The Conversation


Wildfire smoke and health: 5 question answered

  • Written by Richard E. Peltier, Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst
imageWildfire creates an orange glow in a view from a hilltop Oct. 13, 2017, in Geyserville, California. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Editor’s note: The federal government has declared a public health emergency in Northern California due to wildfires burning across 10 counties. One major threat is smoke, which is causing unhealthy air levels...

Read more: Wildfire smoke and health: 5 question answered

LIGO announcement vaults astronomy out of its silent movie era into the talkies

  • Written by Chad Hanna, Assistant Professor of Physics, Pennsylvania State University
imageSupercomputer simulation of a pair of neutron stars colliding.NASA/AEI/ZIB/M. Koppitz and L. Rezzolla, CC BY

When LIGO detected its first gravitational wave back in September 2015, I was pretty excited to say the least. As part of a decades-long endeavor, our whole team was ecstatic to observe gravitational waves – which are literally ripples...

Read more: LIGO announcement vaults astronomy out of its silent movie era into the talkies

Why astrophysicists are over the moon about observing merging neutron stars

  • Written by Roy Kilgard, Research Associate Professor of Astronomy, Wesleyan University
imageSimulation of two neutron stars merging.NASA/AEI/ZIB/M. Koppitz and L. Rezzolla, CC BY

When LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, first detected gravitational waves from merging black holes, it opened up a new window in astrophysics and provided the most powerful confirmation yet of Einstein’s theory of general...

Read more: Why astrophysicists are over the moon about observing merging neutron stars

Five types of gun laws the Founding Fathers loved

  • Written by Saul Cornell, Paul and Diane Guenther Chair in American History, Fordham University
imageWere muskets in 1777 better regulated than assault rifles in 2017?Jana Shea/Shutterstock.com

The Second Amendment is one of the most frequently cited provisions in the American Constitution, but also one of the most poorly understood.

The 27 words that constitute the Second Amendment seem to baffle modern Americans on both the left and right.

Ironi...

Read more: Five types of gun laws the Founding Fathers loved

To Uber or not? Why car ownership may no longer be a good deal

  • Written by F. Todd Davidson, Research Associate, Energy Institute, University of Texas at Austin
imageYounger Americans tend to be comfortable relying on ride services and foregoing car ownership. BeyondDC, CC BY-NC-ND

Every day there’s more news about the inevitable arrival of autonomous vehicles. At the same time, more people are using ride-hailing and ride-sharing apps, and the percentage of teens getting their driver’s license contin...

Read more: To Uber or not? Why car ownership may no longer be a good deal

Ancient Greek wisdom for today’s leadership crisis

  • Written by Emily Anhalt, Professor of Classical Languages and Literatures, Sarah Lawrence College

What makes a good leader?

This question confronts us at every election and with every domestic and international policy decision. As a professor of classical languages and literature for more than 30 years, I marvel at our insistence on addressing this question as if it were brand new.

Centuries ago, myths helped the Greeks learn to reject...

Read more: Ancient Greek wisdom for today’s leadership crisis

Why are Russian media outlets hyping the Mueller investigation?

  • Written by Cynthia Hooper, Associate Professor of History, College of the Holy Cross
imageIt seems that Russian state media is starting to chip away at Trump's burnished image.Maxim Apryatin

Four major Russia investigations are underway in Washington, along with at least six related federal inquiries.

Anxiety currently swirls around the Kremlin’s manipulation of popular social media platforms Facebook, YouTube and Instagram....

Read more: Why are Russian media outlets hyping the Mueller investigation?

Need another reason to help Puerto Rico? It's a key US economic and military asset

  • Written by Lilian Bobea, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Bentley University

Three weeks after Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico, half of the population still lacks fresh water and medicine, and almost 80 percent doesn’t have electricity. The scarce resources arriving from international private sources are quickly running out. Satellite communication remains limited.

Despite this crisis, President Donald...

Read more: Need another reason to help Puerto Rico? It's a key US economic and military asset

The pull of energy markets – and legal challenges – will blunt plans to roll back EPA carbon rules

  • Written by Hari Osofsky, Dean, Distinguished Professor of Law, Professor of International Affairs, Professor of Geography, Pennsylvania State University
imageGrid operators set the prices for energy markets and are structured to take the lowest prices – a disadvantage for coal and nuclear power.CC BY

On Oct. 10, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt formally announced a repeal of the Clean Power Plan, regulation intended to curb greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal- and natural gas-fired power...

Read more: The pull of energy markets – and legal challenges – will blunt plans to roll back EPA carbon rules

Under the Trump administration, US airstrikes are killing more civilians

  • Written by Steven Feldstein, Frank and Bethine Church Chair of Public Affairs & Associate Professor, School of Public Service, Boise State University
imageSmoke from an airstrike rises in the background as a man flees during fighting between Iraqi special forces and IS militants in Mosul, Iraq, on May 17, 2017. AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo

When President Donald Trump took office in January, it was unclear whether the bombast from his campaign would translate into an aggressive new strategy against...

Read more: Under the Trump administration, US airstrikes are killing more civilians

More Articles ...

  1. Sexual harassment: 5 essential reads
  2. Sent to Haiti to keep the peace, departing UN troops leave a damaged nation in their wake
  3. Until youth soccer is fixed, US men's national team is destined to fail
  4. Why Trump's executive order may compound the health insurance industry's problems
  5. How to combat racial bias: Start in childhood
  6. Trump administration's zeal to peel back regulations is leading us to another era of robber barons
  7. In Mexico, undocumented migrants risk deportation to aid earthquake victims
  8. Marketing a devastated Puerto Rico should not be the priority
  9. In Las Vegas, excess and fantasy bleed into tragedy
  10. How closing the door on the estate tax could reduce American giving
  11. Can you be hacked by the world around you?
  12. How a growing Christian movement is seeking to change America
  13. How to ensure the fourth industrial revolution is 'Made in the USA'
  14. Do people like government 'nudges'? Study says: Yes
  15. How Obamacare has helped poor cancer patients
  16. Marie Curie and her X-ray vehicles' contribution to World War I battlefield medicine
  17. Coastal protection on the edge: The challenge of preserving California's legacy
  18. Gentrification? Bring it
  19. In Latin America, is there a link between abortion rights and democracy?
  20. Trump's policies will harm coal-dependent communities instead of helping them
  21. What hundreds of American public libraries owe to Carnegie's disdain for inherited wealth
  22. How the stoicism of Roman philosophers can help us deal with depression
  23. Nobody reads privacy policies – here's how to fix that
  24. Why having the sex talk early and often with your kids is good for them
  25. How the US government created and coddled the gun industry
  26. Economist who helped behavioral 'nudges' go mainstream wins Nobel
  27. Why would the Trump administration ban travel from Chad?
  28. Why Rick Perry's proposed subsidies for coal fail Economics 101
  29. For Native Americans, a river is more than a 'person,' it is also a sacred place
  30. Indigenous people invented the so-called 'American Dream'
  31. What makes American society so violent? 4 essential reads
  32. The 'inevitable sadness' of Kazuo Ishiguro's fiction
  33. How Columbus, of all people, became a national symbol
  34. Why the Nobel Peace Prize brings little peace
  35. Bundy trial embodies everything dividing America today
  36. Are self-driving cars the future of mobility for disabled people?
  37. Urban noise pollution is worst in poor and minority neighborhoods and segregated cities
  38. Blade Runner's chillingly prescient vision of the future
  39. Knowing the signs of Lewy body dementia may help speed diagnosis
  40. Should Uncle Sam 'send in the Marines' after hurricanes?
  41. Catalonia's referendum unmasks authoritarianism in Spain
  42. The opioid epidemic in 6 charts
  43. How the Chinese cyberthreat has evolved
  44. How 'Germany's Hugh Hefner' created an entirely different sort of sex empire
  45. Chilled proteins and 3-D images: The cryo-electron microscopy technology that just won a Nobel Prize
  46. Do tax cuts stimulate the economy more than spending?
  47. The enduring power of print for learning in a digital world
  48. I've spent years looking at what was actually in Playboy, and it wasn't just objectification of women
  49. How inherited fitness may affect breast cancer risk
  50. Why people around the world fear climate change more than Americans do