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Posts Tagged "obama"

Budding Scientist

Science Education Experts Respond to Obama’s Speech

In his State of the Union address last night, President Barack Obama spent less time than in years past discussing his ambitions to reform science education. He referred to his administration’s offer to let states opt out of  No Child Left Behind (” … grant schools flexibility to teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching [...]

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Cross-Check

Obama’s nuclear policy takes one step forward and two steps back

In 1983, a Columbia University undergraduate named Barack Obama wrote an article, “Breaking the War Mentality,” for the school publication Sundial. Obama expressed the hope that someday humanity would abolish nuclear weapons and create a “nuclear free world.” Obama never abandoned that dream. The Nobel Foundation awarded him its Peace Prize last December in large [...]

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Extinction Countdown

The Obamas’ Portie: a breed that almost went extinct

The Obamas talked about rescuing a dog from a shelter. They ended up getting pup Bo as a gift from friend Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., but it turns out the First Family has become part of a 70-year journey to save an entire breed by bringing home a Portuguese water dog to become the nation’s [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Salt marsh mouse: An endangered species becomes a stimulus scapegoat

The salt marsh harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys raviventris) has been on the Endangered Species List since 1970. So why, after all of this time, has it gotten so much media attention in the last few weeks? It turns out that the mouse has become a convenient scapegoat for attacks against President Obama’s stimulus package, thanks to [...]

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Life, Unbounded

This Is What We Don’t Know About The Universe

dont panic.001

In recent days I’ve had some interesting conversations. There’s a giddiness going around, related to an outpouring of science love – the kind you get from President Obama introducing TV science shows, the kind that has wonderful visuals, but is, well, a wee bit simplistic (a sin that none of us could ever, ever be [...]

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Observations

How to Reconcile Big Data and Privacy

White House image, courtesy of CC-BY-SA-3.0/Matt H. Wade

In many ways “big data” and “encryption” are antithetical. The former involves harvesting, storing and analyzing information to reveal patterns that researchers, law enforcement and industry can use to their benefit. The goal of the latter is to obscure that data from prying eyes. That tension was at the core of a conference this week [...]

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Observations

CVS Anti-Tobacco Move Possible Boon for Electronic Cigarettes?

An electronic cigarette in its charger

When retail giant CVS Caremark unveiled its announcement this morning that it will no longer sell cigarettes or other tobacco products in its stores it was rightly hailed as a boon for public health, even netting public praise – and a thank you – from the White House. But even as CVS said its decision [...]

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Observations

Keystone Pipeline Will Impact Climate Change, State Department Reports

oil-sands-refinery

How much can one oil pipeline affect global climate change? That’s one of the fundamental questions probed by a new, final environmental impact assessment released January 31 by the U.S. State Department. At issue is the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry 730,000 barrels a day of oil from western Canada, mostly from Alberta’s tar [...]

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Observations

Obama Vows More Executive Action on High-Tech Manufacturing, Climate Change Mitigation and Renewal of Science

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

After a year buffeted by squeezes to federally funded research from a government shutdown as well as an extremely bumpy rollout of healthcare.gov, President Barack Obama’s fifth State of the Union Tuesday night struck a few hopeful notes for science and technology. Speaking before Congress, he devoted roughly a fifth of his  speech to topics [...]

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Observations

Glaxo Decision Precedes Obamacare Rollout

Pill bottles

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline’s announcement on December 16 that it will cease paying doctors to promote its products took the medical community by surprise, but the plan appears to have been in the works for some time. Employing doctors to promote brand-name drugs at conferences has been an industry standard for decades, and many researchers and [...]

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Observations

The Formula for Kick-Starting U.S. Manufacturing Begins with Technology

manufacturing,3d printing,material,robot

Much of what we buy in the U.S. is not made here, and hasn’t been for decades. If 2013 is any indication this could be changing, although the next generation of American manufacturing will differ greatly from its predecessor thanks to advanced technologies that rely on information rather than brawn. Early in the year, President [...]

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Observations

HealthCare.gov’s Failure to Launch

Image: iStock/Thinkstock

For a president who sailed into office on a digital-heavy campaign that helped engineer his victory, the crippling glitches plaguing the October 1 HealthCare.gov rollout were a rare mar on the administration’s tech-savvy record. Now the website snafu is fostering an intense hatred of the word “glitch” and fueling a steady stream of vitriol at [...]

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Observations

Health Insurance Exchanges Open: Here’s What You Need to Know

health insurance exchange

October 1 will be the first day millions of Americans will be able to start shopping for individual health insurance coverage in the new state-level exchanges. But polls are telling us what we already know: most people are confused by the new offerings. All of this comes despite millions of dollars spent by states and [...]

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Observations

The Answer to Coal Climate Pollution Is Natural Gas and Carbon Capture, EPA Says

mccarthy-sworn-in

The Environmental Protection Agency has new rules for how much carbon dioxide power plants can spew. Designed to ensure that no new plants built in the U.S. can be highly polluting, the regulations would prohibit the dirtiest coal-fired power plants without additional technology to capture and store CO2. The trouble is: hardly any such coal-fired [...]

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Observations

EPA Challenges Coal Industry to Adopt New Technology

Image: Gralo

The White House unveiled a powerful incentive to speed track carbon capture technology innovations this morning with the release of highly-anticipated requirements to harness the emissions of new coal-fired power plants and natural gas facilities. “These proposed standards are the first uniform national limits on carbon pollution from new power plants,” said Gina McCarthy, the [...]

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Symbiartic

Will the real Sam Illustrator please stand up?

In researching the carbon cycle recently, I came across the diagram above illustrating how carbon cycles through the atmosphere and into the ocean, through shells and rock, then magma only to be spewn out as gas into the atmosphere again via volcanoes. I thought it did a nice job of conveying the information, but I [...]

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Talking back

When It’s Brains, It Pours ($$$$$): Obama’s Big (Neuro) Science Project

It was an anti-climax: the President of the United States clocking in after The New York Times had already spilled the beans about his big brain program, a centerpiece of the administration’s second-term, legacy-making efforts in the science arena. After the Times article, everyone had, for weeks, written, speculated, chewed over and made preparations for [...]

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Talking back

Are Delta-FosB, or 5-HTT the Obama Genes?

The Atlantic featured a captivating fantasy in its November issue about a scenario to assassinate the U.S. president in 2016 by using a bioweapon specifically tailored to his genetic makeup—a virus that targeted the commander in chief and no one else. A great plot for a Hollywood thriller. But will we really see four years [...]

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