Every month, Scientific American—the longest-running magazine in the U.S. and an authoritative voice in science, technology and innovation—provides insight into scientific topics that affect our daily lives and capture our imagination, establishing the vital bridge between science and public policy.

>> Key information from this month’s issue:

• Science Priorities for 2011
The study of disease and other scientific research boosts economic growth, creates jobs and saves taxpayers’ money. The incoming Congress has opportunities to: cut federal subsidies for large farms by encouraging a progressive return to sustainable, integrated farming; encourage low-carbon electricity options for generating clean power; implement policies that ensure the Internet remains free and open; and ratify the World Health Organization’s recommendations on how to reduce tobacco smoking. See Science Agenda: A Political Wish List for Washington

• Clean Technology
Fundamentally reinventing mainstream technologies—such as air conditioning and automobile engines—will provide optimal energy pay offs. Vinod Khosla, a recognized investor in clean technology, outlines how we can better focus our attention on wind power, biofuels, the smart grid and carbon capture. See Energy: In Search of the Radical Solution

• Climate Diplomacy
Developing countries are curbing deforestation and controlling carbon emissions, dwarfing the cuts of developed nations. The solution to gridlock on global warming solutions is not grand policies such as the Kyoto Protocol, but smaller initiatives aligned with what each individual nation can honor. See Forum: Diplomacy’s Meltdown

• Climate Migration
The frequency of natural disasters around the world has increased by 42% since the 1980s, and climate-related ones have risen from 50% to 82%. Anticipated changes in the environment due to climate change may lead to mass migrations of people on a scale never before seen. Although predicting these migration patterns is impossible, leaders can implement policies to help alleviate the inevitable suffering. See Environment: Casualties of Climate Change

• Radioactive Smoke
Around six trillion cigarettes are smoked worldwide each year, each one delivering a small amount of polonium 210 to the lungs. The tobacco industry has known how to remove this dangerous radioactive element from cigarette smoke for decades but kept the information secret. The FDA now has jurisdiction over tobacco companies so the government can force cigarette manufactures to remove polonium, thus making cigarettes less deadly. See Public Health: Radioactive Smoke

• Pandemic Flu
The U.S. is the world’s second largest pork producer: 115 million pigs were processed in U.S. slaughterhouses last year. Pigs can be infected with the influenza virus by other animals and can pass on flu viruses to humans. Swine viruses, such as the 2009 H1N1 virus, can rapidly develop and spread. Though testing of pigs is possible, it is not regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A more coordinated surveillance program is needed. See Infectious Disease: Flu Factories

• TV Programs for Children
Research on how kids learn provides a guide to picking the right educational TV shows for children of different ages, which can lay the groundwork for good reasoning skills and inspire inquisitive minds. See Advances: The Bright Spots of Kids’ TV