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Science Progressing: April 20

Science Progressing is your weekly guide to the science and technology policy news you should not have missed. Did we leave anything out? Tweet or facebook us and let us know.

ENVIRONMENT
BP Creatures
Two years after the BP oil spill, severely deformed fish and shellfish are increasingly found in along the Gulf Coast. Shrimp with large growths and no eyes, crabs with rotting or partial shells and fish with lesions and missing eye sockets are some of what fishermen are pulling out of Louisiana waters.

INVESTING IN SCIENCE
NIST set to gain 10 percent
Close to the $857 million NIST requested and Obama proposed, it looks like the National Institute of Standards and Technology will clear the chopping block with $830 million. The 10 percent increase from 2011 is a sizable gain considering the flat or cutback proposals for other science budgets.

CLIMATE SCIENCE
Large majority of Americans connect extreme weather to climate change
A Yale University poll has found that by 2 to 1, Americans believe weather is getting worse in recent years. This detailed study even asked about “several high profile extreme weather events” and found a large majority of Americans attribute global warming to making them “worse.”

BIOMEDICAL SCIENCE
Buckyballs nearly double lifespan of lab rats
A study carried out in France administered olive-oil infused with spherically arranged carbon molecules called buckyballs to test for toxicity. Instead of being toxic the buckyballs extended the life of lab rats from 22 to 42 months.

FUNDING SCIENCE
NIH budget looks to gain 3.3 percent
The total is $100 million less than what Obama proposed in his budget but is still a gain from over last year. The budget still needs approval by the appropriations committee. The bill being considered left Obama’s funding level intact for education, major research facilities, and operating expenses.

BIOMEDICAL SCIENCE
Print Your Drugs
Scientists at the University of Glasgow have created polymer gel vessels, “action-ware,” that can be used in commercially available 3d printers to literally print different pharmaceutical drugs. The technology is at a very early stage, but the implications of scaled possibilities are endless.

STEM EDUCATION
2012 Great Moonbuggy Race Winners
The annual NASA sponsored event challenges students to create a human powered buggy that can traverse a course that resembles the lunar surface. First place in the college division went to racers from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and first place in the high school division went to Petra Mercado High School of Humacao, Puerto Rico.

CLIMATE SCIENCE
Albedo effect: white roofs and light pavement
A new study by the University of Concordia, Canada has found that a city can help to increase the reflectivity of sunlight back into space- the albedo effect, by painting roofs white and using light colored pavements. If done worldwide it would have the same impact as taking all vehicles off the road for 50 years.

BIOMEDICAL SCIENCE
Quantum Improvement on Biosensors
University of California, Santa Barbara researchers have designed a biosensor that utilizes quantum mechanics. The sensors can be programed to detect specific biomolecules like screening for certain blood borne cancers or other pathogens and give results instantaneously.

Jason Thomas compiled and summarized this week’s news.

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