Stand up for NIH funding

Elizabeth Warren recently posted a piece on Medium about a bill to help advance medical innovation in the United States. But, as she points out, this bill does not provide money to basic research funded through the NIH, but rather is meant to make it easier for pharmaceutical companies to make money by lying to the public.

Needless to say this is upsetting, and given the current funding rates and the tightening of the federal budget for scientific research (NIH funding was cut by 20% over the last dozen years…), this bit of science news should inspire you to call your senator or congressman.

Read the piece here, and remember: This is not normal.

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Black Friday for the Environment

As with most things in the US, Black Friday is pretty divided. People either love it (And will camp out for the deals) or hate it and post on social media.

And this year, in wake of the election and asking “what can I do” Patagonia decided to put their money where their mouth is.

They pledged to donate all proceeds to grass roots environmental organization. Then they generated a record breaking 10 million dollars in profits (5x the projected amount).

And Patagonia STILL plan to donate it all to environmental organizations. Patagonia did not specify which groups, but they have a list of groups that have previously received grants.

Read about it here! 

TELLURIDE, CO - JULY 7, 2014: A Patagonia store is among the several shops catering to outdoor enthusiasts in Telluride, Colorado. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

TELLURIDE, CO – JULY 7, 2014: A Patagonia store is among the several shops catering to outdoor enthusiasts in Telluride, Colorado. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

The Arctic waters are refusing to freeze

Like a petulant teenager, the Arctic and Antarctic ice is refusing to freeze. After record high temperatures this summer, and bolstered by persistent warm weather from the South, the sea ice that melted this summer is not refreezing.

This has all sorts of implications for weather patterns and low lying areas, all of which you can read about over at the Guardian!

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) close-up, Svalbard, Norway.

A visual compendium of glowing creatures

I find biology to be one of the most visually stunning disciplines luckily I’m not alone. An artist from Seattle (Eleanor Lutz) has started a year-long infographic design project.

Her first installment is visualizing bioluminescent organisms (see below, or check it out here).

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Make America Informed Again

One thing that sprung out of the 2016 Presidential Election is the role that fake news played in the spread of misinformation, and potentially lead to the current disastrous result.

Sometimes this is because the editorial staff has a slant on an issue that they are actively pushing. But sometimes there’s simply bad reporting because it’s easier to do and can make you more successful than good reporting does. Even when addressing something as objective as science.

Think about it: a new study comes out, with a sweeping groundbreaking conclusion. There’s a press release that accompanies the study, if you’re a journalist do you:

  1. Only write about it if you, yourself, are an expert in the field, capable of digging into the details and evaluating it in the context of everything else known yourself?
  2. Consult with a slew of experts, assuming you’re not one yourself, to ensure you evaluate the release properly — as best you can — before you craft your narrative?
  3. Call a few people to interview them, writing down quotes, so that when you write about the study and its conclusion, you can add in either affirming or dissenting opinions from experts?
  4. Or do you simply write a catchy headline designed to highlight the new, spectacular conclusions, and base your story entirely on the press release?

Forbes wrote an article addressing this exact problem. 

Or if you want the TL;DR version watch this Last Week Tonight clip, where John Oliver explains how important it is to understand science.

This Thanksgiving, Be Thankful for Science

In a deeply divided country, some people are dreading going home for the holidays. The anticipation of political conversation, about who voted for who, and about the racist, misogynist bigot who is planning to soon lead the United States.

So instead of talking through some of these issues (although I encourage civil discord!), the New York Times has given us a list of science and health stories from 2016 that you can discuss instead!

You could talk about how science views fat and what we know about weight loss! Or instead of talking about fleeing the country, perhaps consider a move to Mars instead! Or you can talk about dogs, and what science knows about their relationships! 

Or you can talk about climate change, funding rates, the importance of teaching evolution and minorities in STEM! Not recommended by the NYTimes but always recommended by NiB.

Also, consider subscribing to the New York Times.

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