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An authoritative, easy-to-use guide to the advanced systems and techniques that are making--or will soon make--a major impact on our lives, in such areas as computing, communications, biotechnology, medicine, national defense, space, education, entertainment, and the environment. The Cutting Edge includes 120 original entries that go far beyond basic technological information to include: the history of a technology, how it works, its present applications and the issues--ethical, legal, environmental, political, scientific--which surround it. It serves a wide audience, from high school students and their teachers in science and social studies courses to college undergraduates and general readers who want to know not only how a new technology works--but also understand its historical context and the potential impact on our lives.