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Observations

Observations

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

To sleep, perchance to dream--and learn

Dreams might be helping your brain do more than express Freudian fixations or practice escapes from prehistoric predators. They are there, in part, to help you learn, according to a new study from Harvard University.

April 22, 2010 — Katherine Harmon

Good teachers really do make a difference

Twin studies have shown that genetic factors can account for as much as 82 percent of the variability in children's reading skills. But while genes might set the bar for reading potential, a new study published April 23 in Science shows that teachers play a leading role in helping kids reach it.

April 22, 2010 — Katie Moisse

Blindsight: Seeing without Knowing It

Is it possible to see something without knowing you can see it? Maybe that's not so hard to imagine if you think of subliminal images flashed for a frame or two on a movie screen—too quickly for you to see consciously but perhaps long enough to add a frisson of fear.

April 22, 2010 — Graham P. Collins

Cancer research faces changes with health care reform

WASHINGTON—Many doctors and medical researchers applauded a new federal focus on comparative effectiveness research that was boosted through the 2009 stimulus package and codified with the signing of the health care reform bill in March.

April 21, 2010 — Katherine Harmon

A warming world could trigger earthquakes, landslides and volcanoes

Volcanoes, with their vast outpourings of greenhouse gases and sun-screening ash clouds, can affect climate. But what about the other way around?

A special issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, dated May 28, rounds up research on the ways that climate change can drive volcanic eruptions as well as other geologic hazards such as earthquakes and landslides.

April 21, 2010 — John Matson

Who needs high-speed broadband?

On paper, the main crux of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) recently released National Broadband Plan is fairly straightforward: help 100 million rural, underprivileged and otherwise underserved households across the U.S.

April 20, 2010 — Larry Greenemeier

Blog Index

Why Do Facts Fail?

Why Do Facts Fail?

Deconstructing Denial