Lasrick writes: Andrew Nikiforuk, a contributing editor of The Tyee and author of Slick Water, has a smart piece outlining what the United States science community can do to combat expected attacks from the Trump administration on federal funding for research projects that examine the environmental impacts of industries such as mining and oil drilling. Nikiforuk seeks lessons from the years when the Canadian government, led by then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper, systematically reduced the capacity of publicly funded federal science to monitor the impacts of air, water, and carbon pollution from the country’s aggressive resource industries—by cutting budgets and firing staff. Great read.
Dan Drollette writes: When it comes to whistleblowers and chilled work environments, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission may have the largest refrigerator in town, says a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Lasrick writes: A postdoc research associate at Cornell University’s Cornell Laboratory for Accelerator-based ScienceS and Education (CLASSE) explores the reasons why there are so few scientists in Congress, and why (and how) that should change. 'For the sustainable advancement of science, for the preservation and promotion of liberal democracy, and for meeting the urgent challenges of today when law and policy lag behind science and technology, scientists must be active in the political discourse.' Great read.
Dan Drollette writes: A climate scientist analyzing the proposal says it's a real, honest attempt to deal with global warming. And it would give cover for Republican members of Congress to come out of the climate closet.
Lasrick writes: A heavily revised draft of President Donald Trump's executive order on cybersecurity lays out initiatives to build upon the previous administration's IT security programs rather than to radically change them.
Lasrick writes: In a guest post at Climate Brief, Zeke Hausfather goes point by point through an article from Sunday's Daily Mail, which makes the astonishing claim that 'world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data' and accuses the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of manipulating the data to show more warming in a 2015 study.
Dan Drollette writes: The hands of the Doomsday Clock were re-set today, to show that we are even closer to nuclear midnight. Here's the reasoning behind it. (PS — You can also watch a replay of the live press conference this morning at clock.thebulletin.org)
Lasrick writes: 'For more than three years, rather than rely on military officers working out of isolated bunkers, Russian government recruiters have scouted a wide range of programmers, placing prominent ads on social media sites, offering jobs to college students and professional coders, and even speaking openly about looking in Russia’s criminal underworld for potential talent.' Important read.
Dan Drollette writes: In a world no longer centered around the United States, Beijing's position on the UN resolution to ban nuclear weapons could be seen as a bellwether for how China will behave. Link to Original Source
Dan Drollette writes: We're at a tipping point, says Princeton physicist Rob Socolow, who's been studying global carbon management and fossil fuel sequestration for years. (He's famous in the climate science arena, because of his 'wedges' paper on different approaches to solve the problem using current technology.) [spam URL stripped]... Link to Original Source
Dan Drollette writes: Working much like a detective, a climate researcher was able to track down how much carbon each fossil fuel company was responsible for putting into the air since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. (And it only took 12 years, and a worldwide network of volunteers to gather the data.) He found that a relative handful of companies bear the responsibility for most greenhouse gases... and they pumped more than half of it into the atmosphere in the last 30 years.
Lasrick writes: Under normal circumstances, a specific gene has a 50 percent chance of being transmitted to an offspring, but over time, some genes may disappear from a population, especially if the gene in question makes the population less fit. A gene drive is the process by which scientists force an altered gene into an animal population to permit the inheriting of a desired trait at a higher rate and with greater certainty than through natural reproduction alone. Gene drives are not new and they can occur naturally, for example when a gene produces multiple copies of itself in a genome, or when a gene disables or destroys other genes to increase inheritance odds.
Genetic alterations of domesticated plants and animals are not new, either. The novelty of recent gene drives resides in the use of the Crispr technique, which not only allows gene editing with precision, speed, and economy, but also has the potential of ensuring that alterations made in wild animals will persist in nature. Gene drives are being investigated as tools to eradicate infectious diseases or control pests that cause agricultural, economic, and environmental damages; yet they have also raised security concerns. Sonia Ben Quagrham-Gormley and Kathleen Vogel write about the good, the bad, and the hype of gene drives and find that there's been too much hype and not enough empirical data around the security issue, especially when it comes to the bioweapons threat.
Lasrick writes: Blockchain technology has been slow to gain adoption in non-financial contexts, but it could turn out to have invaluable military applications. DARPA, the storied research unit of the US Department of Defense, is currently funding efforts to find out if blockchains could help secure highly sensitive data, with potential applications for everything from nuclear weapons to military satellites.
Dan Drollette writes: Coral bleaching has been in the news. But how is it different from coral death, what does it mean, what are the long-term prospects, and why should we care? From an Aussie scientist, who has been studying the Great Barrier Reef and the effects of climate change for nearly 3 decades.