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With gadgets like these to work with, no wonder Julia Child quit the spy game

The National Archives' recent decision to open more than 35,000 official personnel files of men and women who served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS)—the U.S.'s intelligence agency during World War II and the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)—has shed new light on the roles that chef Julia Child, actor Sterling Hayden, 1950 Nobel Peace Prize winner Ralph Bunche and others played during the early days of American espionage.

August 15, 2008 — Larry Greenemeier

Lightweight aluminum v. a hand grenade, who wins?

Concrete and steel are the materials of choice when building buildings and vehicles that will protect soldiers from enemy fire. But a group of Norwegian researchers are testing another option: lightweight aluminum panels that can be filled with densely packed dirt, gravel, sand or any other nearby substance to provide protection without adding a lot of weight to a military's vehicles or structures, according to a recent report in the Norwegian research magazine Gemini .

August 14, 2008 — Larry Greenemeier

Tree climbing: climate change causes move up the mountain

From ragweed to pine trees, plant species are quickly climbing the slopes of the Santa Rosa Mountains in California. Since 1977, nine species of plants native to the region have shifted an average of 213 feet up the mountainsides, dying out at lower elevations and flourishing at higher ones as they pace climate change.

August 11, 2008 — David Biello

Invasion of the crustacean snatchers

The thawing of the fabled Northwest Passage on Canada's north coast isn't just an opportunity for humans to cut shipping times between Asia, Europe and North America—or squabble over oil.

August 8, 2008 — David Biello

Olympics begin, Beijing breathes sigh of relief...

…if not clean air. Smog continues to blanket the capital city, thanks to pollution from cars, illegal factories and uncooperative weather.

That has prompted some athletes to wear masks, which, besides looking silly, actually is silly.

August 8, 2008 — David Biello

Monsanto puts bovine growth hormone out to pasture

After years of legal wrangling over the proper labeling of milk from cows treated with its artificial hormone, Monsanto wants to sell its milk business—specifically, POSILAC, the bovine growth hormone given to cows to boost their production of milk.

August 7, 2008 — David Biello

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