I'm a journalist who covers diverse social and scientific topics, including the arts, technology, climate change and the nonprofit sector. 

How Should Virginia Spend Its Cannabis Profits? — The Outlaw Report

Virginia’s plan for adult recreational cannabis use was approved in February, with a major bill review scheduled for 2022 and legalization set for 2024. When it comes to the use of cannabis taxes, the pro-legalization community is split. Governor Ralph Northam, the mayor of Richmond Levar Stoney, and some other Democrats support using the largest portion of taxes for targeted PreK programs...

To Protect a Critical Forest in Appalachia, a Foundation Goes Beyond Grantmaking — Inside Philanthropy

While the coal industry continues to decline, the communities and lands of Appalachia are in transition. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and its funders are playing a significant role in reimagining coal country. In the spring and summer of 2019, TNC acquired 253,000 acres of land in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, which it will place under sustainable forestry management as the Cumberland Forest Project. A $20 million loan in the form of a program-related investment (PRI) from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) played a big role in this land purchase.

Why Men Got Picked Over Women in a Blind Review of Science Grants - Philanthropy Women

A recent study of a science grant application process at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation found male applicants received higher scores than women, even in a blind review. At the foundation’s request, a team from the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research analyzed this imbalance and reported that factors like scientic discipline and position, publication record, and grant history were not factors — the main dierence was in the language used in proposal titles and descriptions.

How I Made This: Bisa Butler’s Quilt Portraits Honor the Black Experience

Bisa Butler creates vibrant, life-size quilt portraits of Black Americans. The unique process by which she translates photographs into luminous, pieced-cloth images is a synthesis of her formal artistic studies and family traditions. Trained as a painter, Butler later earned a master’s degree in art education. She taught high school art classes for years, making clothes and quilts in her free time. Her many influences include her mother and grandmother, who were sewers; members of the AfriCOBRA...

Indispensable: Michael Johansson’s Talmeter Measuring Tape

Swedish assemblage artist Michael Johansson constructs complex 3D puzzles, filling in strict boundaries with a tight jumble of everyday objects. “Sometimes I describe my process as playing real-life Tetris,” he says. Johansson must be a master of measurement to create his expertly packed spaces, and so he keeps a Talmeter—a Swedish measuring tape from hand tool manufacturer Hultafors—close by. “This model was introduced to me by a friend and colleague ...

Organic Produce Lessens Breast Cancer Risk | Cancer

Organic foods and their health benefits are a source of constant study. These foods, which are free of synthetic pesticides, are becoming more popular as the evidence mounts of the health risks of various pesticides. For nearly 20 years, the sales of organic foods have grown by about 14 percent per year. Now, a recent study published in reports that eating organic produce is associated with reduced breast cancer risk.

Finding the "Cancer Beacon" That Immune Cells Recognize

When the body’s immune system fights cancer, how does it choose a specific target? Researchers from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator (HHMI) have spent decades studying the molecular structure of the immune system in an effort to answer this question. In December 2017, they reported a screening method that allowed them to identify which “signals” displayed by cancer cells were being recognized by the immune system, effectively discovering a “cancer beacon.”

The Power of the Hive: New Climate Fund Centers Southern Women of Color (PDF in new tab)

The new Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice seeks to catalyze a deeply rooted climate response in the South by centering the leadership of black, Indigenous and other women of color. Southern women of color have a long track record of advancing social justice. They also play a pivotal role in grassroots environmental movements in the U.S. (and Global) South, leading groups that are often overlooked by grantmakers in favor of larger, more institutional, white- and male-led nonprofits.

Tracing the Rain: Can Measuring Evaporation Help Farmers?

Accurately capturing a raindrop’s journey to the ground is tricky business. Evaporation can cause a raindrop to shrink between the time it is captured by radar in a cloud and when it hits a farmer’s field, and this can make it hard to rely on radar-based rainfall estimations in some areas. Researchers from the University of Missouri in Columbia are taking a closer look at evaporation. With the use of specialized weather algorithms ...

Now You Can Navigate VR With Your Body, Avoid Motion Sickness

Motion sickness is a natural side effect of virtual reality (VR) experiences for many people. This occurs because while our visual senses see movement, our inner ear or vestibular senses are experiencing relative stillness – our hands are often the only part of our bodies that are moving and interfacing with the simulation as they manipulate a controller. This causes confusion and nausea in the body. Research and Development lab MONKEYmedia has created ...
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