxurious Reading

Richard David Story edits a magazine so exclusive it has no name. To get a subscription you have to hold a Centurion card, offered by American Express by invitation only to those who spend at least $200,000 a year on their cards.Believe it or not, this beyond-glossy category is booming. With disposable income rising fast at the high end, dozens of new titles have hit the market; about 5 percent of the 6,200 U.S. magazines are geared toward high-end consumers. You can't pick up these "controlled...

GETTING THERE'S ALL THE FUN

Steve Fossett's fastest toys don't fit in his garage. This fact is impressive when you consider what he does keep under the roof at his oceanfront mansion in southern California: a Ferrari 465 GT, priced at $205,000, and a $234,000 Aston Martin Vanquish, both of which can hit 300kph on a straightaway. When Fossett wants to go really fast, he heads to the local airport for a jaunt on his $17 million Citation X, the speediest personal jet on the market. For Fossett, a 61-year-old retired trader...

ALL TV SHOWS, ALL THE TIME

Suranga Chandratillake spent the last two years developing software to make sure fans won't ever miss another episode of "The Apprentice." Or any other television show, for that matter. As the founder of Blinkx, a search engine for audio and video files, he designed a computer system for the TV networks to permanently archive their broadcasts online. He's taking the shows of his clients--including Fox News, MTV and other networks--and making them accessible by a simple word search. For viewers,...

End of the Big Binge

There are basically two kinds of people who buy big-screen TVs: the bachelor and the married guy. In this view, according to David Katzmaier, a TV reviewer and senior editor at CNET.com, the married guy makes "compromises"; he looks for a less intrusive screen that "blends in," perhaps sacrificing size to his wife's taste in interior design. The bachelor has a different goal in mind: showing off to his friends who have come over to watch the game. "A 60-inch LCD screen is going to impress them...

THE NEW VIDEO LIBRARIES

Suranga Chandratillake spent the last two years developing software to make sure fans won't ever miss another episode of "The Apprentice." Or any other television show, for that matter. As the founder of Blinkx, a search engine for audio and video files, he designed a computer system for the television networks to permanently archive their broadcasts online. He's taking his clients' shows--including Fox News, MTV and other TV networks--and making them accessible by a simple word search. It'll...

THE GAS MISER

Richard Pearce has turned out his old love, a 1989 Dodge pickup truck. In 2002 the 50-year-old retired soldier and his wife decided to bring a Toyota Prius hybrid back to their Virginia home. They "fell in love with the technology," which uses an electric motor at low speeds and a small engine at high speeds to power the car with a lot less gas. Now a new 2004 Prius sits in the garage alongside the older model, and the pickup languishes in the driveway, used sparingly to haul garbage to the...

THE GAS MISERS

Richard Pearce has turned out his old love, a 1989 Dodge pickup truck. In 2002 the 50-year-old retired soldier and his wife decided to bring a Toyota Prius hybrid back to their Virginia home. They "fell in love with the technology," which uses an electric motor at low speeds and a small engine at high speeds to power the car with a lot less gas. Now a new, 2004 Prius sits in the garage alongside the older model, and the pickup languishes in the driveway, used sparingly to haul garbage to the...

The Gas Misers

Richard Pearce has turned out his old love, a 1989 Dodge pickup truck. In 2002 the 50-year-old retired soldier and his wife decided to bring a Toyota Prius hybrid back to their Virginia home. They "fell in love with the technology," which uses an electric motor at low speeds and a small engine at high speeds to power the car with a lot less gas. Now a new, 2004 Prius sits in the garage alongside the older model, and the pickup languishes in the driveway, used sparingly to haul garbage to the...

SNAP JUDGEMENT: BOOKS

Civilization and Its Enemies: The Next Stage of History by Lee HarrisSeptember 11 raised a vexing question: "Why do they hate us?" Lee Harris dispenses with hand-wringing about root causes of Arab unrest and blames our problems on an evolution in world conflict. The prime threats to stability are now individuals whose political aims are unreachable. Harsh but refreshingly realistic, he views America as the only legitimate, strong and moral authority that can lead the fight against those who...

Pasting The Grade

Bilveer Singh has his own name for cheating in the digital age: "A and A," or "alteration and amendment." An associate political-science professor at the National University of Singapore, Singh grades hundreds of papers each year. In every batch, he says, there are always a few that are less than original. Nowadays, the suspect source is usually the Internet. "I've caught students quoting chunks of paragraphs," says Singh. "But they are getting smarter." Hence the rise of A and A: cutting a...

FINDING E-LOVE IN THE EU

With the continued expansion of the European Union, cross-border business, leisure and travel has never been easier. Why should romance be any different? Nowadays, the biggest challenge to finding a mate may be finding the time to meet them. Just like a growing number of single men and women in the United States, an increasing number of Europeans are turning to online dating to solve that problem: earlier this month Match.com started up a partnership with Europe's largest Internet service,...

JOY RIDE

When the engineers at General Motors' Advanced Technology Group designed their latest concept car, called Hy-Wire, they didn't have your average middle-aged SUV-driving suburbanite in mind. Instead they were aiming at a new generation of customers--the ones holed up right now in their parents' basements or in some Internet cafe, driving, shooting and looting their way through Grand Theft Auto.Hy-Wire got a fair amount of attention at last fall's Paris Auto Show because it uses environmentally...

Space Plane

Once Allan Paull had backed his sport utility vehicle as close as he could get to the launchpad, he and his colleagues started unloading stacks of scientific textbooks from the trailer hitch. This was Paull's 10th road trip to the Woomera air base, more than 3,000 kilometers from his lab at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, and he knew from experience that books were just the thing to hold his precious cargo in place. It didn't look like much: a wedge-shaped box a meter long, like...