The Nation: Ion the Speedometer

"Eight miles over the speed limit," declared the police officer, but Paul VanderMaat was incredulous. No matter what the radar said, he had been driving no faster than 25 m.p.h. in Los Alamos, N. Mex. Home he went to consult some books, and a few weeks later he ex plained to Judge Raymond E. Hunter that he had been nabbed about ten minutes before a thunderstorm, just when the oncoming electricity creates ionized particles in the air that can throw radar out of kilter. Case dismissed.

Hunter is only a part-time judge and, like VanderMaat, a theoretical physicist at the Los Alamos...

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