Skip to main content
Observations

Observations

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

Storing megawatts: Liquid-metal batteries and electricity

Making aluminum requires a lot of electricity. That's because the metal bonds tightly to oxygen and it takes a lot of energy to break that bond. In essence, the process of making aluminum is a giant battery with the silvery metal being reduced to purity at the cathode while oxygen bonds with the carbon anode to make, you guessed it, CO2...

March 9, 2010 — David Biello

Chameleons' tongues still snappy in cool temperatures

When the weather cools, ectothermic (cold-blooded) animals slow down, which should be good news for their potential prey. But the colorful chameleon has found a way to keep feeding at top speeds even in lower temps: an elastic-tissue tongue, which unlike regular muscles, can uncoil nearly as fast in lower temperatures as it can in warmer ones...

March 8, 2010 — Katherine Harmon

Another reason vitamin D is important: It gets T cells going

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a rapidly expanding inventory of ailments—including heart disease, cancer and the common cold. A new discovery demonstrates how the vitamin plays a major role in keeping the body healthy in the first place, by allowing the immune system's T cells to start doing their jobs. 

In order for T cells to become active members of the body's immune system, they must transition from so-called "naive" T cells into either killer cells or helper cells (which are charged with "remembering" specific invaders)...

March 7, 2010 — Katherine Harmon

Can solid-oxide fuel cells like the Bloom box remake the energy landscape?

The fuel cell has a long history. Various types of fuel cells have been part of the NASA space program, and the basic science of how fuel cells work—an energy carrier comes in, creates a flow of charge in the anode, which migrates to the cathode creating a current, and separated by some form of electrolyte—has been known for more than a century...

March 5, 2010 — David Biello

Dinosaurlike creature spread in Triassic times

It looked like a dinosaur, walked like a dinosaur, and ate like, well, some dinosaurs, but a newly discovered species of archosaur, which lived 240 million years ago, was not a dinosaur...

March 4, 2010 — Katherine Harmon

Blog Index

Scroll To Top