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Technology

Saints + Sinners: Computer Gamers Do Serious Research

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Saint: Google


In August, Google’s Street View began mapping the Amazon via riverboat and tricycle to create an affordable and bug-free way to tour the region’s rain forest. The first goal is to capture images of forests and communities along 30 miles of the Rio Negro in northwest Brazil.

Sinner: Dupont

The chemical company DuPont is offering compensation to landscapers and property owners because its weed killer, Imprelis, also kills trees. The Environmental Protection Agency ordered the company to halt sales in August after discovering that Imprelis was linked to thousands of evergreen deaths around the country.

Saints: Foldit Gamers


Players of the online game Foldit, created by University of Washington scientists Zoran Popović and David Baker, have unraveled the structure of a protein that plays a crucial role in how the AIDS virus reproduces. The puzzle stumped scientists for more than a decade, but gamers solved it in three weeks. Their finding could lead to better HIV medicines.

Sinner: Stewart Nozette

Former NASA investigator Stewart Nozette pleaded guilty to attempted espionage this September. In 2009 he accepted $11,000 in cash in exchange for passing classified materials about U.S. satellite defense systems to an undercover FBI agent posing as an Israeli intelligence officer.

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