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On the Cover

November-December 2009 Volume 97, Number 6

Found in caves and wooded canyons of the Sierra Nevada in California, this Ortholasma harvestman is an unnamed and undescribed new species, less than a centimeter in length. ...


FEATURE ARTICLES

Spitzer’s Cold Look at Space

Michael Werner

To get a clear view of infrared emissions from celestial objects, the Spitzer Space Telescope has been cryogenically cooled—and what sights it has seen


Harvestmen *

William Shear

Opiliones—which include daddy-long-legs—are as exotic as they are familiar


The Other Climate Threat: Transportation *

Andreas Schäfer, Henry D. Jacoby, John B. Heywood, Ian A. Waitz

A global travel surge is inevitable, but runaway growth of mobility-related CO2 emissions is not


Going with the Floe? *

Stephanie Pfirman, Bruno Tremblay, Charles Fowler

An analysis of luck versus skill in the epic polar expeditions of Fridtjof Nansen and Sir Ernest Shackleton


* access restricted to members and subscribers


SCIENTISTS’ BOOKSHELF

Runaway Change

John R. McNeill

A review of Critical Transitions in Nature and Society, by Marten Scheffer. Like canoes, natural systems have tipping points, argues Scheffer; once a hard-to-recognize threshold is exceeded, runaway change can occur that is difficult to reverse—a relatively wet area can turn to desert, a heavily wooded area can become a savanna. Could the integrated study of complex systems give us the insight to predict and control such shifts?

See all book reviews for this issue.


DEPARTMENTS

COMPUTING SCIENCE

Hip-Hop Physics

Electrons dance to a quantum beat in the Hubbard model of solid-state physics

Brian Hayes

ENGINEERING

The Minneapolis Bridge*

A replacement for a fallen structure rises to the occasion in less than a year

Henry Petroski

MARGINALIA

Abstract Science?

Abstraction, not just mathematics, has its place in science as it does in art

Roald Hoffmann

SIGHTINGS

Envisioning Cosmic Collisions

Computer simulations of merging galaxies

Catherine Clabby

SCIENCE OBSERVER

Don't Fence Me Out

To protect wildlife, barriers to information flow between science and policy will have to be made more permeable

Anna Lena Phillips

Multitasking to Distraction

Users of many concurrent media streams actually are less able to switch between tasks

Fenella Saunders

In the News

 

LETTERS TO THE EDITORS

Be Real About Biofuels

Our Flexible Age

Statistical or Actual Significance?

 

SIGMA XI TODAY (PDF)

2009 Year-End Index


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