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Observations

Observations

Opinion, arguments & analyses from guest experts and from the editors of Scientific American

“Wikithon” Honors Ada Lovelace and Other Women in Science

“Wikithon” Honors Ada Lovelace and Other Women in Science

A Wikipedia edit-a-thon seems like a fitting tribute to the woman many consider to be the first computer programmer. October 16 is Ada Lovelace Day, an annual observation designed to raise awareness of the contributions of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines.

October 11, 2012 — Evelyn Lamb

Complex Brains Existed 520 Million Years Ago in Cockroach Relative

Fossil of Fuxianhuia courtesy of Xiaoya Ma Your everyday cockroach might not seem terribly intelligent. But new fossil evidence from 520 million years ago suggests that this insidious insect might have had some surprisingly smart early ancestors.Cockroaches and other insects belong to a group called the arthropods, which arose some 540 million years ago.

October 10, 2012 — Katherine Harmon

How I Spent My Summer Davos

Summer Davos—formally, the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions—is known as a gathering of captions of industry and policy leaders.

October 9, 2012 — Mariette DiChristina

House Science Member Says Earth Is 9,000 Years Old

The earth is about 9,000 years old, according to U.S. House Representative Paul Broun, who is also a physician and member of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology of the House of Representatives.

October 5, 2012 — Christine Gorman

"Once in a Civilization" Comet to Zip past Earth Next Year

Close, but not this close As it flares out of the distant Oort Cloud, the newly discovered comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) appears to be heading on a trajectory that could make for one of the most spectacular night-sky events in living memory.

October 5, 2012 — Michael Moyer

The Forgotten JFK Proposal: A Joint U.S.-Soviet Moon Landing [Video]

JFK at Rice University, 1962. Source: NASA We all learned that President John F. Kennedy launched the U.S. effort to land the first men on the moon. “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard,” he famously stated in his Rice University speech in 1962.But in a span of a year, Kennedy came to have second thoughts on the Apollo program as costs rose, budgets exploded and the scientific value of a moon mission came under question.

October 5, 2012 — Philip Yam

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