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Special Report

Science and the U.S. Election

Where candidates Barack Obama and John McCain stand on science; key races involving science, energy and the environment; and what neuroscience says about how you'll vote

  • October 13, 2008

A campaign loss for science writer Carl Zimmer's dad

Quick: How many top science writers were spotted standing behind a Republican Senate candidate during a concession speech last night? Only one, as far as we know: Carl Zimmer.

November 5, 2008 — Jordan Lite

What an Obama win means for the environment

Among the many pressing issues that President-elect Barack Obama will face when he takes office in January is climate change, which he has called an “immediate threat” and warned has made Earth a “planet in peril.” In an effort to prevent and reverse the problem, he supports a so-called cap-and-trade scheme similar to one now in effect in the U.S.

November 5, 2008 — David Biello

The Day After: Science in the Obama Administration

Stanford University biologist Sharon Long, a science advisor to the Barack Obama campaign, talks about science in the upcoming administration. Plus, we'll test your knowledge of some recent science in the news. Web sites related to this episode include

November 5, 2008 — Steve Mirsky

One long campaign, one enormous carbon debt

It's been a long slog to get to this election day. We all know the campaigns spent millions to get their messages across. But Bob Grant at The Scientist wondered about the environmental cost (log-in required)—specifically how much the campaigns of Sens.

November 4, 2008 — David Biello

Who has a better sense of humor--Liberals or conservatives?

Are you more likely to get a joke if you lean politically left or right? That's the question New York Times columnist John Tierney asks today, extending a line of inquiry popular this campaign season: the personality characteristics of ideologues.

November 4, 2008 — Jordan Lite

Election Day: Your -- and the candidates' -- votes on science

Is a sticky scientific or health dilemma holding you up from pulling the lever in the voting booth tomorrow? We've still got our trusty blow-by-blow of the presidential candidates' positions on controversial policy topics for quick reference.

November 3, 2008 — Jordan Lite

Sarah Palin's health described by doc

Voters know a little bit more about Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s health as they head to the polls today. According to a two-page letter released by her physician last night, Palin, 44, is in "excellent health and has no known health problems that would interfere with her ability to carry out the duties and obligations of vice president of the United States." 

Until now, Americans knew next to nothing about Palin’s health, other than that she gave birth to five children, the youngest of whom was born with Down Syndrome in April.

November 4, 2008 — Jordan Lite

Also on the ballot: Assisted suicide measure

There's renewed energy behind the right-to-die movement: A voter initiative on the Washington State ballot would allow doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to dying patients.

October 14, 2008 — Jordan Lite

John McCain talks science, says he's Wi-Fi's main man

His running mate may be raising the ire of scientists with her positions on creationism and wildlife conservation, but Republican presidential nominee John McCain is touting his tech cred.

September 15, 2008 — Jordan Lite

Palin brings creationism debate back into the headlines

The addition of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to the GOP presidential ticket has brought the creationism-evolution fight back into the news cycle, as voters learn more about her agnostic take on the subject: "Teach both," Palin has said.

September 11, 2008 — Jordan Lite
Planning to E-Vote? Read This First

Planning to E-Vote? Read This First

With less than three months before the presidential election, the hotly contested state, Ohio, along with others, continue to have problems with E-voting technology

August 18, 2008 — Larry Greenemeier

Help wanted: Election Day techies to monitor e-voting mess

Do you have an affinity for technology? Did you do well in civics class? Are you free on November 4? If you meet all of these criteria, then you might feel compelled to take a temporary job on Election Day this year as a volunteer election site worker or an electronic voting machine technician.

August 26, 2008 — Larry Greenemeier

Gott Ya: Astrophysicist J. Richard Gott on Time Travel and Presidential Polling

Princeton astrophysicist J. Richard Gott discusses some of the realities and speculations of time travel (one human holds the record for time travel--1/48 of a second) as well as how best to evaluate presidential election polling data. Plus, we'll test your knowledge of some recent science in the news. Web sites mentioned on this episode include,

June 25, 2008 — Steve Mirsky

This summer, explore the cosmos with an All Access subscription.