Cross Sections


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

Abstracts: EPA, Embryos, Organs, and More

President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts for the EPA would eliminate 3,000 jobs and reduce the agency’s budget by $2 billion. A scientist is pushing the biological and ethical limits on the days a human embryo can be kept alive in a lab. Read these stories and more in our twice-weekly news roundup.

Global Warming: Why Can’t We Get Along?

Liberal and conservative Americans are uniquely divided on virtually every aspect of climate change, and bridging the intellectual gulf has so far proven difficult. One first step might simply involve a willingness to understand the underlying values that animate different beliefs on the issue.

Undark Podcast #12: Wear and Tear

Journalists Larry and Debbie Price look at the migration and evolution of the leather tanning and textile industries. Also, Seth Mnookin discusses coverage of science in the era of Donald Trump and “fake news,” and Alicia Puglionesi takes a look at the science of hospital food at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Scientists Work on Public Trust

Concerns about the disconnect between scientists and non-scientists, as well as political assaults on science and rejections of evidence by policy-makers, are inspiring researchers to up their game with new instructional techniques that prove effective, emotion-grabbing storytelling skills and even protests

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.