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Archive for July 2013

Science Policy Around the Web – July 24, 2013

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By: Jennifer Plank

photo credit: Sharon Drummond via photopin cc

photo credit: Sharon Drummond via photopin cc

Our weekly linkpost, bringing you interesting and informative links on science policy issues buzzing about the internet.

Monsanto drops GM in Europe – Monsanto has withdrawn applications for four genetically modified crops currently being reviewed by the European Union. To date, the European Food Safety Administration has approved 8 GM crops. Anti-GM activists are thrilled with the decisions, however, advocates of GM crops maintain that the EU must keep up with changing times and accept the GM technology. (Daniel Cressey)

Vulnerable Maryland weighs threat of sea-level rise – The Maryland Commission on Climate Change estimated that the coastal sea level of Maryland will rise 1-2 feet by mid-century and 2-6 feet by the end of the century. A rise of 6 feet will leave coastal Maryland very vulnerable to major storms and flooding. Coastal property owners and community planners are faced with several options to circumvent the problems associated with rising water including raising houses and placing utility poles well above sea level. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has developed a web tool to predict the effects of rising sea levels.  (Darryl Fears)

U.S. Congress moves closer to lifting ban on transplanting organs from HIV-positive donors – The HIV Organ Policy Act was recently approved by a House committee and would allow organ transplants from HIV-positive donors. A similar law has already passed the Senate. The law would allow HIV-positive donors to provide organs for HIV-positive recipients. Backer’s of the legislation are confident it will be approved by the House by the end of the year and differences between the House and Senate versions can be fleshed out. The Obama administration has not made a statement about the legislation. (Jeffrey Mervis)

Senate panel gives NSF an 8% budget boost – The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a 7.9% ($542 million) increase to the NSF budget. Despite the generous allocation, $542 million is approximately $200 million less than the President’s proposed increase. On the other hand, the Senate’s allocation is $430 million more than the NSF budget proposed by the house. However, at this point, the 2014 is far from finalized and only time will tell how well scientific agencies, such as the NIH and NSF, will be funded. (Senah Sampong)

No link between prenatal mercury exposure and autism-like behaviors found – A recent study following 30 years of research shows there is no link between low levels of mercury consumed during pregnancy and the onset of autism. For years, doctors faced the dilemma because consuming fish provides expectant mothers with beneficial nutrients, however, the risk of autism has resulted in many avoiding fish consumption. The results from this study performed in the Republic of Seychelles demonstrate that mercury consumption is a very unlikely contributor to autism. (Science Daily)

Have an interesting science policy link?  Share it in the comments!

Written by sciencepolicyforall

July 24, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Science Policy Around the Web – July 7, 2013

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By: Jennifer Plank

2012-06-10 11.41.56Our weekly linkpost, bringing you interesting and informative links on science policy issues buzzing about the internet.

Crowdsourcing may open up ocean science – Many oceanographers rely on a conductivity, depth, and temperature (CDT) instrument in order to adequately conduct experiments at sea. On average, a CDT device costs thousands of dollars. A team of scientists are trying to develop a project called OpenCDT. This project would provide the blueprints for marine biologists to build their own CDT device for approximately $200. In order to fund the OpenCDT project, the team has turned to the crowdsourcing website, RocketHub, in the hopes of raising $10,000 to test and calibrate their do-it-yourself device. (Daniel Cressey)

A disease without a cure spreads quietly in the west – An insidious airborne fungal disease called Coccidioidomycosis, or Cocci, has been infecting individuals in the southwest. Over 20,000 people in California and Arizona are diagnosed with Cocci annually. Thousands of infected individuals will require surgery to treat the illness and approximately 160 will die. While the news of the disease has been largely non-existent, the so-called “silent-epidemic” received a lot of press when a judge ordered that 2,600 vulnerable patients be transferred out of prisons where they can contract Cocci.  (Patricia Leigh Brown)

Is this the end of health insurers? – For years, healthcare practitioners and health insurance companies have been at odds in terms of what procedures should be covered and to what extent. Additionally, employers are having trouble covering the rising health insurance costs for their employees. One large healthcare provider, MedStar Health, chose to kill two birds with one stone- in addition to providing health care for patients, they will also provide insurance assuming that those insured will seek services only at MedStar facilities. Initially, only MedStar employees were covered by the policy, however, now the policies are available to the public. This provides a mechanism for hospitals to provide top care and also provide the insurance services patients require. (Sarah Kliff)

Have an interesting science policy link?  Share it in the comments!

Written by sciencepolicyforall

July 7, 2013 at 5:12 pm