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Running into an invisible wall

Editor's note: Marine geophysicist Robin Bell is leading an expedition to Antarctica to explore a mysterious mountain range beneath the ice sheet. Following is the twelfth of her updates on the effort as part of ScientificAmerican.com 's In-Depth Report on the "Future of the Poles."   McMURDO STATION, ANTARCTICA--The British group had been acclimatizing at South Pole for three full days when it seemed we were ready to collect our first real line of data at the southern end of the survey area...

December 19, 2008 — Robin Bell

John Holdren to advise Obama on science, reports say

President-elect Barack Obama is poised to name John Holdren, a well-respected Harvard physicist and outspoken critic of the Bush administration's science policy, as his pick for White House science advisor, according to online reports...

December 18, 2008 — Jordan Lite

Airlines connecting passengers to the Web at 30,000 feet

Although the Federal Aviation Administration (mercifully) still won't let passengers yap on their mobile phones while in flight, there's nothing to keep airlines from letting their customers connect wirelessly to the Web...

December 18, 2008 — Larry Greenemeier

Scientists urge EPA to assess potential phthalates risks

Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that humans carry phthalates—chemicals used as softeners in plastics and found in everything from pill coatings to nail polish—around in their bodies...

December 18, 2008 — David Biello

Feds give thumbs-up to new, no-cal sweetener, stevia

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) late last night declared that a controversial new sweetener is safe, raising the ire of consumer advocates who charge that not enough tests have been done to rule out possible risks...

December 18, 2008 — Coco Ballantyne

Don't be fooled: six holiday health myths verified or debunked

Does the bulk of heat escape our bodies through our heads? Does eating more at night pack on the pounds? Does sugar really make kids hyper? ScientificAmerican.com talked to Indiana University School of Medicine pediatricians Rachel Vreeman and Aaron Carroll to find out if these and three other popular health myths are true...

December 18, 2008 — Coco Ballantyne

Your shopping personality explained

Do opulent Christmas displays in stores and frenzied ads make you feel overwhelmed, depressed, or psyched? The emotions you feel might be a clue to your “shopping personality” – a pattern of behavior that corresponds with how you act in the rest of your life...

December 18, 2008 — Jordan Lite

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The Essential Guide to the Modern World

The Essential Guide to the Modern World