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Observations

Observations

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

Climate Change Has Helped Bring Down Cultures

Humanity has weathered many a climate change, from the ice age of 80,000 years ago to the droughts of the late 19th century that helped kill between 30 and 50 million people around the world via famine...

January 30, 2012 — David Biello

Could a Balloon Fly in Outer Space?

Here’s the sort of crazy idea that animates our office conversation at Scientific American . It all started with my colleague Michael Moyer’s joke that a certain politician could build his moon base using a balloon: just capture the hot air and float all the way up...

January 26, 2012 — George Musser

Newt to NASA: Stop Talking about Space Exploration-Just Do It

Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich made a campaign stop on Florida's Space Coast January 25, laying out a vision for NASA that included a manned moon base within a decade.The former speaker of the House, who topped our rankings of the candidates in terms of geek cred, wasted no time in trotting out his space bona fides...

January 26, 2012 — John Matson

Risk of Heart Disease Underestimated, Researchers Say

Heart disease is the leading killer in the U.S., and more than 27 million Americans currently have a cardiac condition. But what is your risk of developing heart disease at some point in your entire life?...

January 25, 2012 — Katherine Harmon

How Obama Plans to "Double Down" on Clean Energy

Early in his state of the union speech, President Obama renewed his call of last year for investments in clean energy. Unbowed by the troubles with Solyndra, Obama said he would direct the defense department to throw its buying power behind clean energy supplies for the U.S...

January 24, 2012 — Fred Guterl

Are Some Science Stories Inevitably Political?

RALEIGH, N.C.—Does writing about climate change or childhood vaccinations necessarily mean you've got an agenda? That's one of the questions tackled at last week's ScienceOnline 2012 meeting, a gathering of some 450 scientists, bloggers, scientist-bloggers, journalists and other communicators on the campus of North Carolina State University.In this particular session, "You Got Your Politics in My Science," attendees related their experiences and their approaches to dealing with perceived advocacy and reactive attacks...

January 24, 2012 — Philip Yam

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