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Observations

Observations

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

Could A Cow Virus Cause Colon Cancer?

The remote possibility that I might develop mad cow disease as a result has never stopped me from diving into a nice juicy hamburger (preferably with a generous helping of ketchup and relish)...

July 1, 2014 — Christine Gorman

Why Don't Grasshoppers Catch Colds?

File this under things you never thought to ask: Why are grasshoppers and other insects resistant to so many different infections? Jules Hoffmann asked himself that question nearly fifty years ago and in the process of trying to figure out the answer, he eventually won a share of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or [...]..

June 30, 2014 — Christine Gorman

Anthrax Blunder Reveals Deadly Potential of Accidents

A lab director has reportedly been reassigned and other heads at the U.S. Center for Disease Control are likely to roll after an incident earlier this month in which at least 75 staff members may have accidentally been exposed to live samples of anthrax being transported from one lab to another...

June 23, 2014 — Christine Gorman

Neandertal Lineage Began in a "Game of Thrones" World

In a small chamber deep in the Atapuerca mountains in northern Spain lies one of the most extraordinary paleontological discoveries of all time: a massive assemblage of fossils belonging to an extinct member of the human family...

June 19, 2014 — Kate Wong

Quantum Computer Fails Speed Test

How hard can it be to determine whether a computer works as promised? Step one: turn it on. Step two: Try to solve some problems. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work.

June 19, 2014 — Seth Fletcher

Nasty Mosquito-Borne Virus, Now in Puerto Rico, Expanding its Reach

It's summertime so when the weather is fine many of us head outdoors. But there lurk mosquitoes, an all-too-familiar menace.  What's more, a wave of mosquito-borne tropical disease that first appeared in the Western Hemisphere in late 2013 has now spread across the Caribbean, stoking concerns about a debut in the continental U.S...

June 18, 2014 — Dina Fine Maron

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