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February 17, 2004
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  A Special Issue on Energy and the Environment  
     
  Seeking Knowledge from the Natural World  
Humans pour billions of tons of carbon into the air every year. To find someplace besides the atmosphere to put it, scientists are studying the geology of the Texas Gulf Coast.
     
Some communities of wild microbes thrive where nothing else can live. They could help us clean up the environment, but until now it has been almost impossible to sequence their genomes.
     
     
  Feature Stories  
     
No, not Orlando Bloom or Liv Tyler; Elves is a hierarchy of computer programs that rapidly solves protein structures.
     
A fast, cheap, sensitive way to detect molecular interactions eschews sophisticated equipment in favor of thousands of microscopic glass beads.
     
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  Applying Knowledge for Wiser Energy Use  
The New York Times Company is building a transparent Manhattan headquarters building 52 stories tall, to let the sun shine in and save electricity.
     
Using energy mostly means burning fuel, but we know surprisingly little about basic combustion. A new computing solution simulates flames with remarkable success.
     
Building a better battery may be the key to energy-saving vehicles. The first step is testing experimental battery materials from labs around the world.