Industry to Tackle Climate Change

first_imgAn international consortium of energy companies intends to pump up to $225 million over the next decade into a climate change and energy project led by Stanford University. Researchers say they are stunned by the size and scope of the effort to study ways to reduce global warming.Stanford and industry officials say that the data derived from the effort will be publicly available, and that an independent advisory board will help chart the project’s direction. “Absolutely nothing is off the table; we want all areas addressed,” says Frank Sprow, vice president for safety, health, and environment at ExxonMobil. Even skeptics of industry welcome a broad research effort. “This is an acknowledgement that global warming is a problem they can no longer ignore,” says Dan Lashof of the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C.Although energy companies have long funded academic research programs, the scale and structure of the effort are unprecedented. ExxonMobil will contribute $100 million to the project. General Electric and E.ON, an energy provider based in Düsseldorf, Germany, will provide $50 million each. Schlumberger, a global oil-drilling equipment company, will pitch in $25 million. University officials will hand out $20 million during the project’s first 3 years, roughly half to Stanford researchers and the remainder primarily to other academic scientists. The university will hold title to any patents, although the funding sponsors will have a short period to negotiate licenses before the discoveries are up for grabs. The first funding likely won’t begin flowing until the end of next year.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Companies were attracted to Stanford because of its strengths in earth sciences and engineering and its tradition of interdisciplinary work, say industry representatives. Outside energy experts add that the university’s stature should ease fears that the project will be tilted toward a hydrocarbon-biased approach.The scientific and engineering agenda has yet to be finalized, but the focus will be on ways to lower greenhouse emissions in the short run while exploring how to convert the world’s energy system to less polluting fuels and technologies, says Lynn Orr, a petroleum engineer at Stanford, who will lead the project. “This is one of the grand challenges of the century,” says Orr.last_img read more

Holdren, Lubchenco Confirmed by Senate

first_imgWhite House OSTP director and NOAA head now officially in place with late vote today; Senator Jay Rockefeller, chair of the Commerce Committee, pleased. No word yet on how the alleged hold by Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey (D–NJ) was broken.The only major science positions left to fill in Obama’s administration are NASA head and NIH director.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Roundup 11/10: The Infinite Mind Edition

first_imgA million Energy Star Homes have been built in the United States.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)When physicist Albert Einstein arrived in New York City in 1921 for a unprecedented scientific tour, he divided American Jews on the issue of Zionism, The Atlantic Monthly reports. Scientific research gets plenty of support in a new poll released today by Research! America: Eighty-eight percent of respondents say that research helps create jobs and raise incomes.Rajiv Shah has barely been in his job as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s undersecretary for research, education, and economics for 5 months, but President Barack Obama has nominated him for head of U.S. AID. A new report highlights family-friendly policies and adherence to Title IX by U.S. universities and the federal government as the keys to keeping women in science careers. Google Maps will now offer help in finding nearby flu vaccines in 20 states.last_img read more

Gulf Oil Flow as Fast as 60,000 Barrels Per Day

first_imgAdministration officials announced late today that the Deepwater Horizon well is most likely gushing 35,000 to 60,000 barrels per day and possibly even more. The previous best estimates fell in the range of 20,000 to 40,000 barrels per day. The boosted estimate comes from a group of federal and independent scientists convened Monday by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, and U.S. Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt. It is largely based on types of data previously employed—videos taken by remotely operated vehicles, acoustic probes of the discharge, and the volumes collected by the top hat. But for the first time, it includes pressure measurements, taken within the top hat using sensors installed over the weekend. The estimate was also improved because, after the riser pipe with its multiple leaks was cut off, scientists have only one flow to estimate. The federal officials emphasized in their statement that the Administration has directed BP to beef up its containment efforts; under the new plan, BP will be able to scavenge up to 53,000 barrels per day by the end of June and up to 80,000 barrels per day by mid July. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Hauser Speaks on Misconduct

first_imgIn response to a letter from Harvard University reporting that an investigation by the university had found Marc Hauser “solely responsible” for “eight instances of scientific misconduct.”, Hauser issued comments on Friday acknowledging “some significant mistakes.” In his statement, Hauser did not admit wrongdoing but said, “I am deeply sorry for the problems this case has caused to my students, my colleagues, and my university.” Hauser indicated that he plans to return to teaching and research. He is currently on leave from Harvard.last_img read more

Pope Appoints Protestant as Chief Science Adviser

first_imgPope Benedict XVI has appointed Swiss microbiologist Werner Arber as the new president of the Vatican’s scientific advisory body, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Arber, a Protestant, becomes the first non-Catholic to head the organization, which has roots dating back to the early 17th century. He succeeds Italian physicist Nicola Cabibbo, who died in August last year. The academy is designed to keep the church up to date with the latest scientific advances and so help it avoid making the kind of errors that brought it into conflict with science in the past. Set up in its present form by Pope Pius XI in 1936, it consists of 80 distinguished scientists, both men and women, who have a variety of religious affiliations or are nonreligious and who include a significant number of Nobel Prize winners. Arber, 81, of the University of Basel shared the Nobel Prize in 1978 for his discovery of restriction enzymes, proteins that cut genes into fragments and whose understanding could help combat hereditary diseases and cancer. He has been a member of the academy for 30 years, the last 15 of which have seen him serving on the body’s council. He says he doesn’t intend to make many changes to the running of the organization, maintaining that it succeeds in influencing the pope’s views on science. He believes that the academy is most effective when its members get together to discuss the big scientific questions that most interest the Vatican, particularly in cosmology and biological evolution, noting that the church no longer adheres to a literalist interpretation of the biblical creation story. “I think that the church has views which are consistent with scientific knowledge,” he says. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) However, Arber admits that there are certain “taboo” topics for which the academy neither holds debates nor gives advice to the church. These include abortion and contraception. But he maintains that such topics are relatively few in number and points out that the pope has recently sought advice on one fairly delicate subject: the definition of death, or whether death should be defined in terms of what happens to the brain or to the heart. Astrophysicist Martin Rees, a member of the academy and until recently president of the Royal Society in the U.K., describes Arber as “a very distinguished scientist and very suited to the role.” He says that the academy has been effective in the past, particularly in providing advice to the pope on nuclear disarmament, but believes that it has lost its edge in recent years. “It has become less active in political and social issues,” he says. “It could be more effective and better engage nonreligious members if its excellent scientific meetings weren’t unduly influenced by the church and clerics.”last_img read more

U.K. Panel: Primate Research Is Justified, But Don’t Overstate Its Benefits

first_imgWorth it. Nonhuman primate research, in which common marmosets are widely used, is “productive and high-quality,” the panel says. Deutsches Primatenzentrum Most research using monkeys, baboons, and other nonhuman primates in the United Kingdom produces results that justify the animal welfare costs, according to a comprehensive review made public today. But the review panel says that scientists should be careful not to make exaggerated claims about the medical impact of such research, and funding organizations should encourage more cooperation between basic and clinical researchers to make sure experimental results have maximum impact. Animal research is a hot-button issue in the United Kingdom, and the use of nonhuman primates (NHPs) is particularly sensitive. The use of great apes was prohibited in the United Kingdom in 1997, and some activists have advocated a ban on all work with NHPs. A 2006 study called the Weatherall report found that work with NHPs was scientifically justified but recommended that funding agencies take a close look at the results of NHP work they had supported over the previous decade. In response, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC), the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs), and the Wellcome Trust commissioned the new review, which asked all 72 researchers who had received funding for research with NHPs between 1997 and 2006 to answer a questionnaire about the outcomes of their work. A panel chaired by biologist Patrick Bateson, a professor emeritus at the University of Cambridge, was commissioned to assess the 67 responses. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) The panel found that the existing grant review process, in which NHP studies undergo extra scrutiny by NC3Rs, generally works: Most research was justified in its use of NHPs and led to peer-reviewed publications. “In general, primate research is productive and high-quality,” Bateson told a press briefing in London today. For example, the citation rates of publications arising from NHP work in neuroscience are significantly higher than the U.K. average in the field. However, Bateson added, the panel was concerned that “it was actually quite difficult to identify grants that had substantial medical benefits.” The British “are conditional acceptors” of animal research who expect to see some medical or public advantage in return, he said; to avoid creating a backlash, researchers “need to be honest and not overstate the medical benefit of primate research.” Most troublesome, Bateson says, were the 9% of the projects that led to no discernible scientific, social, or medical benefit at all. Of course it’s difficult to judge work before it has been done, Bateson said, but the projects in question probably should not have been funded. The panel was also concerned about the handful of projects that didn’t lead to any papers. Even if experiments generate negative results, the panel says, “researchers using NHPs have a moral obligation to publish” their work, so that experiments are not unnecessarily repeated. Research funders should take an applicant’s publication record into account when weighing the costs of animal suffering against the potential benefits of the research. The panel recommends that the United Kingdom set up a working group that looks for ways to take better advantage of research results with NHPs, perhaps connecting basic researchers with clinicians or simply trying to better publicize the research results, which often end up in specialized journals. Funders and inspectors should make sure that scientists are using the most modern training methods when dealing with animals. Monkeys, for example, can be trained to willingly give blood samples, which can lower stress for both animals and researchers, the panel notes. Some of the panel’s recommendations have already been taken up by funding agencies, John Savill, chief executive of the MRC said at today’s briefing. Before the Weatherall report, he says, “all that counted was the quality of science. We are now much more hard-nosed about looking at the likelihood of medical benefit.”last_img read more

Europe’s Extremely Large Telescope on Its Way

first_imgToday, the council of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) fired the starting gun for the construction of what will be, by a big margin, the largest optical-infrared telescope ever built. The €1.1 billion behemoth, with the appropriately superlative name the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), will have a main mirror 39.2 meters across, dwarfing the 11.9-meter effective size of today’s largest telescope, the Large Binocular Telescope. Today’s green-light for initial construction is not a full approval for the project, because some of ESO’s 15 member states have not yet secured the needed additional funding. But the approval does allow work to begin on building roads to the telescope site at Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile and on development of the instrument’s adaptive optics. “The E-ELT is starting to become reality,” ESO Director General Tim de Zeeuw said in a statement. “However, with a project of this size it is expected that approval of the extra expenditure will take time. Council at the same time recognises that preparatory work must start now in order for the project to be ready for a full start of construction in 2012.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Although two rival telescope efforts in the United States—the Giant Magellan Telescope and the Thirty Meter Telescope—are struggling to secure funding from the cash-strapped National Science Foundation, ESO has been pushing ahead with a schedule that will see construction begin in 2012 and observations start in 2022. Chile has already donated the necessary land at Armazones, and some states, such as the United Kingdom, are pitching in for instruments. Member states’ annual contributions to ESO, plus contributions from new member Brazil, are expected to raise two-thirds of the funds needed to complete the E-ELT. To make up the remaining one-third, ESO is asking members to up their contributions by 2%. The Czech Republic, Sweden, and Finland have already agreed to chip in the extra funds, but the other members have asked for more time, hence today’s partial approval. Full approval of the project is expected by mid-2012.last_img read more

Hunting Leads to Rapid Change in Tropical Trees

first_imgCredit: Christian Ziegler/Smithsonian InstitutionGreen treasure. More than 1100 tree species are found in Lambir Hills National Park in Malaysia. In the early 1990s, Lambir Hills National Park was a paradise for tropical ecologists. They were attracted to this dark forest in Sarawak, Malaysia, by its extraordinary diversity of trees—more than 1100 species—and its rich array of birds, gibbons, flying foxes, and other animals. Then, the market for bushmeat exploded, and hunters arrived in droves. Within the decade, almost all the larger animals had been shot. “It’s a total tragedy,” says Stuart Davies, an ecologist with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), who is based in Washington, D.C. From that tragedy, Davies and his colleagues are learning about how the forests are affected by the loss of animals that disperse seeds and feed on young plants. In the most thorough assessment to date, the team has found that saplings are overcrowded, putting them at risk of disease. And in some places, tree diversity has started to decline over just the past 15 years. “The rapidity of change is astounding,” says Joseph Wright, a tropical ecologist at STRI who was not involved in the study. He and others think the outlook for the forest is only going to get worse. The broad effects of hunting are fairly straightforward to predict. Killing herbivores such as deer should lead to an increase in vegetation. The loss of animals that spread seeds by eating fruit, such as birds or monkeys, ought to crimp the distribution of these plants. These trends have been seen in previous studies that compared forests with more or less hunting and in experiments that excluded animals with fences. But no one had looked at a single forest through time as hunting emptied it of animals. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Lambir Hills is a scientific gold mine because researchers have been surveying its plants in great detail since the early 1990s. As part of a network of research sites in tropical forests, researchers identify, map, and measure about 370,000 trees in a 52-hectare plot every 5 years. It takes a team of 20 people about 9 months to complete the survey. Tropical ecologist Rhett Harrison of the World Agroforestry Centre in Kunming, China, has been studying Lambir Hills since the early 1990s and witnessed the animals disappearing firsthand. He decided to look at the consequences for seed dispersal. First, he had to comb through books and museum records to figure out how the seeds of each of the 1100 tree species are spread. Working with Davies and others, he examined what had happened to the trees over the past 15 years. The first thing the team found was that regardless of how seeds are dispersed, the density of saplings in Lambir Hills has increased by 25%, probably because no deer or pigs are nibbling them. “Overall, there was a great flush of seedlings,” Davies says. As for the distribution of tree species, there was no change among species whose seeds are wafted by the wind, pop apart, or just drop to the ground. That contrasts with species that had depended on hunted animals to disperse their seeds. Their saplings were much more tightly clustered around the adult trees. That is a problem because it makes the plants more vulnerable to outbreaks of disease. “Hunting is the silent killer of forests,” Davies says. When the team analyzed trees within 20-by-20-meter plots, they discovered that on average, sapling diversity was 1.9% less than in the early 1990s. “That’s pretty massive given that it was just the animals being extirpated,” comments seed-dispersal expert Patrick Jansen of STRI, who is based at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and was not involved in the study. Although no species have been lost from Lambir Hills as a whole, the changes in the diversity of saplings will probably alter the future makeup of the forest , the team reports online this week in Ecology Letters. Wright adds that diversity could decline even more in the future as adult trees die. “This is the tip of the iceberg,” Jansen warns. Jansen says it’s likely that Lambir and other “empty forests” will be less diverse in the future. Because every tree hosts other kinds of life, such as insects and flowering plants called bromeliads, the disappearance of tree species may have ramifications that cascade through the ecosystem. The loss of animals, he says, is a “time bomb.” Moreover, the impact of hunting could be even greater in other parts of the tropics. In South America, for example, up to 90% of tree species depend on animals to disperse their seeds. Credit: Christian Ziegler/Smithsonian InstitutionVanished. Most of the seed-dispersing animals, such as this hornbill, are gone because of hunting. Credit: Khoo Min ShengPainstaking. Every 5 years, researchers measure the size of 370,000 individually tagged trees in a 52-hectare plot. Here, they work in neighboring Brunei. Credit: Christian Ziegler/Smithsonian InstitutionDenser. Deer and pigs have been hunted, so fewer animals eat the young saplings, leading to thicker understory.center_img Credit: Christian Ziegler/Smithsonian InstitutionPlummeting. Seeds that were once spread widely by birds or gibbons now fall straight down to the ground. Joshua Tewksbury/University of Washington and the Luc Hoffmann Institute/WWF International Credit: Christian Ziegler/Smithsonian InstitutionToo close. The seedlings of these trees are now crowded together, raising the risk of disease.last_img read more

NASA Asks for Help Finding Asteroids and Capturing One

first_img WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today at their headquarters here, NASA officials launched a two-pronged campaign that is mostly a call for help but is also an attempt to raise the profile of NASA’s ambitious plan to snag a passing asteroid that astronauts could inspect close to home. One component is a Grand Challenge—an element of President Barack Obama’s Strategy for American Innovation—to “find all [asteroid] threats to human populations and know what to do about them,” according to Jason Kessler of NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist. Because any asteroid headed toward Earth bigger than 40 meters or so in size could wipe out a city, the challenge is a tall order, said Harold Reitsema at the headquarters meeting. He is lead designer of the privately funded B612 effort to search for asteroids using a satellite. “I would like to emphasize how grand your Grand Challenge is,” he said, pointing out that astronomers are finding only 1000 asteroids a year when they need to be finding 100,000 a year to develop a robust defense system. Kessler acknowledged the problem but contended that “we do have the ability to prove that we are smarter than the dinosaurs,” which were wiped out by a 10-kilometer asteroid. The president’s fiscal year 2014 budget request includes $20 million to beef up NASA’s existing search for “near-Earth objects,” but the Grand Challenge would go further, Kessler said. There would be monetary prizes to encourage search innovations, crowdsourcing to speed up the identification of new objects, citizen science programs to draw in more amateur astronomers to the search, and a request for new ideas for how to improve and accelerate what NASA is already doing. The agency’s effort to tap outside wisdom appeared to start paying off during the teleconference itself, which included questions and comments from a self-identified “mad scientist,” a “geek,” and a retired aerospace engineer. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) The Grand Challenge to accelerate the discovery of threatening asteroids dovetails with NASA’s proposed Asteroid Retrieval Mission, announced in early April. Before sending a robotic spacecraft to capture a 7- to 10-meter-diameter, 500-tonne asteroid and haul it into a high orbit around the moon where astronauts could study it, NASA will have to find a very special asteroid. It would have to be the right size and shape and be in the right orbit around the sun, among many constraints. Many planetary scientists have voiced concerns that no one could find and characterize enough candidates in time to meet NASA’s launch schedule for the robotic spacecraft and the crewed vehicle that would carry astronauts out to the corralled asteroid. NASA had two responses to those concerns. In the second prong of its campaign, the agency is issuing a request for information to any and all organizations—private and public—and any individuals—academic or otherwise—anywhere in the world for ideas about how to accomplish the retrieval mission. Officials also clarified that a crewed mission to an asteroid need not launch in 2021, as has appeared on NASA timelines. That could be put off as late as 2025 and still meet President Obama’s goal of sending astronauts to an asteroid by then. The agency also plans to collect information at NASA advisory group meetings, public gatherings, preliminary reviews, and from targeted requests for information. NASA will feed what it learns into a mission concept review by around the first of the year, officials said. NASA/JPL-Caltech Catch it if you can. NASA is asking for help spotting asteroids (shown being created in an artist’s conception of a catastrophic collision), and perhaps catching one with a spacecraft.last_img read more

Feature: Iran’s fragile ecosystems under pressure

first_imgIran has many hot spots where the needs of a burgeoning population are taking a toll on the fragile ecosystems of this vast, water-poor country. This story touches on four hot issues: a drought stretching into its fifth year that is having devastating consequences, especially in central Iran; a controversial plan to transform Iran’s only island in the Caspian Sea into a tourism hub; alarming declines of Iran’s forests due to wildfires, conversion to cropland, logging, and urbanization; and efforts to save the Asiatic cheetah from extinction. Iranian scientists and nongovernmental organizations are speaking out about the crises—and, in some cases, making headway toward solving them.To read the full story, see the 4 September issue of Science.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

San people of Africa draft code of ethics for researchers

first_img By Linda NordlingMar. 17, 2017 , 3:30 PM The San created the code because of past transgressions, including use of insulting language such as the term “Bushmen,” using jargon when communicating with the San, failing to consult study communities about findings before publication, and approaching individuals before asking community leaders for permission. Snyders cited a 2010 study in Nature that she says committed several of these mistakes and raised awareness in the community about the issues. Approval by university research ethics committees is not sufficient to comply with the code, Snyders adds. The San community needs to be involved in reviewing research proposals and have a say in the design and conclusions, she says.Snyders also notes that despite all the interest from scientists, the San have not benefited from their star research status. “When a researcher comes they enrich themselves of our culture and our knowledge. But our communities remain in poverty; their daily life does not change. We want to change that,” she says.Benefits to the community do not have to be monetary, but could be in the form of knowledge, or educational or job opportunities. Communicating research results back to the community is paramount, Snyders adds, in order to avoid derogatory terms. “Before somebody publishes anything they need to discuss it with the community. Then the community can say: You don’t understand, or that it’s damaging.” Researchers that flout the code will be blacklisted. “If it comes to that, we will blacklist and close the door and make sure you don’t come back,” Snyders says.The San are not the first indigenous population group to impose such codes on research. The Aboriginal Australians and Canada’s First Nations and Inuit have drawn up similar codes, which standardize consultation, the benefits due to participating communities, and data storage and access. But this is the first research code produced by an African group. For now it is formally adopted only in South Africa; Snyders and her colleagues hope to roll it out to San who live in neighboring Botswana and Namibia.The code does not place unrealistic demands on scientists, says Himla Soodyall, director of the Human Genomic Diversity and Disease Research Unit at South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. But others point out that the code focuses on past transgressions, and doesn’t refer to recent efforts to respect and involve communities, such as guidelines for genomics work on vulnerable populations prepared in 2014 by the Human Heredity and Health in Africa program. As a result, the code may present an overly negative view of researchers and discourage communities from participating in studies, says Charles Rotimi, founding director of the National Institutes of Health Center for Research on Genomics and Global Health in Bethesda, Maryland.Reuse of data is another potential stumbling block. The San refuse to grant broad consent for other researchers to reuse data for purposes not specified in the original agreement. This restriction is not spelled out in the code, but is the position of the South African San Council, Snyders says. “Should any other research institution want to use the data, they need to acquire informed consent from the council.”But good scientific practice allows other scientists to try to replicate analyses, says geneticist David Reich of Harvard Medical School in Boston. He is a leader of the recently assembled Simons Genome Diversity Project, which contains 300 high-quality genomes from 142 populations, including the San. “Other researchers need to be free to reanalyze the data to come to their own conclusions. … If this is not possible, then science cannot be done,” he says.*Correction, 22 March, 4:42 p.m.: This story has been corrected to remove any implication that because the San’s ancestors branched off early from other human populations, living San are unusually closely related to ancestral humans. Researchers have eagerly studied Africa’s San people, some of whom are shown here foraging in a grassland. Now, the San have drawn up a code of ethics to govern scientists’ interactions with them. San people of Africa draft code of ethics for researcherscenter_img CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA—Scientists have studied the San people of Southern Africa for decades, intrigued by their age-old rituals and ancient genetic fingerprints. Now, after more than a century of being scrutinized by science, the San are demanding something back. Earlier this month the group unveiled a code of ethics for researchers wishing to study their culture, genes, or heritage.The code, published here on 3 March, asks researchers to treat the San respectfully and refrain from publishing information that could be viewed as insulting. Because such sensitivities may not be clear to researchers, the code asks that scientists let communities read and comment on findings before they are published. It also asks that researchers keep their promises and give something back to the community in return for its cooperation. “We’re not saying that everybody is bad. But you get those few individuals who don’t respect the San,” says Leana Snyders, head of the South African San Council in Upington, which helped create the code.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) JASON EDWARDS/National Geographic Creative last_img read more

Trump’s first list of science priorities ignores climate—and departs from his own budget request

first_img Matthew Hourihan, AAAS Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) Trump’s first list of science priorities ignores climate—and departs from his own budget request By Jeffrey MervisAug. 17, 2017 , 1:40 PM President Donald Trump has translated his campaign promise to “make America great again” into his administration’s first blueprint for federal investment in science and technology.The White House today issued a four-page memo telling federal agencies that their research dollars should be focused on delivering short-term dividends in strengthening national defense and border security, the economy, and “energy dominance,” as well as improving public health. It says achieving those goals should not require additional spending, and that agencies should focus primarily on basic science, and then step aside as quickly as possible to let industry pursue any results that show commercial promise.The memo, written jointly by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), is an annual reminder of the administration’s research priorities sent to agencies before they submit their next budget request. Those requests are due next month for the 2019 fiscal year that starts in October 2018. (Congress has yet to act on the budget for the 2018 fiscal year, which begins 1 October; most observers expect lawmakers to extend current spending levels well into the new fiscal year.)Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) The memos typically don’t change much from year to year. But this is the first one from the new Trump administration. And it comes even as the White House lacks a presidential science adviser and OSTP director. It’s co-signed by OMB Director Mick Mulvaney and Michael Kratsios, a deputy assistant to the president, who since March has also been acting as OSTP’s head.The memo lists five priority areas (in this order): military superiority, security, prosperity, energy dominance, and health. Each is prefaced by the word “American” in keeping with the administration’s approach to branding issues.The phrase “basic research” appears only in connection with prosperity, the third target area. Agencies are told to “continue, and expand where necessary, efforts to focus on basic research” to promote “emerging technologies such as autonomous systems, biometrics, energy storage, gene editing, machine learning, and quantum computing.” Even then, however, agencies are directed to “reduce funding overlaps with industry in later-stage research, development, and deployment of [these] technologies.”In the health arena, the memo says “agencies should prioritize research focused on solutions for an aging population, as well as on combating drug addiction and other public health crises.” It also lists research “that will lead to more efficient and effective healthcare.” The guidance on energy says the goal of federal research investments should be “a consistent, long-term supply of lower-cost American energy.” That goal, it asserts, can be achieved through “a clean energy portfolio composed of fossil, nuclear, and renewable energy sources.”It should be no surprise that Trump’s list differs markedly from previous memos from the Barack Obama administration. Obama’s top five multiagency research priorities for his 2017 budget, for example, were global climate change, clean energy, Earth observations, advanced manufacturing, and innovation in the life sciences, biology, and neuroscience. Three items on that list—climate research, Earth observations, and advanced manufacturing—are completely absent from Trump’s priorities. So are biology-based initiatives pushed by Obama, including the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative and the Precision Medicine Initiative.ReactionThe initial reaction from some veteran federal budget watchers is bemusement. “Beyond the obvious differences with Obama’s approach, this guidance also doesn’t have a lot of similarities with President Trump’s own 2018 budget request,” says Matthew Hourihan, who analyzes federal research spending for AAAS in Washington, D.C. (which publishes ScienceInsider). Hourihan contrasted the memo’s focus on support for breakthrough military technologies, technology to prevent terror attacks, and helping older Americans remain healthy with the large cuts for those same areas that Trump has proposed.Hourihan says the budget guidance’s support for so-called “precommercial technology” in energy would suggest the administration would support for the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, whose mission is to explore promising ideas too risky for industry. Yet Trump has asked Congress to shut down the $300 million agency, launched in 2009. (The Senate has balked at that idea.)Kei Koizumi, who headed OSTP’s research analysis shop during the Obama administration and is now at AAAS, says the memo is consistent with Trump’s emphasis in his 2018 budget on “defense first, security second, with the economy, energy, and health after that.” But he notes that it is silent on many important activities, including support for international collaborations and for training the next generation of scientists apart from improving the technical skills of the overall U.S. workforce. “There’s also no mention of space,” he notes, despite the recent relaunching of the National Space Council. In his view, “the memo shows that the administration doesn’t have science and technology priorities as such.” Donald Trump Beyond the obvious differences with Obama’s approach, this guidance also doesn’t have a lot of similarities with President Trump’s own 2018 budget request. last_img read more

Podcast: ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’ turns 50, and how Neanderthal DNA could change your skull

first_img In 1968, Science published the now-famous paper “The Tragedy of the Commons” by ecologist Garrett Hardin. In it, Hardin questioned society’s ability to manage shared resources, concluding that individuals will act in their self-interest and ultimately spoil the resource. Host Meagan Cantwell revisits this classic paper with two experts: Tine De Moor, professor of economics and social history at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and Brett Frischmann, a professor of law, business, and economics at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. They discuss how premodern societies dealt with common resources and how our current society might apply the concept to a more abstract resource—knowledge.Not all human skulls are the same shape—and if yours is a little less round, you may have your extinct cousins, the Neanderthals, to thank. Meagan speaks with Simon Fisher, neurogeneticist and director of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, about why living humans with two Neanderthal gene variants have slightly less round heads—and how studying Neanderthal DNA can help us better understand our own biology.This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.Download a transcript of this episode (PDF)Listen to previous podcasts.About the Science Podcast[Image: Phillip Gunz; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Phillip Gunz last_img read more

Scubalike technology could suck carbon dioxide from smokestacks

first_imgiStock.com/ shaunl Neil J. Williams Scubalike technology could suck carbon dioxide from smokestacks The technology that allows submariners to breathe underwater could someday allow the rest of us to breathe cooler air. Researchers have found a way to suck planet-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) from industrial smokestacks using a chemical technique similar to one scuba divers and submarines use to “rebreathe” CO2-rich exhalations.The team’s technique “has tremendous potential,” says Kristin Bowman-James, a chemist at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.The advance relies on a class of organic chemicals called bis(imino guanidines), or BIGs. These chemicals were first discovered more than a century ago, but researchers recently found that they’re really good at binding to negatively charged ions, says Radu Custelcean, a chemist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. He and his colleagues harness that binding ability to capture CO2.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)First, the team dissolves a particular BIG in water, where the substance helps break down H2O molecules into positively charged protons (H+) and negatively charged hydroxide (OH–) ions. The BIG molecules snatch free-floating protons and take on a positive charge. Those BIG ions then react with negatively charged bicarbonate (HCO3–) ions that form when CO2-rich gas bubbles through the solution, Custelcean says. Because the resulting substance doesn’t readily dissolve, it crystallizes and can be separated from the solution. Those crystals can then be heated to drive off CO2 so it can be collected and stored, rather than emitted to the atmosphere, Custelcean says. The team’s lab tests suggest that process can occur at the relatively low temperature of 120°C. So, the researchers report today in Chem, capturing and recovering CO2 from industrial exhaust using their technique takes about 24% less energy than a process commonly used in smokestack “scrubbers.” Once CO2 has been driven from the crystals, the BIG can be redissolved in the solution, making it available to capture even more CO2.The particular BIG used by Custelcean’s team sits at what Amar Flood, an organic chemist at Indiana University in Bloomington who was not involved with the work, calls a “magic sweet spot.” Its affinity for bicarbonate ions allows the crystal-forming reaction to readily occur, but the weak hydrogen bonding within the crystal also makes it relatively easy to recover the CO2.There’s a big difference between demonstrating something in a lab and using the method on a larger scale, of course. For one thing, immense amounts of BIG would be needed to perform the carbon-capture process on an industrial scale. During 2017, for example, coal-fired power plants alone in the United States emitted more than 1.2 billion metric tons of  CO2. Although a lot of BIG would be needed to outfit even a single smokestack scrubber, Custelcean says the material is reusable and inexpensive, at about $3 per kilogram. By Sid PerkinsJan. 31, 2019 , 12:50 PM When a gas mixture rich in carbon dioxide bubbles through a solution of a particular organic chemical, the planet-warming gas is captured in tiny crystals (which turn the solution a whitish color).last_img read more