Cross Sections

 

Undark’s home for breaking news, brisk analysis, and reader discussions at the intersection of science and society.

Abstracts: Disappearing Karst, Crispr, and More

Scientists are racing to document rare plant and animal species before the karst cliffs of Cambodia are turned into cement. A new species of mouse uses sound waves to navigate, suggesting that bats evolved echolocation before flight. Read these stories and more in our twice-weekly news roundup.

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.

Coal Dust Darkens the Climate Picture

As coal mining is likely to become less regulated under President Trump, scientists are looking for ways to better measure the impact of the resulting coal dust on the climate. Near one mine in the Arctic, researchers found coal dust reduced snow’s reflectivity by up to 84 percent, contributing to warming.

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.

High Schoolers Have High Hopes for Saving Corals

Climate change, illegal harvesting, coastal development, destructive fishing practices, and ocean pollution have been driving the world’s wild coral populations to the brink. But a high school science class on Long Island is hoping their captive-grown corals might one day help to address the problem.

Issue of Choice Dogs Obamacare Opponents

Opponents of Obamacare often claim that its repeal will expand consumers’ choices surrounding health care and insurance decisions. But dismissals of all the ACA mechanisms that aid private insurers has boxed in politicians casting about for a plan to replace the law. The outcomes could box in consumers too.

Trump Warms to Health Insurance for All

President-elect Trump recently veered away from the standard Republican position on Obamacare, suggesting that he wants it repealed but simultaneously replaced. Still, his goals range from coverage for the neediest to coverage for all, and a new plan for funding quality health care remains unclear.

Minding the Gun Law Gap

Federal law requires criminal background checks on people obtaining guns in stores, pawn shops, and from other licensed dealers. More than a dozen states also require background checks for privately exchanged guns. A new survey finds that the overall rate of background checks is higher in those states.

A Prescription for Better Science

What’s wrong with science? Stanford University’s John Ioannidis has been asking this question for a long time – at least since his 2005 article, “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False.” Seventeen years later, he and a slate of co-authors have some suggestions about how to solve the problem.

Flood-Risk Figures Get Friendlier

A new approach to assessing changes in U.S. flood risks in the past 30 years reveals a progressive rise in risk in the northern U.S. and a drop in much of the southern U.S. And the risk is expressed in elevation measures that make sense to non-scientists rather than in cubic meters per second.

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