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.
  • Wheat Belly?

    December 13, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    The appeal of fad diets is easy to understand. It is increasingly clear that something has gone horribly awry with our health in the United States.   Obesity is on the rise and everywhere we look people are beset with diseases related to gastrointestinal system such as diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, and an ever-increasing array of […]

  • Can We Start Protecting Jordan Lake Now?

    December 7, 2015 at 6:53 am

    One of my motivations for writing this column is my hope that, at least in some small way, I am helping to inject more science into public policy decisions. Maintaining this hope can be especially challenging at times. The “experiment” to clean up Jordan Lake with larger mixers known as Solar Bees presents one of […]

  • Wood Pellets, Bane or Boon for NC?: Part II

    November 22, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Last week in Part I of this series, I discussed the science of wood pellets and the drivers behind the dramatic increase in their production in the southeast United States. The majority of these wood pellets are being shipped to Europe, particularly, the United Kingdom where they are supplanting coal as a fuel source for […]

  • Wood Pellets, Bane or Boon for NC?: Part I

    November 15, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    Readers of this column may recall that I own 16 acres of property about 2 miles west of Carrboro that I operate as a hobby farm/pollinator reserve. Approximately 14 of these acres are wooded. Prior to 1992, this land was part of a 50-acre farm. There are stands of pine trees that have grown on […]

  • Sunscreen, A New Threat to Coral?

    November 8, 2015 at 11:10 am

    If you try to stay up to date on science news, you may have notice a number of recent stories about coral reefs being damaged by sunscreen. After seeing several headlines to this effect, I decided to investigate. My initial assumption was that the likely proposed mechanism for this problem would be that dissolved sunscreen […]

  • Improving our Local Food Web: Part II

    November 1, 2015 at 11:46 am

    In Part I of this series, I noted that our local farmers, farmers markets, and restaurants in Orange County constitute a vibrant local food web that provides us with a number of important benefits including nutritious foods and a reduced environmental footprint. Nevertheless, we should always be looking for further improvements. My recommendations for an […]

  • Improving our Local Food Web: Part I

    October 24, 2015 at 9:52 am

    In Orange County, North Carolina we take well-deserved pride in our local food web. We have innovative local farmers, numerous farmers markets and a host of local restaurants committed to using fresh, local ingredients. But we can, and should, keep striving for improvements. My recommendations for how we might do so, as you might expect, […]

  • Scientific American May 1987

    October 11, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    When you are an engineer and the author of a weekly science column, it influences the gifts that you receive. This year for Father’s Day, my family gave me a copy of Scientific American® from May of 1987. What caught their eye was the cover story, Predicting the Earth’s Climate.  They knew I had often […]

  • Frozen Shoulder

    October 4, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    In the summer of 2010, when I was 44 years old, I was clearing some brush and experienced a sharp and unfamiliar pain in my right shoulder. I have always been quite active, so I am accustomed to a wide variety of aches and pains and consider myself to have a high-degree of pain tolerance. […]

  • Cold Fusion Part III: Conclusion and Implications

    September 27, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    This is the conclusion of a three-part series on cold fusion. Part I covered the science and Part II discussed the history of efforts to entice atomic nuclei to fuse a low temperature, a potential pathway to nearly limitless and clean energy. I would be pleased if you followed the links and started at the […]