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Observations

Observations

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

What You Need to Know about Hurricane Sandy to Get Ready

Take a hurricane moving up from the south. Mash in a colder storm moving in from the west. Add a ridge of high pressure extending through the atmosphere above the northeastern Atlantic Ocean and Greenland, blocking the typical flow of the jet stream.

October 26, 2012 — David Biello

Need a Hug? Baxter the Human-Friendly Robot Debuts at M.I.T.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Baxter stayed behind in the lobby of the M.I.T. Media Lab, diligently picking up miniature boxes of Junior Mints and teacup candles and putting them in a pumpkin-shaped plastic bucket, as most attendees of Technology Review 's Emerging Technologies (EmTech) conference here filed into the main auditorium on Wednesday morning.Don't feel bad for Baxter, though, it was simply performing the picking and placing operations it had been programmed to do.

October 24, 2012 — Larry Greenemeier

Massive Planets Might Escape Stellar Engulfment Largely Undiminished

Artist's conception of the planets orbiting KIC 05807616. Credit: S. Charpinet Having your planet swallowed by a star is no fun. But some planets might be able to run the astrophysical gauntlet and make it through more or less intact.When a star comparable to or somewhat larger than the sun enters advanced age, it swells up into a red giant, expanding far beyond its original radius.

October 24, 2012 — John Matson

Booted Dung Beetles Reveal Clever Cooling [Video]

Credit: Jochen Smolka, Lund University Anyone who's been to the beach on a hot day knows the feeling of scorching sand underfoot. But do beetles that cross the sunny savanna or dwell in the desert feel it, too?

October 22, 2012 — Daisy Yuhas

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