Jane Roberts

Abstracts: Dakota Access, Science March, and More

A federal judge rejected two tribes’ efforts to stop the final stage of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline. The March for Science is scheduled to take place on April 22 in Washington, D.C. and over 100 other cities around the world. Read these stories and more in our twice-weekly news roundup.

The Low-Carb Lowdown

The theory supporting low-carb dieting posits that if a person doesn’t eat many carbohydrates, the pancreas doesn’t release as much insulin, and less fat is stored. This idea is rejected by many mainstream authorities, but if it leads to healthier eating overall, does the debate really matter?

Return to Sender

After years of drought, California is getting some much-needed relief, but the state — like many other regions of the world — will continue to face challenges to its drinking water supply. Recycling sewage may sound profoundly unappetizing, but it may be part of the answer. (Visual by Lucas Haugen)

The Road to Fossil Fuel Dependence

In the years after World War II, the U.S. decided the best way to defend itself again future invasion was to build a monumental interstate highway system. But this network of roads has had dramatic effects on the way we live, and is a root cause of global political and environmental instability.

Undark Podcast #11: Bullet Proof

Reporter Lynne Peeples discusses the health and environmental risks posed by the use of lead bullets — and the reasons they’re still so widely used. Also, Seth Mnookin on the anti-vaccine movement and storyteller Hillary Rea on what it’s like to be a standardized patient for medical students.

Silencing Scientists: A Recent History

In this installment of the Undark Five, Gretchen Goldman, research director for the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, discusses how President Trump’s clampdown on communication from federal agencies compares to actions taken during the Bush and Obama administrations.

Five Questions for Mitchell Valdés-Sosa

In this installment of the Undark Five, Mitchell Valdés-Sosa, director of the Cuban Neuroscience Center, discusses how academia and scientific research operate in communist Cuba, the country’s need for outside funding, and the possible challenges that will come with the arrival of the Trump Administration.

Just Warming Up

Scientists say the stakes for climate research have never been higher. But by questioning employees of the Department of Energy and installing climate skeptics and fossil fuel executives to lead the EPA and serve as Secretary of State, Donald Trump’s administration is gearing up to rally against it.

A Dubious Golden Elixir

In parts of India, where cows are revered, their urine is thought to have healing powers. Studies investigating these claims come mainly from Indian researchers and their work is rarely published in Western journals. But scrutiny must come from outside this cultural context for the science to hold up.

How to Beat a Fingerprint Scanner

A delicate 3D-printed skin that slips over a user’s hand has been shown to trick fingerprint scanners. Although this technology could potentially be used to breach security systems, the presence of human safeguards in many systems provides a barrier to those looking to use it for criminal activity.

Undark Podcast #9: The Flint Water Crisis

Join our podcast host David Corcoran as he discusses Undark’s recent deep dive into the continuing problems with water in Flint, Michigan — and around the country — with Steve Friess. Also: journalism in the age of Trump and how public opinion is formed about genetically modified organisms.

In Antarctica’s Shallows, a Climate Paradox

Less than 160 feet below the surface of Antarctica’s frigid coastal waters, the seafloor teems with life. That life — from sea worms to colonial creatures called bryozoans — has the potential to slow climate change a bit, if only icebergs would stop snuffing it out. Then again, that would have downsides too.

Undark Podcast #8: Worse Than the Disease

Reporter David Tuller discusses a therapy prescribed for chronic fatigue syndrome — one for which supporting research is now unraveling. Also, Undark’s Tracker columnist Seth Mnookin on a rift within the National Association of Science Writers, and reporter Jeff Emtman on flesh-eating beetles.

NASW Has Changed. Its Leadership Policy Should Too.

This weekend, members of the National Association of Science Writers will confront a fundamental question: Are we, in fact, a national association of science writers, as our name and diverse membership imply, or are we a national association of science journalists, as many among our ranks suggest?