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Observations

Observations

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

Bountiful bots: National Robotics Week arrives this weekend

The inaugural National Robotics Week, which kicks off Saturday and lasts through April 18 (apparently, a robot's week doesn't start on Sunday like ours does), aims to recognize the role that robots play worldwide in agriculture, health care, manufacturing, national defense and security, and transportation.

April 9, 2010 — Larry Greenemeier

Cool brown dwarf may be a newfound neighbor of the sun

Brown dwarfs straddle the divide between planets and stars—they are celestial objects too small to burn hydrogen in fusion reactions, as stars do, but they are large enough to sustain other kinds of fusion.

April 9, 2010 — John Matson

Scientific tricks for staying in love

A friend once told me how, as a child visiting a zoo, his eyes focused  on one of the many monkeys in an enclosed exhibit. The monkey, in turn, began looking back.

April 7, 2010 — Philip Yam

No new nukes: Obama's nuclear posture points to caution

The U.S. will cut its nuclear weapons stockpile, use such weapons only as a deterrent, and pump more money into the infrastructure to create and sustain such weapons, according to the new nuclear weapons policy released today by the Obama administration.

April 6, 2010 — David Biello

"First fiction reading off an iPad" kicks off enthusiastic discussion of e-books

If a discussion Monday at a Manhattan bookstore is any indication, book publishers and sellers find e-books threatening, but writers, feeling generally abused for decades by publishers, are gleeful over their newfound digital access to readers—be that via the Web, iPads, e-book readers, podcasts or cell phones.

April 6, 2010 — Robin Lloyd

Shuttle Discovery en route to International Space Station

Space shuttle Discovery is on its way to the International Space Station (ISS), blasting off at 6:21 a.m. local time Monday from NASA's Kennedy Space Center without any of the weather– or equipment–related delays that have plagued the past several launches.

April 5, 2010 — Larry Greenemeier

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