By Jeff Danner Jeff has worked in both the chemical and biotech industries and is the veteran of thousands of science debates at cocktail parties and holiday dinners across the nation. In his Common Science blog, Jeff aims to make technological and scientific concepts accessible to all.
  • Pollinator Update

    August 23, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    In the spring of 2014, I published a three-part series on the importance of pollinators – bees, butterflies, wasps, hummingbirds and a variety of other insects – and highlighted the alarming rates of decline of their populations. (Here are links to those columns, Part I, Part II, and Part III.) I also described my own […]

  • Alkali Burns at Pine Gate Apartments

    August 16, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    As was previously reported by the news department at www.chapelboro.com, on July 8th, 10 people and 3 pets who reside at Pine Gate Apartments in Chapel Hill received chemical burns when they came in contact with an alkali-based paint removal product called Stripper Cream. As I was following the incident, I was reminded that popular […]

  • The Science of Hail

    August 2, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    It’s summer here in the Southern Part of Heaven and that means it’s time for hail storms. So I thought a column on the science of hail would be timely. Plus, my wife recently asked me a question about hail and my explanation was a bit disorganized, so I hope this one is an improvement. […]

  • Missing Microbes Part IV: Epilogue

    July 26, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    This is the conclusion of my four-part review of Missing Microbes, How the Overuse of Antibiotics is Fueling our Modern Plagues, by Dr. Martin Blaser, head of the Human Microbiome Research Project at New York University. Part I explained how the human body evolved to depend on the services of its resident bacteria species, collectively […]

  • Missing Microbes Part III: Potential Solutions

    July 19, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    This is Part III of IV of my review of Missing Microbes, How the Overuse of Antibiotics is Fueling our Modern Plagues, by Dr. Martin Blaser, head of the Human Microbiome Research Project at New York University. Part I explained how the human body evolved to depend on the services of its resident bacteria, collectively […]

  • Missing Microbes Part II: The Plague of our Times

    July 12, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    This is Part II of my four-part series reviewing the key issues covered in Missing Microbes, How the Overuse of Antibiotics is Fueling our Modern Plagues, by Martin J. Blaser, MD. In Part I, I explained that the human body has co-evolved with slate of resident bacteria, collectively our microbiome, which performs a number of […]

  • Missing Microbes Part I: A Partnership

    June 28, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    This is the beginning of a four-part series about the most interesting and troubling book I have read in many years, perhaps ever. I am hopeful that reading these columns will inspire you to do two specific things: ask different questions of your doctors, and share these columns with your friends and family. The book […]

  • What Makes Science Writing Compelling?

    June 21, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    I am traveling this week, so this is a short column about an issue I have been pondering of late. Those of us who report on science in public fora such as this, are motivated by the hope that our efforts will have an impact, at least indirectly, on the setting of public policy. Unfortunately […]

  • Should I Get the Shingles Vaccine?

    June 7, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    Late the other night, I saw a TV commercial for Zostavax®, the vaccine for shingles. It opened with a picture of a man’s stomach emblazoned with large and grotesque pustules, allegedly from shingles. (The make-up crew for the commercial really outdid themselves.) Readers of Common Science® will know that I’ve never met a vaccine I […]

  • Single Stream Recycling

    May 31, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    Long time readers may be aware that my father, Ron Danner, is an emeritus professor of Chemical Engineering at Penn State University. This is the second of two columns that we are co-authoring, both of which are pertinent to issues right here in the Southern Part of Heaven. Last week we addressed the choice between […]

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