Science Policy For All

Because science policy affects everyone.

Science Policy Around the Web – November 27, 2013

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By: Chris O’Donnell

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

The Pentagon Joins the Drug Business – The Department of Defense is launching an effort to create its own vaccines and drugs for biodefense. In October, construction began on a facility in Florida that will produce flu vaccine and specialized drugs for the Pentagon to protect military troops against biological weapons. However, this has been met with some backlash. A 2009 analysis commissioned by the White House recommended against establishing a government-controlled facility. There is concern work from this new facility will significantly overlap with research being done by the Department of Health and Human Services on similar vaccines and drugs. Finally, millions of dollars are being shifted from spending on equipment for military at risk of exposure to biological weapons to pay for this initiative. A top aide for Assistant Secretary of Defense Andrew C. Weber, who has championed this initiative, has said that the Florida facility is required to produce medicine that the military cannot rely on HHS or others to provide. (David Willman)

Survey Analyzes The Potential Hard of Do-It-Yourself Biologists – The Do-It-Yourself Biology (DIYbio) movement is believed to consist of a community of about 3,000 to 4,000 DIYbio hobbyists. Concerns over the safety and risks associated with the research being done by DIYers has led to the publication of a recent survey attempting to distinguish fact from fiction in regards to the DIYbio movement. This survey concluded that the majority of DIYers are conducting simple, harmless studies. The survey shows that DIYers are also considering possible regulatory frameworks, which some argue is needed sooner than later. While the survey concluded that worries over the DIYbio movement are premature, not all scientists agree with this finding. DIYers hope this survey will eliminate some of the suspicions and fear associated with the DIYbio movement and turn the focus to its potential opportunities. (John Bohannon)

North Carolina Museum Refuses to Show Film on Climate ChangeIn October, the North Carolina Coastal Federation advocacy organization asked the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences to show the film Shored Up, an hour long movie looking at climate change and the impact of the rise in sea-level in New Jersey and North Carolina, as part of the weekly Science Café event at the museum. However, the program committee for museum director Emlyn Koster recommended the film not be shown by itself, but perhaps later as part of a larger program, and Koster himself also declined to show the film stating the Café event was not the right format to show the film. The controversy seems to stem mainly from the fact that the museum is part of a state agency for a state government perceived as hostile to climate change. Koster has stressed his independence and denied attempting to avoid the climate change issue. (Erik Stokstad)

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

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Written by sciencepolicyforall

November 27, 2013 at 1:52 pm

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