AAAS 2010: Stem Cells, Quackery, Ratings

With stem cells the latest therapy to be abused by unscrupulous practitioners, a research society plans to help patients identify quackery. Come April, the International Society for Stem Cell Research is to launch a program to rate and approve stem cell therapy programs worldwide.  Read more

AAAS 2010: Dust, Puffins, Iceland

A new trail to dust from receding Arctic glaciers began among a colony of Puffins on a small island off Iceland. For more than a dozen years, Joseph Prospero, a University of Miami in Florida atmospheric chemist who studies dust, had an aerosol-monitoring station on Heimaey Island, about 15 kilometres south of Iceland. This was far from the Caribbean, where Prospero for decades has studied wind-bourne dust transport from Africa to the Island of Barbados.  Read more

AGU – Youngest poster presenter?

You won’t find his name in the program, but his teacher and colleagues think Andy Olander – a 13-year-old student from Albuquerque, New Mexico – may be the youngest poster presenter at an American Geophysical Union meeting. Olander and five “colleagues” at the James Monroe Middle School developed a project on comparing the length of the sun’s shadow in summer and winter at different locations globally. Over time, “the shadow team” grew as they tapped the knowledge of professional scientists at the US Geological Survey and the Raytheon Polar Service in Colorado. Then their science teacher, Turtle Haste, and Mary McGann of the USGS office in Menlo Park, California, struggled with how to credit the abstract for the AGU autumn meeting poster.  Read more

AGU – Record of extreme weather events globally

With the many concerns over climate change, scientists are submitting a growing number of reports on extreme weather events – cyclones, droughts, or gales of 100 mph winds. These abstracts provide access to details not easily available to researchers, historians or journalists; particularly, if the events occur in countries that sometimes control the media. Consider reports of a devastating ice storm in south China early this year. A team at the Research Institute of Subtropical Forestry in Zhejiang presented reports at the American Geophysical Union meeting on the widespread damage. The extent of the economic impact of the harsh and unexpected freeze is just now being tabulated by researchers like the Institute’s Benzhi Zhou; Zhou and colleagues were assisted in San Francisco by Lianghong Gu of the Oakridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.  Read more

AGU: Experimental hydrology Wiki

A vast room of poster presentations greeted thousands of scientists at the American Geophysical Union’s annual autumn meeting on Dec. 15 in San Francisco – including one offering an “experimental hydrology Wiki” website. The website was created last year by Theresa Blume of the University of Potsdam in Germany and Llja Tromp-van Meerveld of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. While designed to meet a need they had as doctoral students, the website now is seeking more posted articles to assist a range of environmental researchers, from hydrology to fields like forest engineering. The website is:  Read more