Editorial: The big freeze
Welcome to our frozen issue. It's a seasonally snowy issue if you're looking forward to a cosy Dickensian fireside Christmas in Europe. Or it's a seasonally ice-cold beer sort of issue if you're looking forward to a bbq on the beach Christmas in Oz.
We take you to both ends of the Earth this issue. Juan Pablo Conti, our correspondent in Argentina, discovers what a picture of a frozen tsunami says about communications in the Antarctic (p34), and the special problems they face such as overheating - yes, overheating. Also in the Antarctic is the telescope under the ice, where sensors aren't looking for new planets but for the sub-atomic building blocks of the universe. Guy Richards reports on p40.
At the other frozen extreme, Nick Smith boards an impressive piece of engineering, the 50 Years of Victory nuclear icebreaker, to the North Pole (p20). On page 24, Pelle Neroth doesn't go quite as far north, but not far short, as he continues his series on Scandinavian innovation with oil, gas and other exploration in the frozen seas off Norway. And we look at the difficulties in making polar research stations self-sufficient for their energy needs (p46).
In less extreme climates, Luke Collins looks at progress in taking superconductors out of the lab and off the ice on p37. We take a look at how ice could help to tackle global warming (p50) and our final cold spell comes from our inventors Mark Sheahan and Patrick Andrews on page 82, who consider cunning ways to avoid last winter's snowbound standstill in Britain.
Our big freeze continues online though. In our readers' articles section at http://kn.theiet.org/magazine/rateit/ [new window], Carl N Robinson of the British Antarctic Survey explains how the latest equipment allows scientists to explore the inner workings of glaciers and ice sheets.
It's cold, but still not as cold as the look our chief designer gave us when we suggested snow, a sprig of holly and a robin perched on top of the E&T masthead. Oh, come on, it's Christmas, we urged. Bah, humbug, he said. But we do have a couple of festive items for you. Those 'if you like this you will also like…' messages that appear when you're shopping online are sometimes made by 'recommendation engines'. Find out how well they work in our IT section on page 54.
Now it's nearly holiday time, you can take a moment to wind down with our competition to win one of our unusual mousemats. Our archives department at Savoy Place in London dug out this remarkable original sign and we had them printed up onto mousemats which will only be available as prizes (not available to buy, rather like a Blue Peter badge). Just answer this cryptic question: who became the backbone of E&T during 2009? Send your answers to email@example.com or the postal address by 4 January 2010. The first ten correct answers we draw each get a mousemat.
Finally, I just need to warn you that in response to the cold economic climate, we'll be sending you slightly fewer issues of E&T next year (18 instead of the usual 21). But don't forget to visit us online for news, technical articles from the specialist engineering experts (that's you) and much more. Our next issue will be dated 23 January 2010.
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