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Observations

Observations

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

Monarch Butterfly Genome Gives Clues about Slew of Migration Mysteries

The millions of monarchs ( Danaus plexippus ) that flit on fragile wings from the U.S.to a particular area of fir forest in Mexico—as far as 4,000 kilometers—are making the journey for the first time."They have never been to the overwintering sites before and have no relatives to follow," Steven Reppert, a neurobiologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, said in a prepared statement.So how to do these insects know where to go?...

November 23, 2011 — Katherine Harmon

Computerized Contact Lenses Could Enable In-Eye Augmented Reality

Over past 125 years, contact lenses have come a long way. What started off as relatively thick brown glass eye coverings first created by German ophthalmologist Adolf Fick has evolved into biosensor-laden polymer lenses that can measure eye movement, glucose concentrations in tears and intraocular pressure...

November 23, 2011 — Larry Greenemeier

Will CT Scans and MRIs Kill the Autopsy?

Instead of cutting into a dead body to determine the cause of death, some coroners are already calling in a radiologist. But can CT (computed tomography) and MRI (magnetic-resonance imaging) tests accurately assess the recently deceased?Formal autopsies have been on the decline for decades, due in part to tightening budgets...

November 21, 2011 — Katherine Harmon

Training Could Rescue a Failing Sense of Smell

Weakening eyesight can be sharpened with lenses, and impaired hearing can be improved with aids. What about a failing sense of smell?Detecting and distinguishing the floral bouquet of fresh honey or the miasma of bad lunchmeat might not seem quite as critical for day-to-day existence as sight or hearing...

November 21, 2011 — Katherine Harmon

Use of Avastin for Breast Cancer Nixed by FDA

The multi-billion-dollar cancer drug Avastin is no longer an approved treatment for breast cancer treatment, per a long-anticipated announcement made Friday by the U.S.

November 18, 2011 — Katherine Harmon

You'll Never Watch TV Alone Again

Want to know whether Modern Family or your favorite TV show will be back next season? Check out that program's presence in the social media arena, according to the Social TV Summit held Wednesday in New York City...

November 16, 2011 — Larry Greenemeier

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