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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.
  • Hemp, George Washington Grew It

    January 14, 2013 at 1:59 am

    With all of the critical economic and environmental challenges we face in the world and in North Carolina today, we no longer have the luxury of tolerating the foolish, inefficient and unnecessary ban of growing industrial hemp. Before everyone gets all excited, this is not a marijuana legalization column.  Hemp consists of a family of […]

  • A Follow-Up Question for Mr. Skvarla

    January 7, 2013 at 1:19 am

    “He arrives with . . . the view that global warming is still an open question.” I did not intend to start 2013 with a column about global warming.  However, when I was confronted with the above quote from the new North Carolina Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), John Skvarla, […]

  • Common Science: The Year In Review

    December 31, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Year two of Common Science has come to a close. Thanks for your support, you interesting questions and comments and your Facebook “Likes.” The year began with a four-part series called Chapelboro 2050 and finished with the history of nylons. In between, we talked about fracking, the Keystone pipeline, the Bronze Age, West Nile virus, […]

  • The Lesson of Nylons

    December 16, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Peruse any recent media report on the need for economic development, be it local, state, or national, and you will almost certainly find a call for the creation of more manufacturing jobs.  Unfortunately, after expressing the desire for more factories and production lines, rarely, if ever, is a plan laid out for how to make […]

  • An Ode to President Carter

    December 10, 2012 at 2:42 am

    My plan to write a column about methane hydrate has now blossomed into a four part series on global warming and the future of the plant.  Part I covered the science of methane hydrate.  Part II explained the reasons why we are on the path to exceed the U.N. target of limiting carbon dioxide in […]

  • The Greatest Invention of the 21st Century

    December 3, 2012 at 1:54 am

    “Berkeley is Berkeley but Cal Tech is Cal Tech” – Hamadri Das (1)   Want to win a Nobel Prize and also go down in history as the greatest inventor of the 21st century?  Then find the breakthrough that makes artificial photosynthesis a practical, large-scale reality.  Why you ask?  Read on. Last week’s column, “Methane […]

  • Common Science Flash Post: Flu Season Update

    November 30, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    I’ll be posting my regular weekly column Sunday evening as usual, but something caught my eye earlier today. Hence this mid-week “flash post”. My column on October 7, “Why This is an Important Year to Get your Flu Shot”, laid out the arguments that suggest that the flu season of 2012-2013 would be worse than […]

  • Methane Hydrate Part II: All You Really Need to Know About Global Warming

    November 26, 2012 at 2:41 am

    The hodgepodge of information available on global warming and climate change can be bewildering, sometimes intentionally so.  Let me see if I can clear away some of the clutter and boil it down to a couple of numbers that you need to keep track of to understand global warming.  I do need to warn you […]

  • Methane Hydrate Part I: The Science

    November 19, 2012 at 1:17 am

    In the coming months and years, you will be seeing more and more news stories about methane hydrate.  Some will claim that it is the energy source of the future while others will warn that it will bring about the end of civilization as we know it. So what is methane hydrate and what drives […]

  • Risky Business

    November 12, 2012 at 1:37 am

    Many of my columns have contained critiques of public policy decisions made by our leaders in the areas of energy production, agriculture, and environmental protection.  The decisions made by our leaders, as driven by public concern, often do not reflect a data-driven analysis of risks and benefits, but rather the instincts and emotions of the […]

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