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Jeff Danner

2014 Predictions Part II: The Negative

Last week I set out my predictions for five positive science and technology news stories that I am expecting in 2014. This week I’ve got predictions for four negative ones. As with last week, each prediction begins with an imaginary headline. 1. Hurricane Cristobal to be Second Category 4 Storm to Hit Pensacola this Month Every year tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic and make their way towards the southeastern United States. Over the past century, an average of six strong storms – categories 3, 4, and 5 – made landfall each decade. Just as simple statistics govern how...

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2014 Predictions Part I: The Postive

I decided to kick off the year with my predictions about what I expect to be the most significant science stories of 2014 – five predictions for positive stories this week and five negative ones next week. Each topic begins with an imaginary headline for the story. I’ll report back in December to let you know how I did. 1. “Kick and Kill” Offers Hope for HIV Eradication Antiretroviral (ARV) therapies have advanced to the point that, at least in first-world countries, HIV has become a chronic treatable condition rather than a death sentence. When taken regularly, ARV drugs...

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Common Science 2013 Index

Below is my third annual index for Common Science on Chapelboro.com.  I’d like to thank my readers for their support and for all of the interesting questions I have received from you at commonscience@chapelboro.com.  Just follow the hyperlinks below to read any of this year’s stories. And if there is a topic you would like me to cover in 2014, send me an email. Happy Holidays from Common Science! 1.     A Follow-Up Question for Mr. Skvarla                                                    1/6/13 An evaluation of the North Carolina Secretary of the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources’ view that global warming is still an...

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Smog, The Desolation of Shanghai

The news last week contained many pictures like the one above of a monumental smog enveloping the city of Shanghai, China. The smog resulted in many problems: construction projects were halted, public events were cancelled, and the city’s reputation suffered. Chinese authorities were ridiculed for trying to find a silver lining in the smog by suggesting that it would protect Shanghai from an aerial attack. In addition to being unsightly, smog makes life very difficult for people with asthma and other respiratory problems, and long-term exposure can result in lung cancer. The term smog was coined in 19th century...

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Sudden Cardiac Arrest Part IV: The Frozen Man

This is the fourth and final column in my series on sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). If you would like to start at the beginning of the story, here are the links to Parts I, II, and III. In addition to reviewing the pertinent science, this series also recounts the story of my father’s survival of a SCA in April of 2012. At the end of Part III, my father’s heart had just been restarted after 20 minutes of CPR and four shocks from an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and he was being transported via ambulance to State College Area...

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It’s The Extraction, Not The Emissions, That Matters

Since personal obligations have kept me busy this week over Thanksgiving, I will not be publishing the conclusion of the “Sudden Cardiac Arrest” series until December 8th. This week, I am reprising a column from September, 2012, with this new introduction, which I hope will help to shed some light on two recent, but seemingly contradictory news stories. In 2013, carbon dioxide emissions in the United States were down by 3.7% compared to 2012. In stark contrast, gloggbal emissions, at a staggering 10 billion tons, were 2.1% higher than in 2012. As I explained in “If We Mine it...

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Sudden Cardiac Arrest Part III: First Aid

This is the third installment in a series on the science of heart disease set against the backdrop of my father’s experience of having and surviving a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). If you’d like to start at the beginning, here are the links for Parts I and II. Also, please note that the first aid advice below is culled from the American Heart Association and the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association. At the end of Part II, I promised that this week I’d teach you how to save a life. So let’s get started. When you come upon someone having...

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Sudden Cardiac Arrest Part II: Heart Attack or Cardiac Arrest

Last week in Part I of this series, I reviewed the structure and function of the heart and let you know that my father suffered a sudden cardiac arrest in April of 2013.  Dad is fine and helping me write this series. This week, I’ll explain the difference between a heart attack and a cardiac arrest, a rather important difference that not many people fully understand. Your heart has a network of arteries and veins which deliver and withdraw blood as part of your normal circulation; it does not absorb the oxygen it needs for itself from the blood...

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Sudden Cardiac Arrest Part I: The Heart

On Friday April 13, 2012, I received a frightening call from my mother. She was en route to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA while my father was being transported there via helicopter. Earlier that afternoon, he had collapsed on the squash court from a sudden cardiac arrest. As I proceed with this series, I’ll tell you the rest of the story. For now, let me put you at ease and tell you that the story has a happy ending. In fact, Dad is collaborating with me on these columns. In our family, we refer to this event as...

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The Physics of Your Fireplace

If you have a gas fireplace in your house, I have something surprising to tell you about it. The switch on the wall which turns on the flame is not connected to the electricity in your house.  Understanding how this switch works requires an explanation of both the thermoelectric and piezoelectric effects.  Who knew you had such sophisticated physics occurring in your house? Before we proceed, a brief explanation of electricity is in order.  Electricity is the flow of electrons through a conductor like a copper wire.  In order to induce electrons to move you need to create a...

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