Author Archive | Leslie Willoughby

Spring brings thoughts of strawberries...and pesticides. Photo by Leslie Willoughby

Strawberries, power, and science

Monterey County>> Fragrant, tender, and sweet, strawberries brighten produce aisles nationwide. The use of pesticides assures their abundance and affordable price. Yet the chemicals that protect the berries may extract costs beyond those paid by shoppers. They may harm workers who harvest the berries, as well as their children. A quarter of America’s strawberries grow…

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York Johnson, who works with the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership, collects a sample of coastal water in Pacific City, Ore. Ken Buesseler will analyze the sample for radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster. Photo courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

Fukushima Daiichi news – a teachable moment

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. On March 11, 2011, a magnitude-9.0 earthquake occurred offshore of Japan and kicked off a tsunami. At the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, the natural disasters knocked out backup power systems used to cool reactors. Consequently, three reactors underwent fuel melting, hydrogen explosions,…

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We turn to the moon figuratively to inspire and imagine. Someday we may return literally to expand our horizons. In this painting astronauts survey a lunar landscape from a rock outcrop. Painting © William K. Hartmann, at Planetary Science Institute, Tucson.

Our moon as art

Like any classic work of art, the moon means different things to different people. For millennia, humans have used its omnipresent face as a canvas for storytelling. Today, we see Earth’s faithful satellite in everything from the children’s book “Goodnight Moon” to the gallery of images collected by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). Even the…

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Flash point: 
Science meets policy (photo–Leslie Willoughby)

Flash point: science meets policy

The story of the world’s first Ebola epidemic burns at the flash point between science and policy, an enticing yet frightening intersection that can make or break a writer’s credibility. During an after-dinner speech at the time when the outbreak is beginning to dominate the news, I grasp the value of health care policy and…

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