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Science News

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

    Faulty comparisons

    Is anyone else disturbed by the following description: Scientists are reporting development of a new form of buckypaper, which eliminates a major drawback of these sheets of carbon nanotubes — 50,000 times thinner than a human hair, 10 times lighter than steel, but up to 250 times stronger . . .

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    Science & the Public

    Bush meat can be a viral feast

    Monkeys and apes are considered edible game in many parts of Africa. As Africans have emigrated to other parts of the world, some have retained their love of this so-called bushmeat. A new study now finds that even when smoked, meat from nonhuman primates — from chimps to monkeys — can host potentially dangerous viruses. Smuggled imports confiscated at U.S. airports provided the samples tested in this investigation.

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    Science & the Public

    Insurance payouts point to climate change

    Natural disasters in 2011 exerted the costliest toll in history — a whopping $380 billion worth of losses from earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, tsunamis and more. Only a third of those costs were covered by insurance. And the tally ignores completely any expenses associated with sickness or injuries triggered by the disasters. And except for quake-related events, climate change appears to have played a role in the growing cost of disasters, insurers said.

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    Science & the Public

    Bt: The lesson not learned

    The more things change, the more they stay the same, as a Dec. 29 Associated Press report on genetically engineered corn notes. Like déjà vu, this news story on emerging resistance to Bt toxin — a fabulously effective and popular insecticide to protect corn — brings to mind articles I encountered over the weekend while flipping through historic issues of Science News. More than a half-century ago, our magazine chronicled, real time, the emergence of resistance to DDT, the golden child of pest controllers worldwide. Now much the same thing is happening again with Bt, its contemporary agricultural counterpart. Will we never learn?

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    Science & the Public

    Researchers, journals asked to censor data

    Scientists undertake research to advance knowledge. Normally, one aspect of that advancement is to find as broad an audience for the newly acquired data as possible. But what happens if medically important data could be put to ruthless purposes? That question underlies the ruckus developing over two new bird flu papers.

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