Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

The U.S. biomedical science system “is on an unsustainable path” and needs major reform, four prominent researchers write in an opinion piece published today by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers should “confront the dangers at hand,” the authors write, and “rethink” how academic research is funded, staffed, and organized,according to Science Careers (published by AAAS, which also publishes ScienceInsider).”

“The world is heading towards possibly dangerous levels of global warming despite increasing efforts to promote the transition to a low-carbon economy, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns in its latest report today.”

A group of European pro-life organizations is mobilizing against embryonic stem cell research in a way that the European Commission cannot ignore. One of Us, a so-called European citizens’ initiative, has collected 1.7 million signatures from all 28 E.U. member states for a proposal that would block funding for research in which embryos are destroyed; under E.U. rules, the European Commission must now consider turning the proposal into legislation.”

“Haruko Obokata, the Japanese scientist at the centre of a controversy over studies purporting to turn mature cells to stem cells simply by bathing them in acid or subjecting them to mechanical stress, today apologized for her errors in the work.”

BMJ has published the latest volley in a battle over one of the most controversial drugs of the 21st century: the anti-influenza compound oseltamivir, better known as Tamiflu. A working group of the Cochrane Collaboration, an international network of scientists that performs systematic reviews of the medical literature, has carried out the most exhaustive meta-analysis yet of the drug’s efficacy—and its conclusions are, once again, pretty damning.”

President Barack Obama today nominated Sylvia Mathews Burwell, director of the White House budget office, to replace Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).”

“Stem-cell biologist Mahendra Rao, who resigned last week as director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine (CRM) at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), has a new job. On 9 April, he was appointed vice-president for regenerative medicine at the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF), a non-profit organization that funds embryonic stem-cell research.”

The next chapter in the long-running scientific story of Michigan’s Isle Royale wolves will not include a dramatic genetic rescue. After 2 years of consideration, the National Park Service (NPS) announced this week that it will not introduce mainland wolves to revive the genetically inbred and declining wolf population on the isolated island. “The decision is not to intervene as long as there is a breeding population,” Isle Royale National Park Superintendent Phyllis Green tells ScienceInsider.  “


“Supporters of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) just got what passes for good news in Washington DC’s current climate of fiscal austerity: the US Senate subcommittee that funds the biomedical agency voted today to boost its budget by nearly US$2 billion, to $31 billion in 2014.”

“The National Science Foundation has released its spending plan for the current year.  Importantly, this “FY 2013 Current Plan” includes mandatory reductions made due to sequestration.”

FY 2014 Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Summary Subcommittee Mark-up (ie who fund the NIH).

“On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 227-198 the FY 2014 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill.  During its two days of deliberations on H.R. 2609, the House considered more than seventy amendments to this legislation on programs such as ARPA-E, energy efficiency, Yucca Mountain, and life extension programs for nuclear weapons.  Among these amendments were several relating directly to the Office of Science.”

“The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 2609, making appropriations for Energy and Water Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014, and for other purposes. The bill drastically underfunds critical investments that: develop American energy sources to build a clean and secure energy future; develop and commercialize the emerging technologies that create high-quality jobs and enhance the Nation’s economic competiveness; and improve resilience against current and ongoing climate impacts that threaten our economy, public health, and natural resources. The bill would leave U.S. competitiveness at risk in new markets for clean energy industries such as advanced vehicles, advanced manufacturing, energy efficiency for homes and businesses, and domestic renewable energy such as wind, solar, and biomass. Furthermore, the legislation would cut essential national security efforts required to implement the President’s nuclear strategy and advance counter-proliferation objectives. If the President were presented with H.R. 2609, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”

“Last November, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) said that “as of spring 2013″ it would start cracking down on enforcing its public-access policy — and it seems the agency is now seeing positive results.”

Essay on appreciating smart women – like the 4 women that make up NASA’s 2013 astronaut candidate class.

“How many Pathway to Independence grant recipients actually get a R01 grant funded? And how is the program changing in the near future? Find out…”

“Federal budget sequestration is threatening the science and technology community in existential ways, officials at the “All Things Research 2013″ event said. And the longer Congress takes to find a fix, the more damaging the setback will be.”

“Julia Parrish was one of 12 “champions of change” invited to share their ideas on public engagement in science and science literacy June 25 at the White House.

Parrish, a University of Washington professor of aquatic and fishery sciences and associate dean of the College of the Environment, founded a citizen-scientist organization in 1991 to document what’s normal and what’s in flux on our coasts by counting seabird carcasses brought in on the tide.”

“After weeks of worrying about how the mandatory across-the-board 2013 budget cuts known as the sequester would play out at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the biomedical research community now has final figures. The bottom line is as grim as expected: The agency’s overall budget will fall by $1.71 billion compared to 2012, to $29.15 billion, a cut of about 5%, according to an NIH notice today. That is essentially what NIH predicted as part of the 5.1% sequestration. (Including transfers to other agencies and other adjustments in the spending bill funding NIH in 2013, the total reduction is $1.71 billion or 5.5% compared to 2012.)”

Recent blog post from Dr. Sally Rockey, NIH’s Deputy Director for Extramural Research. “Today we announced NIH policies for fiscal operation for the remainder of the 2013 fiscal year (FY). These policies implement the continuing resolution signed by President Obama on March 26, and also incorporate the provisions of the sequester (formally known as the 2011 Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act).”

According to, this is the first page of an actual “science” quiz given to fourth graders at a school in South Carolina…..My complaint is one of simple reality. Young-Earth creationism is wrong, and it’s certainly not science. For that reason alone, ideally it shouldn’t be taught as truth anywhere, let alone a science class.”

“Several former top officials at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the chairs of its oversight body yesterday wrote to Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) urging him to withdraw a bill proposing changes to grant-making at the agency.”

“Now it’s the U.S. Senate’s turn to take a crack at heading off a looming shortage of helium. Today, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources heard testimony on a bill sponsored by chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) and ranking member Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) that would authorize sales of federally owned helium past this fiscal year, which ends on 30 September. Without such legislation, those sales will cease, cutting off 42% of the U.S. supply of helium and 35% of the global supply. The only element that remains a liquid at absolute zero temperature, helium is indispensable for cooling the superconducting magnets in MRI machines, purging rocket engines, and performing low-temperature physics experiments. It’s also key to manufacturing optical fibers and microchips. The House of Representatives passed a similar bill 2 weeks ago.”

“The National Science Foundation needs one more week to reply to a controversial request from the chairman of the House of Representatives science committee to explain why five social sciences grants were approved. And NSF wants its oversight body to weigh in first.”

“A Roundup of Editorials Criticizing President Obama’s Plan B Emergency Contraception Decision”

“U.S. agriculture is at a crossroads: continue the polluting, soil-depleting industrialized farming methods of the past, or invest in modern practices of the future. A policy brief and interactive web feature released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) shows how several key practices can produce the food we need today while protecting precious natural resources for the long term—benefiting American farmers, consumers and the environment.”

“More than 150 neuroscientists descended on Arlington, Virginia this week to begin planning the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative—an ambitious but still hazy proposal to understand how the brain works by recording activity from an unprecedented numbers of neurons at once.”

“In short: the D-Wave quantum computer is thousands of times faster than other commercial computers at the very specific problem it was designed to solve. The computer is  about average on other types of problems, and, importantly, it is still not clear whether the speed advantage will scale up as the computer gets bigger. That would be necessary to fulfil one of the big promises of quantum computing: making otherwise-intractable problems solvable.”

“The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants has voted for a global ban of hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), a common flame retardant in insulation, textiles, and electronics. HBCD now joins two other such compounds on the convention’s list of restricted chemicals.”

“The race to become the next head of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (SST) is heating up. Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) today issued a statement confirming that he wants the job. “I intend to be a chairman who exemplifies the Republican philosophy that science, technology and innovation offer a pathway to a better, more prosperous future, and solve problems that bureaucracy and rampant government spending cannot,” he wrote.”

“California voters have rejected Proposition 37, which called for the mandatory labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods. With about 98.5% of the vote counted, the measure was losing 53% to 47%. Prop 37 garnered a great deal of attention and campaign money after it was introduced this past April. The initiative’s opponents, including agribusiness firms, raised $45.8 million; its supporters $8.4 million.”

“It’s a good 130 years too late to answer that question empirically, but at least symbolically Charles Darwin has won support from more than 4000 voters in the 10th congressional district of Georgia, thanks to an initiative headed by James Leebens-Mack, a plant biologist at the University of Georgia in Athens.”

“Bill McKibben plans to travel the country in a sustainable-fuel bus, asking public institutions to divest portfolios of dirty energy holdings — and encourage more civil disobedience against those companies.”

“Information collected and disseminated by government science agencies plays a critical role in predicting where storms will go and how severe they will be.The government also plays an important role in providing this information to the public.”

“As more and more people get large-scale sequencing as part of clinical care and research, the genetics community is struggling to define what to tell people about their own genomes. At the meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics, Holly Tabor at Seattle Children’s Hospital described an emerging approach to help people decide what results from their sequencing data they want to see and when.”

“Under a set of reasonable assumptions, it found that federal R&D funding through 2017 could be reduced by $57.5 billion, or 8.4%, in constant dollars (i.e., corrected for inflation).”

“A look at what the President achieved during his first term in the areas of health, space science, energy, environment, and science education.”

Representatives for Obama and Romney debate energy and climate change. The debate will be available for viewing hopefully be early this week.

Message from Mary Wooley, President of Research!America, discussing the first presidential debate.

Washington University study shows that free birth control access reduces abortion rates.

“On November 6, Michigan voters will decide on Proposal 3, a renewable electricity standard (RES) that requires utilities to increase their use of clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar to 25 percent by 2025….But a flawed and biased study released last week by the Koch-fundedMackinac Center for Public Policy and Beacon Hill Institute threatens to undermine Proposal 3 and stall Michigan’s progress toward a clean energy future.”

“The European Food Safety Authority has concluded that a recent paper raising concerns about the potential toxicity of genetically modified (GM) maize NK603 and of a herbicide containing glyphosate is of insufficient scientific quality to be considered as valid for risk assessment.”

“All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell,” says US House Representative Scott Broun (Broun also serves on the House Science Subcommittee).

“Across a swath of northern Nigeria, a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding, as lead from illegal gold mines sickens thousands of children.”

“Now two types of stem cells have been turned into viable mouse egg cells that were fertilized and eventually yielded healthy baby mice. Details of this achievement were published online October 4 in Science.”

“The state Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that the state’s hazardous substances tax is constitutional.”

Science Insider interviews Jane Lubchencou, head of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“Washington State University researchers have found that the great-grandchildren of pregnant rats exposed to low doses of dioxin develop diseases and reproductive abnormalities — even though they did not have direct exposure.”

“Higher temperatures and an increased risk of drought on the West Coast result in nitrogen byproducts that cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, especially among the region’s rural and urban poor.”

“New research has found that a hatchery using wild salmon to spawn the next generation can help rebuild endangered salmon runs without passing on genetic problems that threaten future returns.”

Seminar given by Kevin McKernan, founder of Medicinal Genomics who recently sequenced the cannabis genome.

“Matthew Inman, the Seattle cartoonist behind, has succeeded in raising $1.3 million to restore the Long Island, N.Y., lab once used by scientist Nikola Tesla.”