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Tag Archives: Scientific American

Programming as a Way of Thinking

Programming has changed. In first generation languages like FORTRAN and C, the burden was on programmers to translate high-level concepts into code. With modern programming languages—I’ll use Python as an example—we use functions, objects, modules, and libraries to extend the language, and that doesn’t just make programs better, it changes what programming is. Programming used to be about translation: expressing ...

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Disabled Hands Successfully Replaced with Bionic Prosthetics

0SHARESShare Some 1.6 million people in the U.S. live with limb loss, according to a 2008 study, and that number could more than double by 2050. Modern prostheses enable replacements of limbs lost to injury or disease. But people who lose functionality in an otherwise healthy arm or leg have had few options. A team of surgeons in Vienna, Austria, ...

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Fragile Brain: Neurodegenerative Diseases

0SHARESShare Introduction Exploring Degenerative Brain Diseaseby Karin Tucker Section 1: Dementia 1.1   Seeds of Dementia        by Lary C. Walker & Mathias Jucker 1.2   When Character Crumbles        by Ingfei Chen 1.3   The Other Dementia        by Katie Free 1.4   Can General Anesthesia Trigger Dementia?        by Roni Jacobson 1.5   Why Sleep Disorders May Precede Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s        by Simon Makin Section 2: Alzheimer’s ...

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When Pluto Changed from a Fuzzy Dot into a Full-Fledged World

Two years ago this coming July, the long journey of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft to Pluto was approaching its end. Years earlier we had used New Horizons’ long-range camera to spot Pluto as a faint point of light off the bow of the spacecraft, but it took until April of 2015 for Pluto to begin to slowly, slowly reveal itself ...

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Mining Threatens Chinese Fossil Site That Revealed Planet's Earliest Animals

Palaeontologists are fighting to save a site in China that contains fossils of some of the earliest animals on record. This month they gained a temporary halt to the phosphate mining that has already destroyed some fossil beds. The threatened site is part of the Doushantuo geological formation in the Weng’an region of Guizhou province in southern China. It is ...

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Blasts from the Past: Old Nuke Test Films Offer New Insights [Video]

Between 1945 and 1962 the U.S. conducted more than 200 atmospheric nuclear weapon tests and captured the detonations on film. Multiple cameras capable of recording 2,400 frames per second covered each blast, creating a highly technical record of the U.S. nuclear arsenal—and a visual deterrent against its use. At that time physicists analyzed the roughly 10,000 classified movies to understand ...

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How to Make Tools on Mars, Using Dust

Dust and rock particles that mimic regolith on the surfaces of the Moon and Mars have been turned into 3D printer inks, offering a glimpse into how humans might one day use local materials in situ to construct and maintain extraterrestrial outposts. 3D printing approaches have already been demonstrated to make objects from simulated lunar and Martian regolith. However, these ...

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An Old Rock Could Lead to Next Generation Solar Cells

After a 170-year delay, the discovery of a strange, metallic-looking rock found in the Ural Mountains in Russia in 1839 has ignited a global technology race for a cheaper, more efficient solar cell. It could seriously disrupt the world’s solar market, currently dominated by China. The features of the rock led to the understanding that there was not a particular ...

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Killer Cats Bash Biodiversity

0SHARESShare Peter Marra, director of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, talks with journalist Rene Ebersole about the threat of outdoor cats to wild animals and to human health. Marra is the co-author, with writer Chris Santella, of the book Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer. 0SHARESShare

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The Administration's War on Facts Is a War on Democracy Itself

0SHARESShare Scientists around the country are nervous as hell. There seems to be a seismic shift happening in Washington, D.C., and our government’s relationship with facts, scientific reality and objective truth has never been more strained. It started with “alternative facts” about the size of the crowd at Donald Trump’s inauguration. The White House also asserted, without any evidence, that ...

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