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Observations

Observations

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

Attempt to allow sale of elephant ivory fails

The illegal trade in elephant ivory is booming. African elephants are being slaughtered at rates exceeding the former peak in the late 1980s, before Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES (pronounced SITE-ees), banned all trade in elephant products...

March 22, 2010 — Michael Moyer

Is Earth past the tipping point?

Biodiversity loss. Land use. Freshwater use. Nitrogen and phosphorus cycles. Stratospheric ozone. Ocean acidification. Climate change. Chemical Pollution.

March 19, 2010 — Mark Fischetti

Graphene used to make a hydrogen molecule "parking garage"

As automakers ramp up their plans to put greener vehicles on the road, hydrogen storage has become a pivotal issue. Whereas it's been suggested that graphene could play an important role in retaining hydrogen for use in fuel cells and other technologies, a team of researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia say they've found a way to configure graphene that enables it to hold 100 times more hydrogen molecules than a single layer of the carbon-based substance...

March 19, 2010 — Larry Greenemeier

Researchers create metal with a memory

Builders and engineers must often choose between materials that are strong and those that are flexible—rarely will they find a substance with both properties in abundance.

March 18, 2010 — Larry Greenemeier

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