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Observations

Observations

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

Mosquito Guts Implanted with GMO Malaria Assassins

Mosquitoes don’t cause malaria—the disease comes courtesy of the Plasmodium falciparum parasite. Yet mosquitoes do a fine job of spreading Plasmodium to about half a billion people every year.The parasite depends on mosquitoes for more than just transport, however.

July 17, 2012 — Michael Moyer

CT Scans Reveal Early Human Fossils Inside Rock

Readers of this blog may have noticed that I’m obsessed with a recently discovered member of the human family tree: the nearly two million-year-old Australopithecus sediba, discovered at a site called Malapa near Johannesburg.

July 13, 2012 — Kate Wong

For Unendowed Fish, A Fake Dinner Leads to Sex

The promise of a nice dinner might not always win over a woman, but for some male fish, a tasty-looking lure seems to get the girl pretty reliably. The trick is to make sure the offering resembles the local cuisine and then they can reel in the ladies hook, line and sinker.Swordtail charachin ( Corynopoma riisei ) that live in the rivers of Trinidad feast mostly on hapless bugs that plop into the water from surrounding vegetation.

July 12, 2012 — Katherine Harmon

Major Phobias Might Hasten Aging

Do you get panicky in wide-open spaces? Tight, closed ones? What about in high places or—eek!—around arachnids? If these fears are frequent or debilitating, you might have a phobic anxiety.

July 11, 2012 — Katherine Harmon

GE Develops Recyclable, Rechargeable Batteries for Cell Tower Backup

A person's arsenal of wireless communications devices—smartphones, tablets, laptops, et cetera—places a heavy burden on surrounding cell towers. But when storms or power surges interrupt electrical service, these towers are forced to rely on a costly and environmentally unfriendly combination of lead-acid batteries and diesel generators to keep wireless users connected.GE on Tuesday unveiled a new battery that, it claims, can provide more backup capacity for telecommunications providers and utilities at a fraction of the cost.

July 10, 2012 — Larry Greenemeier

Little-Used Voice Assistants Are the Future of Smart Phones

With the imminent arrival of Google's latest Android operating system later this month, Apple's iOS upgrades this fall and Microsoft's relentless push to make Windows relevant to mobile devices, a lot of people are talking about smartphones and tablets.

July 8, 2012 — Larry Greenemeier

Is Apple Planning a Mini iPad?

The sheer number of reports indicating Apple plans to launch a mini version of its iPad would lead one to believe that a 7-inch (18-centimeter) Apple tablet is a foregone conclusion.

July 8, 2012 — Larry Greenemeier

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