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.
  • U.S. Birth Practices 1940 to 2040: Part II

    February 8, 2016 at 7:51 am

    Last week in Part I, I reviewed the history of birth practices in the United State from 1940 to 2016. This week, let’s project forward to 2040. Currently 99% of all births in the U.S. occur in hospitals, one third of them by Caesarian section. Utilization of the expensive space, equipment, supplies, and personnel from […]

  • U.S. Birth Practices 1940 to 2040: Part I

    January 31, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    As I am approaching my fifth anniversary of publishing Common Science®, I hope that it is apparent how much I enjoy writing these columns, particularly when the topic brings in threads of history, politics, economics, and culture along with the science. This is one of those weeks. And as often is the case, I will […]

  • Sun Glare Challenges for the Blue-eyed

    January 24, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    For some reason that eludes me, I always live directly west of my office. As a result, for much of the year I drive directly into the rising sun in the mornings and into the setting sun in the evenings. Usually my commute provides me with a peaceful and welcome transition between my home and […]

  • An Engineer Looks at 50

    January 17, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Today is my 50th birthday. So rather than delving into a science or technology topic this week, I ask for you indulgence as I reflect on the first half century of my life. In a bit of a spoiler, let me tell you up front that it’s been a great ride thus far. As I […]

  • Super Capacitors are the Future of Battery Technology

    January 10, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    Batteries play a useful, yet underappreciated, role in our lives. They power our hand-held electronic devices, are the key element in hybrid automobiles, and allow the intermittent power available from the sun and the wind to be stored and supplied when needed. So I thought a column about how the science of batteries would be […]

  • 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 […]

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