Breaking news and analysis from the world of science policy

  • Researchers Discuss Viruses--and Take a Computer One Home

    VIENNA—Viruses often lurk in the most unexpected places, several scientists warned at the International Meeting on Emerging Diseases and Surveillance, which was held here last weekend. And they were right. Within 24 hours of the meeting's end, participants received a high-priority e-mail asking them not to use the CD-ROM containing the speakers' PowerPoint presentations.

  • Health Officials Try to Calm China Flu Fears

    BEIJING—International health officials today sought to reassure antsy staff of foreign embassies here that the recent spate of fatalities in China from the H5N1 strain of avian influenza is no cause for alarm. But they also noted that H5N1 remains as deadly and unpredictable as ever. “H5N1 behaves a little differently” than other flu strains, said Vincent Martin, senior technical adviser for avian influenza in the Beijing office of the U.N.

  • D.C. Lead Controversy Grows

    In fallout from a controversial research paper, the first of what may be many lawsuits was filed today against the Washington, D.C., Water and Sewer Authority. The issue revolves around high levels of lead in drinking water and a 2007 paper in Environmental Health Perspectives that claimed “no identifiable public health impact” had resulted.

  • $10,000,000,000.00 for the National Institutes of Health

    In the economic stimulus package, the biggest winner among U.S. science agencies is probably the National Institutes of Health, which will receive $8.2 billion for research. Another $500 million will be available for construction and renovation of NIH buildings, and an additional $1.3 billion will go to grantees to renovate their research facilities and to purchase shared equipment—a total of $10 billion in economic stimulus funds.

  • Scientist, Heal Thyself

    Whether working on new biofuels, catalysts, solar cells, batteries, or smart grids, scientists are seen as key players in bringing about an affordable renewable energy economy. But scientists and scientific buildings are among the biggest energy hogs—and CO2 polluters—around.

  • Hollywood Pays a Visit to CERN

    Last night I found myself attending an unusual press briefing at one of the largest physics research institutes in the world. Addressing the assembled media were a top antimatter specialist, the woman who plays one in an upcoming movie, the director of that movie, and the Hollywood celebrity whose name will appear above the movie’s title: Tom Hanks.

  • $400 Million For Off the Wall Energy Ideas

    Two years ago, the U.S. Congress created the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy, known as ARPA-E, at the Department of Energy, to inspire risky energy and climate related research. Till now, however, the concept hasn't gotten a dime in federal money and the Bush Administration didn't even set up an office for it.

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