Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Kerry Blasts Bush Over U.S. Science

Science -- Lawler 304 (5679): 1888b:

"Speaking in Denver, Colorado, on 21 June, Kerry harshly criticized the president for leading 'one of the most antiscience Administrations in history.' The Massachusetts senator also pledged to lift the ban on stem cell research and remove ideology from scientific decisionmaking if he wins in November.
"Kerry's talk during a Colorado campaign swing came the same day that four dozen Nobel Prize winners released a letter supporting his candidacy."


"The Central Research Department currently spends around £80m per year on research. We will increase this significantly; the budget will be at least £100m in 2006/7. More details of the new research budget will be released in autumn 2004, following the government-wide spending review."

From the summary of a framework paper by the British foreign assistance agency.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Education Reform in Iraq Goes Awry

An Educator Learns the Hard Way (

"The universities needed $1.2 billion to become viable centers of learning and reap immediate goodwill for the American rebuilding effort. But of the $18.6 billion U.S. reconstruction package approved by Congress last year, the higher education system received $8 million, a tiny fraction of his proposal. When Agresto asked the U.S. Agency for International Development for 130,000 desks, he got 8,000."

The article later states, "after receiving reports from each of the country's 22 universities, whose collective enrollment is more than 375,000, CPA number crunchers estimated that Iraq would need $1.2 billion to "take its rightful place in the world's intellectual, cultural, economic, and political communities."

"Agresto (the CPA higher education czar) and his staff of 10 sent funding requests to the CPA officials who were compiling the administration's aid package. But word came back that the administration would focus its request on rebuilding Iraq's security services and electrical infrastructure. The White House planned to ask Congress for only $35 million for higher education. The rest would have to come from foreign donors.

"Agresto put together what he hoped was a persuasive plea for international aid. It included plans for "a nationwide electronic library network" and a "Western-style graduate business school." "We now have the opportunity to make a new start, and to supply Iraq with, for example, some of the best classrooms, laboratories and libraries possible," the CPA wrote in its pitch to donors.

"At the conference in October, donor nations pledged in excess of $400 million for Iraqi universities. But none of that money has arrived in Baghdad."

Saturday, June 19, 2004

The New York Times > Technology > Intel Is Aiming at Living Rooms in Marketing Its Latest Chip

The New York Times > Technology > Intel Is Aiming at Living Rooms in Marketing Its Latest Chip:

"On Monday, Intel is planning to announce its newest foray into the home computing market, blending performance, wireless capability and multimedia audio, video and image features into a set of chips that will be at the core of the next-generation personal computer." The new three-chip suite has been code-named Grantsdale. "Intel executives said that the new chips will make possible higher-speed computing, more reliable storage and more advanced audiovisual standards and will represent fundamental change in the internal structure of the standard PC."

Friday, June 18, 2004

Staff Scientists Reject FDA's Plan B Reasoning (

Staff Scientists Reject FDA's Plan B Reasoning (

"Just days before the Food and Drug Administration rejected an application to make the emergency contraceptive Plan B available without a prescription, top agency scientists dismissed the reasoning that was used to justify the rejection as unfounded, internal agency documents reveal. "

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Science -- Mervis 304 (5677): 1583

Science -- Mervis 304 (5677): 1583 Meager Evaluations Make It Hard to Find Out What Works:

"The Education Department even funds a 'What Works Clearinghouse' on programs ranging from teaching math to reducing schoolyard violence. This heightened interest in assessment stems from the massive 2001 education reform bill--known as the No Child Left Behind Act--which requires school districts to offer programs shown to be effective through 'scientifically based research.' But there's a dirty little secret behind that requirement: No program has yet met that rigorous standard, because none has been scientifically evaluated and shown to be effective. (A related secret is that there's no consensus on the type of evaluation studies that are needed.)"

Science -- Bagla 304 (5677): 1579a

Science -- Bagla 304 (5677): 1579a Report Says India Needs Stronger, Independent Regulatory Body: "A blue-ribbon panel has recommended that India spend $300 million on an autonomous, expert body that would regulate agricultural biotechnology. Such an independent authority would both speed up the approval process and make it more transparent, according to a report delivered last week to the Ministry of Agriculture. But critics say that the small number of genetically modified crops in the pipeline doesn't warrant such a major change in the current system and that the money could be better spent on research to improve existing crops."

Science -- Marshall 304 (5677): 1576

Science -- Marshall 304 (5677): 1576:

"A time-honored way to deal with negative results is to sweep them under the rug. Few ever get published. But New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer gave notice on 2 June that he may punish companies suspected of burying clinical data. "

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Don't Sabotage Africa (

Don't Sabotage Africa (

"Most senators support extended African trade access, but they do not care enough to give the measure the momentum it needs to push past many procedural blocks."

I am going to email my senators and suggest reasons to move on this important legislation!

Monday, June 14, 2004

George Burns said it first

Too bad that all the people who know how to run the country
are busy driving taxicabs or cutting hair. --George Burns

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Governance of Public Research: Toward Better Practices

Governance of Public Research: Toward Better Practices

This is the final report of an OECT project on research management.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Nanotech guru turns back on 'goo'

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Nanotech guru turns back on 'goo':

"The scientist many regard as the father of nanotechnology has backed away from his famous claim that nanomachines could turn the planet into 'grey goo'. "

Petersberg Prize

Petersberg Prize:

"Eight finalists have been chosen from a field of more than 220 nominees. Finalists for the Petersberg Prize, who come from four world regions, have demonstrated the impact new technologies can have on development in various fields of endeavor. Innovative uses of information technology have helped improve the livelihoods of poor farmers in Mali and India, dramatically expanded access to communication and information in rural areas of Bangladesh and Hungary, and created a whole new economic sector in India. Petersberg Prize finalists are being recognized for these and other accomplishments."

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

A Man's a Man for All that

A Man's a Man for All that:

"Is there for honest poverty
That hangs his head, an' a' that
The coward slave, we pass him by
We dare be poor for a' that
For a' that, an' a' that
Our toil's obscure and a' that
The rank is but the guinea's stamp
The man's the gowd for a' that

What though on hamely fare we dine
Wear hoddin grey, an' a' that
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine
A man's a man, for a' that
For a' that, an' a' that
Their tinsel show an' a' that
The honest man, though e'er sae poor
Is king o' men for a' that"

Robert Burns
January 1795

Syngenta Donates 48,000 Mutant Arabidopsis Plants

Science -- Pennisi 304 (5676): 1426b:

"For plant biologists, the search for gene functions just got a lot easier. Last week, the agribusiness giant Syngenta International in Basel, Switzerland, released 48,000 mutant strains of Arabidopsis, the first plant with a sequenced genome, to a stock center for distribution the world over--with no fees and no strings attached."

Science -- Bhattacharjee 304 (5676): 1422

U.S. Trade Policy Creates Confusion Over Co-Authorship:

"In a five-page letter to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, OFAC reversed its 30 September 2003 decision requiring journals to obtain a license to edit manuscripts from Iran and other sanctioned countries. But although the letter appeared to endorse normal publishing procedures, it noted in passing that 'a collaborative interaction ... between an author in a sanctioned country and one or more U.S. scholars resulting in co-authorship' would be considered 'a prohibited exportation of services.'"

Wired 12.06: The Free & The Unfree

Wired 12.06: The Free & The Unfree:

"It's producers vs. pirates vs. consumers, from Silicon Valley to Shanghai. A 10-page special Infoporn on the global battle between liberty and control."

Sunday, June 06, 2004

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Digital Domain: What's Google's Secret Weapon? An Army of Ph.D.'s

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Digital Domain: What's Google's Secret Weapon? An Army of Ph.D.'s:

"Microsoft has 56,000 employees, but its research group, with 700, is separate. Google has 1,900 employees, and no separate research group, so all 1,900, effectively, are charged to 'boldly go where no one has gone before' (its words). "

Sloppy Stats Shame Science | Scientific publishing:

"Emili Garc?a-Berthou and Carles Alcaraz, two researchers at the University of Girona in Spain, have found that 38% of a sample of papers in Nature, and a quarter of those sampled in the British Medical Journal (BMJ)?two of the world's most respected journals?contained one or more statistical errors."

Copenhagen Consensus: The Results

Copenhagen Consensus: The Results

Project rating Challenge Opportunity
Very Good
1 Diseases Control of HIV/AIDS
2 Malnutrition: Providing micro nutrients
3 Subsidies and Trade Trade liberalisation
4 Diseases: Control of malaria
5 Malnutrition :Development of new agricultural technologies
6 Sanitation & Water: Small-scale water technology for livelihoods
7 Sanitation & Water: Community-managed water supply and sanitation
8 Sanitation & Water: Research on water productivity in food production

Medical Aid on Way for Poorer Nations (

Medical Aid on Way for Poorer Nations (

"The annual convention of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, a Washington trade group, is scheduled to begin today in San Francisco. In one of its most significant moves in years, the group, known as BIO, is establishing a new organization with help from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. "

Friday, June 04, 2004 Technology | Little red blogs Technology | Little red blogs:

"On the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown, blogs are booming in China. But are they making any difference?"

Interesting article by Mat Honan.

Health Council's Chief Criticizes Administration (

Health Council's Chief Criticizes Administration (

"In an unusually harsh speech Tuesday, Nils Daulaire accused the administration of choosing the political wedge issue of abortion over the free exchange of ideas when it rescinded $365,000 in grants and discouraged participation in the council's international conference, 'Youth and Health: Generation on the Edge.' "

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Selected Papers of Brian Arthur

Selected Papers

This website has a number of papers by W. Brian Arthur (of the Santa Fe Institute) on his work on increasing returns to technological investments. Even more can be found at his website.

Gates Award Goes to Bangladeshi Aid Group (

Gates Award Goes to Bangladeshi Aid Group (

"Tonight in Washington, Abed and his organization (the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, known as BRAC) will receive the $1 million Gates Award for Global Health, funded by Bill and Melinda Gates."

Wednesday, June 02, 2004 : FirstGov for Science - Government Science Portal : FirstGov for Science - Government Science Portal

The science portal of the U.S. government has been revised and improved.

Nanotechnology for Development

Nanotechnology for Development

This is the sandbox version of a website we are developing. We hope to form a virtual community of those interested in discussing this new field of technology and its application in developing nations.

Scientists Kidnapped in Colombia

Science -- Scientists Kidnapped in Colombia:

"Institutions and individuals have flooded a FARC Web site with messages condemning the kidnappings (see,"

Wired 12.06: VIEW -- Suicide by Pseudoscience

Suicide by Pseudoscience:

"The Union of Concerned Scientists in a February report pointed out something the science press has known for years: The Bush administration has no respect for science. Ideologues prefer to make up the laws of nature as they go."

By Bruce Sterling

Brains and Borders: Science Online Special Collection

Brains and Borders: Science Online Special Collection:

"In this special Web collection, Science Magazine and its online companion sites explore the experience of immigrant scientists, both in the U.S. and in other countries."