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Science Diplomacy and Subtle Ways of Discouraging International Collaboration

Yellow fever killed hundreds of thousands of people and sickened many more throughout the 19th Century, and nobody knew for sure how it was spread or how to contain it. It was the most dreaded disease in the Americas, creating mass panic and destroying commerce. Read More

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A Funny Thing Happened at the Fish and Wildlife Service: The Wolverine Endangered Species Listing

What does the wolverine have to do with climate change? No, the X-men haven’t decided to #ActOnClimate (yet), but the two are very much related.  Wolverines are mammals that live in snowy terrain of the mountain West, and they are currently threatened by climate change, at least according to some scientists. But if you ask the decision makers at the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), you might get a different story. Read More

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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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Is EPA Excessively Restricting Access to its Science Advisory Board Members?

UCS learned recently that at a closed-door meeting of the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) on July 24, the EPA put forward a new memorandum from EPA Chief of Staff Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming that seems to extend free speech restrictions to independent scientists who advise the agency. The memo is written in a way that could discourage scientists from informing public discussion around important topics. Read More

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Los Alamos Firing Demonstrates Exactly What’s Wrong with Scientific Integrity at the Department of Energy

Yesterday, my colleague Lisbeth Gronlund wrote about the unjust firing of James Doyle, a 17-year employee of Los Alamos National Laboratory. The PhD political scientist was fired over an academic article he wrote on his personal time—not as an official representative of the national lab—that argued for eliminating nuclear weapons. Read More

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The Endangered Species Act under Attack: Science, Politics, and the Real Meaning of Transparency

The cartoon below has never been more appropriate. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is attacked by political interests with some regularity, but the current proposal from the House Natural Resources Committee threatens to halt much of the science-based work that the law has enabled. Read More

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“Hide No Harm” Bill Will Tip the Balance in Favor of Science and Safety over Corporate Profits

On July 16, Senators Richard Blumenthal (CT), Tom Harkin (IA) and Robert Casey (PA) introduced S. 2615, the “Hide No Harm Act.” Their legislation would impose criminal penalties—fines and even imprisonment—on corporate executives if they knowingly failed to warn the public about life-threatening dangers in their products. 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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Dear Surgeon General: We’re Fed Up, Let’s Act on Sugar

When I was a child, I would read the ingredients on food packages. Nearly every package I picked up began with the same ingredient. “What’s high fructose corn syrup?” I asked my Mom.  “I don’t know,” my mom said, “but we could certainly get rich from selling it. It’s in everything!” 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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