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Observations

Observations

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

"Microsleep" Software Doubles Battery Life of Connected Gadgets

No matter how fancy mobile gadgets get, they're useless when their batteries run out. With the push toward cloud computing and the always-on wireless culture gaining momentum every day, laptop, tablet and smart phone batteries are being asked to do more despite no real breakthroughs in battery technology hitting the market...

July 1, 2011 — Larry Greenemeier

France becomes first country to ban extraction of natural gas by fracking

The French parliament voted on June 30 to ban the controversial technique for extracting natural gas from shale rock deposits known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the web sites of Le Monde and other French media reported.The bill had already passed the National Assembly, the country's lower chamber, on June 21, and on June 30 a Senate vote of 176 to 151 made France the first country to enact such a ban, just as New York State is preparing to lift a moratorium on the same method.The vote was divided along party lines, with the majority conservative party voting in favor and the opposition voting against the bill, according to Le Monde ...

June 30, 2011 — Davide Castelvecchi

Laureate urges next generation to address population control as central issue

LINDAU, Germany—A 93-year-old Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine received a standing ovation from hundreds of scientists on June 30 at the end of a speech in which he urged the world's young people to take measures to control runaway population growth in order to resolve related ills that have resulted from humans' remarkable evolutionary success as a species...

June 30, 2011 — Robin Lloyd

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