Archive by date | March 2012

Long-fingered African frog rediscovered after 62 years

courtesy of Eli Greenbaum.

The Bururi long-fingered frog (Cardioglossa cyaneospila) is an unusually shaped creature — the males have a single finger on their feet that’s longer than the others. Since its last sighting in 1949, the frog was thought to have gone extinct, but herpetologists have managed to rediscover a single specimen in a recent expedition to Burundi.  Read more

Alzheimer’s funding draws fire at NIH budget hearing

In a 28 March Senate subcommittee hearing that zigzagged from food allergy studies to personalized medicine and genomics to the mental health needs of returning veterans, it was Alzheimer’s disease that brought out the strong medicine. More specifically, it was the $80 million for Alzheimer’s research that US President Barack Obama included last month in this 2013 budget request, that seemed to most irk Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa  who chairs the subcommittee that oversees the National Institutes of Health. The sticking point is that the new money, which is intended to step up scientific progress on the neurodengenerative disease does not appear in NIH’s budget because the administration indicated it would be drawn from the multibillion dollar Prevention and Public Health Fund, established in the Affordable Care Act of 2010 — the health care reform law now being challenged in the Supreme Court (see ‘Science at stake as US Supreme Court takes up health care‘).  Read more

Science at stake as US Supreme Court takes up health care

Science at stake as US Supreme Court takes up health care

As the future of American health care is weighed by the US Supreme Court this week, a few lesser-noticed provisions of the health reform law being considered by the justices bear on scientists and on biotechnology companies, who may be impacted by the high court’s decision.  Read more

Scientists tell governments to commit to agriculture funding at Rio+20

Governments in the world’s richest nations must cough up the US$20 billion they promised in 2009 for agricultural development in poor countries as a starting point for helping to feed the world’s burgeoning population, a group of leading scientist say.  Read more

Cuts completed for UK physical sciences

It’s been a tough year for David Delpy as chief executive of the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the nation’s main physical sciences funding agency. In response to government cuts last year, the agency decided to rethink its research funding strategy. It sliced up its pie into 113 different fields, and then slowly unveiled judgements about what it would support and what it would cut back. The process began last July, and immediately ran into complaints from scientists about arbitrary decision-making and insufficient consultation.  Read more

EPA proposes carbon regulations for utilities

EPA proposes carbon regulations for utilities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency unveiled new greenhouse gas standards for power plants on Tuesday, at last following through with the authority granted under a 2007 Supreme Court ruling declaring carbon dioxide a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.  Read more

Nuclear summit highlights research reactor risk

Click to enlarge.

Today marks the start of the 2012 nuclear security summit in South Korea. Ahead of the meeting, US President Barack Obama delivered a speech at Hankuk University in Seoul in which he reiterated his hope for a world free of nuclear weapons.  Read more

Experts sound off on Wisconsin mystery quakes

Experts sound off on Wisconsin mystery quakes

Musing about Earth’s inner workings has become a booming business in Clintonville, Wisconsin, where residents have been awakened regularly since 19 March by a series of loud and mysterious noises, sometimes accompanied by earthquake-like shaking.  Read more