Eight former government scientists reflect on the circumstances that drove them to leave the Trump administration — and on what was lost.
Undark MagazineDuring the first two years of Trump's presidency, 1,600 government scientists left their posts — many of them long-tenured and with high-responsibility roles. Some have cited efforts to undermine or suppress their work as a reason for their departure.
Nursing home deaths have critics saying it's time to rethink the institutional model for elder care. Is that possible?
Undark MagazineYears before Covid-19, researchers warned that norovirus, influenza, and other infections can spread rapidly in nursing facilities. Those risks have increased in recent years, as nursing homes take in more short-term residents after hospital visits.
Advances in medical imaging have reduced the need for autopsies. But the procedure is proving vital amid Covid-19.
Undark Magazine“What you see at autopsy represents an effective catalogue of the injury that occurs in patients who have Covid and it gives you an understanding and a basis to try and forecast forward what we’re going to see in post-Covid syndrome.” - Dr. Stephen Hewitt
The political fight over face coverings rages, playing out everywhere from the grocery store to the debate stage.
Undark MagazineAt a time when experts believe the U.S. needs to unite around a strategy to curb a potentially catastrophic winter, the cheapest, best option — masks — have become increasingly politicized.
Experts worry that politically-motivated acts by the Trump administration will undermine Covid-19 therapies.
Undark MagazineExperts say they're concerned about the Trump administration’s influence on FDA decision making — not just in encouraging the agency to promote unproven treatments, but also in curbing its rule-making authority and trying to rush approval of a vaccine.
Many trans people resort to black market hormones and surgeries when they can't find gender-affirming health care.
Undark MagazineDespite the growing evidence that medical intervention can help, some trans people are wary of the health care system. According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, a third of trans people who saw a health care provider experienced mistreatment.
In "Livewired," neuroscientist David Eagleman shows how the brain shapes itself by interacting with the outside world.
Undark Magazine"You are a different person than you were at this time last year," writes neuroscientist David Eagleman, "because the gargantuan tapestry of your brain has woven itself into something new."
Some analysts say that nonverbal cues reveal important truths about people in high-stakes situations. Are they right?
Undark MagazineWhile many experts caution that body language is complex and context-dependent, consultants and specialists have been applying body language research in myriad scenarios, including career coaching, work presentations, and airport screenings.
A Northern Rockies town was inundated with dangerous smoke levels for 49 days. It's now a case study for smoke exposure.
Undark MagazineWhile it’s long been known that smoke can be dangerous when in the thick of it — triggering asthma attacks, cardiac arrests, and more — the research confirmed what public health experts feared: Wildfire haze can have consequences long after it’s gone.
An eminent microbiologist recounts her long struggle as a woman breaking through sexism to succeed in the sciences.
Undark MagazineRita Colwell's new book, "A Lab of One's Own," co-authored with writer Sharon Bertsch McGrayne, documents much of what she has seen and heard over the years, from sexual harassment to the structural obstacles placed in the way of women in the sciences.
Undark Magazine"At the University of Washington, I wrote a computer program — the first in the country, for bacteriology — using the old IBM 650, which has less power than the chip in your microwave oven."
In response to threats aimed at public health officers enforcing Covid-19 regulations, California expands a privacy law.
Undark MagazineCalifornia will allow public health officials to participate in a program to keep their home addresses confidential, a protection previously reserved for victims of violence, abuse and stalking, and reproductive health care workers.
In “Owls of the Eastern Ice,” conservationist Jonathan Slaght chronicles his daunting field work in Russia's Far East.
Undark MagazineIn “Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owls,” Jonathan C. Slaght transports readers to the remote wilds of Primorye to join him on his quest to study one of the world’s least-known owls.
Undark MagazineOver the course of 20 total months spent in the field — much of it in the subzero Russian winter — Jonathan C. Slaght painstakingly built his study from scratch, first by finding fish owl pairs, then by learning to trap the birds through trial and error.
Can the ability of some social insects to contain pathogens help human societies battling pandemics of their own?
Undark MagazineAs some ants clean each other, they transfer small amounts of pathogens to their nestmates. Those mini-exposures, biologist Sylvia Cremer writes in a recent paper, cause "non-lethal, low-level infections" that "trigger a protective immunization."
Gene editing could help scientists produce cows that are meatier and better for the planet. But many hurdles remain.
Undark MagazineTo many of the cattle industry’s critics, including environmental and animal rights activists, the very nature of the practice of rearing livestock for human consumption erodes the noble goal of sustainable food production.
Nearly half a century after its humble invention, the cube continues to be a global sensation. What's the secret?
Undark MagazineErnő Rubik initially believed the cube would appeal to those with science, math, or engineering backgrounds — and was shocked when "it found its way to people whom nobody would ever have thought might be attracted to it," he writes.
Undark MagazineIn 1974, a young Hungarian architect named Ernő Rubik became obsessed with finding a way to model three-dimensional movement to his students. His invention would go on to become the most popular puzzle toy in the world.
Opinion | U.S. households use almost twice as much energy as those in Europe. A new study shows how to lower that footprint.
Undark MagazineOpinion | The median age of a U.S. home is 37 years, and it’s not getting any younger, writes Tim De Chant. Many of our houses and apartments are still heated and powered by fossil fuels.
The data, considered an undercount, was amassed by Physicians for Human Rights. Experts worry the problem is systemic.
Undark MagazineDemonstrators in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, San Jose, Denver and Dallas told USA Today they were shot with less-lethal projectiles even though those departments don’t allow the weapons to be used against nonviolent people.