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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.
  • Electricity Production 101

    August 8, 2011 at 2:17 am

    Making electricity is easy. You take a coil of wire, you spin it near a strong magnet and you get electricity. Getting the coil to spin is, oddly, the more challenging part. I’ll explain this below, but first let’s talk about my childhood.   When I was a kid my favorite toy was a race track with little […]

  • Welcome to the Greenhouse

    July 29, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Loyal readers will have noticed that I skipped last week’s blog entry as my family and I were on summer vacation. I don’t normally post on Fridays, but when I woke up this morning and heard that the forecasted high temperatures for today were 101 oF in Chapel Hill and 104 oF in Raleigh, I figured a […]

  • Fun with Fritz and Carl

    July 17, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    When I travel around Orange County I am heartened to see all of the farms. If you have been reading my blog you will know that I believe that areas, like ours, with compact towns surrounded by productive fields are going to outcompete suburban sprawl over the coming decades both economically and for quality of […]

  • A Science Question for Michelle Bachmann

    July 10, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    OK, so this is a science blog, not a political blog. However, when politicians wander into the science realm and the media chooses not to engage, Common Science is going to step in. As I mentioned in a recent post, scientific accuracy is one of the first casualties of presidential politics.  During the 2004 presidential campaign, when pressed […]

  • Gas Prices and the Dow Jones

    July 4, 2011 at 2:53 am

    As I continue this series on petroleum it can be difficult at times to determine the best order in which to cover which topics. If you have been following along so far you should have a good feel for the following: All petroleum started as carbon dioxide in the air which was captured by plants through […]

  • Lessons for Chapelboro from George Washington

    June 27, 2011 at 1:42 am

    If we are going to use the forum of the Common Science blog to discuss matters of consequence to Chapelboro, I am going to have to persist in the use of multi-part series. I hope you have been following the series on petroleum which is about halfway completed. This story about George Washington and the soil is […]

  • Peak Oil in 5 Paragraphs or Less

    June 18, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    This is part five of the series I am writing about petroleum, which will be the single most important issue for this century. If you want to start at the beginning follow the links below. 1.     Nothing Matters More than Oil, Nothing 2.     Photosynthesis Part I: Oxygen Gets all the Press 3.     Photosynthesis Part II: Glucose Should […]

  • Farewell to Brood XIX

    June 11, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Brood XIX, or the Great Southern Brood, has left us and will not return for another 13 years. I will miss them. Is you want to see some great pictures and hear a recording of the cicadas check out the The Cicada Invasion by Kristin Oguntoyinbo from Snapshots from the Hill right here on There is something irresistibly fascinating […]

  • Is Your Cell Phone Trying to Kill You

    June 5, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Last week the World Health Organization (WHO) listed cell phones as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”. You may be more disposed to listen to an important international health organization than your favorite Local Buzz science blogger, but I strongly suspect they are wrong. There have been multiple studies on this topic over the years and most studies have […]

  • Petroleum: 300 Million Years of Sunlight

    June 1, 2011 at 1:59 am

    This is part IV of my series on Petroleum. To start at the beginning read, Nothing Matters More Than Oil, Nothing, Photosynthesis Part I: Oxygen Gets All the Press, and Photosynthesis Part II: Glucose Needs a New Agent. If you want to understand all of the issues, economic, political, and scientific about oil then you have to […]