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Michael Halpern

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About the author: Michael Halpern is an expert on political interference in science and solutions to reduce suppression, manipulation, and distortion of government science. See Michael's full bio.

Update: EPA Will Review Troublesome Communications Policy for Independent Science Advisory Board

Last week, UCS joined other science and journalism organizations in a letter to the EPA expressing concern about how a new policy might limit the ability of independent scientists who advise the agency to speak publicly about their scientific research and opinions in a personal capacity, particularly the scientists who serve on its Science Advisory Board. Read More

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GOP State Senator Defends Marijuana Researcher Fired by the University of Arizona

Arizona State Senator Ethan Orr (R-Tucson) is defending Suzanne Sisley, a University of Arizona marijuana researcher who was abruptly fired on Friday. Dr. Sisley claims that although no reason was given for her dismissal, university administrators confronted her earlier this year after she was highly critical of other state legislators who had blocked state funding of her research. Read More

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The World Cup and Concussions: Allowing Medical Evidence to Keep Soccer Players Safe

In the wake of the terrible decision to allow Uruguayan footballer Alvaro Pereria to continue playing after being knocked out by a knee to his head, a chorus is growing to empower independent doctors to determine whether a player is fit to return to the game. Read More

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Uruguay Wins, Science Loses in the World Cup as Pereria Concussion Is Ignored

Uruguay beat England yesterday in the World Cup and most of the headlines were about the late go-ahead goal that sent the British players packing. Barely mentioned in the initial coverage were the grave mistakes made by everyone involved in the game when faced with a potentially significant brain injury. Read More

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More High Profile FOIA Requests at the University of Virginia

The University of Virginia is facing another high-profile open records request, this time from LGBT rights organizers on the political left. Fortunately, UVa has set a highly visible precedent in terms of how it should respond to a Freedom of Information Act request, and has a Virginia Supreme Court decision to back it up. Read More

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House of Representatives Tells Pentagon to Ignore Climate Change Science

The House giveth, the House taketh away. Last Friday, I wrote about how the House Armed Services Committee, in its funding bill for the Department of Defense, encouraged DoD to give its scientists adequate funding to travel to scientific meetings. It was a great example of the House of Representatives supporting science and scientists. And then came West Virginia Representative David McKinley. Read More

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House Committee Supports Lifting Travel Restrictions for Government Scientists

I’ve written before about how burdensome and unnecessary travel restrictions prevent federal government scientists from participating in scientific meetings and collaborating with their peers. So I was delighted to see the following text in the accompanying report to the Defense Department authorizing bill that passed unanimously out of the House Armed Services Committee on May 7, which is worth quoting at some length (my emphasis added): Read More

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After Doubling Down on Scientific Integrity, EPA Ditches Its Science Advisor

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has ditched her science advisor, Glenn Paulson. The move came the day after she gave a major address at the National Academies of Science, telling the audience that “[t]he work we do together to preserve the integrity of our science is as critical as ever.” Dr. Paulson’s departure from this position is a loss for the agency, and the position should be filled quickly to ensure that progress on scientific integrity can continue. Read More

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Transforming Food Policy Through Science from Coast to Coast

From Let’s Move! to farmers markets, the conversation about how public health science is informing and leading to healthier food policies and food environments is growing. And at every level, good things are happening. Leading up to the May 6 Science and Democracy Forum on “Science, Democracy, and a Healthy Food Policy,” we asked for examples of people using scientific and public health evidence to improve food environments. Here’s a flavor of some of the work highlighted in your responses: Read More

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Virginia Supreme Court Unanimously Supports Academic Freedom at the University of Virginia

The Supreme Court of Virginia today found unanimously in favor of the University of Virginia in its attempt to protect its employees from unwarranted intrusions into their privacy through the commonwealth’s Freedom of Information Act (VFOIA). In doing so, the Court rebuffed efforts by the American Tradition Institute (ATI) to gain access to the private correspondence of UVa researchers. The Court’s decision signals to scientists at public universities that the pursuit of scientific knowledge will be protected in Virginia, no matter how their research results might be received. Read More

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