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.
  • Fracking Gag Rule Part III: Wastewater

    June 8, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    This is the conclusion of a three-part series inspired by the North Carolina General Assembly’s decision to make the disclosure of the chemicals used in fracking a crime here in the Tar Heel State, purportedly to protect the trade secrets of the drilling companies. In Part I, I reviewed why I do not believe that […]

  • Fracking Gag Rule Part II: The Real Reasons

    June 1, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    As I write this column, Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) are fast tracking a new law which makes it a Class 1 felony to disclose the identities of chemicals used in fracking here in the Tar Heel State. The purported rationale for this law is that identities of these chemicals are closely […]

  • Fracking Gag Rule Part I: Trade Secret?

    May 26, 2014 at 9:06 am

    I was in the middle of writing a column about the unique benefits and properties of fertilizer made from seaweed when I got distracted by the North Carolina General Assembly. A Republican-led senate committee has proposed to make it a felony for a citizen to disclose the names of the chemicals used by drilling companies […]

  • Renewable Energy is Sort of Like the Internet

    May 18, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    I am often inspired to write a column when I feel that a science or technology topic has been covered incorrectly or incompletely in other media outlets. Lately, stories on renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, are getting on my nerves. To understand why, first I need to complain about the internet for […]

  • Meanwhile, In The War On Science

    May 12, 2014 at 5:08 am

    Here they go again. Republicans in the United States House of Representatives are working on a bill called the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST) Act of 2014. In their typical Orwellian fashion, the name of the proposed legislation gives the impression it supports innovation when, in truth, it would suppress it – […]

  • My Conflicting Thoughts on Beekeeping

    May 4, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    In Part I of this series, I discussed the importance of pollinators to our food supply and the theories surrounding the alarming decline in their population. In Part II, I outlined ways in which we could improve local land use and land use policies to support native pollinator populations. Here in Part III, I will […]

  • The Vanishing of the Bees Part II: Local Efforts

    April 27, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Last week in Part I of my series on bees, I reviewed the importance of pollinators to our food supply, the science behind the dramatic reduction in global population of honey bees, and the status and psychology of attempts to understand and solve the problem. This week, rather than further exploring the global issues, I […]

  • The Vanishing of the Bees Part I: Psychology

    April 20, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    I have been considering writing about the importance of honeybees and their mysterious and troubling population decline for some time, but have been waiting for an aspect of the story that I thought needed further exploration. Now I have found two: the psychology which we apply in complex situations like this, and how I think […]

  • 3D Printing Part III: A UNC Connection

    April 13, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    In Part I of this series I reviewed the history and science of 3D printing. In Part II, I speculated on the future. Here in Part III, I’ve got a local connection for you. Dr. Jan Sumerel received her Ph.D. from UNC in Biochemistry and Biophysics in 1998 (while living in Carrboro and listening to […]

  • 3D Printing Part II: The Future

    April 6, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    In Part I of this series, I discussed the history and science of 3D printing. This week I will move on to discussing the current uses of 3D printing, as well as some potentially exciting future applications.