Roundup 12/10: Catch as Catch Can Edition

Stanford University historian Robert Proctor—an expert witness against tobacco companies who is fighting to keep his unpublished book manuscript, The Golden Holocaust, out of the hands of R.J. Reynolds—has been chided by a Florida court for “appalling” behavior in pressuring graduate students in Florida to stop doing research for expert witnesses for tobacco companies. It seems likely Proctor will be allowed to testify, however, in some of the thousands of tobacco tort cases pending in Florida.

While no specific cuts have been announced, U.K. scientists are reacting nervously to a line in the annual pre-budget report saying that £600 million in savings will come from the higher education, science, and research budgets.

The Obama Administration wants to know if more federal agencies should adopt the rules of the National Institutes of Health and force grantees to make published papers freely available online within a year.

Over 100 scientists sent a letter today to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar asking that he reverse a Bush-era ruling on the scope of the Endangered Species Act. The act protects any species facing extinction over a “significant portion of its range.” Bush officials interpreted that phrase to mean the current range of the species, not its often-much-wider historic range, which signatories of the letter argue is a better indicator of what species are at risk.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a draft of a new national policy to encourage “catch shares,” programs where fisherman receive a certain number of shares of the total catch allowance. Traditional fishery management just named a total allowance and let fishermen race to grab as much of it as they could, a scramble that led to overfishing, unsafe fishing, and high levels of collateral damage to other species.

A U.S. House of Representatives committee heard testimony today on employment in the aerospace industry, with witnesses testifying that a renewed commitment to manned space flight would mean jobs.

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