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Public Health Service Scientists Deserve Robust Whistleblower Protections

If you ever wanted Public Health Service scientists to have strong whistleblower rights, it would be now. In the face of an Ebola epidemic in West Africa, 65 PHS medical staffers have agreed to assist in combatting this frightening disease. Read More

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800+ Scientists Urge Greater Freedoms for Canadian Government Experts

New restrictions have made it difficult for scientists around the globe to collaborate with Canadian government scientists. In response, more than 800 scientists from 32 countries have signed a letter urging Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper to “remove excessive and burdensome restrictions and barriers to scientific communication and collaboration faced by Canadian government scientists.” The letter was published as an advertisement today in the Ottawa Citizen as part of the Government of Canada’s Science and Technology Week. Read More

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Remembering Rick Piltz, Scientific Integrity Advocate

Rick Piltz, founder of Climate Science Watch and revered whistleblower who exposed political interference in climate science, succumbed to cancer over the weekend. He took a brave and unusual path from civil servant to scientific integrity advocate and climate activist that inspired many of us. His memory will continue to motivate me and many others to work tirelessly for a better world where science more freely informs public policy. Read More

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The Not-So-Sweet Relief: How The Soda Industry Is Influencing Medical Organizations

Guest Bogger

Richard Bruno, MD and Kevin Burns, MD
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Baltimore, MD

With increasing scrutiny over the dire health consequences of sugar-sweetened beverages, soda manufacturers have turned to obscuring the science, confusing the consumer, and sponsoring medical organizations whose recommendations influence both providers and patients. Unfortunately these corporate partnerships are conflicts of interest that undermine the credibility of the organizations and stymie reform. Read More

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ALEC Can’t Deny Its Record of Climate Change Disinformation

Faced with an ongoing exodus of corporate funders — News Corp and Occidental Petroleum are among the latest departures — the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is suddenly in a hurry to hide its long history of denying the reality of climate change.

But there’s no hiding the fact that ALEC has fought for decades to inappropriately sow doubt around the scientific consensus that climate change is happening, that its cause is largely man-made, and that we need to do something about it. Read More

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Want to Talk to a Scientist in Canada? Don’t Look to the Federal Government

If you want to talk to a scientist in Canada who works for the government, you might be in for a long wait. That’s the takeaway from a new report that grades the communications policies of 12 Canadian government agencies, which found that many current policies hinder “open and timely communication” between government scientists and reporters, and do little to protect scientists’ free speech rights. Read More

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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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