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Observations

Observations

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

My God, Man! XPRIZE Unveils Medical Tricorder Teams

My God, Man! XPRIZE Unveils Medical Tricorder Teams

In the Star Trek universe, handheld medical tricorders became standard issue for Starfleet vessels as early as the mid-22nd century. Here in a little place we like to call “reality,” a competition seeks to help deliver such all-in-one health analyzers at least 100 years ahead of schedule...

November 4, 2013 — Larry Greenemeier
Taking a Closer Look at How Meditation Improves Our Brains [Video]

Taking a Closer Look at How Meditation Improves Our Brains [Video]

The practice of meditation can sharpen our attention, strengthen memory and improve other mental abilities. In our latest Instant Egghead video, Scientific American editor Ferris Jabr examines the changes in brain structure behind some of these benefits...

October 31, 2013 — Eric R. Olson
HealthCare.gov’s Failure to Launch

HealthCare.gov’s Failure to Launch

For a president who sailed into office on a digital-heavy campaign that helped engineer his victory, the crippling glitches plaguing the October 1 HealthCare.gov rollout were a rare mar on the administration's tech-savvy record...

October 29, 2013 — Dina Fine Maron
Live Chat at Noon Today on “Dreams of Other Worlds” and NASA’s Next Mars Mission

Live Chat at Noon Today on “Dreams of Other Worlds” and NASA’s Next Mars Mission

Robotic exploration of space is fascinating, complex and quite important to our understanding of the universe. To learn more about how scientists and engineers overcome challenges of robotic space exploration for successful data collection, join us for a live chat today (Tuesday, October 29) at noon EDT with Chris Impey, astronomer and author of Dreams of [...]..

October 29, 2013 — THE EDITORS
Socio-Economic Gender Gap Is Closing Worldwide, but Far from Eliminated

Socio-Economic Gender Gap Is Closing Worldwide, but Far from Eliminated

The world’s gender gap along economic, political and other social dimensions continues to narrow, according to a new report released by the World Economic Forum, but lack of equality for women remains a major roadblock in most countries, including the U.S...

October 28, 2013 — Rachel Feltman
What Is the Uncanny Valley? [Video]

What Is the Uncanny Valley? [Video]

Lifelike robots and animations can elicit a response that’s somewhere between uncomfortable and creeped out. Scientific American editor Larry Greenemeier explains why in our latest Instant Egghead video: More to explore: What Should a Robot Look Like?...

October 28, 2013 — Joss Fong
The Lesson of Hurricane Sandy: Pay Now, Not Later

The Lesson of Hurricane Sandy: Pay Now, Not Later

One year ago, on October 29, superstorm Sandy swamped New York City and New Jersey. Although authorities did a terrific job of evacuating people, they were helpless against Sandy’s record-high storm surge...

October 28, 2013 — Mark Fischetti

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