Editor's note

In one year, Americans will go to the polls on Election Day 2018. The integrity of the election’s results depend on much more than controlling foreign influences. Penn State technologist Sascha Meinrath explains two major problems – created by U.S. politicians – that stand in the way of a true, honest, fair democracy.

A shooting in a tiny Texas town once again has Americans asking themselves: What can be done to protect innocent lives from gun violence in this country? Conversation scholars offer some answers.

Nearly half of overweight Americans say they’re trying to lose weight. But to what lengths will they go to make it happen? Melissa Wdowik, a nutrition expert at Colorado State University, takes us on a tour of the many unusual diets people have tried throughout history – from grapefruit to tapeworms.

Jeff Inglis

Science + Technology Editor

Top stories

Who gets to vote? Mikko Lemola/Shutterstock.com

Two big problems with American voting that have nothing to do with Russian hacking

Sascha Meinrath, Pennsylvania State University

With a year before Election Day 2018, election integrity depends on ensuring fairness and access for American voters. Foreign tampering is a real but less serious concern.

Crosses placed in memory of those killed in the shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland, Texas on Nov. 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Mass shootings in America: 4 essential reads

Emily Costello, The Conversation

Four articles from The Conversation archive offer insight on mass shootings in America.

Another day, another diet. Yuriy Maksymiv/Shutterstock

The long, strange history of dieting fads

Melissa Wdowik, Colorado State University

For centuries, people have been trying to lose weight in all sorts of ways – including drinking vinegar, avoiding swamps and stocking up on grapefruit.

Health + Medicine

Politics + Society

  • One American woman's life in revolutionary Russia

    Julia L. Mickenberg, University of Texas at Austin

    How a journalist from Nebraska chased the 'Soviet dream' all the way to Russia, only to be expelled on accusations of espionage.

  • Latino elites are paying the California dream forward

    Jody Agius Vallejo, University of Southern California – Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

    Scholars say elites are critical to helping ethnic communities thrive. So, who are the Latino elites and what work are they doing for their community?

Science + Technology

Arts + Culture

  • Does American culture shame too much – or not enough?

    Peter Stearns, George Mason University

    With levels of political discourse reaching new lows, some might say the country could use a dose of shame and humility. At the same time, social media have unleashed a torrent of online shaming.

From our international editions

Today’s quote

Ethical and social values – like the desire to promote economic development, public health, or environmental protection – often play integral roles in scientific research.

  Kevin Elliott