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  • Extreme heat: impacts and consequences

    Extreme heat is becoming the “new normal” for many areas of the world. The summer of 2023, for example, has seen some of the hottest days in modern history. Extreme heat is now a regular headline:   How Extreme Heat Affects Workers and the Economy (New York Times)   The heat index reached 152 degrees in…

  • Dust storms: agriculture and climate change

    The Great Plains and Midwest regions of the Unted States are seeing more and larger dust storms and higher levels of dust in the atmosphere. The increase has corresponded to an intensification of corporate agricultural practices in these regions–an example is the plowing of grasslands and marginal agricultural land in order to grow more corn…

  • Mental models: misinformation and truth

    “A mental model is a form of mental representation for mechanical–causal domains that affords explanations for these domains. Mental models contain mental representations of objects in space and the causal relations among the objects. The structure of the mental representation corresponds to the structure of the world. This analogical relation allows the mental model to…

  • Caenorhabditis elegans: a model organism in Biology

    Caenorhabditis elegans is a small roundworm usually found in soil that often feeds on bacteria among rotting vegetation and decaying organic matter; it is nonparasitic and nonpathogenic. Despite being a primitive invertebrate, C. elegans possesses many of the anatomical features and organs found in higher-level animals, especially pertaining to its nervous, reproductive, muscular, and digestive…

  • Cell development and determination

    During the development of an embryo, how is the function of a cell determined? How does a cell “know” it is supposed to, for example, become a nerve cell or part of the gut? How does it know its location within the embryo? How does the process happen?   **updated September 2023**   Key articles…

  • Mental illness and gun violence: is there a real connection?

    Is there a real connection between mental illness and violence, especially gun violence? Mental illness is a frequent scapegoat for politicians, organizations, and groups who support easy access to guns. Are individuals with mental illness more prone to violence than the general population? Or are people with mental illness more likely to be victims of…

  • Propaganda

    Propaganda “is communication that is deliberately designed by one group in society to influence the attitudes and behavior of others. It often uses symbolism and rhetoric and appeals to the emotional and irrational aspects of our sensibility” (Propaganda. (2006). In D. G. Lilleker, Key concepts in political communication. Sage UK.). Propaganda has been around for thousands…

  • Long COVID: what it is, impacts, and treatments

    “Long COVID refers to a variety of symptoms affecting different organs reported by people following Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection” (Taquet, 2021). “The symptoms of Long Covid include fatigue, dyspnea, cardiac abnormalities, cognitive impairment, sleep disturbances, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, muscle pain, concentration problems, and headache” (Crook, 2021). Long Covid can be terribly debilitating…

  • Change: Why do we fear it?

    “Fear of change is a natural impulse; the desire to pull up the drawbridge follows. But as we have repeatedly reported, that response is irrational and self-defeating” (New Scientist, 18 June 2016, volume 230(3078), 5). Why do human beings fear and resist change? Every day in our lives, more things change than stay the same.…

  • Preschool: the benefits for children and society

    Over the years, research has shown that going to preschool can benefit children immediately in many ways–building and strengthening academic skills plus social and personal skills like self-control and listening. Other research makes a strong economic argument and ties quality preschool to significant impacts later in life: more employment, higher earnings, more home ownership, less…

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Copyright 1999-2024 Kevin R. Engel · IA 50309 · United States engelk@grinnell.edu