This video first aired three and a half years ago. It was very accurate in 2009 and I believe that it is still relevant today. How much has our approach to cancer research changed since this video was recorded?
Archive for the ‘Deep Thoughts’ Category
Yesterday morning (April 29, 2013), President Obama addressed the National Academy of Sciences on the occasion of the academy’s 150th anniversary. While any organization has the right to celebrate 150 years of existence, this particular anniversary has been darkened by the dark cloud of sequestration and looming funding cuts to our country’s research and development programs.
During his speech, Obama promised that he was committed to investing in science, however, he hinted that the funding should come from private investment, since the sequester is expected to shave close to $1.5 Billion dollars off of the all-important NIH budget. Such cuts pose a real threat to scientific progress and Obama mentioned that
Instead of racing ahead … our scientists are left wondering if they’ll be able to start any new research projects at all, which means we could lose a year, two years, of scientific research.
Scary stuff. Are you worried about your research? How do you think sequestration will affect your research?
Sequestration. A word that has driven fear into the hearts and wallets of many Americans following the recent national election. In the United States federal budget, the sequester or sequestration refers to budget cuts to particular categories of federal spending that began on March 1, 2013 as an austerity fiscal policy (see Wikipedia for a more detailed explanation).The sequester is expected to cut approximately $85.4 Billion dollars during the 2013 fiscal year. Major programs such as Medicare and Social Security will be greatly affected, but how will the cuts affect the life science industry and academia? Will every day researchers feel the effects of the huge reduction in the national budget? According to those in the “know,” sequestration is a word to fear among life scientists.
Burrill & Company, recently reported that the NIH is expected to lose $1.6 Billion in funding and have the number of grants it issues reduced by 2,000. Considering that the NIH awards 50,000 grants a year or 300,000 researchers, this 4% cut to their funding budget may mean that 12,000 labs will have to search for a new source of funds or risk losing their projects.
The Coalition for the Life Sciences has accentuated the effects of the cuts even more by pointing out that In eight states, cuts will exceed $100 million. According to the coalition:
Labs will shut down, scientists will be laid off, and local businesses that support research centers will close
A very scary thought indeed!
Several weeks ago, U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski and NIH director, Francis Collins, discussed the potential impact of the sequester in a video that can be seen on the NIH website. Collins told the audience that sequestration will have far reaching negative effects on the great work that the NIH does in every state around the US. Francis pointed out that the effects will not only be felt by the scientific community, but by pateints and families who look forward to ground breaking research in the hope that it will ultimately find a cure for their particular disease.
Not everyone however, will be disappointed by the effects of sequestration. The popular blog, Retraction Watch , whose business it is to report on bad science, expects that drastic reductions in research budgets will lead to corner cutting by scientists who have less money to work with and an upswing in retractions being reported among the scientific community.
So what can you do about it? How can you help save your lab from being affected by sequestration? Now that the elections are over and sequestraion is in full swing, lobbying our politicians and letter writing campaigns may be your best hope. The Coallition for the Life Sciences recomends sending a letter to Congress and has provided a sample template for you to use.
What are your thoughts on sequestration? What have you heard from your colleagues and PIs about the looming impact of sequestartion? Please share. We’d love to hear the word “on the street.”
Some time on the afternoon of February 12, 2013, an article was published in Biology Letters with the title “Disposable penis and its replenishment in a simultaneous hermaphrodite.” In the past 24 hours since the article has been published, nearly 78,000 posts have appeared on the internet dedicated to the story of the sea slug’s disposable penis.
If you haven’t yet read about it, (how could you have missed it), a team of Japanese evolutionary biologists found that the Chromodoris reticulata loses its penis within 20 minutes of mating and cannot remate for another 24 hours until its penis if fully regrown.
We won’t go into any more detail here regarding the story since there are plenty of resources avaiable on google should you be interested. However, we would like to pose the question, should this story have garnered so much online interest? Sex sells, but after all, this is science.