Jeff Danner

May 16, 2016: Old Job

Jeff’s switching jobs! Next week we’ll discuss what his new job entails; this week we talk about his old job – in the blood plasma industry....

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Common Science Fifth Anniversary Column

This week marks the fifth anniversary of Common Science® and this is my 239th column! It’s been my great pleasure to write them and I have enjoyed your comments and emails over the years. Nevertheless, I’ve decided that I need to take a little hiatus from writing.   In the mean time, I will still be on the air with Aaron Keck on 97.9 FM/1360 AM WCHL and streaming live on Monday afternoons at 4:32 pm for our usual geektastic science discussions.    For this fifth anniversary column, I have decided to review some of the key themes and points I have tried to share with you over the past 5 years. Almost all of our energy comes from the sun. The energy contained in coal, petroleum, and natural gas and biofuels is all derived from photosynthetic plants capturing solar energy. Solar electricity comes directly from the sun and wind energy is the indirect result of uneven heating of the atmosphere by the sun. Even hydroelectric power is dependent on the evaporation of water by the sun as part of the water cycle. The most important part of the energy-from-the-sun story to keep in mind is that fossil fuels – coal, oil, and natural gas – represent solar energy captured by plants hundreds of millions of years ago. Exploiting these fossil fuels allows us to use many, many years of...

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