Insider Roundup: Winners and Losers Edition

first_imgPresident Barack Obama has announced that physicist Patrick Gallagher will be nominated to run the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where he’s currently deputy chief.Representative Joe Barton (R–TX), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate stimulus spending at the National Institutes of Health.On Monday, the Lasker Foundation will announce the winners of its 2009 awards in basic and clinical research and public service. Dozens of medalists have gone on to win Nobel Prizes.A climate spending panel will examine the effects of cell phones on human health on Monday as well.How seaworthy are your gondolas? Scientists are meeting in 2 weeks in Venice, Italy, to firm up the global ocean observing system.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Roundup 11/18: Farming It Out

first_imgAnimal agriculture science policy wonks will be eager to eat up a new blog on the topic.And meet ExpertLabs, a new collaboration tool for policymakers and scientists to share ideas online. (It’s run by AAAS, which publishes this blog.)Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)House of Representatives Science and Technology Committee has passed legislation to enhance cybersecurity programs, including research efforts.Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are angry over the Department of Energy’s plans to halt work on the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site.Cosmic Variance is counting down to the deadline for astronomers to submit proposals for the next round of Hubble telescope science projects. (photo:http://www.flickr.com/photos/gertcha/ / CC BY 2.0  )last_img read more

Beachy to Leave Key Agriculture Research Post in Washington

first_imgRoger Beachy, the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is leaving his post next month after serving less than 2 years. “What a huge loss,” says Karl Glasener, director of science policy for the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America. The decision was announced in a USDA memo (see below) this morning. A pioneer in the genetic engineering of plants at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL and the former director of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, Beachy was recruited to add momentum to changes at USDA that were designed to increase the profile and success of agricultural research. The 2007 Farm Bill had created NIFA, and Congress subsequently boosted the institute’s budget for competitive grants by 30% in FY 2010, to $260 million. He took over in September 2009; a few months later, however, his boss, Rajiv Shah, left to become head of the U.S. Agency for International Development. Beachy put roughly half of the competitive funds into larger, multidisciplinary grants focused on “grand challenges,” such as dealing with the impact of climate change. Not only did the number of grant applications rise significantly, but the approach tapped into a much larger pool of researchers beyond the department’s traditional constituency of agriculturally focused land-grant universities. “I feel pretty good that we’ve been able to do as much as we have,” he told ScienceInsider. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) The budget picture has darkened since then. This year’s pot for competitive grants is down about 1%, a far cry from the 64% increase that the Obama Administration had requested for FY 2011. And reflecting larger fiscal realities, the department’s request for FY 2012, submitted in February and still pending before Congress, was scaled back substantially, although still a robust 25% increase. Beachy says his decision to leave on 20 May has nothing to do with the budget, but rather represents a desire to be with his family, which has remained in St. Louis. “It’s strictly for personal reasons,” he says. He will return to WUSTL as a professor in the biology department and hopes to continue to advocate for agricultural research. “He gave us a face for agricultural science that I’ve never seen before—modern [and someone] talking about change,” says Glasener. “It was really refreshing.” Sent: Friday, April 29, 2011 11:23 AM Subject: Message from REE Under Secretary Woteki United States Research Office Room 216W Department of Education of the Under Jamie L. Whitten Building Agriculture Economics Secretary Washington, DC 20250-0110 To NIFA staff: Dr. Roger Beachy has been an outstanding advocate for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and its research mission, so it is with regret that Secretary Vilsack and I have accepted his resignation as Director, effective May 20, 2011. We understand that Dr. Beachy’s first priority must be to the needs of his family, and he will be returning to St. Louis, Missouri, to spend more time with his wife, his children and his grandchildren. Dr. Beachy worked with many of you when he took the helm of USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) in October 2009 and led the reorganization which transformed the agency into NIFA in 2010. That monumental effort from staff and Dr. Beachy forged NIFA’s reputation as a leader in promoting research and education into some of the most important issues facing the nation today. His leadership contributed to increasing the visibility of science and innovation at USDA so that American agriculture can continue to be the economic engine our nation needs, and help our country keep providing a safe and healthy food supply to the world. NIFA grants have recently been given to support such urgent national priorities as helping find solutions to the crisis of childhood obesity and developing the advanced biofuels that the United States will need for a clean energy future. Dr. Beachy has held those who receive NIFA-funded research grants to the highest standards, which has led to cutting edge research being done throughout the Land-Grant university system and other partner organizations. The agency’s support of cooperative extension and the 4-H program has changed lives, and helped train the next generation of agricultural scientists and researchers. Dr. Beachy leaves a legacy that will endure for years to come. All of us who have worked with Dr. Beachy will miss his leadership, his enthusiasm and his expertise, and I know he will miss working with all of you. Please join me in wishing him well on this next step in his personal and professional life. Secretary Vilsack and I both appreciate the dedication of the NIFA staff who will keep up the good work Dr. Beachy has set in motion. We are initiating an aggressive search to identify and bring on board a distinguished scientist as NIFA’s next director. We will keep you apprised as that process moves forward. In the interim period I am naming Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young as Acting Director of NIFA. Thank you for all you do every day for NIFA, the Department and our country. Dr. Cathie Woteki Catherine E. Woteki, Ph.D.Under SecretaryChief Scientist, USDAlast_img read more

Science Longevity Paper Retracted

first_imgThe authors of a controversial genetics paper published last year in Science published a retraction today, acknowledging “technical errors” in their gene-finding strategy. The work, led by Paola Sebastiani and Thomas Perls of Boston University, claimed to have found a “signature” of 150 gene variants that together could help predict whether someone might live to be 100. But within days of the paper’s appearance, critics charged that the authors hadn’t accounted for intrinsic flaws in gene microarrays they used to find those variants, among other problems. Last July, Perls and Sebastiani told Science that they were unaware of problems in the microarrays and were working hard to verify their results. In today’s retraction, the authors do not reveal how severely their original findings were affected by the errors. “We feel the main scientific findings remain supported,” they write, but “the specific details of the new analysis change substantially from those originally published.” In an e-mail exchange, Perls wrote that the researchers “are very anxious to get our corrected results out into the scientific literature,” and until then, can’t say more about what they are. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Canadian Pro-Science Protest March Draws More Than 2000

first_imgMedia-Death of Evidence rally Credit: Michael & Richard Webster OTTAWA—A rally yesterday here to protest government cuts and the muzzling of government scientists drew more than 2000 marchers who gathered at the steps of Parliament to stage a mock funeral for evidence. (Slideshow created by organizers of the rally.) Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

A U.S. Makeover for STEM Education: What It Means for NSF and the Education Department

first_img Q: Where will the STEM Innovation Networks (STEM-INs) program be housed within the department? What’s the projected size of a typical grant? Will the networks be linked in any way to the Effective Teaching and Learning: STEM program? C.M.: We are determining the appropriate placement for the STEM-INs program pending further discussion and pending appropriation of programmatic funds. The size and term and number of awards are still being developed. We are considering ways to preference the Effective Teaching and Learning: STEM program as a way to increase the impact of both STEM-INs and the ETL:STEM funding, but again, these are design considerations that will be developed through a policy process. One of the goals of STEM-INs is to prepare students for college-level work, and a postsecondary institution would be a required partner in the STEM-INs partnership structure. Their role is not just to provide alignment to college curricula and expectations for postsecondary study, but also potentially to be a research partner, as the evaluation design component of STEM-INs is critical. We are working very closely with our colleagues at NSF and the other agencies to make sure we have a coherent, targeted approach that serves more teachers, more students, more effectively. Q: Is ED ending any programs or activities that now fall under the priority areas to be headed by NSF and SI? C.M.: ED does not anticipate holding another Teacher Incentive Fund-STEM program in FY ’14. The reorganization protects the investments across all agencies that serve underrepresented groups, including ED’s investments for minority-serving institutions. We are actively working together with NSF to coordinate our approach on undergraduate STEM education. The delineation of these additional agency roles does not imply that NSF will discontinue its important work on K-12, or that ED would not continue its role in postsecondary STEM education. Q: How much more money is ED getting as the leader for STEM K-12? C.M.: The reorganization resulted in approximately $180 million in redirected funds, split between NSF, Smithsonian, and ED. ED’s overall increase reflects a portion of those redirected funds plus proposed new investments in ED’s STEM Innovation initiatives (STEM Innovation Networks, STEM Teacher Pathways, STEM Master Teacher Corps, and the STEM Virtual Learning Network). center_img A proposed reshuffling of federal STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education programs in the United States would move the Department of Education (ED) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to the head of the class. Their new status would be a major change for the federal government, which now spends nearly $3 billion on 226 STEM education programs run by a dozen agencies. Many of those programs were created to address a specific problem or at the behest of Congress to serve a specific constituency. However, the resulting fragmentation has hampered efforts to coordinate and assess the impact of the government’s investment. The proposed realignment, part of the president’s 2014 budget request to Congress, would slice the overall number of programs in half by slashing the education activities of mission agencies such as NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Institutes of Health. The reorganization unveiled last week surprised science educators, legislators, and even other federal officials. While the upcoming debate in Congress is likely to focus on whether some of the programs targeted for elimination should be preserved, the broader issue is the wisdom of creating two executive branch heavyweights in STEM education. Under the proposal, ED would oversee federally funded activities to improve elementary and secondary school science education, while NSF would lead the way in undergraduate and graduate STEM education. (The Smithsonian Institution was given the green light, and $25 million, to expand its activities in informal, or nonclassroom, science education.) The realignment is designed to tap into ED’s extensive ties to, and experience working with, local schools as well as NSF’s expertise in funding high-quality STEM education activities. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) The administration has targeted 78 programs for elimination, and an additional 49 would be consolidated. But it has also proposed 13 new programs, and its 2014 budget request of $3.1 billion for all STEM education activities would be 7% higher than what was spent in 2012. (Figures for 2013 are not yet available). Yesterday, presidential science adviser John Holdren told the House of Representatives science committee that the reorganization would also “leave intact” programs aimed at attracting underrepresented groups into STEM fields. “There has been a very serious effect to preserve the programs that most leverage the unique assets of the mission agencies, including programs that reach women and other underrepresented groups in STEM,” Holdren explained during a hearing on the administration’s overall 2014 request for research. To learn more about the proposed reorganization, ScienceInsider spoke last week with top officials at each agency. Joan Ferrini-Mundy is head of NSF’s education directorate, and James Lightbourne oversees graduate education within the directorate. ScienceInsider also exchanged e-mails with Camsie McAdams, ED’s senior adviser on STEM education. These interviews have been edited for brevity and clarity. At NSF: Q: What does it mean to be a lead agency? J.F-M.: Being the lead means we have a responsibility to make sure that there is an anchor program in place that takes into account the particular interests and mission of other programs that fall into this category across government. So what we are doing is serving as a focal investment mechanism for the government. These ideas are in place in the budget, but the implementation has yet to be worked out. Q: Is the additional $89 million that NSF would receive under the president’s request devoted to expanding existing NSF programs in the two priority areas? J.F-M.: The expectation is that we put in place these programs at the graduate and undergraduate level that will be coherent and bigger, to make sure we will be serving a government-wide purpose. The idea is to reach more students and teachers more effectively. Q: A lot of programs are tied to the mission of a particular agency and make use of tools such as ships or nuclear reactors. How will NSF be successful without access to those facilities? J.F-M.: Part of the model will be to see what’s possible with other agencies regarding the use of those special facilities. It may be that a good place for us to start is with NSF’s own centers and facilities. That’s another place where we want to be sure that it’s part of what is available to them. J.L.: We’ve been experimenting with this in the past few years in the Graduate Research Fellowship [GRF] program. The idea is that the fellows will have opportunities through industry or other agencies. A good example is with DARPA [Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency]. Two years ago they had identified a couple of GRFs who wanted to do an internship at DARPA. Both the students and DARPA benefited. You’re right. We don’t have the facilities and expertise to develop those programs. So it’s important to work with other agencies. Q: Since each agency has been assigned a priority area, what NSF programs in K-12 or informal science will be moving to ED or the Smithsonian Institution? J.F-M.: This budget request contains no significant decrease for programs in those areas. Our intention is to continue with what we’ve been doing; these are research and development programs that provide the tested, evidence-based models and materials that can be used by others. So they are still crucial pieces of our portfolio. Q: Doesn’t that run counter to the idea of designating a lead agency? J.F-M.: The details will take shape over the coming months. But there is a strong focus on engagement. The place where that will begin is with engagement of the public at different levels through what the Department of Education and the Smithsonian now do. These agencies are working very closely together, and there are a lot of questions that we will tackle in the coming months. We’ve been talking about them within the limits of what we can do prebudget. Now that the budget is out, these conversations will become much more open. Q: Is it a new role for NSF to take on the missions of other agencies? J.F-M.: I wouldn’t say we’re trying to accomplish the missions of other agencies. We’re trying to make sure that we have strong programs in place that select and give learning opportunities to students who will be able to succeed in science across a wide range of fields. At ED: Q: Will ED be increasing its roster of STEM specialists or will it rely on NSF and the mission agencies to carry out its new role in STEM K-12? C.M.: In the 2014 budget, ED has proposed an Office of STEM and anticipates hiring additional staff to manage any new programmatic initiatives. But the specific structure is still to be designed. We are relying on strong partnerships with NSF and the mission science agencies and will increase capacity at ED to help manage those relationships and run the new initiatives. last_img read more

An Idea Promised the Sky, but India Is Still Waiting

first_imgAlthough India pioneered the information technology outsourcing business, and still does much of the computing work for many big companies, only a small portion of the population has access to computers or the Internet. Related Itemslast_img

An Indian Diplomat Pays a Pice for Judicial Grandstanding

first_imgIndia had handled American diplomats with a generosity of spirit that it felt the bilateral relationship deserved. Now, with the same spirit shown to be lacking from the other side, the friendship has suffered. Related Itemslast_img

New evidence that parts of Ebola virus hide in semen for months

first_imgAlthough researchers have known since 1999 that traces of the Ebola virus could remain in semen for months, two papers published in The New England Journal of Medicine today offer more detail about the frightening possibility that survivors of an infection could rekindle outbreaks. One study focuses on nearly 100 men in Sierra Leone who survived the dreaded viral illness, whereas the second one documents a clear case of sexual transmission of Ebola virus.In the Sierra Leone study, researchers found Ebola viral RNA in semen samples from almost half the 93 men they tested.  The likelihood of finding viral RNA declined as time from disease onset increased: All nine men who were tested 2 to 3 months after they fell ill had evidence of Ebola RNA in their semen, but the researchers  found it in only 26 of 40 men whose infections had started 4 to 6 months earlier and in 11 of 43 men whose infections had started 7 to 9 months earlier. The result from one Ebola patient tested 10 months after disease onset was indeterminate.Detecting viral RNA does not mean that these survivors harbor a virus that’s capable of establishing an infection in a sexual partner. “We do not yet have sufficient information to assess the risk of transmission through sexual intercourse, oral sex, or other sex acts from men with viable virus in their semen,” the authors from Sierra Leone and the World Health Organization (WHO) wrote. Scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta are attempting to isolate virus from the semen samples, says Nathalie Broutet, an infectious disease epidemiologist at WHO in Geneva and one of the study’s authors.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In the second paper, researchers from Liberia and the United States present the best evidence yet of sexual transmission. A 44-year-old woman from Montserrado County was diagnosed with Ebola on 20 March and died a week later. The country had not had a case of Ebola in the previous 30 days and there was no obvious source of infection, but the patient reported having had unprotected vaginal intercourse with an Ebola survivor on 7 March. The man had contracted Ebola in September 2014 and left the Ebola treatment unit after testing negative for the virus in early October. A semen sample from the man, taken in March 2015, tested positive for Ebola, and genetic analysis of the woman’s virus showed that it was distinct from the most recent clusters in Liberia and neighboring countries. Importantly, her virus was all but identical to the one isolated from the survivor: Only one base pair differed between the two genomes. The “unique gene signatures in the sample obtained from the semen of the survivor and the deceased woman I think really provides conclusive evidence,” says study co-author Vincent Munster, a virologist at the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland.CDC’s Broutet says sexual transmission is suspected in about 20 West African cases. The WHO changed its advice  to survivors in May this year after evidence showed that the virus could persist much longer in semen than previously thought. The guidelines now advise survivors to abstain from sex or use a condom for 6 months or until their semen tests negative. Given that there are thousands of male survivors who could spread the virus through sex, “the chances of seeing sporadic cases igniting small outbreaks is very real,” says Jonathan Ball, a virologist at the University of Nottingham, in the United Kingdom.The papers come amid news that Pauline Cafferkey, a British nurse who fell ill with Ebola in December 2014 and survived, was in critical condition at Royal Free Hospital in London and being treated “for Ebola” after having apparently suffered a relapse. All of this shows that the virus has the potential to surprise scientists, Munster says. “An outbreak of this magnitude has never happened before with Ebola virus, so I think we need to realize that data gathered from the previous outbreaks might not be sufficient.”Survivors have already endured a painful illness and often lost loved ones, Armand Sprecher of Doctors Without Borders in Brussels cautions in an editorial that accompanies the two papers. “If they are then treated as pariahs and threats, we add a terrible unkindness on top of their suffering,” Sprecher writes. “They should be treated with all the compassion we can muster.”WHO today released a situation report that said for the second straight week, no new cases of Ebola virus have been confirmed in any West African country.last_img read more

After rocky road, U.S. Senate passes landmark chemical law overhaul

first_imgThese days in Congress, not even strong bipartisan support seems to guarantee a bill’s success. But the Republicans and Democrats who backed a U.S. Senate bill to overhaul the nation’s environmental safety law for industrial chemicals refused to give up. Overcoming a thicket of procedural barriers, they won a signature victory tonight as the Senate unanimously approved, on a voice vote, an overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).The vote puts Congress close to reforming one of the nation’s most maligned environmental laws for the first time in nearly 40 years. Both environmentalists and industry have assailed the TSCA, first passed in 1976, for being unwieldy and ineffective.The Senate bill now stands alongside a far narrower, but still strongly bipartisan bill already approved by the House of Representatives. Lawmakers must still resolve differences between the two measures, and send a final version to the president’s desk.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Despite the potentially challenging road ahead, backers of the Senate bill celebrated after the vote. “I think it will be looked back on as a major environmental accomplishment,” said Senator Tom Udall (D–NM), who cosponsored the bill, S. 697, along with Sen. David Vitter (R–LA).Under the current TSCA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can’t restrict a chemical’s use, or even request new toxicity data on it, without first proving that the chemical poses a certain level of risk. EPA also must factor in the potential costs of regulating a chemical in determining whether it is safe for use, and pick the “least burdensome” method of regulation.Under the new Senate bill, EPA would no longer have to satisfy these cost-related requirements, and would have more freedom to take chemicals off the market or order companies to generate new toxicity data. With tens of thousands of chemicals in commerce whose safety has never been reviewed, the bill would task EPA with first reviewing the safety of chemicals that the agency deems as a high priority, in the tens of chemicals at a time. EPA would have to give even more priority to chemicals that don’t break down easily in the environment, accumulate in the body, or are already known to be highly toxic.The House approved its TSCA bill, H.R. 2576, this past June on a nearly unanimous vote. S. 697, meanwhile, cleared a key Senate committee on a 15-5 bipartisan vote this past May, following a series of amendments designed to win over Democrats who worried that the bill favored industry interests and took too much power from state regulators. The bill has since undergone further tweaks designed to strengthen its bipartisan support.Rocky roadGetting S. 697 to a vote of the full Senate would prove difficult. One major obstacle became Sen. Richard Burr (R–NC), who put a “hold” on the bill, saying he would allow a vote only if the Senate acted on an unrelated bill to renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provides money for land purchases. The Senate eventually renewed the fund and Burr lifted his hold, but then Sen. Barbara Boxer (D–CA) vowed to block a vote. She has led the opposition to S. 697, which has drawn criticism from some environmental and public health groups. Boxer’s hold was based not on the bill’s substance, Jason Plautz of National Journal reported, but on her desire to see the two chambers of Congress work out the differences between their bills in public.Those concerns seem to have been addressed—though it wasn’t immediately clear what concessions were made to Boxer. In a statement after tonight’s vote, Boxer said “the bill has been vastly improved over the original bill, which in my opinion would have been harmful to our families, because it overrode our state laws and set up an ineffective and nonexistent way to regulate most toxic pollutants.”Boxer indicated that she would fight for further changes. She has long pushed for language that would explicitly ban asbestos, for instance. “I have been assured that as the House and Senate bills are merged into one, the voices of those who have been most deeply affected, including nurses, breast cancer survivors, asbestos victims, and children, will be heard,” Boxer said.With Boxer’s hold dropped, Sen. James Inhofe (R–OK), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, brought up the bill on the Senate floor tonight without any opposition. He and Udall called the vote a tribute to the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D–NJ), who was once the Senate’s most vocal champion of overhauling the TSCA. The current Senate bill—which bears Lautenberg’s name—has its roots in legislation that Lautenberg worked on with Vitter in the previous Congress. Even though S. 697 still isn’t law, “I think Frank Lautenberg’s legacy has been fulfilled,” Inhofe said.ReactionReaction to the vote was generally positive, although many groups said they would still seek changes in the final version.“Though improved, the legislation still has major problems,” said Andy Igrejas, director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a coalition of more than 450 groups, in a statement. “For example, it weakens EPA’s ability to intercept imported products, like most of the toys under your Christmas tree, when they contain a known toxic chemical. If reform is going to be credible, tricky, sneaky provisions like this will have to be removed.”The Senate bill “will help ensure that companies won’t have to negotiate an obstacle course of regulatory requirements to alert consumers to the presence of a chemical determined to be harmless,” said William Carteaux, president and CEO of SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, in a statement.“[I]t’s worth savoring the present moment, brought to all of us by a rare amalgam of political risk-taking and courage, willingness to seek common ground and compromise, dedication to one’s key principles while acknowledging the legitimacy of others’, and countless days, weeks and months of plain old hard work,” said Richard Denison, a senior scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, in a blog post.In a statement, Jessica Sandler, a vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the animal rights group, noted her group supported the bill because it “contains important language to reduce and replace the use of animals in painful chemical toxicity tests. By modernizing the way in which chemicals are tested, S. 697 will enable better regulation of dangerous chemicals, thus protecting both people and animals.”last_img read more

New chair of science board helps make NSF’s case to U.S. Congress

first_imgAs MIT’s vice president for research, Zuber is an experienced advocate for science. She is also comfortable in the spotlight. She has reached any number of “first woman to …” milestones, including principal investigator on a NASA planetary mission and head of an MIT science department. And although Zuber is not the first women to chair the board, NSF’s press release touts her as part of the first all-female leadership team at the agency, joining NSF Director France Córdova and the board’s new vice-chair, Diane Souvaine, a theoretical computer scientist and vice provost for research at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.“I’ve never realized I was first until after the fact,” Zuber told ScienceInsider. “This is not something I aspire to. And I long for the day when I’m not the first anymore.”Into battleZuber’s new job thrusts her squarely into the middle of the running battle between NSF and Representative Lamar Smith (R–TX), chairman of the House of Representatives science committee. In addition to repeatedly ridiculing specific grants, Smith has championed legislation that would require NSF to certify that all of its research grants contribute to “the national interest.” Scientific leaders who oppose that provision view it as a mechanism for making ideology-driven decisions about what NSF should be funding, and Smith says it’s simply an attempt to ensure accountability.“My definition of science in the national interest is great science,” Zuber says. “Mediocre science is not in anyone’s interest. And the board is here to help NSF support the best science as determined by merit review.”Still, Zuber recognizes that the issue is not cut-and-dried. “There is a range of opinion about whether NSF was transparent enough,” she says. “NSF felt it was, but others thought it wasn’t doing enough. So the board decided that the best thing to do is talk about it, and not get defensive. And those conversations have led us to believe that there’s room for NSF to improve transparency.”Zuber says no legislator has turned down a request for a visit from a board member, and she has met personally with Smith. The meetings are no panacea, she concedes, but she thinks they have helped.“I hoped we’ve turned the corner,” Zuber says. “We’re trying to let legislators know what NSF has been doing, and hopefully they will express an appreciation for it. But even if they don’t think we’ve done enough, we want to be able to understand their concerns.”Of course, whether NSF is spending its money wisely is part of a larger debate about how much the federal government should invest in research. There’s an old saw about scientists always wanting more. And though Zuber doesn’t think research should be exempt from the current budget constraints, she believes that steady increases are warranted.“Everything is under scrutiny when budgets are tight,” she concedes. “But U.S. research and education are really what has kept this country at the forefront. It’s improved our quality of life and contributed markedly to our competitiveness. So I think that even in this environment, where flat is the new up, then research spending ought to still be up.” The new chair of the board that oversees the National Science Foundation (NSF) plans to continue the board’s stepped-up efforts to educate Congress on how NSF does its business.This month Maria Zuber, a planetary geophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, took over from Dan Arvizu as chair of the National Science Board. The presidentially appointed body has traditionally kept a low profile. But in 2014 Arvizu asked Zuber to design a bigger role for the board in response to criticism from Republican legislators that NSF was funding frivolous research.The board’s response has been face-to-face meetings with individual legislators that take place after the end of the board’s regular 2-day sessions at NSF headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Over the past 18 months Arvizu and Zuber have helped connect a small contingent of board members with a score of legislators from both parties. Zuber and Arvizu say each side has learned from the other.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Analysis: Does Obama’s claim to have rescued science hold up?

first_imgThis week, John Holdren became the longest-serving presidential science adviser in U.S. history. He marked the occasion by issuing a list of 100 things that President Barack Obama has done to fulfill his inaugural pledge to “restore science in its rightful place.”Such exercises in legacy building are common for veterans of departing administrations, and Holdren joined this one in its earliest days. But Holdren’s list is also a telling reminder of the limits of power for any occupant of the White House.That conclusion is based on the 10 items that Holdren’s office chose to highlight in a White House blog, arguably what he sees as the administration’s greatest scientific accomplishments since taking office in January 2009. However, several of those policies have been disrupted by political, economic, and societal forces beyond the president’s control.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) For starters, only three of the 10 achievements fall mainly within the purview of the executive branch—attracting top scientific talent, sharing data, and promoting renewable energy while curbing fossil fuel emissions. The first claim—that the White House has attracted the best and the brightest technical personnel to government—is somewhat undermined by the fact that three of the four assistant directorships within Holdren’s own Office of Science and Technology Policy have been vacant for months and are unlikely to be filled before Obama leaves office. And although the White House has certainly been an advocate for clean energy—the third item on the list—the Republican majority in Congress has been able to blunt the Obama administration’s attempts to do even more to combat climate change. A bigger step toward restoring the luster of science is probably the second item on Holdren’s list, that is, what the administration has done to increase transparency and public access to scientific data.Three items on Holdren’s top 10 are intimately bound up with the budget process and, thus, fall under the control of Congress. One is arguably the administration’s biggest gift to U.S. science: The $18 billion research bonanza that was part of the administration’s $800 billion stimulus package to dig out from the 2008 Great Recession. That budgetary high point was reached just 6 weeks after the administration took office, however. Since then, the payoff from the president’s annual budget requests to boost science spending has been mixed; in some years, Congress has even exceeded those requests. Holdren’s second item, increasing public access to broadband internet services, is also largely tied to the stimulus package. And the third accomplishment, the administration’s proposed network of advanced manufacturing institutes, has become an annual tug of war with Congress, although this week the White house announced funding for the ninth such manufacturing hub.The four remaining items on the list are more about the administration serving as a cheerleader for efforts by the private sector rather than being a direct instigator of change. Holdren assigns the president credit for the country’s growing tech-savvy workforce, but many education analysts attribute the soaring number of college students majoring in engineering to factors unrelated to the administration’s policies. Likewise, a presidential target of training an additional 10,000 secondary school math and science teachers every year has turned out to be a low bar that has proven relatively easy to clear.The push for more entrepreneurship, another listed accomplishment, flies in the face of a decadelong decline in the number of startup companies that has also meant a slump in new, well-paid high-tech jobs. And whereas Holdren is correct in saying that the commercial space sector is flourishing, Republicans would dispute his assertion that the administration deserves credit for its rosy prospects. A more credible claim is the administration’s role in fostering innovation in health care through its promotion of such high-profile projects as the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative and precision medicine.Holdren certainly knows that science advances incrementally and in ways that don’t necessarily correspond to 4-year presidential cycles. He also knows that claiming credit for events involving myriad factors playing out on a global scale is a risky enterprise. But legacies must be built on something, so such lists have become a staple of political life. There’s also this: How many of us would wager that Obama’s successor will be able to compile anywhere near as impressive a list of scientific accomplishments?last_img read more

That grad school reference letter may be more important than you think

first_imgGRE scores and undergraduate GPA don’t predict students’ future graduate school productivity, but reference letters from previous research advisers may provide clues about whether they are going to publish well, according to a story over at our Science Careers sister site about two papers published today in PLOS ONE. These results add to the ongoing discussion about how graduate admissions decisions should be made, particularly in light of previous findings that the GRE is biased against students from underrepresented groups. The new studies emphasize that admissions committees should review applicants holistically and rely less on GRE scores in making decisions—a point that many acknowledge, but that requires significant time and energy to do well.Read the whole story.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Top stories: fresh-baked fossils, cloud-seeding algae, and how ancient farmers braved global cooling

first_img By Frankie SchembriAug. 17, 2018 , 4:30 PM Top stories: fresh-baked fossils, cloud-seeding algae, and how ancient farmers braved global cooling (left to right): EVAN SAITTA/FIELD MUSEUM/UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL AND TOM KAYE/FOUNDATION FOR SCIENTIFIC ADVANCEMENT; STEVE GSCHMEISSNER/SCIENCE SOURCE; FIRDES SAYILAN/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM center_img These labmade fossils could reveal how dinosaurs really lookedBy baking their own fossils with pressure, heat, and clay, scientists have now found a way to examine the changes soft tissues experience over millions of years of fossilization. This approach may allow researchers to “reverse engineer” what ancient animals looked like when they still roamed Earth.This alga may be seeding the world’s skies with cloudsSign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)When one of the ocean’s most abundant microorganisms—the Emiliania huxleyi alga—dies, it sheds its tiny calcium carbonate shell. A new study reveals that bits of this shell are sometimes flung into the air by waves and become the kernel on which water vapor can condense to form droplets, which in turn become clouds.Animal fat on ancient pottery reveals a nearly catastrophic period of human prehistoryAround 6200 B.C.E., climates suddenly cooled across the globe. The impact on early farmers was probably extreme, yet archaeologists know little about how they endured. Now, the remains of animal fat on broken pottery from the ancient Çatalhöyük site in Turkey has revealed that, in addition to cooling, local farmers faced a prolonged drought. To cope, they butchered their meat to consume every possible calorie, and replaced their cattle herds with more resilient goats.When did a massive volcano blow this island to bits and rock the ancient world?A battle has long waged over the timing of an explosion that blew the top off the volcanic island of Thera in the Aegean Sea—and rocked the ancient world. Now, a study measuring the radiocarbon stored in the rings of five trees could help nail down the date—and serve as a calibration tool for widely used radiocarbon dating methods.Q&A: Doctoral students at Germany’s Max Planck Society say recent troubles highlight need for change In the wake of two cases of alleged harassment and bullying at Germany’s prestigious Max Planck Society, a network of roughly 5000 doctoral students working at its 84 institutes has issued a statement requesting stronger systems for preventing and resolving problems. Jana Lasser, a spokesperson for the students and a physicist and doctoral candidate at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen, Germany, says early career researchers need to feel safer to speak up about conflicts at work.last_img read more

Third court upholds EPA policy barring grantees from its advisory panels

first_imgThe Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Washington, D.C. Former Administrator Scott Pruitt said a policy was intended to ensure the objectivity of advisory panel members. By Sean Reilly, E&E NewsMar. 27, 2019 , 5:10 PM REUTERS/Newscom Originally published by E&E NewsA federal judge today dismissed a third lawsuit challenging a far-reaching EPA restriction on advisory committee membership, likely dealing a fatal blow to opponents’ hopes of overturning the policy anytime soon.In the ruling, U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor said the Union of Concerned Scientists had failed to show that the 2017 directive by then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt violated the Administrative Procedure Act. Saylor, based in the District of Massachusetts, also said the Boston-based advocacy group had failed to state a legal claim for which relief could be granted.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Third court upholds EPA policy barring grantees from its advisory panels The group, often known by its acronym UCS, filed the suit in January 2018, three months after Pruitt had generally barred EPA grant recipients from serving on agency advisory committees. Federal judges in other states also recently threw out two challenges brought by a variety of other organizations. Taken together, the three rulings make it probable that the policy will survive through the end of President Trump’s current term in January 2021.In an email, EPA spokesman James Hewitt said the agency is reviewing the decision and is pleased that Saylor granted its dismissal motion.UCS’s Genna Reed said the group is looking at its appeal options and again blasted the policy as unjustified on scientific or ethical grounds.“It’s clearly meant to achieve political ends, not help agencies get the best advice,” Reed, lead science and policy analyst for UCS’s Center for Science and Democracy, said in a statement.In ordering the ban, Pruitt said it was intended to ensure the objectivity of members of almost two dozen federal advisory committees that provide outside expertise to EPA on a range of issues. Pruitt and Andrew Wheeler, his successor as EPA administrator, have cited the policy in reshaping the membership of two particularly important panels, the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee and the Science Advisory Board.Joining the Union of Concerned Scientists as a plaintiff in its suit was a now-former member of the air committee.But documents released in another of the three lawsuits indicated that Pruitt had relied heavily on input from Republican lawmakers and trade groups in devising the policy (Greenwire, May 24, 2018).An E&E News review last fall found that the agency has made little or no attempt at enforcement at many other lower-profile advisory committees (Greenwire, Sept. 21, 2018).Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News. Copyright 2019. E&E provides essential news for energy and environment professionals at www.eenews.net. Read more…last_img read more

There’s no doubt that Brazil’s fires are linked to deforestation, scientists say

first_img SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL—“Dry weather, wind, and heat”—those were the factors that Brazilian Minister of the Environment Ricardo Salles blamed for the rising number of forest fires in the Amazon in a recent tweet. But scientists in Brazil and elsewhere say there is clear evidence that the spike, which has triggered concerns and anger around the world, is related to a recent rise in deforestation that many say is partly the result of prodevelopment policies of the government of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.The blazes are surging in a pattern typical of forest clearing, along the edges of the agricultural frontier, says Paulo Artaxo, an atmospheric physicist at the University of São Paulo here. Historical data show the two phenomena are closely linked: Chainsaws lead the way, followed by flames, and then cattle or other forms of development. “There is no doubt that this rise in fire activity is associated with a sharp rise in deforestation,” Artaxo says.By Saturday, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) had counted more than 41,000 fire spots in the Brazilian Amazon so far this year, compared with 22,000 in the same period last year. The Global Fire Emissions Database project, which includes scientists from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland; the University of California, Irvine; and Vrije University in Amsterdam, sees the same trend, although its numbers are slightly higher. (The main data source for both agencies is the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, an instrument aboard NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites that detects the location and intensity of fires through a thermal signature. But each agency has its own algorithms to analyze the images and classify the spots.)Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) It’s a perfect storm of fire and deforestation raging through the forest. This year’s number is the highest since 2010, when the Amazon experienced a severe drought, triggered by El Niño and a warming of the North Atlantic. This time, climatic anomalies can’t explain the uptick, scientists say. On the contrary: The dry season this year has been very mild. “If we had another drought year now, the situation would be much worse,” says Paulo Moutinho, an ecologist at the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), a nongovernmental organization based in Belém, Brazil.Instead, the evidence points to deforestation. The 10 municipalities with the highest rate of fire activity—some of which are the size of a small European country—are also the ones with the largest areas of deforestation recorded this year, according to IPAM. The rainforest is on fire in the Jamanxim Environmental Protection Area near the city of Novo Progresso, Brazil. By Herton EscobarAug. 26, 2019 , 4:45 AM There’s no doubt that Brazil’s fires are linked to deforestation, scientists say Paulo Moutinho, Amazon Environmental Research Institute Victor Moriyama/Greenpeace​ After a patch of forest is chopped down and valuable timber removed, developers set fires to clear the field of excessive vegetation. It can take months for the fallen logs to become dry enough to be burned but sooner or later, every patch of forest has to be set ablaze before it can be converted into pastures or farmland.Not all fires are related to illegal forest clearing, however; flames are also used routinely to clear overgrown pastures, crop residues, and roadside vegetation. But this results in less intense fires. Many of the spots recently detected by the satellites are active for several days, burning with intense heat and producing smoke pillars that are tall and thick—all indicators that huge amounts of biomass are burning. “It’s a perfect storm of fire and deforestation raging through the forest,” Moutinho says.Recent data have clearly shown that deforestation in Brazil is on the rise. From January through the end of July, 6800 square kilometers were cleared, according to INPE, 50% more than in the same period last year. But Bolsonaro called the data “a lie” and had INPE’s director, physicist Ricardo Galvão, fired in early August.Most analysts in Brazil and abroad blame the acceleration on Bolsonaro’s aggressive rhetoric and lax forest policies. “None of this is an accident,” Artaxo says. “What we are seeing is the result of a series of actions and inactions by the Brazilian government.” Brazil now has “clearly the worst anti-environment political climate in my lifetime,” Carlos Peres, a Brazilian ecologist at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, U.K., said in a 23 August statement.The effects are both local and global. Deforestation is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions from Brazil. The smoke from the burning biomass is laced with massive amounts of soot, aerosols, and carbon dioxide that can interfere with weather patterns across the region and contribute to global warming. Studies show the Amazon functions like a giant air conditioner and humidifier for South America, producing and recycling much of the water vapor that flows into the lower parts of the continent.Bolsonaro’s initial response to the crisis was to put the blame on nongovernmental organizations, suggesting—without proof—that they were setting the forest on fire to smear his government. The situation quickly escalated into an international crisis; Norway and Germany suspended their contributions to the Amazon Fund, which supports conservation and sustainable development projects in the region, and French President Emmanuel Macron accused Bolsonaro of lying about his commitment to protect the forest and combat climate change. Yesterday, Macron reportedly said that G-7 leaders, who are currently meeting in France, are ready to help Brazil to fight the fires.Facing heavy criticism within Brazil, Bolsonaro summoned an emergency cabinet meeting on 22 August. The next day, he authorized the deployment of troops to help combat the fires and made a 5-minute public address on national TV to profess his “deep love and respect for the Amazon” and promise that his administration would “act strongly” against the blazes.*Update, 27 August, 1:10 p.m.: The headline for this story has been changed and the causes of the 2010 drought have been clarified.last_img read more

Salty soil is no problem for these tomatoes, thanks to some microbial helpers

first_imgEyal Bartov/Alamy Stock Photo By Elizabeth PennisiOct. 8, 2019 , 2:15 PM Salty soil is no problem for these tomatoes, thanks to some microbial helperscenter_img There’s no better way to eat a fresh tomato than by adding a little salt. But when growing these sumptuous fruits (or vegetables, depending on your perspective), salt in the soil or salty irrigation water has been a big no-no. Until now.Plant scientists in the Middle East have discovered that adding a desert root fungus, Piriformospora indica—first isolated in India—to the soil protects the tomato from salt’s damaging effects. They planted tomatoes in a greenhouse similar to how a commercial grower might, half in soil with fungi in it. For 4 months, they watered about half the tomatoes with and without fungus in the soil with water about one-third as salty as seawater. The tomato’s leaves from infected plants made more of an enzyme that removes harmful sodium from cells. What’s more, the plant was better able to maintain proper levels of potassium, which is necessary for growth, the team reports this month in Scientia Horticulturae.In plants irrigated with salty water, fungal infection of the roots boosted the yield of tomatoes 65% compared with uninfected plants. Even infected tomatoes irrigated with nonsalty water did better, with a 22% increase in yield. Others had shown this fungus improved the growth of barley and rice grown in salty conditions. And another fungus had proved beneficial in low salt conditions.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)These boosts are important, the plant scientists say, because by 2050, half the cultivated soil in the world will be salty. And the addition of fungi to soil may be a low-cost way of coping with that change.last_img read more