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Observations

Observations

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

Space shuttle Discovery lands in Florida, capping its 39th and final mission

It took space shuttle Discovery several months to get off the ground on its final mission, but the shuttle's landing came off without a hitch. Discovery touched down on schedule, just before noon March 9, putting an end to its 26 years of service, in which the orbiter made 39 trips to space and logged more than 230 million kilometers...

March 9, 2011 — John Matson

Can the U.S. build a clean, green economic machine?

Can cleaner sources of energy not only power our economy but also drive a recovery from the Great Recession? That's the question confronted by policymakers across the U.S.—and by debaters in the Intelligence Squared series held March 8 at New York University...

March 9, 2011 — David Biello

Energy at the movies--tonight

Nuclear power is evil. Solar power is our savior. Or...is it the other way around? Tonight (March 9), at 7:00 p.m. EST, the University of Texas will present an entertaining program about how movies have depicted energy sources and therefore shaped public opinion and government policy, for 70 years...

March 9, 2011 — Mark Fischetti

Short on sleep, the brain optimistically favors long odds

Sleep deprivation can lead to plenty of unwise decisions, which researchers have long tied to flagging attention and short-term memory. But a new study shows how just one night of missed sleep can make people more likely to chase big gains while risking even larger losses—independent of their tapering attention spans...

March 8, 2011 — Katherine Harmon

Energy at the movies--huh?

Different branches of science have played famous roles in lots of movies. But one category is often overlooked: sources of energy, even though the plots and turning points of major movies have hinged on just that...

March 5, 2011 — Mark Fischetti

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