Keep watching the skies!

Keep watching the skies!

Posted on behalf of Janet Fang The $4 million that the United States spends each year searching for near-Earth objects (NEOs) is not enough to meet a congressional mandate, according to a National Research Council (NRC) report released last week. In it the NRC outlined ways to detect more asteroids and comets that are potential threats should they cross into our orbit. Under a 2005 act, NASA must discover 90 percent of these NEOs with diameters of 140 meters or greater by 2020, and in 2008, Congress asked the NRC to figure out the best approach. Last year, an NRC  … Read more

Senate upset reshapes US climate battle

Senate upset reshapes US climate battle

A Republican state senator who once posed naked in Cosmopolitan magazine last night won the contested Senate seat in Massachusetts. The upset — and for once, the word “stunning” really applies here — stripped the Democrats of their 60-seat caucus and throws up in the air a number of Democratic priorities including health care reform and a cap-and-trade system to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.  Read more

One minute safer than yesterday

One minute safer than yesterday

The venerable Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has deemed the world a bit safer than it was in 2007. The hands of its ‘doomsday clock’ have been inched away from midnight — representing the end of civilization, due to threats such as nuclear war — by a minute. The new time: six minutes to midnight.  Read more

Director of East Anglia climate unit steps aside

Phil Jones, the embattled director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, stepped aside today from his post. It is the highest-profile fallout yet from the flap over leaked e-mails among prominent climate researchers, including Jones.  Read more

Crowdsourcing expertise

Can ordinary citizens help policymakers solve the most pressing problems of our time? That’s what elections are supposed to be for – but when they fail, it might be worth trying something like ExpertLabs, a new effort launched today to tap into collective public expertise to better inform policymaking.  Read more

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