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Observations

Observations

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

Does Science Need More Compelling Stories to Foster Public Trust?

The touching stories that advocacy groups are so good at telling—the 49-year old mother whose breast cancer was detected by an early mammogram before it had spread; the 60-year-old neighbor who had a prostate tumor removed thanks to a routine PSA test—should inspire scientists to use anecdotes of their own, argue two doctors from the University of Pennsylvania.In the scientific realm, anecdotal evidence—the individual patient, the single result—tends to be shunned in favor of large, dense data sets and impersonal statistical analyses...

November 8, 2011 — Katherine Harmon

Why Daylight Saving Time Should Be Abolished

It's that time of year in the U.S. when clocks "fall back" from Daylight Saving Time to standard time. What does that mean? Well, you get back the hour of sleep you lost last spring and you can look forward to a week or so of feeling discombobulated.The railroads were the first to set the time in the 19th century, coordinating distant clocks so that trains could run on theoretically precise timetables (this cut down on crashes.)...

November 4, 2011 — David Biello

Slum-Dog Marketing Introduces the Janitor as Consumer Role Model

Chrysler recruited Eminem to plug its 200 Sedan during the Super Bowl. George Clooney has shilled Martini vermouth. “Influentials,” as they are known by consumer marketers, have been around since way before Ronald Reagan was doing spots for GE in the 1950s.The marketing of high-tech gadgetry and a few other selected products, however, can apparently invert the rationale of exploiting star cred to rub off on a Lexus or a Suntory bottle...

November 2, 2011 — Gary Stix

Income and Health Inequalities Cut U.S.'s High Marks for Development

If global development were a horse race, would you put your money on the slow-and-steady contenders or a fast new contender? With this year's results just in, the old stalwart Scandinavian countries are still in the lead, according to the 2011 United Nations' Human Development Index, published Wednesday...

November 2, 2011 — Katherine Harmon

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