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Observations

Observations

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

Can Google Earth save an indigenous tribe with maps?

When Chief Almir first accessed Google Earth, he did what many others do and scrolled over the map to find his home. His home, however, happens to be a nominally protected swath of forest in the rapidly diminishing Amazonian rainforest...

October 19, 2009 — Katherine Harmon

Geoengineering wars: Another scientist teases out a surprising effect of global deforestation

AUSTIN—A new and unpublished analysis of the regional impacts of a hypothetical scheme to mitigate global warming via radical deforestation was unveiled here Sunday at a gathering of science journalists and writers, on the heels of a blogging firestorm about geoengineering and climate change in anticipation of the release of S uperfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance ...

October 19, 2009 — Robin Lloyd

Evolution details revealed through 21-year E. coli experiment

In 1988 an associate professor started growing cultures of Escherichia coli . Twenty-one years and 40,000 generations of bacteria later, Richard Lenski, who is now a professor of microbial ecology at Michigan State University, reveals new details about the differences between adaptive and random genetic changes during evolution...

October 18, 2009 — Katherine Harmon

Scabby knaves: Barnacles bind to ships using clotlike glue

Hitchhiking on the surface of a boat hull can be a rough ride, but barnacles seem to do it with ease. How are they able to hang on so tightly? Researchers have been studying the composition of super-strong barnacle glue for years, and a new analysis of the cement reveals that it has many of the same properties as a human blood coagulant, factor XIII, which helps to form scabs...

October 16, 2009 — Katherine Harmon

Burning bunnies for biofuel?

The Swedes, those latter-day descendants of bloodthirsty Vikings, have found a new use for rabbits: heating fuel. According to Der Spiege l, stray rabbits in Stockholm are being shot, frozen and then shipped to a heating plant to be incinerated...

October 14, 2009 — David Biello

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