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Cheers for UK science budget

By | March 22, 2007

After all the linkurl:wailing and gnashing of teeth;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/52939/ in the UK recently over science budget cuts, the government is in the good books again. Why? The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, has vowed long term increases in funding in his latest (and probably last) linkurl:budget;http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/budget/budget_07/bud_bud07_index.cfm announcement. Broadly speaking, the budget includes a promise that total investment in the public sci

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Rabbit Island: For science no more

By | March 22, 2007

Last Thursday, owners of Rabbit Island, a linkurl:pristine 36 acre environment;http://www.dkatantarctic.com/RabbitIsland.html off the coast of British Columbia that has taught many budding scientists about natural phenomena, voted to sell the island to the highest bidder. Professor Dennis Kelly of Orange Coast College in California has been taking students to Rabbit Island for years to demonstrate things most collegians only read about in textbooks -- island gigantism in the form of an enormous

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Here, kitty kitty

By | March 20, 2007

I am waiting for a hypoallergenic cat. Not one to keep, but just one to prove all the skeptics wrong. In the January issue of the The Scientist I wrote an linkurl:article;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/39383/ about what scientists think of Allerca's hypoallergenic cats. The California company claims to have found and bred the world's first scientifically proven hypoallergenic cat, but most of the scientists I spoke with are dubious of its claims, not to mention the founder has a bi

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Animals strike back at biologists

By | March 12, 2007

Last Wednesday in Alaska, a linkurl:moose charged and downed;http://www.axcessnews.com/modules/wfsection/article.php?articleid=13162 a helicopter carrying a wildlife biologist. Neither the pilot nor the biologist were hurt during the attack, but the helicopter suffered damage to its tail rotor, forcing it to land. Sadly, the animal was put down due to its injuries (it got caught in the helicopter's blades). Late last month, a curator of herpetology linkurl:was bitten;http://www.kansas.com/m

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Giant collaborations reign (and Akira is HOT)

By | March 9, 2007

A press release from linkurl:Thomson Scientific;http://thomsonscientific.com lists 17 of the hottest researchers from 2005-2006 based on the number of Hot Papers published in that time. Hot Papers, as our readers know are papers, generally on the order of two years old, that have been cited much more than papers of a similar date and age (50 to 100 times as often according to Thomson). Immunologist Shizuo Akira of Osaka University tops the list with 7 publications in the specified time frame.

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MRC head steps down

By | March 8, 2007

Medical Research Council chief Colin Blakemore is stepping down at a time when the UK agency is facing major reforms. linkurl:Blakemore;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/13002/ said that he decided to leave after his current term expires in September, but his decision has nothing to do with the MRC's linkurl:upcoming;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/24225/ changes -- which include the UK government's decision to reform medical research funding, creating an umbrella s

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Statistically significant punk rockers

By | March 6, 2007

Who can argue with a punk rock anthem about the search for statistical certainty? Not me, at least. In fact, I couldn't help but smile this week when I came across a jaunty little tune called Increase the N by an outfit called Hefe from Vancouver. I first saw reference to the song (lyrics below) on linkurl:The World's Fair;http://www.myspace.com/heferocks, where they kindly offered a link to the group's linkurl:myspace;http://www.myspace.com/heferocks account. Apparently, they're a group broug

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Need $20 million? Come to Alberta

By | February 28, 2007

The Canadian province of Alberta is linkurl:offering up;http://www.ahfmr.ab.ca/press/2007-02-14.php to three "superstar" biomedical researchers $20 million ($17 million US) each, distributed over 10 years, to move to Alberta and conduct research there. Half of the money comes from the funding agency Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR), and the province's three universities (University of Calgary, University of Alberta, and University of Lethbridge) will pony up t

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Another stem cell court victory

By | February 27, 2007

Even though California started linkurl:distributing stem cell funding;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/52856/ this month, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) is still fighting for its survival in court. On Monday (February 26), a state appeals court upheld a linkurl:2006 verdict;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23342/-legal verdict by a lower court judge, who said the organization was did not violate the constitution. But opponents of the California stem

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In Oscar season, biology on film

By | February 26, 2007

When biologists at the Wildlife Conservation Society in the Bronx heard last fall that a beaver was making New York City home for the first time in 200 years, they were understandably excited. Unlike some other biologists, however -- say, those who said they had seen an linkurl:ivory-billed woodpecker;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/84/ in 2005 -- the Bronx group made sure they caught Jose the beaver, on a video everyone could agree was actually a beaver, before linkurl:announcing it t

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