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Guest Blog


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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.

  • A Plan to Rescue the Blue Planet

    An orange roughy swims along Southwest Indian Ridge approximately 1,000 meters deep. Members of this species can live more than 100 years, but have been overfished globally by bottom trawl fisheries.

    Most of us experience the ocean looking out from a beach during vacation or maybe flying over it in a plane. It seems vast, ancient and invulnerable. It is hard to imagine that up to 80 percent of life lives below the waves, throughout 1.3 billion cubic kilometers of water and across a seabed comprising [...]

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    How Would Immortality Affect a Vampire’s Memory?

    Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton as Adam and Eve in Jim Jarmusch's "Only Loves Left Alive". (Credit: Sony Pictures)

    About 30 years ago I saw my first Jim Jarmusch movie, Stranger than Paradise at the Detroit Film Theatre, a popular site for indie film screening situated in the Detroit Institute of Arts. It is fitting that Jarmusch’s latest film, Only Lovers Left Alive, staring Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton as Adam and Eve, takes [...]

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    Food Fraud: It’s What’s for Dinner?

    Credit: Windujedi/iStock/Thinkstock

    What’s for dinner would seem to be one of life’s more straightforward questions. However, if my 36 years of food safety experience have taught me anything, it is that the answer to that question isn’t as simple as it once was. Most consumers would be surprised to find just how complex simple meals have become. [...]

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    Crop Diversity Is Key to Agricultural Climate Adaptation

    Cassava leaves. (Credit: Neil Palmer/CIAT via Flickr)

    News out of Harvard suggests that not only will climate change affect how food is grown, but it will also lower the nutrition levels of what is grown—wheat, corn and rice in particular. While this could be a major cause for concern, scientists know that it is possible to breed new varieties of these staple [...]

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    Sea Star Deaths along the West Coast Elicit Close Study

    Sea star at Haystack Rock, Oregon, with a small white lesion on the arm pointing down. (Credit: Lisa Gardiner)

    People woke early to greet the low tide at Cannon Beach, Oregon, in late July. They wandered through sand to a pillar of stone at the edge of the Pacific called Haystack Rock. Some were looking up at birds, but most of us were looking down into the tide pools. We were saying hello to [...]

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    Europe Should Reject the Call to Eliminate Its Science Adviser

    Barroso Glover

    More and more often, societies around the world are facing a conflict that puts us all at risk. People reject scientific evidence when it does not fit their worldviews and values, challenging governments to make evidence-based policies that do the most good for the most people over the long term, but also respond to short-term [...]

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    The Glory of Math Is to Matter

    The gardens of Versailles in 1746, by Jean Delagrive.

    In 1842, when the famed German mathematician Carl Gustav Jacobi was invited to speak to a scientific meeting in Manchester, he had a surprise in store for his English hosts. “It is the glory of science to be of no use,” he announced to the startled gathering of physical scientists. The true aim of science [...]

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    Why Is the Media Biased against Us, Not Them?

    Stewart  Israel-Palestine

    Since the outset of the most recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza, criticism has been leveled against the news media’s coverage of the crisis. A number of reporters have expressed their frustrations about there being no obvious way to please both sides. Regardless of their best efforts to cover the conflict objectively and fairly, reporters receive [...]

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    Putting Rocket Raccoon’s Hippocampus into Hyperdrive

    Vitruvian Raccoon by Kristy Inouye.

    Rocket Racoon is a stand out character in Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel’s rebooted comic series, which was adapted into a movie that came out August 1. Rocket Racoon’s backstory is that he—and many of his fellow animal friends—were genetically engineered to become bipedal and to have “human” intelligence. (It’s not clear why they didn’t [...]

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    “Gene Drives” and CRISPR Could Revolutionize Ecosystem Management

    picture of adult cane toad

    A note from the authors: With this guest blog post we want to share the key features of an innovative method for the high-precision genome editing of wild populations that has been outlined by our team at the Wyss Institute, Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard School of Public Health. Our technical description of the [...]

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