Janet Raloff | Science News

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Janet Raloff

Editor, Science News for Students

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

    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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    Science & the Public

    Germs’ persistence: Nothing to sneeze at

    Years ago, I read (probably in Science News) that viruses can’t survive long outside their hosts. That implied any surface onto which a sneezed-out germ found itself — such as the arm of a chair, kitchen counter or car-door handle — would effectively decontaminate itself within hours to a day. A pair of new flu papers now indicates that although many germs will die within hours, none of us should count on it. Given the right environment, viruses can remain infectious — potentially for many weeks, one of the studies finds.
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    Science & the Public

    Lost to history: The “churk”

    More than a half-century ago, researchers at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center outside Washington, D.C., engaged in some creative barnyard breeding. Their goal was the development of fatherless turkeys — virgin hens that would reproduce via parthenogenesis. Along the way, and ostensibly quite by accident, an interim stage of this work resulted in a rooster-fathered hybrid that the scientists termed a churk.
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    Science & the Public

    Hooking fish, not endangered turtles

    A tuna fisherman has taken it upon himself to make the seas safer for sea turtles, animals that are threatened or endangered with extinction worldwide. He’s designed a new hook that he says will make bait unavailable to marine birds and turtles until long after it’s sunk well below the range where these animals venture to eat.