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Observations

Observations

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

Federal Agency Encourages Its Scientists to Speak Out

SAN FRANCISCO—The public at times questions scientific results produced by government agencies, thinking that the findings may be meant to support particular political policies or positions or to deflect criticism of those policies...

December 8, 2011 — Mark Fischetti

Mouth's Many Species Decoded in Living Color

Personal oral hygiene notwithstanding, your mouth is sloshing with hundreds of species of microorganisms. Most are harmless, but some can do real damage, such as causing periodontitis, in which the microbes that cause plaque get below the gum line, leading to inflammation and infection.Researchers have had a tough time sorting out all of these small species—and how they interact...

December 7, 2011 — Katherine Harmon

Are Psychopaths "Brain Damaged"?

  Pathway from the prefrontal cortex to the amygdala We all have a ghoulish fascination with the Hannibal Lecters of this world. That’s because many of the most-publicized stories about psychopaths can be quickly banged into a Hollywood script...

December 6, 2011 — Gary Stix
Who Should Explore Space: Astronauts or Astro-Bots?

Who Should Explore Space: Astronauts or Astro-Bots?

document.write(""); Check out our latest Space Exploration coverage: This Way to Mars In-Depth Report : The Future of Deep-Space Exploration Forget Asteroids—Send a Manned Flyby Mission to Venus How an Energy-Efficient Spacecraft Could Revolutionize Space Travel [Video] Breaking the Deep-Space Barrier [Interactive]...

December 5, 2011 — THE EDITORS

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