Not Your Grandma’s Science Fair

CNN stands out

It’s that time of year. On Tuesday, the National Weather Service predicted that the upcoming 2007 hurricane season would have more tropical storms than normal. Forecasters say eastern and gulf coast residents should expect thirteen to seventeen storms, seven to ten of which will become hurricanes.

In terms of breaking news coverage, there’s not a lot the press can do with an announcement like this. Most papers carried the Associated Press story by Randolph E. Schmid. CNN is among this group, but stood out for giving online readers at least one piece of value-added material. Correspondent John Zarrella heads to an unidentified exposition (in an unidentified city), which showcases “hundreds” of new hurricane preparedness and resistance products.

It’s a cool video—the footage of the expo is reminiscent of a high school science and inventions fair, with all kinds of crazy gadgetry from survival kits to plastic window armor that will resist 176-mph winds. The real gem is the “Rook,” a small Batmobile—like tank that, as the name implies, is designed for the endgame: extracting people from the worst storm-ravaged locations.

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Curtis Brainard writes on science and environment reporting. Follow him on Twitter @cbrainard.