http://news.sciencemag.org/environment/2014/07/greening-food-pyramid

“Advice about a healthy diet might soon take the planet itself into account. The next version of Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the major nutrition report from the government agencies that brought you the food pyramid, seems likely to contain advice about sustainable food choices. The prospect is already generating controversy.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/people-events/2014/07/hivaids-field-shocked-death-leading-researcher-mh17-crash

“As thousands of researchers gathered here today to attend the 20th International AIDS Conference, which starts Sunday, the usual joyous hugs of greeting between far-flung colleagues were replaced by hugs of sorrow at the loss of Dutch HIV scientist Joep Lange, a leading light in the field, and at least five others heading to the meeting who were on the Malaysian Airlines flight shot down over Ukraine on 17 July.”

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/07/wellcome-trust-looks-to-youth-and-high-risk-research.html

“The United Kingdom’s largest biomedical charity is to shake up the way it forks out its funding, with an increased emphasis on ‘high-risk’ research and stronger support for less-experienced scientists.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/asiapacific/2014/07/australia-scraps-carbon-tax

“Bucking global efforts to curtail carbon pollution, Australia’s conservative government yesterday abolished a national carbon tax that it had long opposed. The move to “ax the tax”—as Prime Minister Tony Abbott is fond of saying—makes Australia the first country in the world to abolish a functioning carbon pricing scheme.”

 

http://nexus.od.nih.gov/all/2014/07/17/formula-for-innovation-people-ideas-time/

“To meet the changing needs of the biomedical workforce, NIH is piloting the concept of awarding longer grants that provide more stable support for investigators at all career stages. It is our hope that with more sustained support, investigators will have more freedom to innovate and explore new lines of inquiry. The NIH Pioneer Award, supported by the Common Fund, represents a compelling example of such an approach. Pioneer Awards supports individual scientists of exceptional creativity, who propose pioneering – and possibly transformative approaches – to major research challenges. This award allows for $500,000 annually in direct costs for five years, and, in a recent evaluation, was shown to facilitate a high level of innovation and productivity.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/scientific-community/2014/07/1-scientific-publishing

“Publishing is one of the most ballyhooed metrics of scientific careers, and every researcher hates to have a gap in that part of his or her CV. Here’s some consolation: A new study finds that very few scientists—fewer than 1%—manage to publish a paper every year.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/asiapacific/2014/07/researcher-sues-block-retraction-golden-rice-paper

“A researcher whose nutrition study in Chinese children was found in breach of ethical regulations is going to court to salvage a paper describing her results. Nutrition scientist Guangwen Tang is suing the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) and Tufts University, where she has worked for more than 25 years, to prevent the retraction of her 2012 paper in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.”

 

 

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http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/dispensing-with-6-arguments-against-obama-s-climate-change-rules

On Monday the Environmental Protection Agency released new regulations to combat climate change via reduction of greenhouse gases. “As predictably as morning follows sunrise, these rules are drawing fire in a number of ways.” This article addresses (and dismisses) six of those arguments.

I also highly recommend the 2nd to last episode of COSMOS season 1, in which Neil deGrasse Tyson gives an excellent 45-min summary of what we know about climate change and its potential consequences should the world continue to ignore/deny the problem.

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/05/nsf-bill-with-dire-implications-for-social-sciences-moves-forward.html

“A key US House of Representatives committee approved legislation on 28 May that recommends steep cuts to US National Science Foundation (NSF) social-science funding and controversial changes to the agency’s grant-making process.”

 

http://www.nih.gov/science/brain/2025/

” On April 2, 2013, President Obama launched the BRAIN Initiative to “accelerate the development and application of new technologies that will enable researchers to produce dynamic pictures of the brain that show how individual brain cells and complex neural circuits interact at the speed of thought.” In response to this Grand Challenge, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) convened a working group of the Advisory Committee to the Director, NIH, to develop a rigorous plan for achieving this scientific vision. This report presents the findings and recommendations of the working group, including the scientific background and rationale for the BRAIN Initiative as a whole and for each of seven major goals articulated in the report. In addition, we include specific deliverables, timelines, and cost estimates for these goals as requested by the NIH Director.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/brain-behavior/2014/06/4-5-billion-price-tag-brain-initiative

“Now, after more than a year of meetings and deliberations, an NIH-convened working group has fleshed out some the goals and aspirations of BRAIN and tried to offer a more realistic appraisal of the funding needed: $4.5 billion over the course of a decade, or roughly quadruple the project’s currently planned budget.”

 

 http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_magazine/previous_issues/articles/2014_06_09/caredit.a1400142

“The number of women on university science faculties has been growing too slowly to satisfy many people. But one category of researchers—miniature ones made of plastic—will soon get an infusion of female members. LEGO, the manufacturer of the plastic-block construction sets beloved by children everywhere, has announcedthat a new kit consisting of three female scientists and their research gear will hit the market by the fall. ”

 

http://io9.com/forget-the-evil-gmo-hype-here-are-the-real-problem-1586203046?utm_campaign=socialflow_io9_facebook&utm_source=io9_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

“Scientists have demonstrated that genetically modified organisms have no measurable negative impacts on human health. Indeed, they may hold the key to feeding a world impacted by climate change. But does this mean GMOs are completely without risk? Nope. Here are some good reasons to be concerned.”

 

http://inthecapital.streetwise.co/2014/05/27/white-house-science-fair-launches-new-initiatives-to-get-girls-involved-in-stem/

“While girls and boys take STEM classes at the same rates in high school, far fewer women choose to pursue science and math once they enter college. Currently women only make up 24 percent of the STEM workforce, a statistic the White House is hoping to see change.”

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/06/last-remaining-support-for-controversial-stem-cell-papers-collapses.html

“The retraction of two controversial papers that promised a simple way to create embryonic-like stem cells seems to be imminent today after the lead author unexpectedly gave her full consent. Haruko Obokata, of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan, had been the last obstacle to the retraction of both papers.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2014/06/nih-report-warns-looming-shortage-physician-scientists

“Many observers believe that the United States is churning out too many new Ph.D. biomedical researchers, creating a hypercompetitive, unhealthy environment. But a new report from an advisory panel to the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) paints a different picture for physician-scientists: There may not be enough of them to replace those preparing to retire.”

 

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/06/10/320638770/with-concern-for-environment-illinois-bans-microbeads

“Illinois became the first state in the union to ban microbeads, the tiny bits of plastic found in consumer products like skin exfoliants and soap.”

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/05/nih-to-require-sex-reporting-in-preclinical-studies.html

“The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) will require grant applicants to report the sex of animals and cells used in preclinical studies, officials said today….

Under the new NIH policy, which will begin to take effect in October of this year, grant applicants will have to describe how they plan to balance the sexes for cells and animals used in their studies….

Yet the problem is bigger than just sex bias: factors such as age and genetic background can all greatly influence how an animal responds to a treatment. Brad Bolon, a veterinary pathologist at Ohio State University in Columbus, thinks the new NIH rules ignore the real problem. “By drawing so much attention to matter of sex, it avoids the whole crux of the issue,” which is too little transparency on the details of experimental design as a whole, he says.

Bolon also worries about added costs that may result from the new rules. To get enough statistical power to draw conclusions about each sex, researchers may need to double the number of animals used in the study. “Arbitrarily saying that research must be done in both sexes, especially early on, is going to take money out of testing truly novel hypotheses,” he says.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/policy/2014/05/u.s.-senate-shelves-long-debated-patent-troll-bill

A U.S. Senate bill intended to crack down on frivolous patent lawsuits has floundered after months of negotiation between key stakeholders. The bill aimed to discourage so-called patent trolls—companies that amass patents with no intention of making any product and instead generate revenue by filing suits against allegedly infringing firms. But opponents of the bill—including university groups and biotech firms—feared the Senate’s offensive against patent predators would make it too costly for legitimate patent holders to protect their claims.”

 

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=314737115&ft=1&f=

Setting his sights on Republicans who reject climate change, an environmentalist billionaire is unveiling plans to spend $100 million this year in seven competitive Senate and gubernatorial races, as his super PAC works to counteract a flood of conservative spending by the Koch brothers.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2014/05/nih-will-no-longer-require-special-review-u.s.-gene-therapy-trials

In a milestone for the field of gene therapy, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will no longer subject all proposed gene therapy clinical trials to review by a special federal advisory committee.”

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/05/uproar-as-anti-gm-vine-activists-acquitted-in-france.html

“French scientists are up in arms over the recent court acquittal of 54 activists who destroyed 70 experimental genetically modified (GM) grapevines in eastern France in August 2010.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/health/2014/04/first-global-drug-resistance-overview-paints-grim-picture

“Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill,” wrote Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s assistant director-general for health security, in a press statement.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/climate/2014/05/u.s.-climate-changes-white-house-embraces-science-never

The White House has just released its new National Climate Assessment (NCA), and its central scientific message will be familiar to climate scientists and the White House press corps. Climate impacts are already apparent in the United States, they are likely to worsen, and communities should begin factoring climate change into all kinds of decisions. From Hawaii to Maine, from the fishing industry to manufacturing, the report’s 30 chapters emphasize that “evidence of human-induced climate change continues to strengthen and that impacts are increasing across the country.””

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/05/uks-royal-society-still-trails-us-national-academy-of-sciences-in-female-members.html

“The Royal Society — the United Kingdom’s national science academy — today announced that it has elected 50 new fellows, who get to put the prestigious letters ‘FRS’ after their name….Just 14% of the new fellows are women, meaning that the Royal Society still lags behind the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in terms of female representation. The NAS had 21% women among the 84 newly elected members it announced two days ago, and consistently elects a higher proportion of women than its UK counterpart (see chart).”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/health/2014/05/calling-polio-international-emergency-who-recommends-travel-requirements

Citing “extraordinary” circumstances, the World Health Organization (WHO) today declared the international spread of wild poliovirus a public health emergency of international concern. It is just the second time that WHO has declared an emergency, saying the recent export of polio from three nations to adjoining areas could threaten global efforts to eradicate the disease. “

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/asiapacific/2014/05/mega%E2%80%93marine-reserve-going-limits-fishers

The government of the Pacific island nation Kiribati has announced that it will close one of the world’s biggest marine reserves to all commercial fishing at the end of the year. The Phoenix Islands Protected Area, about the size of California, is home to the world’s last major stocks of tuna.”

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/05/uk-politicians-wade-into-pharma-mega-deal.html

“Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has attempted to reassure UK politicians over its attempts to buy AstraZeneca, as political parties traded blows over the potential merger.”

http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2014/04/u.s.-biomedical-research-unsustainable-prominent-researchers-warn

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).”

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/04/ipcc-report-calls-for-climate-mitigation-action-now-not-later.html

“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.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/europe/2014/04/pro-life-citizens-initiative-worries-e.u.-scientists

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.”

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/04/acid-bath-stem-cell-scientist-apologizes-and-appeals.html

“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.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/health/2014/04/armed-new-data-researchers-again-challenge-effectiveness-antiflu-drug

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.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/people-events/2014/04/white-house-budget-director-lead-health-and-human-services

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).”

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/04/former-nih-stem-cell-chief-joins-new-york-foundation.html

“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.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/environment/2014/04/u.s.-park-service-nixes-immediate-genetic-rescue-isle-royale-wolves

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.  “

From Research!America:

“Given that the budget allocated to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which funds the non-commercial, basic medical research required to develop new medical treatments and cures, is actually lower this year than it was in 2012, it has never been more important to fight for NIH funding. To help ensure that this unique federal agency receives the resources needed to support research at universities, hospitals and other research institutions across the country, Representatives Peter King (R-NY), Susan Davis (D-CA), Andre Carson (D-IN), and David McKinley (R-WV) are circulating a sign-on letter in support of critically needed funding for NIH.”

In addition to the NIH budget being lower this year than in 2012, as a recent NatureEditorial points out, due to inflation and continued flat funding, the NIH’s budget has decreased by 10% in the last 10 years! Inflation for biomedical research is high, which means flat funding is actually a funding cut when inflation is taken into account. For example, while President Obama requested a 0.7% increase in his FY2015 budget for the NIH, inflation is projected to rise by 2.2% in 2014, translating into  an actual 1.5% cut for NIH spending. Likewise, by FY2019 the Department of Health and Human Services is projecting biomedical inflation to be at 3.3%, which would mean Congress would have to approve at least a 3.3% budget increase just for the NIH’s purchasing power to remain flat!

While these numbers are quite disheartening, a bipartisan group of Congress members are now recognizing what flat funding for NIH actually means. The McKinley-Davis-Carson-King Letter for Medical Research currently being circulated reads, “As Members of Congress who value the critical role played by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in better health outcomes, job creation, education, and economic growth, we respectfully request that the NIH receives at least $32 billion for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. We feel this amount is the minimum level of funding needed to reflect the rising costs associated with biomedical research. At a time of unprecedented scientific opportunity, it is critical that the United States make forward-thinking investments that promote medical breakthroughs as well as our international leadership in biomedical research.”

The McKinley-Davis-Carson-King Letter for Medical Research’s $32 billion ask for FY2015 would be an additional 5.5% budget increase over Obama’s request. Please consider contacting your US House of Representative to urge them to sign on to the letter.

 Crossposted to Seattle FOSEP.

http://news.sciencemag.org/funding/2014/03/first-step-first-bill-exposes-party-differences

“Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives today laid out their arguments for keeping the National Science Foundation (NSF) on a short leash. It was the latest salvo in a yearlong battle with Democrats over the nature of federal support for basic research.

The setting was a markup of controversial legislation, H.R. 4186, by the research panel of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. The bill, called the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST) Act, would reauthorize research and education programs at NSF and the National Institute of Standards and Technology and provide greater oversight of federal efforts in science education. ”

 

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-03-11/news/chi-durbin-calls-for-150b-spending-on-biomedical-research-20140311_1_durbin-biomedical-research-nih-research

“Sen. Dick Durbin today called for $150 billion more in federal spending on biomedical research over 10 years, saying America’s place as the world’s innovation leader is at risk because it no longer invests enough in basic science.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/policy/2014/03/animal-rights-extremists-increasingly-targeting-individuals

“Animal rights activists have dramatically shifted their tactics over the last decade, targeting individual researchers and the businesses that support them, instead of going after their universities. That’s the biggest revelation to come out of a report released today by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States.”

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/03/ancient-hominin-little-foot-older-than-thought.html

“Little Foot, the world’s most complete hominin fossil, dates back much further than the widely thought 2.2 million years, and should help scientists narrow down the identity of the first human ancestor, according to new research published today in the Journal of Human Evolution*. The findings were announced at simultaneous press conferences in Paris and Johannesburg.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/asiapacific/2014/03/evidence-mounts-against-reprogrammed-stem-cell-papers

“Amid mounting allegations of problematic images and plagiarism, the lead author and two co-authors are considering retracting two controversial papers describing a simple method for creating stem cells known as STAP (stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency). Their written statement was released during a press conference here today at which an investigating committee confirmed finding problems in the papers but stopped short of rendering a judgment on research misconduct.”

 

http://nexus.od.nih.gov/all/2014/03/12/collecting-data-on-postdoc-benefits/

“NIH’s biomedical research workforce initiatives, which implement Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) recommendations, include improving graduate student and postdoctoral research training through a number of measures, including increasing postdoctoral stipends to reflect years of training, and considering policies on benefits. In February we announced increases to NRSA stipend levels in the NIH Guide. Today, I’d like to talk about how we are proceeding with evaluating postdoc benefits.”

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/03/switzerland-to-provide-grants-while-european-funding-is-on-hold.html

“The Swiss government is stepping in to support individual researchers currently excluded from receiving grants from the European Union.

Hundreds of Switzerland-based scientists who had applied, or intended to apply, for European Research Council (ERC) grants have been badly hit by the fallout of a referendum last month which obliges the Swiss government to restrict immigration into the country. In response, the European Union suspended talks with Switzerland over its association with the EU’s €80 billion Horizon 2020 research programme, of which the ERC is a part.”

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/03/us-senate-votes-to-confirm-france-cordova-as-nsf-director.html

“The US National Science Foundation (NSF) has a new leader. The US Senate voted today to confirm astrophysicist France Córdova to lead the agency, roughly a year after former director Subra Suresh resigned mid-term.”