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Society

Nuclear’s role in a net-zero world

Is nuclear power a necessary part of the energy transition away from fossil fuels? As the debate rages on, new technologies and smaller reactors may be shifting the balance.

Psychedelic drugs and the law: What’s next?

The push to legalize magic mushrooms, MDMA, LSD and other hallucinogens is likely to heighten tensions between state and federal law, drug law expert Robert Mikos says

How to overcome political polarization on climate change

Conversations — in real life — can help bridge the partisan divide, but the trick is to have some structure to the discussion, says a human ecologist

Moving trees north to save the forests

As the world warms, trees in forests such as those in Minnesota will no longer be adapted to their local climates. That’s where assisted migration comes in.

The atomic bomb, exile and a test of brotherly bonds: Robert and Frank Oppenheimer

A rift in thinking about who should control powerful new technologies sent the brothers on diverging paths. For one, the story ended with a mission to bring science to the public.

A big boost to Europe’s climate change goals

The bloc aims to become the first carbon-neutral continent. A new policy called CBAM will assist its ambitions — and may persuade other countries to follow in its footsteps.

Toward truly compostable plastic

Materials scientists are cooking up environmentally friendly polymers from natural sources like silk, plant fibers and whole algae. Economics and acceptance remain hurdles.

Losing the connection between the Andes and the Amazon: A price of peace in Colombia

The South American country, where the biodiversity of the Andes meets that of the Amazon, is losing the great natural wealth of some 1,500 square kilometers of forest each year, mainly in areas formerly under guerrilla control

Why probation and parole don’t work as advertised

The current system of supervised release in lieu of imprisonment may do more harm than good, some experts say. How can society do a better job of rehabilitating law-breakers while keeping them from re-offending?

A new look at our linguistic roots

Linguists and archaeologists have argued for decades about where, and when, the first Indo-European languages were spoken, and what kind of lives those first speakers led. A controversial new analytic technique offers a fresh answer.

Soda taxes can’t reverse the obesity epidemic

OPINION: They might be able to help, but only if well-designed and in combination with other policies

Lessons from sports psychology research

Scientists are probing the head games that influence athletic performance, from coaching to coping with pressure

Getting rid of bed bugs: Trickier than ever

The blood-sucking insects now show up in two varieties and are resistant to many pesticides. New eradication strategies include fungal spores and nasty human odors.

The untapped potential of stem cells in menstrual blood

Long overlooked, menstrual stem cells could have important medical applications, including diagnosing endometriosis

Indigenous languages are founts of environmental knowledge

Peoples who live close to nature have a rich lore of plants, animals and landscapes embedded in their mother tongues — which may hold vital clues to protecting biodiversity

Genes and heart disease: Finally making the link

Polygenic risk scores — a patient’s chance, based on tiny DNA variants, of developing cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and more — are coming to clinics. But there are kinks to iron out and accuracy remains an issue.

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