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Science and the Mass Media: A Clash of Cultures

By | May 10, 2004

How many journalists does it take to change a light bulb?Three. One to report it as an inspired government program to bring light to the people, one to report it as a diabolical government plot to deprive the poor of darkness, and one who aims for a Pulitzer prize, reporting that the electric company hired a light bulb assassin to break the bulb in the first place.To put it another way, mass media content is "a socially created product, not a reflection of an objective reality."1 In contrast, sc


Pharma Should Publish Its Trial Results

By | April 26, 2004

I recently listened to a panel discussion on the future of biomedical science. The standout participant, an urbane and knowledgeable contributor, was the CEO of a major pharmaceutical company. He won the audience over with his optimistic vision for the future of drug development, his conviction of the necessity of collaboration between academia and industry, and his characterization of the high ethical standards that his company and the industry in general have met.My interest piqued by this and


The Right Way and Wrong Way to Lead

By | April 12, 2004

Think for a minute about those who run your workplace. However large or small the outfit, leaders have a powerful impact on the performance and perception of the organization. For instance, how they interact with those who directly report to them has, for better or worse, a trickle-down effect on how all staff members are treated; their perceived openness, fairness, and ethical standards impinge on the entire culture of the organization. Moreover, in some workplaces, their conduct under public s


Above and Beyond Open Access

By | March 29, 2004

Information technology, an innovative publishing practice, and public debate synchronized in a most satisfying way over the past month.On Feb. 28, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published an article1 entitled, "Where Is The Evidence That Animal Research Benefits Humans?" The paper purported to demonstrate that "Much animal research into potential treatments for humans is wasted because it is poorly conducted and not evaluated through systematic reviews." Unsurprisingly, the article attracted


The Globalization of Science: Reality Confronts an Ideal

By | March 15, 2004

To survive in the world we have transformed, we must learn to think in a new way. As never before, the future of each depends on the good of all.1- Statement by 100 Nobel laureatesGlobalization has multiple personas; one of the more benevolent extols a world of mutual cooperation and interdependence. In recent weeks, much ink has been spilled over the contribution that science and technology can make to this idyll of global security and prosperity. Most notable of these was the debut of the Inte


Make Way for the Robot Scientist

By | March 1, 2004

"[The VK is] a very advanced form of lie detector that measures contractions of the iris muscle and the presence of invisible airborne particles emitted from the body. The bellows were designed for the latter function and give the machine the menacing air of a sinister insect. The VK is used primarily by Blade Runners to determine if a suspect is truly human by measuring the degree of his empathic response through carefully worded questions and statements."- 1982 Blade Runner presskit definition


A Crop of Good Sense

By | February 16, 2004

This issue illustrates the breadth and dynamism of plant science. In the Technology section, we focus on a series of dazzling genome initiatives that have transformed the field (see p. 32). The Research section includes a story on the striking similarities between the innate immune mechanisms of plants and animals; another on the structure of a molecular complex at the heart of photosynthesis; and a third on the catastrophic impact of recent wildfires on forest ecosystems (see pp. 26, 25, and 23


Ignorance, Persecution, and HIV

By | February 2, 2004

This issue of The Scientist focuses on HIV-AIDS. While we concentrate on the struggle for full scientific understanding of the virus and the disease, the essential backdrop remains the scale of the ongoing epidemic and the misery that it causes: Every six seconds another person becomes infected with HIV; every day 8,500 people die of AIDS. Even with the relative success of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), infection is controlled rather than conquered. Moreover, HAART has side effect


Enzymes Make the World Go 'Round

By | January 19, 2004

"The biochemist's word may not be the last in the description of life, but without his help, the last word will never be said."–Sir Frederick G. Hopkins, 1931.1The biological revolution unleashed by the sequencing of the human genome continues unabated into 2004. With multitudinous comparative genomics, haplotype mapping, transcriptomics, and systems biology projects in full flood, the trickiest challenge remains proteomics. Since proteins form the basis of most biological structures and m


Did He Just Get the Year Wrong?

By | December 15, 2003

Did He Just Get the Year Wrong? By Richard Gallagher I was dreamin' when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray But when I woke up this mornin', could've sworn it was Judgment Day The sky was all purple, there were people runnin' everywhere Tryin' 2 run from the destruction, U know I didn't even care Cuz they say 2000 zero zero party over, oops, out of time! So 2night I'm gonna party like it's 1999! --"1999" Prince Looking back over 2003, we could easily find ourselves slidin


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