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Observations

Observations

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

Will the Internet make us stupider?

Will the Internet make us stupider?

Few observers, in 2000, would have foreseen Facebook being a ubiquitous presence on the Internet in 2010. Even fewer would have felt comfortable predicting whether some phenomenon like it would be “good" or bad” for human interaction, or for society's use of the English (or any other) language, for that matter.

February 24, 2010 — Mark Fischetti
FTC issues warnings to plug P2P security holes

FTC issues warnings to plug P2P security holes

The U.S. government has stepped up its efforts to warn computer users about the security vulnerabilities that come with using peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing networks, the most popular of which today are perhaps BitTorrent and LimeWire.

February 23, 2010 — Larry Greenemeier
In the water: Arsenic's tumor-triggering mechanism discovered

In the water: Arsenic's tumor-triggering mechanism discovered

Arsenic exposure has long been linked to cancer, but just how the toxic element triggers tumor growth has been unknown.

A new study, published online February 23 in the journal Cancer Research , describes for the first time the impact of arsenic on crucial signals among the body's cells—a potentially potent discovery for the 100 million people worldwide whose drinking water exceeds arsenic levels recommended by the World Health Organization.

February 23, 2010 — Katherine Harmon
The Physics of Figure Skating

The Physics of Figure Skating

This blog appears in the In-Depth Report Science at the Sochi Olympics   Figure skating is one of the most popular sports in the winter Olympics.

February 23, 2010 — Eric R. Olson
How to make more food with transgenic crops

How to make more food with transgenic crops

SAN DIEGO—In the next 50 years, humans will have to produce as much food as we have over the entire history of civilization. The planet’s ever-expanding population demands it.

February 22, 2010 — Michael Moyer
Two hospital-acquired infections estimated to have killed 48,000, cost $8.1 billion in 2006

Two hospital-acquired infections estimated to have killed 48,000, cost $8.1 billion in 2006

When patients get infections in the hospital, the ramifications can be expensive—and sometimes deadly.

Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), including staph, pneumonia, sepsis and others, account for 44,000 to 98,000 deaths and $17 billion to $29 billion in additional costs each year, the Institute of Medicine (the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences) estimated about a decade ago.

February 22, 2010 — Katherine Harmon
The (good and bad) future of the Internet

The (good and bad) future of the Internet

SAN DIEGO—“We know even now that we are at some fundamental limits of what the Internet can handle,” warned University of California, San Diego processor kc claffy [ sic capitalization ] at the beginning of her talk at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in San Diego.

February 22, 2010 — Michael Moyer

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

Beyond XX and XY

Biology. Identity. Equality.