Archive by date | October 2009

UK government vs its own drugs advisor, Part II

The head of the UK government’s independent drug advice group looks set for another row with politicians who continue to ignore researchers’ advice over illegal substances.

Earlier this year the UK’s Home Secretary launched an attack on David Nutt, chairman of the government’s own Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and a respected academic.

On Nature News

Most distant gamma-ray burst spotted

Observations suggest the early Universe is ripe for exploration.

An intergalactic race in space and time

A burst of γ-rays lets scientists test quantum theories of gravity.

Ozone protocol squares up to climate – Premium content

Europeans back efforts to amend the Montreal Protocol to address global warming.

US scientists visit Cuba

Posted on behalf of Rex Dalton A delegation of US scientists met with Cuban counterparts in Havana this week to open a broad dialogue on new era of scientific exchange. The group visit was initiated by the Environmental Defense Fund in Washington, DC, which has special permits from the US government for interactions with Cuba. Scientists from Mexico, a long-time intermediary on US-Cuba relations, also participated. About 30 US scientists and environmental officials held talks with the Cubans on 26-27 October in advance of an international meeting on ocean science issues. This week’s conference includes the 13th Latin American Congress  … Read more

Race into space: American might vs. Romanian balloon

Race into space: American might vs. Romanian balloon

UPDATE: ARCA tells me that the launch attempt will not take place until next week. Stay tuned. NASA has successfully launched Ares 1-X, the prototype replacement to the space shuttle. But halfway across the globe, a rising power is posing a challenge to America’s space dominance. I speak, of course, of Romania, which is readying a critical flight of her mighty moon-balloon. No typo there, they really are shooting for the moon in a balloon. At least that’s the plan of the non-profit Aeronautics and Cosmonautics Romanian Association (ARCA), which is using an oldie but sort-of-goodie idea for getting something  … Read more

Quotes of the day – Swine flu special

Quotes of the day – Swine flu special

flu.JPGAll Nature’s pandemic flu coverage is collected on our news special page.

“We think it will get easier to find vaccine in the weeks that come. It is likely also … in the future, we will have significant amounts of vaccine that can’t be used.”

Thomas Frieden, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says despite a perceived shortage America may actually end up throwing away some of its swine flu vaccine (Reuters).

“Increased demand during a severe pandemic could exceed the capacities of Internet providers’ access networks for residential users and interfere with teleworkers in the securities market and other sectors, according to a DHS study and providers.”

The US Government Accountability Office says H1N1 could crash the internet (large pdf).

“The situation is under control and not significantly different from the usual seasonal flu situation.”

Viktor Maleyev, deputy chief of the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology in Russia, comments on the country’s first swine flu deaths (LA Times).

“Given the extraordinary precautions being taken across the nation to prevent the spread of the H1N1 influenza, the Archdiocese has instituted a series of steps to be followed for the time being during the celebration of the Mass.”

Jonathan Gaspar, of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, says the church will stop offering consecrated wine at Communion and urge people to avoid physical contact during Mass to avoid the spread of H1N1 (Boston Globe).