Leaky pipelines for Canadian women in research

Council of Canadian Academies

They call it a leaky pipeline. But the leaks are women, not oil. A substantial number of young women enter into potential research careers but drop-off at various stages, says a report released this week by the Canadian Council of Academies analyzing the gender gap amongst Canada’s University researchers.  Read more

Dutch nanoscientists get €51 million to push limits

A new €51 million nanoscience programme in the Netherlands is setting out to identify and re-write the boundaries of nanotechnology. The “NanoFront” project has won the lion’s share – €36m – of a new €167m pot of fundamental science research funding in the Netherlands, one of the country’s largest ever. The two universities behind the project, TU Delft and the University of Leiden, are topping this up with €15m of their own.  Read more

Psychologists do some soul-searching

Psychologists are going through a period of intense self-reflection regarding the reliability of research in their field, fuelled by recently uncovered cases of fraud, failed attempts to replicate classic results, and calls from prominent psychologists to replicate key results in disputed fields.  Read more

MS treatment shows success in clinical trials

It is what multiple sclerosis sufferers have long hoped for, a drug that can not only halt the progression of nerve damage caused by the disease but also reverse it (see ‘Antibody offers hope for multiple sclerosis treatment‘). Yet as the monoclonal antibody alemtuzumab clears its last hurdle before clinical approval it now seems clear it will come at a price.  Read more

Italian court says mobile phones cause cancer

In ruling on a workplace compensation case, Italy’s highest civil court has stated that mobile phones can cause brain tumors. The ruling is being criticized by medical experts in Italy and abroad, who note that no scientific study has yet proven a clear causal link between the use of mobile phones and health risks. In a 12 October decision that was made public this week, the Labour Law section of Italy’s High Court has ruled in favour of Innocente Marcolini, a former commerce manager in Brescia. Marcolini had developed a tumor of the trigeminal ganglion, near his left ear, and claimed it was a consequence of speaking on a mobile phone up to six hours a day for twelve years because his job demanded it.  Read more

Vostok’s microbes elusive in first measurements of surface water

A first analysis of the ice that froze onto the drillbit used in last February’s landmark drilling to a pristine Antarctic lake shows no native microbes came up with the lake water, according to Sergey Bulat of Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute (Russia) and CNRS in Grenoble (France). The very uppermost layer of Lake Vostock appears to be “lifeless” so far, says Bulat, but that doesn’t mean the rest of it is.  Read more

Singing mice may join humans and songbirds as vocal learners

Acoustic quality of the songs changed after the lesion. Compare the syllables A, B, and G.

My high school biology teacher once told me that nothing was binary in biology except for alive and dead, and pregnant and not pregnant. Any other variation, he said, existed along a continuum. Whether or not the claim is technically accurate, it serves to illustrate an important feature of biological life. That is, very little in the biological world falls neatly into categories. A new finding, published today in PLoS ONE by Gustavo Arriaga, Eric P. Zhou, and Erich D. Jarvis from Duke University adds to the list of phenomena that scientists once thought were categorical but may, in fact, not be.  Read more