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Was Galileo second fiddle--er, telescope--to Harriot?

The International Year of Astronomy (IYA), now under way, marks the 400th anniversary of the year that famed Italian astronomer Galileo began observing and documenting the heavens with increasingly powerful telescopes.

January 21, 2009 — John Matson

Do men or women have an easier time resisting food?

Men have more willpower than women when it comes to resisting food, a small new study suggests.

"We didn’t expect such striking differences between males and females," study co-author Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, tells ScientificAmerican.com .

January 20, 2009 — Jordan Lite

Tungsten--Could it be the next mercury or lead?

Scientists this week urged further research on tungsten— the metal used to make lightbulb filaments, shotgun shells, electrical wires and even wedding bands—to rule out possible health risks to humans and the environment in the wake of studies showing that it may cause reproductive problems in earthworms and stunted growth in sunflowers. 

In an article published this week in Chemical & Engineering News , researchers suggest that not enough is known to determine whether tungsten is safe, and that studies need to be conducted to assess how much is in drinking water and the soil – and whether it poses dangers for humans, animals and plants.

January 20, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne

Satellites may be used to find water in drought-ravaged Africa

High flying satellites, which have already proved their mettle in delivering television programs, cell phone calls and views of our neighborhoods (thank you, Google Earth), can also locate potable water in countries such as Niger where droughts have made it scarce, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced this week.

January 20, 2009 — Larry Greenemeier

Obama restates commitment to health care, science

In his inaugural address today, Pres. Barack Obama underscored his campaign promises to reform health care and develop alternative energy. Here are some excerpts, from the prepared text:

“Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet … .

January 20, 2009 — Jordan Lite

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Introducing Scientific American Health & Medicine

Introducing Scientific American Health & Medicine