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.
  • Lessons from the Explosion in the iPad Factory in China

    March 19, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Last week I started a series about water with “Water Part I: Is God a Mathematician”.  I started working on Part II, but find I am too saddened by the loss of 59 lives in a dust explosion in an iPad factory in China to write about anything else this week.  If you are not […]

  • Water Part I: Is God a Mathematician?

    March 12, 2012 at 1:12 am

    In the fall of 1983 I was applying to go to college and was invited to come to the University of Delaware to write an essay to help determine if I would be admitted to the honors program.  For my younger readers, 1983 was just the very beginning of the e-mail age and you could […]

  • Follow the Bouncing Rubber Ball

    March 5, 2012 at 3:06 am

    For hundreds of years European explorers searched the world for El Dorado, a city of gold.  In fact, El Dorado was waiting for them underground in the form of liquid petroleum.  Petroleum is so amazing that it’s hard to wrap your mind around it.  As a liquid it flows, making it easy to transport when […]

  • What a Fracking Mess

    February 27, 2012 at 12:32 am

    It appears that the North Carolina General Assembly is going to take up the issue of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” again in this legislative session.  I’ll leave the details of the political process to other fora, but I will be addressing the technical, energy, and environmental issues here in Common Science.    Last August I […]

  • Keystone Controversy

    February 20, 2012 at 2:37 am

    Last week in “2012 The Year Without a Winter” I explained that in order to limit atmospheric carbon dioxide to 450 parts per million, the goal set during the 2009 UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen, we need to leave half of the known fossil fuel reserves in the ground.   I also noted my skepticism that, […]

  • 2012 The Year Without a Winter

    February 12, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    When I moved here from Pennsylvania 11 years ago, this is what I was hoping winter would be like.  Maybe sweater weather in the morning and the evening, bracketing crisp, cool 55 oF afternoons.  Having been here for a while now, I know this year is not normal.  So what better time could there be […]

  • Chapelboro 2050 Part IV: The Good Dirt

    February 6, 2012 at 11:32 am

    This is the final installment of a four-part series on changes I expect to see in the Chapelboro by 2050 as a result of reduced resource availability.  To start at the beginning check out “Life on Two Wheels”, “A Farewell to Lawns”, and “Get into the Zone”.  This week I’ll get to the root of […]

  • Chapelboro 2050 Part III: Get into the Zone

    January 29, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    This is the third in my series of columns about how I expect life in Chapelboro to be different in 2050 as a result of reduced energy and resource availability.  If you want to start at the beginning check out “Life on Two Wheels” and “A Farewell to Lawns”.  This week’s entry, as you may […]

  • Yes, We Have No Bananas

    January 22, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    A business trip to Dubai this week has disrupted by Chapelboro 2050 series.  I anticipated that Dubai would make great fodder for a Common Science blog illustrating the ephemeral nature of our illusion of constant growth and progress which owes its tenuous foundation to our rapid drawdown of our once-and-gone supply of petroleum.  The city […]

  • Chapelboro 2050 Part II: A Farewell to Lawns

    January 16, 2012 at 12:06 am

    If you have been reading my blogs you will know that I expect a reduction in the amount of available energy per person to be the dominant factor in world events in coming decades. As energy becomes scarcer and, therefore, more expensive, I expect many of the energy-inefficient parts of our daily lives to fade away, […]