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    From the editors and reporters of Scientific American , this blog delivers commentary, opinion and analysis on the latest developments in science and technology and their influence on society and policy. From reasoned arguments and cultural critiques to personal and skeptical takes on interesting science news, you'll find a wide range of scientifically relevant insights here. Follow on Twitter @sciam.
  • Ants Abound in Manhattan’s Slivers of Green

    Pavement ants (Tetramorium) on human food in a Manhattan street median

    Ants—they’re everywhere. Charging across your picnic blanket, sneaking into your sandwich and, naturally, marching one by one (hurrah! hurrah!). Throughout the temperate zone you’ll find ants swarming in almost every forest, ducking beneath blades of grass in virtually every prairie. Forests and prairies are hard to come by in New York City. But in a [...]

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    Climate Preparedness Index Reveals Rich–Poor Gap

    Alpaca (Wikimedia)

    High in the Peruvian Andes 8,000 alpacas died during a particularly harsh period of cold in the summer of 2004. For the herders who raise and shear these long-haired beasts for a living, it was a huge loss amounting to one fifth of all the alpacas living in that region of the highlands. Since then [...]

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    Acid Maps Reveal Worst of Climate Change


    Much of the change in climate change is happening to the ocean. It’s not just the extra heat hiding within the waves. The seven seas also absorb a big share of the carbon dioxide released by burning the fossilized sunshine known as coal, natural gas and oil. All those billions and billions of CO2 molecules [...]

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    Watch the Milky Way Eat Its Neighbors [Video]

    The Milky Way has a history of devouring its neighbors, the smaller satellite galaxies that orbit it. Over time our galaxy’s gravity will tug on the near sides of these satellites more strongly than their far sides, slowly stretching them out until they tear apart and their stars assimilate into the Milky Way. A relatively [...]

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    Ratio of Workers to Retirees Will Plummet Worldwide

    ratio US, fixed

    As a nation’s population ages, more and more older people may draw from support systems such as Social Security, yet fewer workers may be around to pay into those systems. The problem is more dire than we think. The ratio of workers to retirees will drop precipitously in numerous countries worldwide this century, potentially sending [...]

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    The Human Cost of Science: Stephen Hawking and The Theory of Everything

    Felicity Jones as Jane Wilde and Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking in the new biopic, The Theory of Everything.

    Stephen Hawking is one of our greatest living geniuses—his insights into the nature of black holes, space and time have truly revolutionized physics. But his breakthroughs did not spring from his mind fully formed—they required hard work and sacrifice, from both the physicist and from his first wife, Jane Wilde. In the new biographical film [...]

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    What Interstellar Gets Wrong about Interstellar Travel

    A starship travels through a cosmic wormhole

    Christopher Nolan’s new film, Interstellar, is a near-future tale of astronauts departing a dying Earth to travel to Saturn, then through a wormhole to another galaxy, all in search of somewhere else humanity could call home. It’s a gorgeous, ambitious work, with outstanding performances from a star-studded cast augmented by high-fidelity visual effects and a [...]

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    Ted Cruz Is Not 100 Percent Wrong That Net Neutrality Is ObamaCare for the Internet

    President Obama announced his support Monday for net neutrality. And Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz let loose one of his biggest howls, tweeting: “Net Neutrality” is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government. — Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) November 10, 2014 Cruz really really does not like net [...]

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    What Impact Will Emerging Technologies Have on Geopolitics?

    The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council meetings are going on this week in Dubai. More than 1000 experts (including Scientific American editor-in-chief Mariette DiChristina) have gathered to discuss big world problems such as climate change, poverty, water shortages, energy and innovation. Here we are publishing a series on discussions that have taken place in [...]

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    Mind-Blowing Fossil Preserves Tiny Horse Carrying Unborn Foal

    Fossil mare and unborn foal from Messel, Germany

    BERLIN: The former oil shale mining site of Messel, near Frankfurt, Germany, is well known for its spectacular fossils of organisms that lived between 47 million and 48 million years ago, during the Eocene epoch. But a fossil of the early horse species Eurohippus messelensis, described at this year’s Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting in [...]

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