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Observations

Observations

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

Earth-Like Planets Fill the Galaxy

LONG BEACH, Calif.—Look up on a starry night. Almost every one of those tiny pricks of light is home to an unseen world. Our Milky Way galaxy is full of planets—100 billion or more—and many of those planets are Earth-like rocks (although our solar system still appears to be an oddball)...

January 8, 2013 — Michael Moyer

Common STD Grows Resistant to Treatment in North America

Stain of fluid containing gonorrhea courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/CDC/Norman Jacobs The most commonly acquired sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the U.S., chlamydia and gonorrhea, are usually cleared out swiftly and easily with a dose of oral antibiotics...

January 8, 2013 — Katherine Harmon

How to Revive the Promise of Better Health Care through IT

Four years ago the Obama administration offered up $19 billion in stimulus funds to help get health care IT (including electronic health records, or EHRs) in the pink—or at least in the black.Better information technology throughout the health care system would save money, improve care and bring the health care industry into the 21st century, proponents argued.But, as is obvious by the continuance of paper records, isolated institutional networks and clunky interfaces, health care IT is still in critical condition.A new report, assembled by the RAND Corporation, a non-profit, non-partisan research group, suggests that health care IT is not a hopeless case, however...

January 7, 2013 — Katherine Harmon

Top 10 Space Stories of 2012

Now that 2012 has really and truly been put to bed, let’s look at the year that was in space exploration and astronomy.My choice for #1 was a no-brainer: not only is spectacular science already rolling in, but the top space event of the year—the August landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars—also crossed over into mainstream news coverage in a big way...

January 4, 2013 — John Matson

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The Essential Guide to the Modern World

The Essential Guide to the Modern World