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UnDisciplined: The battle between danger and denial

Remediation work at the Milltown Reservoir Superfund Site, Montana.
M Kustudia
Example of a Superfund site in Milltown, Montana.

When the EPA told people in Globe, Arizona, their soil was toxic and needed to be cleaned up, many residents responded in a surprising way: They denied there was a problem and complained that the government was causing unnecessary panic. And it turns out that response isn't unusual in places where Superfund cleanups have taken place.

Nichelle Frank is an assistant professor of US history at Utah State University, Eastern, where she studies the effects of the US Environmental and historic preservation movements on cultural landscapes in intermountain mining towns.

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Matthew LaPlante has reported on ritual infanticide in Northern Africa, insurgent warfare in the Middle East, the legacy of genocide in Southeast Asia, and gang violence in Central America. But a few years back, something donned on him: Maybe the news doesn't have to be brutally depressing all the time. Today, he balances his continuing work on more heartbreaking subjects by writing books about the intersection of science, human health and society, including the New York Times best-selling <i>Lifespan</i> with geneticist David Sinclair and the Nautilus Award-winning <i>Longevity Plan</i> with cardiologist John Day. His first solo book, <i>Superlative</i>, looks at what scientists are learning by studying organisms that have evolved in record-setting ways, and his is currently at work on another book about embracing the inevitability of human-caused climate change with an optimistic outlook on the future.<br/>