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Observations

Observations

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

Heal thyself: Rubbery polymer self-repairs under light exposure

What if mending a ripped garment, or repairing a leaky storage container, was as easy as shining a light on the damage?

We're not there yet, but such materials could be possible in the future—researchers have now demonstrated a new way to produce light-healed polymers...

April 20, 2011 — John Matson

Refuse to learn from experience? Thank your genes

Some people are incurable contrarians or imperturbable logicians. But most of us, whether we like it or not, allow other people's opinions and advice to color our own experiences and opinions...

April 19, 2011 — Katherine Harmon

Electronic health records face human hurdles more than technological ones

PHILADELPHIA—In medicine, there's the patient and there's the chart. And the chart is paper.

That's the stereotype. Actually, about 20 to 30 percent of all primary care physicians in the nation now use basic electronic health records, according to David Blumenthal, a Harvard Medical School professor who was the national coordinator for health information technology in the Obama Administration until a week ago...

April 16, 2011 — Robin Lloyd

Giant Dino exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History, or why I should not be a photojournalist

As the Blog Editor at Scientific American, I come to New York City about once a month to work in the office, attend editorial meetings, and prepare the blog network for launch some time in the near future.This week, I was in town at just the right time to join our intrepid team of reporters on assignment: the press event leading to the opening of the new Giant Dino exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History.Now that I work in a media organization, it is time for me to stop just criticizing from the outside and actually learn how the media works - from the inside...

April 15, 2011 — Bora Zivkovic

Let's make a deal: Revisiting the Monty Hall problem

"Charles Sanders Peirce once observed that in no other branch of mathematics is it so easy for experts to blunder as in probability theory."

Thus began an article in the October 1959 Scientific American by the celebrated math columnist Martin Gardner...

April 15, 2011 — Davide Castelvecchi

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