Archive by date | June 2009

US EPA grants California emissions waiver

Well, it’s finally happened: a year and a half after denying California’s petition to set its own greenhouse-gas emissions standards for vehicles, the US Environmental Protection Agency has reversed itself and granted the waiver request. That’s what a change of administration will get you in Washington.

On Nature News

Q&A: Observing the scars of the Arctic thaw

Ecologist Breck Bowdon talks about the consequences of thawing permafrost in Alaska.

Chief scientist quits California stem-cell agency

Departure raises questions over leadership at flagship centre.

Lawsuit puts flu-vaccine contract in doubt

Biotech company sued by creditors.

Vital marine habitat under threat

Destruction of seagrass on a par with loss of rainforests and coral reefs.

Chomping secrets of the dinosaurs

Chomping secrets of the dinosaurs

Duck-billed dinosaurs, the hadrosaurs, have puzzled palaeontologists for years. The puzzle? How did these, the dominant herbivores of their time, manage to chew their food with their funny-looking bills?

Mark Purnell of the University of Leicester Department of Geology, UK, has worked it out, and published it in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Press release).

£150 million ventured, shot-in-the-arm for UK biotech gained?

The UK government announced £150 million of investment for small technology firms by way of a venture capital initiative on 29 June, to general approval from venture capitalists, and particularly the biotech industry, who had been lobbying for support.

Sea Launch is sinking

Sea Launch, the imaginatively named company that launches rockets from the sea, says it will continue its “normal business operations” despite filing for bankruptcy last week.

The company told Satellite Today it will be almost-business-as-usual while it goes through Chapter 11 restructuring in the US.

Roche: we’re not pharma anymore

Roche has decided it is tired of having its name prefixed with the words ‘pharma giant’. In response, the company is bailing out of the pharmaceutical industry associations in both the UK and the US.

Instead, it will be signing up with the US Biotechnology Industry Association (BIO). The move follows the company’s merger with biotech firm Genentech earlier this year for around $46 billion.

Ones that got away

“I was so willing to go to jail for catching water on my roof and watering my garden, but now I’m not a criminal.”

Tom Bartels, a video producer in Colorado, comment on changes that make it legal to catch a raindrop in his state (NY Times).

“We can either heat our homes and have hot baths, or fly but not both.”

Lord Redesdale, vice-chairman of the UK’s all-party parliamentary climate change group, comments on a report on the country’s energy infrastructure from the Royal Society (BBC).

“I know you would love to make a story out of all this, but it’s quite hard work.”

Vivienne Cox, managing director of BP Alternative Energy, denies that her standing down means the company is moving away from alternative energy. She says she wants to spend more time with her family (Guardian).