“Fits neatly inside a lizard’s cloaca”: scientists review products on Amazon

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Ziploc bags can be used as snail carriers. Food containers make good little bee homes. A salad spinner makes a good PCR centrifuge. Any scientist who’s ever done field work knows that everyday household projects can be game changers.

And now, scientists are reviewing these products on Amazon.

Read about them here!

 

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Science in the Age of Trump

Sometimes, when referring to the current administration, people note “it’s not as bad as we thought it would be”.

However, you know who’s NOT saying that. Scientists. Nature recently wrote in an article:

“After 12 months in office, Drumpf’s impact on science can be neatly divided into two categories: bad things that people expected, and bad things that they didn’t.”

TL;DR:

First category:

  • The US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement
  • Regulatory rollback across government (environmental agencies in particular)
  • The now record-breaking failure to appoint a science adviser
  • Cut off funds to organizations abroad that promote public health but mention abortion
  • Weakened restrictions under the Toxic Substances Control Act
  • Censored the use by government agencies of phrases such as “evidence-based” and “climate change”
  • Advisory groups, including one on HIV/Aids, have been disbanded
  • Scientists with Environmental Protection Agency grants have been banned from serving on the agency’s advisory boa

Want to know more? Read about it here!

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E.P.A. Officials, Disheartened by Agency’s Direction, Are Leaving in Droves

I think the biggest impact of the Trump administrations attack on science, is that scientists don’t feel welcome anymore.

Which will have PROFOUND effects on our economic growth and how we are perceived as a world leader. PROFOUND.

And one common misconception I hear is that scientists think/support an idea because they are being paid to. Spoiler alert: scientist don’t get paid much in the best of times. Federal scientist almost never get paid enough. Ever.

So it’s disheartening to hear that those who are working tirelessly as civil servants are leaving the agencies in droves. Read about it here.

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Sundays at the Altar of Science

I hate the title of this article. I really do. Science is not a religion, as it does not necessitate a leap of faith, and is based in empirical evidence.

But, it is an interesting article over at the New York times about how they found science and how that changed their views on the world.

Worth reading here!

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The long game against an anti-science, anti-education government

I like this post over at Small Pond Science so much, I’m not going to comment much about it. Go read it, it’s really good:

“Like you, I’m exhausted from the political assault on science and education in the United States. But please, stay with me for this little bit, at least when you can find the energy.

….

I think we should keep doing the four things that I identified before inauguration, which are things that are part of our basic job description anyway:

  • Keep up research
  • Teach critical thinking
  • Advocate publicly for evidence-based decision making
  • Build diverse and inclusive academic communities”

Seriously, stop what you’re doing and go read it now.

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Revisiting Gattaca in the Era of Trump

I have written exhaustively about CRISPR-Cas technology, and its potential to change science and the world as we know it.

But with this change in science as we know it, we’re faced with some pretty important ethical questions (also not the first time I’ve talked about this on NiB). However, what is new is this excellent post by Osagie K. Obasogie, who researches ethical issues surrounding reproductive and genetic technologies.

He addresses how the Trump administration, and the rise of white nationalism is concerning with the new CRISPR possibilities. It’s not like we haven’t experienced scientific projects trying to engineer better humans, one only needs to remember the aftermath of the Holocaust and the public Nuremburg trials.

It’s an interesting line of thought to walk down, and I strongly recommend reading the piece here.

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Does ResearchGate Emerge Unscathed, or Even Strengthened?

You may remember that ResearchGate is under a brutal assault and may not survive to tell the tale.

Excerpt below is from  Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe. Lisa is the Professor/Coordinator for Information Literacy Services and Instruction in the University Library and an affiliate faculty member in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“ResearchGate is under assault. As a scholarly collaboration platform that enables both public and private sharing on a networked scale, ResearchGate is seen as dangerous, not only because it is potentially infringing copyright, but because it is doing so on a massive publisher-independent scale. A group of publishers tried to tame ResearchGate through a proposal that it endorse the STM Voluntary Principles on Article Sharing on Scholarly Collaboration Networks and implement antipiracy measures, but ResearchGate rejected this proposal. Though ResearchGate now faces the threat of thousands of takedown notices and a lawsuit, it is positioned to emerge at least unscathed, if not strengthened, from these assaults.”

Want to know where we stand? Read about it here!