Archive by date | September 2012

US House nixes bill to increase visas for foreign scientists

Lawmakers in the US House of Representatives have voted down legislation that sought to grant permanent residency —  commonly referred to as ‘green card’ status — to thousands of foreign researchers with graduate degrees in science and engineering from US universities. The measure, which required a two-thirds majority to pass, failed in a 257 to 158 vote on 22 September.  Read more

Astronomers relaxed about fracking near South African telescopes

Astronomers relaxed about fracking near South African telescopes

South African astronomers operating some of the world’s most sensitive telescopes say their research will not be affected by the resumption of oil and gas exploration in the Karoo Basin, the country’s astronomy hub.  Read more

Taiwan scientist faces libel trial

Ben-Jei Tsuang, an environmental engineer at Taiwan’s National Chung-Hsing University, will appear in a Taipei courtroom tomorrow for the fourth hearing in a libel lawsuit filed against him by the petro-chemical company Formosa Plastic Group (FPG). FPG’s lawyers have asked for $1.33 million in damages.  Read more

Scientific society loses multimillion-dollar court battle

A ten year court battle waged by the world’s largest scientific society reached a critical juncture today when the Ohio Supreme Court handed down itslong-awaited verdict in ACS versus Leadscope, a case that began in 2002 when the non-profit American Chemical Society sued three former employees of its highly lucrative Chemical Abstracts Service, accusing them of stealing its intellectual property and using it to start Leadscope, a chemical information company based in Columbus, Ohio.  Read more

Barge damage forces Shell to abandon drilling in Arctic sea

Plans to drill for oil and gas resources off the coast of Alaska have been abandoned following damage to the spill cleanup barge Arctic Challenger, oil company Shell announced yesterday. The company began its multi-year drilling programme in the Arctic sea earlier this month (see ‘Arctic oil drilling begins in Chukchi sea‘), but the project has been plagued with difficulties.  Read more

Dark-energy camera snaps first pictures

The Dark Energy Camera, mounted on the Blanco telescope in Chile.

A dark energy camera led by Fermilab and the Dark Energy Survey collaboration has achieved first light, it was announced yesterday. The 570-megapixel instrument, based in Chile, snapped its first images of galaxies and star clusters on 12 September. It is designed to hunt for signs of dark energy, and will survey the skies in a bid to explain why our universe is expanding at an ever-increasing rate (See ‘Cameras to focus on dark energy‘).  Read more

Judge preserves privacy of climate scientist’s e-mails

Climate scientist Michael Mann reported Monday that he and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville have prevailed in a court case against the conservative American Tradition Institute (ATI), which had sought access to emails he wrote while serving as a professor at the school from 1999-2005.  Read more