What ails capital punishment? A look at its past and the future.

By Siddharth Vodnala It would’ve been the last meal of his life. Clayton Lockett refused to eat it, according to a document issued by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Just like he’d refused to meet his attorneys. Just like he’d refused to be restrained for medical examinations that were part of the state’s protocol for killing him.…

Schools address plate waste using best practices

By Taylor Malottki Students at Hickman High School in Columbia lobbed softball-sized oranges across the cafeteria minutes before the bell rang releasing them to class. Thanks to poor hand-eye coordination, some of the oranges ended up rolling on the floor between the tangle of students’ legs. Handfuls of celery sticks and forests of broccoli were…

Jeanne Erdmann sheds light on how to be a better freelancer

By Siddharth Vodnala Freelance science writer Jeanne Erdmann has plenty of experience explaining things to people. A story about furanocoumarins explained why grapefruit juice might adversely affect cancer therapies. The topic of postmortem genetic testing explained the science behind why thousands of young people suddenly drop dead every year suddenly for no apparent reason. Erdmann has covered these and many other fascinating…

When trying to avoid c-sections, some mothers seek doulas for support

By Guimel Sibingo Elisa Parsons-Facetti’s first birth was not the kind of the birth she had always imagined. Due to a late diagnosis of pelvic girdle pain, a common condition in pregnant women, Parsons-Facetti’s doctor recommended a Cesarean section. “It was my first pregnancy,” she said. “And I had to trust what the OBGYN was…

MU professor shines light on polarizing popular culture media

By Guimel Sibingo COLUMBIA – On the first day of Television Criticism class, Melissa Click, an assistant professor of mass media at the University of Missouri, asks her undergraduate students this question: “How many literature classes have you taken?” Most, if not all of the students raise their hands. “How many classes on television have…

True/False Film Review: Cartel Land

BY SIDDHARTH VODNALA COLUMBIA, MO – “We are the meth cooks, number one in Michoacan,” says a masked man at the beginning of Matthew Heineman’s documentary Cartel Land. “If we had good jobs like yours,” he says into the camera, he and his fellow meth makers would be doing good things too, instead of selling meth. This…

Man’s best friend – since when?

By Siddharth Vodnala Editor’s note: This article is from our Science for Kids series, aimed at children in grades 4-8. Dogs are called “man’s best friend.” You probably know that. But do you know when dogs came into being (and became man’s best friend)? Some scientists recently tried to figure that out and found that wolves changed into the…