Old-fashioned sustainable houses

Everyone wants a house to live in. More and more, people around the world want the kinds of houses seen in Europe and North America, rather than those they grew up in. However, industrial building materials can be scarce and expensive — alternative, locally sourced, sustainable materials are often a better choice.

Continue reading Old-fashioned sustainable houses

Probing question: Is it legal to bar immigrants based on religion?

We are proud to introduce a new series: our popular Probing Question feature in the form of a video.

In the first episode (above), Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, founding director of the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Penn State Law, addresses one of the most intensely debated political issues this year: the proposal to restrict immigrants to the U.S. based on their religion.

In each episode, we ask one of our faculty members to share his or her expertise on the question of the day, which could involve anything from a pressing global issue to a popular object of curiosity. Please email series producer Melissa Beattie-Moss at with ideas, comments, and questions.

How climate change affects bunnies

Along with rising sea levels, warmer winters, and worsening heat waves, climate change could raise our odds of getting malaria or other parasite-born diseases. One reason for that is because mosquitos and other disease-carriers are able to expand into areas that used to be too cold for them.

Earlier this week, Penn State biologist Isabella Cattadori published a paper about how climate change can impact parasites living in the soil, therefore impacting infection.

Cattadori and colleagues observed Scottish rabbits for nearly two and a half decades and found that the warming climate over that period enabled soil parasites to live longer, putting the rabbits at an increased risk of infection. The extent to which this increased risk affects the severity of an infection, she says, depends on the strength of the host’s (in this case, the rabbit’s) immune response. Cattadori’s findings could eventually help treat and prevent infections in humans from similar parasites.

She tells us more in the video below:

Members of the news media interested in talking to Cattadori should contact Barbara Kennedy at 814-863-4682 or