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Science & the Public

Science & the Public

We went to the March for Science in D.C. Here's what happened

March for Science 2017

Science News staff members reported live updates from the March for Science in Washington, D.C., on April 22. 

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Science & Society

Measuring how well kids do science

By Janet Raloff 10:14am, June 19, 2012
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.
Technology,, Humans & Society,, Earth & Environment

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

By Janet Raloff 11:28am, June 7, 2012
“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.
Humans & Society,, Psychology,, Earth & Environment,, Climate,, Other

Depolarizing climate science

By Janet Raloff 5:49pm, May 30, 2012
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.
Animals,, Humans & Society,, Earth & Environment,, Ecology

Bat killer hits endangered grays

By Janet Raloff 1:06pm, May 29, 2012
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.

Rising CO2 promotes weedy rice

By Janet Raloff 10:46am, May 25, 2012
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).
Humans & Society,, Nutrition,, Body & Brain,, Biomedicine

Our increasingly not-so-little kids

By Janet Raloff 4:35pm, May 21, 2012
Little kids are meant to get big. Just not too quickly. When overfeeding spurs the girth of young children, youngsters find themselves propelled down the road towards diabetes and heart disease, a new study finds. In just the past decade, for instance, the share of kids with diabetes or pre-diabetes skyrocketed from 9 percent to a whopping 23 percent.
Humans & Society,, Earth & Environment,, Body & Brain

Redefining ‘concern’ over lead

By Janet Raloff 3:58pm, May 17, 2012
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced May 16 that it would no longer designate any particular blood-lead value in children as representing a “level of concern.” Its justification: There is no threshold below which lead exposures are not a concern.

March: American heat vs. global temps

By Janet Raloff 1:29pm, April 16, 2012
Even as global temperatures have been climbing throughout much of the past century, atypical warm and cool spells have seesawed regionally around the planet. March 2012 exemplified such exaggerated trends. Although the month set some 15,000 daily warming records in the United States, globally this past March was the coolest since 1999. The National Climatic Data Center reported these trend data April 16.
Humans & Society,, Earth & Environment,, Climate

Warming Marches in

By Janet Raloff 5:01pm, April 10, 2012
People may argue about why Earth is warming, how long its fever will last and whether any of this warrants immediate corrective action. But whether Earth is warming is no longer open to debate. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just published domestic examples to reinforce what Americans witnessed last month — either on TV or in their own backyards.
Humans & Society,, Earth & Environment,, Ecology

Bat killer is still spreading

By Janet Raloff 4:15pm, April 9, 2012
Since 2006, some 6 million to 7 million North American bats have succumbed to white-nose syndrome, a virulent fungal disease. That figure, issued in January by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, at least sextupled the former estimate that biologists had been touting. But the sharp jump in the cumulative death toll isn’t the only disturbing new development. On April 2, scientists confirmed that white-nose fungus has apparently struck bats hibernating in two small Missouri caves. The first signs of clinical disease have also just emerged in Europe.
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