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Observations

Observations

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

Obesity is now just as much of a drag on health as smoking

Obesity is now just as much of a drag on health as smoking

In case anyone needs a reminder to stick to that New Year's resolution to slim down or kick the cigarette habit, researchers have confirmed that obesity and smoking are still the country's leading contributors to preventable deaths and illnesses.

January 5, 2010 — Katherine Harmon
Where on Earth will we store all that captured CO2? Try the U.S. east coast

Where on Earth will we store all that captured CO2? Try the U.S. east coast

Carbon capture and storage—sucking the CO2 from power plant or industrial smokestack emissions—has been cited by everyone from the Bush administration to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as a key technology in any effort to combat climate change.

January 4, 2010 — David Biello
Prion evolution takes lessons on diversification from viruses

Prion evolution takes lessons on diversification from viruses

When prions are transferred from one species to another—like from sheep and cows to mice in the laboratory or to humans in the case of the fatally neurodegenerative variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease—new forms of the infectious proteins can emerge over time that make them deadly to the new host.

January 1, 2010 — Carina Storrs
Combating climate change by observing Earth

Combating climate change by observing Earth

As part of the U.S. charm offensive at the recent Copenhagen summit on climate change, a roughly one meter-diameter orb helped display a decade's worth of climate data collected by NASA satellites.

December 30, 2009 — David Biello
Music to the (ringing) ears: New therapy targets tinnitus

Music to the (ringing) ears: New therapy targets tinnitus

Loud, persistent ringing in the ears, known as tinnitus, can be vexing for its millions of sufferers. This perceived noise can be symptomatic of many different ills—from earwax to aging—but the most common cause is from noise-induced hearing loss, such as extended exposure to construction or loud music, and treating many of its underlying neural causes has proven difficult.

December 28, 2009 — Katherine Harmon
What could have stopped the Christmas bomber?

What could have stopped the Christmas bomber?

The would-be bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab apparently ignited a plastic explosive with a syringe sewn into his underwear on Christmas as Northwest flight 253 prepared to land in Detroit.

December 28, 2009 — David Biello

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

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