I'm an experienced journalist/corporate writer. While I love to write about science and medicine, I also enjoy penning lifestyle pieces, dog-themed articles and writing about people who do cool stuff.
'We’re going backwards in water access’: How 46 million Americans still don’t have safe drinking water
Rosa Runyon and Shanna Yazzie know what it’s like for the people of Jackson, Mississippi. Six months after the city’s water system failed, residents continue having trouble finding safe drinking water. Both have lived a lifetime with water insecurity. Runyon, in West Virginia, had a makeshift and often failing piping system that ran from an abandoned coal mine to her home; Yazzie, in Arizona, has no indoor plumbing at all and has to haul water for all of her family’s needs.
Shanna Yazzie [Pho...
New Test Predicts a Life-Threatening Pregnancy Disorder
Even after thousands of studies, questions still linger about one of the most common diseases unique to pregnancy: preeclampsia. This disorder leads to dangerously high blood pressure in about 5 percent of U.S. pregnancies, with significantly higher rates in Black women. And it is becoming more common.
The only known cure is delivery, which creates a serious dilemma: the longer that people with preeclampsia remain pregnant, the sicker they get—but the longer a fetus gestates, the healthier it...
Native Grain’s Comeback Solves Urgent Problems
Home-grown grain may be the solution to the global wheat shortage caused by the Russia-Ukraine war.
The return of an ancient grain to the global food marketplace could be the answer to increased hunger if other grains that were similarly dismissed for centuries also make a comeback. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization notes that the war in Ukraine and drought, among other factors, have worsened hunger globally, especially for nations that rely on imports.
Reintroducing “orphan crops” lik...
Helene Tracey has been wielding a 25-pound chainsaw for hours — she’s lost count how many — felling trees, one after another, after another. She’s in Allakaket, Alaska, racing to cut down spruce trees, some as tall as 50 feet high, before a nearby wildland fire reaches the 30-foot-wide shaded fuel break she was helping to build.
“We were working at ‘fire pace,’” recalls Tracey of that day last summer. “It was go, go, go, one tree after another, nonstop.”
She and her crew mates — all young wom...
This Common Aquatic Plant Could Produce Buckets of Biofuel
Scientists have figured out how to coax copious amounts of oil from duckweed, one of nature’s fastest-growing aquatic plants. Converting such plant oil into biodiesel for transportation and heating could be a big part of a more sustainable future.
For a new study in the Plant Biotechnology Journal, researchers genetically engineered duckweed plants to produce seven times more oil per acre than soybeans—currently the most commonly used biodiesel-producing plant. Study lead author John Shanklin...
New tech for prison reform spreads to 11 states
Ojmarrh Mitchell, an associate professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University, who is not involved with the company, says what Recidiviz is doing is “remarkable.” His perspective goes beyond academic analysis. In his pre-academic years, Mitchell was a probation officer, working within the framework of the “well known, but invisible” information sharing issues that plague criminal justice departments. The flexibility of Recidiviz’s approach is what make...
I bought a school bus for $1,000 and turned it into a cozy Airbnb — and I've made enough money as a host to quit my 9-to-5
Will Sutherland owns a "skoolie" Airbnb — a bus he bought for $1,000 and turned into a bedroom.
Sutherland also hosts guests at a treehouse Airbnb he built himself.
Combined, he makes as much money on Airbnb as he did at his old job. Now, he's a host full-time.
DC Is the Trivia Capital of the World
DC takes its trivia very seriously. Very, very seriously. It’s as if those who frequent the District’s trivia bars haven’t been tested enough — throughout grade school, high school, college, grad school. After decades of SATs, AP exams, GMATs, LSATs and everything else, it appears that displaying Ivy League bumper stickers just isn’t enough to secure bragging rights.
“DC is so Type A, and everyone wants to win and be right all the time,” says Patrick Scott of DC’s intense trivia scene. Despit...
I built an Airbnb treehouse in my yard. I charge up to $250 a night — and I've already made enough money as a host to quit my job.
Will Sutherland owns a treehouse Airbnb on his property. It took him about six months to build. When he first got the idea, he thought it'd be a pipe dream he'd never be able to do.
Now, he makes $30,000 per year renting it out and gets to watch guests make memories in it.
Antibodies can stop sperm in their tracks. The future of birth control could be non-hormonal.
Unwanted pregnancy can now be added to the list of preventions that antibodies may be fighting in the near future. For decades, really since the 1980s, engineered monoclonal antibodies have been knocking out invading germs — preventing everything from cancer to COVID. Sperm, which have some of the same properties as germs, may be next.
Not only is there an unmet need on the market for alternatives to hormonal contraceptives, the genesis for the original research was personal for the then 22-year-old scientist who led it. Her findings were used to launch a company that could, within the decade.
I perform vasectomies in Texas. I've had a huge increase in patients post-Roe — and a lot of them are young and childless.
Luke Machen. Micciche Photography
Urologist Luke Machen performs vasectomies in Texas, where abortions are banned.
Machen's requests began to increase with the Supreme Court leak that showed Roe v. Wade might be overturned.
"For too long, I feel like all the blame and responsibility has been shoved onto the partner who can get pregnant," Machen said.
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95% of Wildland Firefighters Are Men. This Program Aims To Change That.
A new National Park Service program teaches young women to fight fires
From Asia to Europe to North America, wildfires this year tore through massive, record-breaking swaths of land. In the United States alone, 7 million acres have burned, nearly half of that in Alaska. In Southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay, a larger region burned in summer 2022 alone than had burned collectively over the previous 72 years—from 1950 to 2021.
Bristol Bay is where 20-year old Sophie Kuehn, a “city kid” from Milwauk...
You Can Help Dogs While You’re on Vacation
In Hawaii, doggy field trips allow travelers to spend a day with adoptable furry friends in paradise.
Lisa Rodriguez Holmgren had been to Hawaii’s Garden Island at least ten times, and she’d never, ever taken a shelter dog on a field trip. She didn’t even know it was a thing. She stumbled on the Kauai Humane Society’s Field Trips for Shelter Dogs program on a rainy day in May 2022 while doing a little shopping; the pamphlet she found talked about all the fun touristy things field trippers can...
How Safe are U.S. Rivers 50 Years After the Clean Water Act?
For more than a century, the 3.5 million miles of rivers that snake across the U.S. were treated like open sewers and garbage cans, leaving them steeped in oil, paint, fertilizer, feces and other refuse. Fires that ignited riverine trash were widely considered an acceptable cost of industry, a sign of abundant jobs and economic growth. And there was a common (and erroneous) belief that “dilution was the solution to pollution,” meaning that waterways had an endless ability to absorb our waste ...
In Baltimore, Teaching STEM Through Dirt Bikes
An engineer-turned-educator says cities get it wrong when they criminalize Black youth’s hobbies, rather than seeing them as an opportunity.
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On a quiet side street tucked back in an industrial section of West Baltimore, Damon Ray Harrison revs the engine of his red dirt bike. He sits askew, unable to reach the ground with both feet. The ...