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A Liberal Critique of Science

By | June 1, 1987

Governing Science and Technology in a Democracy. Malcolm L. Goggin, ed. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, 1986. 314 pp. $34.95. In the last decade or two, a coherent "radical critique" of science has taken shape in Europe and the United States. The critique attacks the notion that science can be significantly "value-free," arguing instead that at its heart, all science has been shaped in the interest of dominant economic and political sectors. Having recognized this, it becomes incumben

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A Serendipitous Contamination

By | June 1, 1987

All cells receive messages via hormones, neurotransmitter molecules and growth factors. These molecules bind to protein receptors in the cell membrane and relay their information in the form of "second messengers" to the cell's interior. It has long been known that cells contain a vitamin-like substance called myoinositol. Our discovery 35 years ago that cell-surface receptor activation leads to increased metabolic turnover of an inositol-containing phospholipid, phosphatidylinositol (PI), was s

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AIDS Bill Would Boost Research

By | June 1, 1987

WASHINGTON—Federal funds for AIDS research would be funneled more quickly into labs and clinics under a comprehensive AIDS bill introduced May 15 by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.). The bill would ensure the timely review of research proposals, train more researchers, set up a network of AIDS research centers and create an NIH advisory board. Stepping up the pace of research is one aspect of a proposal to provide "new resources and new mechanisms to put the nightmare of AIDS behind us,"

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Beyond the Dinosaur Mystique

By | June 1, 1987

Dinosaurs are ubiquitous: from the front page of The New York Times to Esprit fashions, they are making an indelible impression on the public's imagination. But the enormous exposure dinosaurs receive brings with it some troubling concerns. Scientifically, the study of dinosaurs is prospering as never before. New dinosaurs are being described at the rate of one every seven weeks: more than 40 percent of all dinosaurs that we recognize today have been described since 1970. Dinosaur studies were s

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Cambridge Bans Use Of Two Toxicity Tests

By | June 1, 1987

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.—Medical researchers in this university town are no longer allowed to use two well-known animal toxicity tests after passage of the first legislation of its type in the country. The Cambridge City Council voted May 18 to ban the Classical LD-50 Acute Toxicity Test and the Draize Eye-Irritancy Test. The move is the latest step in a heated local debate on the use of laboratory animals. (A survey by city officials found that at least 50,000 research animals, mostly rats, were

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Chinese Block U.S. Visit By Outspoken Physicist

By | June 1, 1987

WASHINGTON—The Chinese government will not allow astrophysicist Fang Lizhi to come to the United States this year because of the potential "destabilizing" influence of such a visit on Chinese students in this country. Word of that decision came in a recent letter to scientists and administrators at the University of California at Santa Cruz, who had invited Fang for a month-long visit of lectures and joint research at the university's Lick Observatory. Last winter Fang was stripped of his

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D

June 1, 1987

LONDON—Spending on research and development by British pharmaceutical companies this year will exceed $850 million. That figure represents 11 percent of the national total for industrial R&D, although drugs comprise less than 2 percent of Britain's industrial output. In evidence to the House of Lords' Science and Technology Committee, officials from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry expressed concern that the average period of patent protection for a new drug was only

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D Cuts

By | June 1, 1987

LONDON—Scientists working in this country's military sector may suffer a "considerable" reduction in funding within two or three years if the Conservatives are returned to power in next week's elections. On the other hand, those involved in civil R&D may benefit from money transferred out of defense work. These intentions were outlined by Defense Secretary George Younger as he unveiled this year's Defense White Paper shortly before the June 11 election was announced. "We shall be taking a

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Dinos Teach Kids Science

By | June 1, 1987

I'm sending the tuition bills to Stephen Jay Gould. After, all, it was hearing me read aloud a charming essay of Gould's in The New York Times about his early love of dinosaurs that prompted my son, Brendan, to confide, "Daddy, I love dinosaurs, too. I wanna be a planeatologist when I grow up." Of course, some days it's a spaceman or a detective, but just as often his career goal at age 5 has something to do with dinosaurs. It's not entirely Gould's fault. Dinosaurs have been Brendan's obsession

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Einstein's Politics Still Stir Debate

By | June 1, 1987

WEST BERLIN—Both East and West Germany must come to terms with the various political views of Albert Einstein, a West German physicist told colleagues at the annual meeting of the German Physical Society here this spring. "Einstein needs to be rehabilitated" in both countries, said Jacob Szer, a theoretical physicist at the Technical University in West Berlin. Despite universal admiration for his early scientific work, Szer said, scientists and politicians on each side of the Iron Curtain

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