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Tag Archives: Scientific American

Ground Control to Major Google: Space Station Street View Is Here

Take a self-guided tour and imagine what it is like to be an astronaut Credit: NASA Forget views of side streets and poorly parked cars – why not explore the International Space Station (ISS) instead? Earlier this week Google Maps released its first-ever Street View in space, and now, Earthlings can virtually navigate through astronauts’ home away from home. Because ...

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Chasing Consciousness, and the Information Revolution

As I’ve written about before on these pages, of all the ‘Big Questions’ in science, the issue of those slippery, tricksy quantities we call consciousness, awareness, and intelligence is one of the most challenging. That’s especially true when it comes to any sense of the universality of such things. We’re barely beginning to recognize the extraordinarily sophisticated, yet alien, functioning of terrestrial neighbors like ...

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The Supracranial Sinus of the Horned Dinosaur Skull

In an article published here back in November 2016 , I discussed the very weird and highly elaborate nasal region of the ceratopsids – the group of ornithischian dinosaurs that includes Triceratops. That article was meant to be part 1 in a short series, and today we embark on part 2. This time, we move away from the nasal region ...

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Attention Passengers: Your Flight Will Arrive 20 Years behind Schedule

A commercial airliner passes through a temporary wrinkle in spacetime en route from Tokyo to San Francisco. Its passengers arrive seemingly on time, only to discover that they have actually been transported 20 years into the future. How each passenger copes is the subject of a new online short-story writing contest and related science fiction anthology recently launched by the ...

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Exotic Physics Glimpsed for First Time in Lab Crystal

An exotic effect in particle physics that’s theorized to occur in immense gravitational fields—near a black hole, or in conditions just after the Big Bang—has been seen in a lump of material in a laboratory, physicists report. A team led by physicist Johannes Gooth at IBM Research near Zurich, Switzerland, say they have seen evidence for a long-predicted effect called ...

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Mice Show Signs of Mental Disorder After Injections of Cells from Schizophrenia Patient

Lab mice whose brains were injected with cells from schizophrenia patients became afraid of strangers, slept fitfully, felt intense anxiety, struggled to remember new things, and showed other signs of the mental disorder, scientists reported on Thursday. The latest advance in “chimeras,” animals created by transplanting cells from one species into another, demonstrated the value of the technique, scientists not involved in ...

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Helping Recipients of Food Assistance Use Their Benefits Wisely

The average recipient of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly known as food stamps, runs out of a month’s worth of assistance within a week or two. Given that there are more than 45.8 million people on SNAP, we thought it was important to find out why. To do this, Common Cents, a financial decision-making research lab supported by ...

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Forget Sharks: 7 Things in the Water Swimmers Should Actually Fear

It’s shark season — primarily on cable TV. As the decades-long tradition of “Shark Week” approaches, you can expect once again to hear of “serial killer” sharks, attacks near major coastal cities, and menacing, massive shark swarms. But, as you probably also know, shark attacks are incredibly unlikely. You’re 75 times more likely to be killed by lightening than by a ...

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Putting the Public at Risk

In 1965, the world shook from revelations that a newly approved drug called thalidomide had caused severe and in many cases fatal birth defects in babies born to mothers taking the drug. The tragedy affected thousands across Europe but the US was largely spared. A scientist at the Food and Drug Administration by the name of Doctor Frances Kelsey had ...

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A Beach Town's Dilemma: Protect Homes or Save the Shore?

DEL MAR, Calif.—Kim and Marilyn Fletcher stood on the deck of their beachfront home watching waves crash onto the shore. They savored the view from behind a 22-foot-high sea wall, a common sight along this eroding stretch of coast. The sandy beach in front of homes in this north San Diego County town is shrinking, and the high tide is ...

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