Science's Financial Bonanza, a 2-Decade-Long Criminal Investigation, and a Win for Intelligent Design

Scientists got some of their best news in years this week, but the field also suffered a few setbacks. Here's a rundown, from Science's new policy blog, ScienceInsider:

Money, money, money. On Thursday, House Democrats unveiled an $825 billion plan to boost the U.S. economy that includes $20 billion for science and scientific infrastructure. The blog has an analysis of how the money will be spent, but some of the big winners are the U.S. National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, which would get a combined $5 billion, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which would get nearly $500 million. NASA would spend a big chunk of its $600 million on climate change research, and nearly $1 billion of science's share would go toward biodefense.

Confirmation hearings on some of President-elect Barack Obama's picks gave scientists even more cause to be optimistic this week. Lisa Jackson, the presumptive head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pledged to use science to guide her decisions on environmental policy and regulation. And Steven Chu, Obama's pick for Secretary of Energy, hammered home the need to address the dangers of climate change.

But the news wasn't all positive for science this week. In a setback for teaching evolution in the classroom, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education appeared to give teachers a loophole to teach intelligent design in the classroom. And French scientists are split over the outcome of an 18-year investigation into how human growth hormone apparently contaminated with deadly prions may have given more than 100 children Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

To keep up with developments on these and other stories, stay tuned to ScienceInsider--the best science policy news and analysis on the Web.