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January-February 2012

Features

Nixon’s Presidential Library: The Last Battle of Watergate

Who controls the Nixon Library? A dispute over how to tell the story of his presidency raises questions about the purpose, and legitimacy, of presidential libraries.

Placebo Effect Stronger Than We Thought?

Double-blind trials have long been considered the gold standard to determine drugs’ effectiveness. Do we need to rethink that assumption, given the power of the placebo effect?

Was Lou Gehrig’s ALS Caused by Tap Water?

A toxic molecule found in pond scum may trigger neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS and Parkinson’s. Could a group of scientists, led by a botanist, hold the key to a cure?

Where Have All the Doctors Gone?

Communities with more primary care doctors enjoy better health, yet those physicians are a dying breed. Here is what some schools are doing to combat the looming shortage.

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Women Eye Dance Moves to Find Thrill Seekers

How to spot thrill-seeking men on the dance floor, “sweet” personalities in public, and bidding fever on eBay.

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Does Black History Need More Than a Month?

The documentary “More Than a Month” asks: Does Black History Month still inspire reflection, or just Nike sales?

We’re Sorry: Not All Apologies Are Apologies

Politicians take note: Research shows the fine line between claiming regret and taking responsibility.

No Debate: Kids Can Learn By Arguing

Columbia professor Deanna Kuhn says teachers should foster some debate to help kids learn the lost skill of thinking critically.

Can a Bad Economy Save Your Marriage?

Spouses who blame the economy for their woes, rather than pointing the finger at their partner, are more likely to be satisfied with their marriages.

How Foreclosures Feasted on Some Cities, Not Others

A look at foreclosures in two Southern California cities shows why some fared better than others in the housing crisis.

Street Makeovers Put New Spin on the Block

How community activists are taking city planning into their own hands and creating pedestrian-friendly blocks via pop-up urbanism.

Why Robot Maids Won’t Do the Dishes

How hard is it to design a humanlike robot? Harvard’s Steven Pinker highlights how simple human accomplishments represent formidable robotics challenges.

20,000 Robots Under the Sea

Jules Jaffe of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography is developing an army of underwater explorers that researchers hope will produce a fine-grained, real-time map of the movements of the sea.

Something’s Fishy About That Red Snapper

Preventing seafood fraud won’t be easy, but a new law has potential to stop fish poaching and laundering, which involves mislabeling fish in restaurants.

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Quick Studies

What Makes You Neurotic?

A new study gets to the root of our anxieties.

Fecal Donor Banks Are Possible and Could Save Lives

Defrosted fecal matter can be gross to talk about, but the benefits are too remarkable to tiptoe around.

How Junk Food Companies Manipulate Your Tongue

We mistakenly think that harder foods contain fewer calories, and those mistakes can affect our belt sizes.

What Steve Jobs’ Death Teaches Us About Public Health

Studies have shown that when public figures die from disease, the public takes notice. New research suggests this could be the key to reaching those who are most at risk.

Speed-Reading Apps Will Not Revolutionize Anything, Except Your Understanding

The one-word-at-a-time presentation eliminates the eye movements that help you comprehend what you're reading.

The Big One

One state—Pennsylvania—logs 52 percent of all sales, shipments, and receipts for the chocolate manufacturing industry. March/April 2014