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    The editors of Scientific American regularly encounter perspectives on science and technology that we believe our readers would find thought-provoking, fascinating, debatable and challenging. The guest blog is a forum for such opinions. The views expressed belong to the author and are not necessarily shared by Scientific American.

  • How Designers Can Improve Health Care for Everyone

    Designers craft experiences that function with humans, not in spite of them.

    The last place anyone expects to find a designer is in a hospital, clinic or operating room, but those are exactly the spaces where I embed myself. My first step toward this world occurred when I made fourteen paintings of microorganisms that explored the relationship between human development and disease. I was a sophomore at [...]

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    Effective Communication, Better Science

    science communication

    Science communication is part of a scientist’s everyday life. Scientists must give talks, write papers and proposals, communicate with a variety of audiences, and educate others. Thus to be successful, regardless of field or career path, scientists must learn how to communicate. Moreover, scientists must learn how to communicate effectively. In other words, to be [...]

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    Project Superhero: Using Pop Culture to Inspire Kids’ Interest in Science

    Jesse as Batgirl. (Illustration: Kris Pearn)

    In my pop-sci writing, mainly here, at Psychology Today, and in the books Becoming Batman and Inventing Iron Man, I use superheroes as foils for communicating science. I have encouraged other scientists to pursue similar approaches in articles such as “From Claude Bernard to the Batcave and Beyond: Using Batman as a hook for physiology [...]

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    Why Can’t Gravity Believers and Skeptics Get Along?

    Credit: The Mad LOLscientist/Flickr (Original photo by Richard Peters)

    Multiple media outlets around the world covered a study published last week in the journal Nature Climate Change.* This study sought to explain why “believers” in climate change cannot get along with “skeptics” and how “believers” can argue the matter better to convince “skeptics.” Seems like a fascinating dive into the sociology of science, until [...]

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    Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: America’s Greatest Health Risk of 2015?

    Micrograph of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The liver has a prominent (centrilobular) macrovesicular steatosis (white/clear round/oval spaces) and mild fibrosis (green). The hepatocytes stain red.  Macrovesicular steatosis is lipid accumulation that is so large it distorts the cell's nucleus. (Credit: Nephron/Wikimedia Commons)

    Today, up to 25 percent of people in the U.S. are living with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to the American Liver Foundation. NAFLD is a medical condition associated with obesity that can eventually lead to other liver conditions or even liver failure. In less than a decade, NAFLD will likely become the number [...]

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    Reducing Lifestyle Diseases Means Changing Our Environment

    The gym. (Health Gauge/Flickr)

    I’ve always found gyms a bit strange. Think about it: Dozens of people sweating in close proximity, running on conveyor belts going nowhere, lifting and dropping heavy objects for no reason. There’s a guy grunting as he flings a barbell to the ground, a woman repeatedly leaping on and off a stack of boxes, and [...]

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    Vilifying Parents Who Don’t Vaccinate Their Kids Is Counterproductive

    Credit:  JD Hancock/Flickr

    The ongoing measles outbreak in the U.S., which has spread to 14 states, has provoked a rising vilification of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. This vilification is understandable, but it’s also potentially dangerous. Many who are being castigated aren’t changing their minds. Under attack, they are instead defending their choices more fiercely and [...]

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    Why We Need More Scientists in Davos

    WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM/swiss-image.ch/Photo Jolanda Flubacher

    Science at the World Economic Forum is about inspiration, solutions and collaboration. First and foremost, leaders come together in Davos to address global challenges such as antibiotic resistance, climate change and understanding the human mind. Science has a critical role to play helping leaders understand why we have these problems, and increasingly leaders are looking [...]

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    Despite Esteem for Science, Public at Odds with Scientists on Major Issues

    Scientists and their work have an important place in every major aspect of American life. Many hope that advances in science will improve people’s lives and enhance the economy. They are anxious to understand what innovations will disrupt existing daily activities and business routines. Policy arguments about science-related issues have held center stage in the [...]

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    Genetic Memory: How We Know Things We Never Learned

    I met my first savant 52 years ago and have been intrigued with that remarkable condition ever since. One of the most striking and consistent things in the many savants I have seen is that that they clearly know things they never learned. Leslie Lemke is a musical virtuoso even though he has never had [...]

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