Music historian Craig Monson had the rare privilege of doing research in the Vatican Archive reading room. That collection isn't indexed, and the archivists apparently are not eager to help with anything besides fetching books from the library, so researchers usually have to pore over lots of material before finding what they're after.
Egypt is facing a severe water shortage, which is getting worse as the population grows. Researchers at Alexandria University are developing an innovative desalination process using a membrane that binds with the salt as salt water passes through it. Since no electricity is used, the process requires about half the energy that other desalination methods use. It is hoped that the membrane, consisting of five components, can be mass-produced and used worldwide (Christian Science Monitor, October 28).