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Friday, May 18, 2018

Mapping refugee camps


Editor's note

When Brian Tomaszewski first arrived at the Jordan refugee camp, he was struck by its geographical complexity. Housing thousands of Syrian refugees, the Zaatari camp is a maze of makeshift homes, mosques, schools and other important resources. The Rochester Institute of Technology professor was inspired to train refugees to map their surroundings, creating a useful tool and teaching valuable skills.

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt was in the news again this week over alleged ethical lapses, but the scandals obscure some consequential changes at the agency. Science historian and former EPA official Bernard Goldstein at the University of Pittsburgh describes why public health researchers are concerned over EPA’s so-called “secret science” plan. And environmental lawyer Robert Percival of the University of Maryland argues that a planned change over who advises the EPA on setting clean air standards will ultimately dilute the role of science in setting policy.

Venezuela’s authoritarian president Nicolás Maduro will stand for re-election on Sunday. Since most opposition candidates are either jailed or blacklisted, he is all but guaranteed to win. Millions are expected to boycott the vote, which they say is a farce. Abstaining from a rigged election is the right move, says Marco Aponte-Moreno, a Venezuelan-born professor. Sometimes, voting can actually undermine democracy.

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Aviva Rutkin

Big Data + Applied Mathematics Editor

Top stories

A scene from Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan. Brian Tomaszewski

I teach refugees to map their world

Brian Tomaszewski, Rochester Institute of Technology

Maps can be an invaluable tool in a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis. A pilot project trained Syrian refugees at a Jordan camp to create their own.

The landmark Harvard Six Cities study found a strong link between air pollution and health risks. Pixabay

Why the EPA's 'secret science' proposal alarms public health experts

Bernard Goldstein, University of Pittsburgh

The EPA intends to limit what scientific studies can inform policy – a change long sought by industry. A long-time public health researcher explains the single study at the root of the controversy.

Despite his 20 percent approval rate, President Nicolas Maduro is almost assured a win in Venezuela’s May 20 election. The opposition says the vote is a “farce.” REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Venezuelans are boycotting their presidential election

Marco Aponte-Moreno, St Mary's College of California

The Venezuelan opposition is asking people not to vote in the country's May 20 election, which they call a 'farce.' President Maduro regime has jailed or blacklisted most of his competitors.

Environment + Energy

Science + Technology

Economy + Business

Health + Medicine

  • How lessons from childhood cancer care could improve adult cancer care

    Leonard L. Berry, Texas A&M University ; Hetal Modi, Texas A&M University ; Tracey Danaher, Monash University

    Pediatric cancer is one of the cruelest of diseases, and caregivers develop special skills to help their patients. Research shows that caregivers for adults could learn some things from them.

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