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Observations

Observations

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

Damage from Extreme Weather Increasing

Damage from Extreme Weather Increasing

Hurricane Irene is part of a worsening trend. Weather disasters have grown more frequent and more costly over the past 30 years in the U.S.,

September 1, 2011 — Christine Gorman

Contagion Spreads Truths about Bioterrorism

NEW YORK—Just as a true outbreak might, the new viral thriller Contagion , opening this weekend, begins unremarkably enough. A simple cough, heard against a black screen.This is no ordinary hack, of course...

September 1, 2011 — Katherine Harmon

Timeline Showcases Life of Scientific American Founder for Magazine's 166th Anniversary

Scientific American , the oldest continuously published magazine in the U.S., turns 166 years old on August 28, thanks in part to a New England man who decided to use the latest communications technology available in 1845, the printing press, to tell readers about more of the latest, and sometimes weirdest (or so it looks now), technology available—patents, inventions and other "curious works" in the fields of mechanics, chemistry, manufacturing, architecture and other arts and trades...

August 26, 2011 — Robin Lloyd

Can Hurricanes Be Controlled?

Everyone likes to talk about the weather, and maybe someone could do something about it someday. From the dances and prayers of the past, we get to the weather-modification technology of the 24th century (at least, that's what I recall from an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation ).Controlling cyclones is an effort entirely different from, say, making it rain...

August 25, 2011 — Philip Yam

The Highlights (and Lowlights) of Apple's Steve Jobs Era

Apple has been on a decade-long roll starting with the its game-changing MP3 music player—the iPod— in November 2001 right through its monumental, if brief, climb earlier this month to become the most valuable U.S...

August 25, 2011 — Larry Greenemeier

Eyewitness Testimony Loses Legal Ground in State Supreme Court

As science has long demonstrated, eyewitness accounts are frequently riddled with errors. Human memory in general is far from perfect—working less like a video camera than an ever-evolving collage, studies have shown.But in courtrooms across the country eyewitness testimony of alleged crimes have frequently been enough to convince juries to send defendants to jail—even without more reliable forms of evidence.Now, the courts seem to be finally catching up with the science...

August 25, 2011 — Katherine Harmon

Steve Jobs Resigns as Apple CEO

Apple Computer co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs has announced his resignation, according to a statement issued by the company.In the statement, Apple announced that Jobs, who co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak in 1976, stepped down August 24 and will be replaced at Jobs's suggestion by chief operating officer Tim Cook."Steve's extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world's most innovative and valuable technology company," Art Levinson of Apple's board of directors said in the statement...

August 24, 2011 — John Matson

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