unani_moose writes: "The US Congress is close to passing a continuing resolution (CR) that would freeze spending across the board for governement spending at FY 2006 levels. The US government's funding of science programs through the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy would be hit very hard, and this will have a very serious effect on research done in the US, whether at research universities or government laboratories. E-mails have been sent from the directors to the staff of several (if not all) of the US National Labs warning of severe cutbacks and layoffs if more funding is not added to the CR. Here's an article from the San Francisco Chronicle and another from the New York Times.
The chairs of the 110th Congressional Appropriations Committees have announced their intention to pass a continuing resolution (CR) for all of FY07, rather than complete appropriations under regular order or in an omnibus bill. This will effectively freeze funding for all science agencies at FY2006 levels, endangering significant increases in federal science funding planned for FY 2007! It is important that we do not lose the progress we have made on R&D funding so far this year.
Read the CRAN bulletin to learn how to help, and do it soon! The US governement had pledged to drastically increase science spending. Don't let them cut it."
Blikkie writes: "BBC reports that the European Union has decided that just following the Kyoto protocols wasn't enough, and has unilaterally decided to lower it's CO2 emissions for 2020 with 20% compared to 1990 emissions. EC President Jose Manuel Barroso said there must be a common European response to climate change. New policies were needed "to face a new reality" — to make European's energy supplies more secure, he said.
It is clear that this decision doesn't stem from altruism, and is much more inspired by the fact that fuel has stopped flowing once again. In the end it might turn out economically efficient though, with the fuel prices rising and rising over the past few years."
RCTrucker7 writes: "From www.1Up.com.
Cali School Bans Video Game-Inspired Fiction
School admin. rushes to squash controversial story.
By Susan Arendt, 01/09/2007
You hear about some edifice of education banning a student-penned story, you expect it to be some Mean Girls-esque slam book at the local public high school, not a magazine at San Francisco's Art Institute of California, but as GamePolitics reveals, that's the epicenter of the censorship in question.
The story, entitled "Homicide," describes the exploits of three young black men on a rape/killing spree. The big ZOMG at the end of the piece is that the trio are actually characters in a video game being played by three white suburban teenagers. Simone Mitchell, who wrote the tale, told the L.A. Times he was trying to make a point about racial stereotypes and video game violence, saying, "There are so many stereotypes in games, of African Americans as thugs, for example. Video gamers are exposed to this kind of violence and offensive language all the time and need to think about what they are doing."
Whether it was the language, the violence, or the twist at the end that set off the school's administration is still in question, but whatever the motivation, the magazine in which the story appeared, Mute/Off, was a ghost within hours. The school even refused to let the library keep a copy for archival purposes. Worse, when Mitchell's teacher spoke up about the censorship, he was fired. Let's just start the goosestepping now, shall we?
Senator Leland Yee — you may remember him from his efforts to make it illegal to sell violent games to minors — also sponsored legislation making California the first state to prevent censorship of college newspapers and magazines, but unfortunately the law doesn't cover private institutions. Lee, never one to shy away from a news cycle, said he's looking into the matter.