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Observations

Observations

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

Getting Killed for Saving Lives

Three suicide bombers stormed the office of the International Red Cross in Jalabad, Afghanistan earlier today and at least one guard has been killed.

May 29, 2013 — Christine Gorman

How to Use the Bathroom on a 20-Hour Plus Solar Airplane Flight [Video]

In a bid to set the record for longest distance solar flight, Andre Borschberg will pilot the Solar Impulse airplane from Phoenix to Dallas. Total flying distance, barring route deviations due to weather or other factors, would be nearly 1,400 kilometers, or more than 200 kilometers farther than the previous longest flight set in 2012.On May 3, in just under 20 hours, the Solar Impulse airplane flew from Moffett Field near San Francisco to Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix...

May 22, 2013 — David Biello

U.S. Hurricane Forecasts Could Be Better

It is difficult to focus on hurricane warnings right now, when Oklahoma is reeling from some of the worst tornadoes ever recorded. But the storms do raise questions about the abilities of U.S...

May 22, 2013 — Mark Fischetti

With Drones Circling, How Should Lawmakers Respond?

Drones come in a variety of shapes, sizes and capabilities that could greatly improve surveillance for law enforcement and public-safety purposes, whether it’s monitoring forest fires or providing reconnaissance for search-and-rescue operations...

May 17, 2013 — Larry Greenemeier

NASA's Kepler Mission Endangered by Hardware Failure

The prolific planet-hunting spacecraft that has already discovered some of the most intriguing exoplanets known has abruptly lost the capacity to carry out its mission, NASA officials announced May 15.NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, which launched in 2009, relies on an array of flywheels, or reaction-wheel assemblies, to stabilize the pointing of its telescope toward a field of stars in the Milky Way...

May 15, 2013 — John Matson

Video Game to Help Kids Fight Cancer

Doctors can’t inject cancer patients with intelligent nanobots programmed to launch surgical counterstrikes against the disease. That didn’t stop a team of medical researchers and software programmers from developing a video game several years ago that helped young patients imagine such an empowering scenario...

May 13, 2013 — Larry Greenemeier

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