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Think your boss is an idiot? Research suggests that means... um... so are you

Social psychologists from the University of Granada found that bosses who feel insecure or unqualified to hold their position often choose to hire and surround themselves with less competent people.Continue reading "Think your boss is an idiot?" at our new site, 60SecondScience.com >

November 2, 2007 — Christopher Mims

Eating plants gathered from the wild... in New York City

This past Sunday, SciAm's Steve Mirsky was part of a group led by ethnobotanist Nat Bletter (holding the apple-picking stick) that searched for edible plants in New York City's Central Park.After dining on wild vegetation, Steve and Nat chatted about ethnobotany.You can hear the conversation on the September 19 episode of Science Talk, the weekly podcast of Scientific American.

September 19, 2007 — Christopher Mims

Frightening new maps of U.S. coastal areas to be inundated by global warming

These maps correspond with a one meter rise in sea level -- the amount of sea level rise scientists predict will occur whether or not we cease emitting carbon today, on account of all the warming the earth has yet to do in order to reach equilibrium with the amount of C02 we've already put into the atmosphere.via

September 24, 2007 — Christopher Mims

What is Evo-Devo?

A SciAm editor explains this core concept of evolution

December 5, 2007 — Christopher Mims

Ethanol worse than gasoline -- Oil companies now officially "green"?

We already knew that corn ethanol is, at best, only a little better, emissions-wise, than plain old gasoline.Now a study in Science indicates that biofuels are even worse, in terms of the net CO2 they're going to pump into the atmosphere, than the gasoline we're already putting into our cars.

February 8, 2008 — Christopher Mims

Will the web finally make the dream of a universal human language a reality?

When I was a kid (OK, a geeky, awkward, childlike 16 year old) a friend of mine and I tried to invented our own pictographic language. Now Zlango, an Israeli software company, has completed the opus that I left behind in 4th period English.Here's my first ever sentence in this new language: Zlango's pictographs are paired with their English word equivalents in the above example, but they could be paired with anything -- and when displayed on, say, cellular phones, are stripped of any translation at all.As you can see, Zlango is not yet as rich as, say, Esperanto.

September 27, 2007 — Christopher Mims

TurtleNet - Connecting turtles wirelessly

"We are currently investigating methods to use DTNs, energy management, and programming languages to improve the state of the art in tracking small, mobile wildlife." --TurtleNetMark D.

August 7, 2007 — Christopher Mims

Are Transgenic Crops Safe to Grow and Eat?

In the September issue of Scientific American, which should be arriving on newsstands and in subscribers in-boxes right about now, there is a totally awesome and, sadly, totally paywalled article entitled Sowing a Gene Revolution: A new green revolution based on genetically modified crops can help reduce poverty and hunger--but only if formidable institutional challenges are met.In the table of contents of that issue, we invited you, the reader, to share your thoughts on transgenic crops here in the comments of this post.For those of you who aren't subscribers, there's a summary of the article after the jump.Here's the "Key Concepts" box from the article: * Genetically modified crops can increase the profits of farmers in developing nations and reduce food prices for poor consumers, but they are not a panacea.* Unlike the green revolution of the 20th century, in which public research institutes developed technologies and freely disseminated them around the world, today's "gene revolution" is led by multinational corporations.* Reaping the full potential of biotechnology in the developing world will depend as much on institutional factors (such as intellectual-property rights and environmental and food safety regulations) as on the development of transgenic crops suited to the local conditions in each country.

August 7, 2007 — Christopher Mims

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