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.…

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…

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…

MU professor tries to beat invasive species by making folks eat ’em

By Siddharth Vodnala The queue moves quickly. Each person in line walks up to a huge steel pot, hesitantly takes a glob of something reddish brown and sits back down. As they start eating, some faces screw up in puzzlement, while some folks make appreciative noises. A woman, nodding continuously, says, “Tastes like chicken, for sure.”…

Truly improbable research

BY SIDDHARTH VODNALA SAN JOSE, California – Did you know that when dogs defecate and urinate they align themselves with the north-south axis of the earth’s magnetic field? Or that people who habitually stay up late are, on average, more self-admiring, more manipulative, and more psychopathic than people who habitually arise early in the morning?…

Autonomous cars and the road to the future

BY SIDDHARTH VODNALA SAN JOSE, California –  A runaway trolley is rumbling down a track. A few hundred yards ahead, there are five people tied to a pole in the center of the track. You see the train heading straight in their direction. You see a lever in the station that can shift the trolley onto…