News, articles, events, and US House Science Committee Appointments!!!!

Posted: January 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

A well written response to Daniel Sarewitz’s, co-director of the Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes at Arizona State University, column in Nature where he tries to argue that scientists are hurting themselves by backing Democratic candidates and policy and that scientists should be more bipartisan and support republicans also. This Salon article was originaly published in This American Prospect, and opens by, “One of the great political shifts in the past decade has been the move of scientists toward the Democratic Party, a casualty of the Republican Party’s war on reality. It’s not about politics for scientists, it’s about the fact that only one party accepts scientific findings on everything from global warming to evolutionary theory to what does and doesn’t prevent pregnancy.”

“I’m sick of reading about the dangers of the genome.” For my take on this, in my opinion, potentially damaging and dangerous article see here. Additionally, for a prime example of why ethical discussions regarding whole genome sequencing are important and necessary, see the Nature editorial link below.

Nature editorial commenting on the demand of Connecticut’s state medical examiner for a “full genetic analysis” of Netwon’s mass killer Adam Lanza. The editorial explains some of the ethical considerations regarding the results of this type of sequencing of people like Lanza, it reads, “But there is a dangerous tendency to oversimplify, especially in the wake of tragedy. If Lanza’s DNA reveals genetic variants — as it inevitably will — people who carry similar variants could be stigmatized, even if those variants are associated only with ear shape. If Lanza has genetic variants already associated with autism or depression, people with those diseases could come under suspicion as well.”

New Twitter hashtag #overlyhonestmethods, where scientists share methods and anecdotes about lab life. Funny and quite honest!

US Supreme Court announced that is will not hear a case challenging the US Court of Appeals’ overturn of Chief Judge Royce Lamberth’s previous suspension of all federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. “The decision brings to an end a long legal battle that has cast a shadow over hESC studies for over 3 years.”

“Representative Jack Kingston (R-GA), the incoming chair of the U.S. House of Representatives panel that controls the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has a long-standing reputation as a conservative budget hawk intent on reducing government spending. He’s also known for being skeptical that humans are contributing to climate change and for rejecting Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. But although that record might make many scientists anxious, his reputation as an inside operator who understands the importance of funding research makes many science boosters breathe a little easier.”

“A US science advisory committee released a draft climate assessment for public review today, documenting a range of global warming impacts across the United States and declaring that more trouble is on the way in the coming decades.”

“In the survey, researchers found that teenagers who took part in organized sports had a more positive self image and greater self esteem than teens who weren’t physically active.”

“United Airlines, the world’s largest carrier, will no longer ship non-human primates to research labs.”

“A team of Russian scientists has successfully retrieved its first sample from Antarctica’s 20-million-year-old Lake Vostok, which is buried under nearly 4000 meters of ice.”

“High turnover is not unusual within the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives, which ranks low on the totem pole of powerful committees. Even so, Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), the new chair of the full 40-member committee, has made some surprising decisions in selecting the chairpersons of the panel’s six subcommittees.”

TalkingPointsMemo’s take on the incoming US House Science Committee.

America Speaks, Volume 13, a compilation of public opinion polls commissioned by Research!America, features timely data about Americans’ views on issues related to biomedical and health research. A majority of Americans (72%) say the new Congress and the President should take action to expand medical research within the first 100 days of the 113th Congress. ”

“About three years ago, Scott started infusing rap into his lessons. His alias comes from a math formula, and as 2 Pi the rapping math teacher, Scott makes learning math cool, while also developing a connection with his students.”

“An international scientific committee is expected to release its latest assessment of Pacific bluefin tuna stocks any day now. And environmentalists say they’re concerned about the imperiled state of this fish population, given that there are few regulatory measures in place to effectively manage its stocks.”


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