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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Big Data + Applied Mathematics Editor
A scene from Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan. Brian Tomaszewski
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wants to change the grounds for setting US air pollution targets. An environmental lawyer explains why Pruitt's approach misreads the law and could roll back decades of gains.