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Observations

Observations

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

What Impact Could Gaddafi's Death Have on Arab Spring Unrest?

The execution of Col. Muammar Gaddafi earlier this week closes one chapter on Libya's version of the "Arab Spring" movement. Where the country goes from here, and what the other members of the movement learn from the overthrow of Gaddafi, is likely, however, to be the more difficult part of the story...

October 21, 2011 — Larry Greenemeier

Infrared Cameras Debut in Baseball Telecast for World Series [Video]

With one out in the top of the ninth inning of last night's World Series game 1, Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre stepped to the plate. Down by one run with an elite power hitter at bat, Texas looked for a moment to have a chance of getting back into the game.That chance was squandered when Beltre swung at the first pitch from St...

October 20, 2011 — John Matson

Go for Broke: How Bill Joy Handicaps "Greentech" Investments

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—What does it take to pick a winner in the slowly unfolding field of renewable energy? For starters, alternatives to oil must be able to stand up on their own at some point, without a need for permanent government subsidies, said Bill Joy, once a heavy hitter in the information technology industry and now a partner in investor Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers's greentech practice.During a Q&A with Technology Review Editor in chief Jason Pontin at the magazine's Emtech conference Wednesday, Joy pointed out that another key to determining the future of a startup greentech company is whether its approach makes sense intuitively...

October 19, 2011 — Larry Greenemeier

Should Car Ads Be Banned?

Never happen.But maybe they should be.A look at the ubiquitous aggressive driver in Psychology & Marketing, shows that he (more than she) tends to view a vehicle as an extension of The Self...

October 19, 2011 — Gary Stix

Head Not in the Clouds: Demanding More from Tech Innovation

The 11th annual M.I.T. Technology Review emerging technology (Emtech) conference kicked off Tuesday with a session covering "lessons in innovation." It's not easy to sum up a day at an Emtech, particularly when the theme is something as broad as "innovation"—and calling something innovative doesn't necessarily make it so.But if you view Emtech in the context of New York Times columnist Steven Johnson's opening presentation today about the "fourth quadrant"—how innovators build on previous progress to develop something new—you begin to see a pattern...

October 18, 2011 — Larry Greenemeier

Drug-Resistant Staph Infections in Europe Could Mark Start of a New Epidemic

FLAGSTAFF, Arizona—A relatively new type of drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus could represent the world's next bacterial epidemic, an environmental health expert said here today at a conference for science writers.The superbug, called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strain 398, or MRSA ST398, was first identified in an infant in the Netherlands in 1994 and traced back to her family's pigs...

October 16, 2011 — Robin Lloyd

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