Editor's note

One irony of international climate change negotiations, like the conference that wrapped up in Bonn, Germany last week, is that delegates generate a lot of greenhouse gas emissions flying in from all over the world. But Deepak Kumar, Stephen Long and Vijay Singh of the University of Illinois are developing a potential solution: bio-based jet fuel made from engineered sugarcane, which could become a lucrative energy crop.

Cult leader and convicted murderer Charles Manson, who died Sunday, was a figure fascinating to many. But psychology professor Lou Manza is most interested in Manson’s followers – the members of his “family” who committed murder at his behest. What do people see in cult leaders that cause them to sever ties with friends and family? What comfort – however illusory – can people like Charles Manson provide?

The Trump administration sparked outrage from many quarters last week when it announced that hunters would be allowed to import into the U.S. trophies – i.e., body parts – from elephants killed in Zambia and Zimbabwe. President Trump quickly put the move on hold, promising a decision this week. For context, we offer a roundup of scientific, ethical and policy views on trophy hunting.

Jennifer Weeks

Environment + Energy Editor

Top stories

A medium-size passenger jet burns roughly 750 gallons of fuel per hour. www.shutterstock.com

Jet fuel from sugarcane? It's not a flight of fancy

Deepak Kumar, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Stephen P. Long, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Vijay Singh, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Scientists have engineered sugarcane to increase its oil content and are developing renewable jet aircraft fuel from the oil. The engineered sugarcane could become a valuable energy crop.

Charles Manson, pictured during his trial. AP Photo

How cult leaders like Charles Manson exploit a basic psychological need

Lou Manza, Lebanon Valley College

What makes cults so attractive to their followers?


Trophy hunting: 5 essential reads

Jennifer Weeks, The Conversation

Is trophy hunting wholesome sport or pointless violence? The Trump administration moved last week to allow imports of trophy parts from African elephants, but met heavy protest and is reconsidering.

Arts + Culture

Science + Technology

Politics + Society

  • Want to change federal policies? Here's how

    Mary Fisher, University of Washington; Natalie Lowell, University of Washington; Ryan Kelly, University of Washington; Samuel May, University of Washington

    One of the best ways to shape public policy is for experts to submit detailed, technical information through the public comment process.

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