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Blog Profile / 60-Second Science

Filed Under:Academics / General Science
Posts on Regator:3091
Posts / Week:9.7
Archived Since:November 13, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Obama Has a Plan for Climate, What If It Involves Tar Sands?

On a sweltering day in Washington, D.C., President Barack Obama sweated as he laid out his new plan to combat climate change. In addition to the mandatory cuts in CO2 pollution from coal-fired power plants and the efforts to protect the country from the ravages of climate change highlighted by my colleague Mark Fischetti, Obama [...]

Science Will Protect Us from Climate Change, Obama Says

Science can save us from the next Hurricane Sandy. That’s what President Barack Obama will say today when he releases his Climate Action Plan, during a highly anticipated speech at Georgetown University. The plan, which consists of a long list of actions the executive branch can take with no help or hindrance from Congress, has [...]

WikiLeaks Defends NSA Whistleblower, Condemns PRISM Digital Surveillance

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange held a press conference Monday to weigh in on Edward Snowden’s actions and comment on his organization’s role in helping the National Security Agency whistleblower seek asylum in Ecuador. Assange, who himself has been holed up in Ecuador’s British embassy for the past year to avoid prosecution for WikiLeaks work, defended [...]

Supreme Court Strikes Down Anti-Prostitution Pledge Tied to Global AIDS Funding

The Supreme Court today struck down a federal requirement that forced private health organizations to denounce prostitution in order to get funding for programs aimed at preventing or treating HIV/AIDS. The decision marks a major victory for human rights and global health advocates who charged that the requirement was a U.S. government overreach that blocked [...]

Zero Evidence that Legos Harm Your Kids

LEGO toys have never been so controversial, or angry for that matter, but that should not stop your kids from playing with them. There has been a lot of noise over a study, released June 4, that looked into the evolution of the facial expressions printed on LEGO minifigures—those one and half-inch toy figurines that [...]

Explore Mars for Yourself with this Billion-Pixel Image from the Curiosity Rover

During Barack Obama’s first inauguration as president in 2009, photographer David Bergman snapped hundreds of photos to build a stunning mosaic of the event, comprising more than one billion pixels in total. Users of the clickable, zoomable Gigapan platform (where the inauguration mosaic has attracted more than 15 million views) dove into the image to [...]

New Astronauts Face Limited Opportunities for Spaceflight

NASA announced on Monday its 2013 class of astronaut candidates, but the current state of the agency’s human spaceflight program makes it hard to get as excited about what lies ahead for these remarkable individuals. To mark the announcement, NASA hosted a Google Hangout on Air with several administrators and former astronauts.   After sifting [...]

Could Drones Make the Decision to Kill on Their Own? [Video]

It sounds like something out of the Terminator movies: automated drones that can identify, track and eliminate individual targets without explicit human approval. Today’s U.S. drones require a person to make the decision to fire. But, according to novelist Daniel Suarez, autonomous robotic weapons are virtually an inevitability. In this TED talk from the TEDGlobal [...]

Supreme Court Rejects Patents on Two Naturally Occurring Genes

When Angelina Jolie announced last month that she decided to get a prophylactic double mastectomy, she based her decision on the presence of the BRCA1 gene in her body—a gene that was detected via a costly medical test. The Supreme Court today unanimously struck down patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2—two genes linked to hereditary forms [...]

New York City Could Look Like New Orleans, Due to Flood Protection

Yesterday New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg revealed a $19.5 billion plan to protect his home town against future sea level rise and other effects of climate change such as heat waves. The big focus, however, is preventing death and damage from another Hurricane Sandy. The report, “A Stronger, More Resilient New York,” prescribes 250 [...]

Who Is Fooling Who When It Comes to Combating Climate Change?

Here’s the scam. A Chinese company manufactures hydrofluorocarbons, the refrigerant gases responsible for the ozone hole and climate change. The gases can efficiently be turned into cash, either by using them in products like refrigerators or air conditioners, or more lucratively, by destroying them. In the early part of the last decade, Chinese manufacturers of [...]

Is It Possible to Keep Electronic Secrets?

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard of PRISM, a vast digital surveillance program run by the National Security Agency that was recently revealed by a whistleblower. The NSA, part of the federal government, reportedly works in conjunction with corporations such as Google, Microsoft and Apple to share users’ information with federal authorities. But [...]

Surf Switzerland on World Ocean Day

Today—June 8—is World Ocean Day. Like Earth Day, it is meant to draw attention to issues that threaten ocean health and sustainability. What can you do? Well, for starters, avoid eating fish that appear on any red or yellow “do not consume” lists. Pick up trash when you’re walking along the shore. And celebrate the [...]

Best Summer Books: SA‘s Picks and Yours

All year long Scientific American editors, bloggers and contributors mull over and write about recently published science books worth reading. These works cover everything from ancient quantum computing to surviving a mass extinction. The “Recommended” page in our magazine offers monthly reviews; we have a “Books” section on our Web site that features our eBooks [...]

Your Meat Should Be Raised on Insects, U.N. Says

There has been a lot of press, both positive and negative, about a recent United Nations report in which scientists recommended that we start eating insects to fight world hunger. But the other U.N. recommendation—that farmers should consider feeding insects to poultry and aquacultured fish—did not garner nearly as much attention, despite seeming more feasible. [...]

How To Fly a Model Helicopter Using Only Your Thoughts

For decades, scientists have been developing brain-computer linkages they hope will enable people to manipulate objects hands free. Duke neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis reported a few years ago that a monkey fitted with implanted electrodes could use its brainpower to control the walking patterns of a robot. Show More Summary

Pandora’s Promise: The Triumph of Hope over Fear in Nuclear Power?

A believer in solar power rarely has a good word to say about nuclear, though the sun generates light in a nuclear way via fusion. Of course, the zealotry works in the other direction as well. Almost any energy source boasts a cadre of ardent adherents: burning coal (it alleviates poverty!). Fracking for natural gas [...]

Reaction in Action: Before and After Pictures at the Atomic Level

Imagine watching a chemical reaction in real time: atoms breaking bonds with their neighbors and forming new arrangements as heat or pressure changes. That’s what scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California, Berkeley came close to achieving in these images. Using an atomic-force microscope the researchers captured before and after images [...]

Gut Reaction: Human Colon Replica Demonstrates How E. coli Contaminates Groundwater

Scientists are great at growing E. coli in the lab. They know exactly under which conditions various strains thrive. Unfortunately, there is only so much that can be learned from the bacteria’s behavior in an ideal, isolated and ultimately unrealistic environment. That is why a group of researchers at the University of California, Riverside, decided [...]

Spooky Action on Broadway: A Quantum Drama by Brian Greene

Fans of Brian Greene’s NOVA programs, such as The Fabric of the Cosmos, will no doubt enjoy what amounts to a 90-minute live episode. Kicking off the 2013 World Science Festival in New York City on Wednesday night, the show, “Spooky Action: The Drama of Quantum Mechanics provides an entertaining and thought-provoking journey through the [...]

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