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:

• Engineering the Supergrid
The U.S. transmission grid needs to be revamped in order to switch from fossil fuels to renewable power. There are political, geographical and financial hurdles in making this transition. $6.5 billion in funding and $2 billion in loan guarantees are available through the 2009 stimulus package. A strong national mandate for renewable energy and federal authority to determine the routes of new lines would ease some of the pressures. See How to Build the Supergrid

• Uncertainty in Climate Science
Judith Curry attracts criticism from climate scientists and skeptics alike. She says that climate scientists won’t talk about uncertainty in the science for fear of being attacked by skeptics, but strong opinions and open discourse should be expected and encouraged. See Climate Heretic

• Phosphorus Mining
Florida generates 75% of the phosphorus, a key ingredient in fertilizer, used by U.S. farmers and about 20% of the global supply. The state is strip-mined, creating massive amounts of waste. More than one billion tons of phosphogypsum, a by-product, lie piled in 25 stacks across the state, creating acidic lakes. See Phosphorus Lake

• EPA’s New Car Labels
Federal law requires that new cars be sold with a label that includes the vehicle’s fuel efficiency in miles per gallon. Next year, gallonswill be replaced by watts. The new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency labels should have the effect of promoting vehicles that are less expensive to operate, such as electric cars. See Window Shopping for Electric Cars

• Toxic Chemicals?
An estimated 50,000 chemicals are used in U.S. consumer products and industrial processes, and manufacturers are not currently required to test the safety of chemicals. The House Toxic Chemicals Safety Act of 2010 and the Senate Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 would require manufacturers to prove that existing and new chemicals meet specific safety criteria. See The Great Chemical Unknown

• Music in Schools
Numerous studies confirm that music is good for brain development, helping students concentrate better and improve language learning skills. Schools need to revitalize, not cut, music programs. See Science Agenda

• Resistant Bacteria
New insights into what makes bacteria resistant to drugs, may lead to smarter, more potent drugs for bacterial infections. See Nice Germs Finish Last