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Hummus, with a side of salmonella

By | October 30, 2007

One of my favorite email digests I receive every day is from ProMEDmail, the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases. It's an endless source of story ideas, from linkurl:chikungunya;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23145/ to linkurl:bipartisan bacteria;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15817/ to lab accidents. (Not to mention linkurl:pygmy rabbits.) ;http://www.promedmail.org/pls/askus/f?p=2400:1001:5828125031687364952::NO::F2400_P1001_BACK_PAGE,F2400_P1001_PUB_MAIL_ID:1000,

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A bad review, reviewed

By | October 26, 2007

A science journalist and university president are trading barbs this week over the administrator's less-than-glowing book review in Nature. Last week, Nature published a linkurl:letter;http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v449/n7164/full/449781b.html from science policy journalist Daniel Greenberg, who linkurl:criticized;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/24892/ the review of his latest book in the journal. (Greenberg linkurl:spoke to us;http://www.the-scientist.com/podcasts/thew

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RIP, pygmy rabbit

By | October 26, 2007

Readers who have been following my linkurl:coverage of attempts to save the endangered pygmy rabbit;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/daily/53232/ may remember linkurl:Onyx, ;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53292/ a male rabbit I accompanied in April as his keepers moved him into temporary quarters to see how he would do in a ''prerelease setting.'' Onyx, who is 75% Columbia Basin rabbit and 25% Idaho rabbit -- the Columbia rabbits are officially endangered, and there has linkurl:be

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NIH nearing the end of peer review review

By | October 25, 2007

NIH will hold a final working group meeting tomorrow (October 25) to discuss how to linkurl:amend peer review.;http://enhancing-peer-review.nih.gov/index.html The agency linkurl:kicked off;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53276/ its review of peer review this summer with the aim of "optimizing its efficiency and effectiveness" - a process many researchers have agreed is needed. The plan is to present results of the series of meetings at the end of this year, and to propose recommendatio

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Retracting findings after 52 years

By | October 25, 2007

What would you do if you realized you'd made a mistake in a paper you wrote half a century ago? When an 84-year-old retired chemist Googled himself ("I wanted to see, what have I done in all these many years?") he wasn't so happy with what he found, linkurl:The New York Times;http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/25/science/25jacobson.html?ref=science reports. A paper of his, published in American Scientist in 1955, had become fodder for creationist arguments about the origin of life. But not only

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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Idiots

By | October 25, 2007

Every now and then, I get an Email that makes me wonder whether people are idiots. OK, more than every now and then. Today, it was a job posting from a science writers' association that caught my eye. ''I am searching for a psychiatrist or psychologist, an expert in bipolar disorder, to write (or work with a writer to write) The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bipolar Disorder.'' Hmm, I thought. I earned an MD and then finished an internship in psychiatry. I'm a writer. If I had the time and the inc

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UNH prof. cleared of criminal charges

By | October 25, 2007

A University of New Hampshire biochemistry professor who has been embroiled in a dispute with another faculty member was cleared of criminal charges on Tuesday (October 23). The district court of Durham, N.H., cleared linkurl:John Collins;http://biochemistry.unh.edu/Faculty/Collins/index.html of criminal charges of disorderly conduct and stalking, Collins told The Scientist. The charges, which were filed on June 29, came after Collins, then chair of the biochemistry department at UNH, was li

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Watson makes it official

By | October 25, 2007

James Watson is immediately stepping down as chancellor of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. The move follows days of linkurl:public criticism;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53712/ of his remarks to a UK newspaper that people of African descent are less intelligent. "Closer now to 80 than 79, the passing on of my remaining vestiges of leadership is more than overdue," he said in a statement released this morning. "The linkurl:circumstances;http://www.the-scientis

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White House "eviscerated" CDC report, says official

By | October 25, 2007

CDC director Julie Gerberding spoke on Tuesday (Oct. 23) at a linkurl:Senate hearing;http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Hearing&Hearing_ID=ab4f7563-802a-23ad-468e-b225c43aef22 about the public health effects of climate change. But according to a linkurl:story;http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5inODG24ecfdaA-wDYGJMdlIfeVUA in the AP (thanks, linkurl:WSJ Health Blog;http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2007/10/24/cdc-climate-testimony-eviscerated-by-white-house/ ), six pages detaili

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Senate passes bill with open access provision

By | October 24, 2007

Yesterday the U.S. Senate passed the 2008 appropriations bill that -- if not vetoed by the President -- will be a big step forward for open access. By a voting margin of 75 to 19 the Senate passed the 2008 appropriations bill that includes $150 billion in funding for the Departments of Health and Human Services, and Education. The bill also includes a linkurl:public access mandate;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53366/,%22 for all research funded by the National Institutes of Health,

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