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Observations

Observations

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

Transplanted Bacteria Turn Up Testosterone to Protect Mice against Diabetes

Transplanted Bacteria Turn Up Testosterone to Protect Mice against Diabetes

Anyone still laboring under the mistaken assumption that genes are the most important factor in determining destiny should take a look at research that is being reported in this week’s Science about a particular strain of mice that have a genetic predisposition to develop type 1 diabetes...

January 17, 2013 — Christine Gorman

Cassini Spacecraft Reveals Unprecedented Saturn Storm

Just as regions of our planet have monsoon season, or tornado season, so too does Saturn have its own stormy season.Once every Saturn year or so—which corresponds to roughly 30 Earth years—a giant, churning storm works its way through the clouds of Saturn's northern hemisphere, sometimes encircling the entire planet like a belt...

January 17, 2013 — John Matson

Docs Frequently Fail to Sniff Out Boozers

Height? Weight? Any changes in your health? Do you smoke? Simple screening in the doctor's office can help clinicians pick up on potential health problems.

January 15, 2013 — Katherine Harmon

Breath Test Could Sniff Out Infections in Minutes

Bacteria hiding in the lungs might not be able to hide much longer. Although traditional tests can take days or weeks to culture to determine the presence of certain harmful bacteria—such as those that cause tuberculosis—a much more rapid technique for detecting lung infections might be on the horizon.Researchers have developed a test that can detect the presence of common infectious bacteria based just on the breath...

January 11, 2013 — Katherine Harmon

What Will It Take to Solve Climate Change?

Australia had to add a new color to its weather maps this week. Meteorologists used royal purple to denote an off-the-charts high temperature of 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), part of an unprecedented heat wave and ongoing wildfires occurring down under this month...

January 10, 2013 — David Biello

Some Barefoot Runners Tip Orthodoxy Back on Heels

Barefoot, five-finger, super-minimal, zero-drop. Whatever joggers embrace as the approach-du-jour for improving form, most of these trends stem from one physiological principal: people who grow up running sans footwear—the way our ancestors did for hundreds of thousands of years—run by landing on their fore- or mid-foot.A new study finds, however, that not all habitually barefoot runners today actually run that way...

January 9, 2013 — Katherine Harmon

Asteroids: Close and Closer, but Not Too Close for Comfort

Early this morning, while most of the U.S. slept, a once-menacing asteroid drew close to Earth on its usual rounds through the inner solar system. The 300-meter asteroid, known as Apophis, kept a comfortable distance, flying well beyond the orbit of the moon...

January 9, 2013 — John Matson

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