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  • Should Politicians Defer to Scientists?

    That's among the questions a new high-powered group in Washington, D.C., will consider as it launches the first major nonpartisan effort to study how the government ought to use scientific information to make decisions. "We will be looking at what policymakers can do that is legitimate and what is beyond the pale," says David Goldston, an organizer for the 13-member panel. They'll meet for the first time next month and hope to release their one-and-only report in June.

  • Bill Richardson's Big Picture

    When President-elect Barack Obama introduced New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson yesterday as his nominee to be secretary of commerce, both men emphasized that getting Americans back to work would be job #1. But don't be surprised if Richardson, a former secretary of energy under Bill Clinton, also finds a way to strengthen the science agencies within his realm.

  • Hard Times at Rockefeller U

    Rockefeller University President Paul Nurse has joined the growing line of research institution heads who've been forced to deliver bad news to faculty and staff in the wake of the financial meltdown. Today, an email he wrote to university staff, obtained by ScienceInsider, described a 15% decline in the endowment since July. This will necessitate delays in planned renovations and possibly a reduction in administrative positions.

  • Stem Cell Therapy, Buyer Beware

    Worried about quack treatments with stem cells? Take a look at the website of the International Society for Stem Cell Research.  It posted a set of guidelines and tips today—just part of the growing number of guidelines intended to improve the quality of stem cell science.

  • Troubled Environmental Health Institute Gets New Leader

    The National Institutes of Health has a new chief for its environmental health institute, which has been leaderless since David Schwartz left in February under a cloud of controversy. Federal toxicologist Linda Birnbaum will become director of the $730 million National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, in January.

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