Beer, Not Bombs

Back story

2 min read

Executive Editor Glenn Zorpette traveled to Iraq this past January with a secret wish: that he would at some point get close enough to a roadside bomb to see it with his own eyes.

Little could he know that not only was he going to see a bomb, he was also going to help two U.S. Navy bomb-disposal specialists blow it up. One of them snapped a picture [above] just as Zorpette [at right] pulled the pin on an igniter that blew up a charge placed on the bomb by a robot.

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The Great Ventilator Rush

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, engineers launched extraordinary crash programs that produced scores of ventilator designs. What will happen to them now?

14 min read
Not Rocket Science: Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory built a working ventilator prototype in a 37-day period spanning the months of March and April 2020.
Photo: JPL-Caltech/NASA

The projections were horrifying. Experts were forecasting upwards of 100 million people in the United States infected with the novel coronavirus, with 2 percent needing intensive care, and half of those requiring the use of medical ventilators.

In early March, it seemed as if the United States might need a million ventilators to cope with COVID-19—six times as many as hospitals had at the time. The federal government launched a crash purchasing program for 200,000 of the complex devices, but they would take months to arrive and cost tens of thousands of dollars each.

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