Editor's Note

Scientists struggle to find signals in the noise

3:15pm, June 13, 2014

Each time I open my e-mail, I scan a long list of subject lines to find the messages that have something important to tell me. Occasionally, I’ll miss one and have to go back later to find it. Sometimes I make a different kind of mistake, opening a missive of no consequence. The point is that, even in a simple system like my in-box (OK, not that simple — the current count shows 19,004 unopened messages), detecting the signal from the noise is not always easy.

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