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Observations

Observations

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

More than a game: Researchers design video games that feature real microorganisms

Do video games change behavior? This question may be the subject of debate for years, but researchers have now shown the answer to be yes—for microorganism behavior, at least.A research group led by Stanford bioengineering professor Ingmar Riedel-Kruse has developed several real video games, inspired by Pac-Man, PONG and other classics, starring live organisms...

January 20, 2011 — Mike Orcutt

Habitable exoplanet claim gets another challenge

Don't pack your bags just yet for Gliese 581 g, the potentially habitable extrasolar planet that was announced in September.

No sooner had a team of American astronomers, led by veteran planet hunters Paul Butler and Steven Vogt, announced their discovery than competing groups and independent researchers dove into data sets both public and proprietary to see if they, too, could find the signature of the newfound world...

January 20, 2011 — John Matson

A 2.4-degree C rise by 2020? Probably not

Climate change is happening faster than scientists' predicted. Meltdowns in Greenland and Antarctica are well ahead of climate science projections and overall warming continues to accelerate—we have just endured the hottest year and hottest decade on record...

January 20, 2011 — David Biello

The quest for cool: Novel approach leads to brighter, more efficient white LEDs

For phosphor-based light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to continue their current trend of displacing incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, makers of these small semiconductor-based lights are looking to, among other things, continue improvements in energy efficiency, increase longevity and reduce glare...

January 18, 2011 — Larry Greenemeier

Science bloggers gather to wrestle down myths about research and themselves

DURHAM, North Carolina­­­­—TV pundit and Washington Post columnist George Will has a history of misrepresenting climate science—and it's bloggers who typically make sure the record is set straight on such points.For instance, a 2009 Will editorial in the Washington Post asserting, among other things, that the extent of global sea ice today is the same as it was in 1979 drew particularly loud howls...

January 17, 2011 — Robin Lloyd

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