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.
  • 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.

  • The Birthday Problem

    March 31, 2014 at 6:00 am

    You may have heard that if you are in a room with 23 people, there is a greater than 50% chance that two people in the room have the same birthday. This is commonly known as the “Birthday Problem.” Most people presented with this information are, at least initially, quite skeptical. Typically what throws people off is that they approach the problem with an incorrect perspective.

  • 3D Printing Part I: The Technology

    March 23, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    For the past several years, 3D printing technology has been garnering quite a few headlines. Unfortunately, as is common for the main-stream media, many of the interesting science elements are left out of these stories. So I figured it was time for a Common Science treatment of this fascinating technology. This week I will discuss […]

  • China, The Canary in the Coal Mine

    March 16, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    When I started writing Common Science in 2011, I did not envision devoting so many columns to resource constraint issues. However, every time I listen to the news or read the paper I am assaulted with warning signs of rapidly approaching resource scarcity issues. Many of these stories are set in China. Let me give […]

  • Checking In On Peak Oil

    March 3, 2014 at 9:23 am

    In last week’s column, The Case of the Missing Propane, I explained how the widespread use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of shale oil deposits since 2008 has led to a 30% increase in the production of crude petroleum in the United States. While that statistic makes for snappy headlines, it is not particularly meaningful to […]