News and Articles this week – Sequestration, GMOs, and Junkfood in Seattle

Posted: March 3, 2013 in Events, Funding, Policy, Science

“After months of anticipation and weeks of escalating political rhetoric, the axe is about to fall. At 11:59 pm tonight, US federal agencies will absorb across-the-board budget cuts — known as sequestration — to all government programs, including 5% decreases in science and other non-military operations.”

“The Swiss government will create a permanently protected area on federal land for experiments with genetically modified (GM) crops. The goal is to enable researchers to run experimental trials without running the risk that the fields will be vandalized and to reduce costs associated with security.”

“Existing National Science Foundation (NSF) grantees won’t be affected by the government-wide funding cut, known as the sequester, scheduled to go into effect on Friday.”

“It helps to have a scientist in the House. Especially in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rush Holt, the physicist-turned-Democratic congressman from New Jersey, proved that this afternoon at a hearing where he vigorously defended the need for scientists to travel to conferences.”

“Overwrought handwringing from the Seattle Times notwithstanding (actual headline: “Conlin’s healthful-snack proposal may not be easy to swallow”), city council member Richard Conlin passed legislation out of his planning and land use committee yesterday that will require all vending machines in city buildings to include at least 50 percent “healthier” or “healthiest” options. ”

“One of the fastest-growing open-access publishers, Frontiers, has been snapped up by Nature Publishing Group (NPG, which publishes this blog as part of, the company announced today.”

“Unless a miraculous truce descends on a deeply polarized Congress before the end of this week, the US government will be forced to cram US$85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts into the seven months that remain of the fiscal year. Science agencies will not be spared. The $30.7-billion National Institutes of Health (NIH) will lose $1.6 billion; the National Science Foundation (NSF), more than $370 million; the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, $260 million; and NASA’s science budget, almost $270 million.”

“South Carolina news outlet reported on Sunday that an official, comprehensive assessment of dramatic climate change impacts looming large in South Carolina’s future was buried and barred from release, apparently due to political pressure.”


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