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Janet Raloff

Senior Editor, Science News For Kids

Senior Editor Janet Raloff has been reporting at Science News for more than three decades on the environment, energy, science policy, agriculture and nutrition. She was among the first to give national visibility to such issues as electromagnetic pulse weaponry and hormone-mimicking pollutants, and was the first anywhere to report on the widespread tainting of streams and groundwater sources with pharmaceuticals. Her writing has won awards from the National Association of Science Writers, International Free Press Association and the Institute of Food Technologists. Over the years, Janet has been an occasional commentator on NPR's "Living on Earth" and her work has appeared in several dozen publications. She is also a founding board member of the Society of Environmental Journalists. Before joining Science News, Janet was managing editor of Energy Research Reports (outside Boston), a staff writer at Chemistry (an American Chemical Society magazine) and a writer/editor for Chicago's Adler Planetarium. Initially an astronomy major, she earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University (with an elective major in physics). She interned with the Office of Cancer Communications (NIH), Argonne National Laboratory, the Oak Ridger in Tennessee and the Rock Hill Evening Herald in North Carolina.

Janet Raloff's Articles

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    Science & the Public

    What's in your wallet? Another 'estrogen'

    A chemical cousin of bisphenol A, a hormone mimic, has turned up on banknotes from around the world in addition to tainting 14 other types of papery products. Owing to the near ubiquity of BPS in paper, human exposure is likely also “ubiquitous,” conclude the study's authors. Oh, and a second new study shows that BPS behaves like an estrogen.

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    Science & the Public

    Measuring how well kids do science

    On June 19, the National Assessment of Educational Progress released the first national report card gauging the performance in hand-on and research-oriented interactive computer tasks by U.S. children. And the overall grades: Well, they show lots of room for improvement.

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  • Reviews & Previews

    Mr. Hornaday's War

    William Temple Hornaday may have been a small man, but there was nothing diminutive about the naturalist’s ego, bravery, energy or ambition. Born a few years before the U.S. Civil War, the tenacious naturalist accomplished so much in his 82 years that Bechtel’s biography of him reads like larger-than-life fiction. Yet few will recognize Hornaday’s name.

    He was almost solely responsible for bringing the American buffalo back from the brink of extinction and played a crucial role in saving Alaskan fur seals from a similar fate.

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    Science & the Public

    Court ‘shares’ researchers’ e-mails, intellectual property

    “A situation has arisen involving scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) that should concern all those who value the principles of academic freedom and responsibility,” warns top WHOI officials. They were responding to a court order requiring that two WHOI scientists turn over 3,500 emails and other documents to BP. Included in the information was intellectual property that outsiders could exploit.

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    Science & the Public

    Depolarizing climate science

    A study out this week attempts to probe why attitudes on climate risks by some segments of the public don’t track the science all that well. Along the way, it basically debunks one simplistic assumption: that climate skeptics, for want of a better term, just don’t understand the data — or perhaps even science. “I think this is sort of a weird, exceptional situation,” says decision scientist Dan Kahan of the Yale Law School, who led the new study. “Most science issues aren’t like this.” But a view is emerging, some scientists argue, that people tend to be unusually judgmental of facts or interpretations in science fields that threaten the status quo — or the prevailing attitudes of their cultural group, however that might be defined. And climate science is a poster child for these fields.

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    Science & the Public

    Bat killer hits endangered grays

    The news on white-nose syndrome just keeps spiraling downward. The fungal infection, which first emerged six years ago, has now been confirmed in a seventh species of North American bats — the largely cave-dwelling grays (Myotis grisecens). The latest victims were struck while hibernating this past winter in two Tennessee counties.

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    Science & the Public

    Rising CO2 promotes weedy rice

    There has been a lot of research, recently, showing how global change — especially warming — can alter the habitat and preferred range of marine and terrestrial species. But rising levels of greenhouse gases can also, directly, do a number on agricultural ecosystems, a new study shows. At least for U.S.-grown rice, rising carbon dioxide levels give a preferential reproductive advantage to the weedy natural form — known colloquially as red rice (for the color of its seed coat).

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