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Developments to Watch


-- Scientists at the University of California at Berkeley have developed a rust-resistant steel for concrete reinforcing bars that's cheaper than stainless steel. Rods made of Fermar that were embedded in concrete and left in warm salt water for a year showed no corrosion.

-- CareBorne Inc. of Reno, Nev., sells crutches with an extension that curls up behind the shoulder blade. That simple addition increases stability and reduces any underarm irritation experienced by the wearer. The so-called Hope crutches are becoming increasingly popular among college and professional sports teams.

-- Environmentalists say lead sinkers and jigheads used in fishing are polluting lakes and streams. Du-Co Ceramics Co. of Saxonburg, Pa., has responded with a product line that replaces lead with a highly inert magnesium silicate ceramic called steatite.

-- Wanted: a 10,000- to 14,000-ft. mountain in the Southwestern United States to be used as a rocket launchpad. According to NASA's Advanced Concepts & Technology Office, a steeply angled mountainside track would accelerate rockets to 600 mph before they flew off the summit, eliminating the need for a throwaway first stage.EDITED BY PETER COY

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