Science Progressing: April 27
House passes cyber security bill
In the face of a White House veto threat, The House of Representatives passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, in a 248-168 vote on Thursday. The White House criticized the bill for lacking strong privacy protections. The bill has readily been compared to the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, for its threat to civil liberties but it has very different aims than SOPA’s concern with intellectual property theft. The bill is instead a House version of the Senate Republican SECURE-IT Act. The White Housetting minimum network security standards for critical infrastructure. In the batch of recent cybersecurity legislation the CyberSecurity Act contains the strongest privacy protections.
Yale study shows bipartisan support for climate and energy policies (PDF)
When 52 precent of Republicans report that global warming “should be a priority,” it just might be time for GOP leaders to listen to their scientists, let alone their constituents. The Yale study also found that 92 percent of Americans favor developing sources of clean energy.
White House releases National Bioeconomy Blueprint
The 43 page document lays out an analysis of how a focus on sustaining innovation in the bioeconomy benefits the nation in a competitive global market. From sustainable energy sources to medical treatments, the administration is signaling future commitment to expanding biotechnology investments.
DOD shows going green saves lives
Not necessarily spurred by climate change, the DOD is interested in sustainability to reduce risk to personnel. The University of Kansas professor of journalism, Simran Sethi, says that the “apolitical” military “changes the whole perspective on what it means to engage in sustainability.”
INVESTING IN EDUCATION
California’s nets positive return on college investments
The University of Berkley completed a study that has shown 12 billion in annual economic revenue to the state is produced by investments in college graduates. The authors conclude that the economic benefit-cost ratio of California’s higher education investments exceed 3-to-1. With innovation in science and technology fueling much economic growth in California and across the country, this study holds as further argument to increase investments focused on graduating more STEM educated students.
Urban heat islands spur tree growth
Columbia University researchers have found that tree seedlings grew 8 times faster in urban centers than they did in cooler suburbs. ScienceDaily asks if the rise in temperature caused by heat islands is a peek into the future caused by overall temperature increases from global warming.
New stem cell found in brain
The new brain stem cell is able to form into several other cells including new brain cells. Similar cells in muscle, bone, cartilage and adipose tissue have previously been discovered and have been used to promote regeneration of damaged tissue in those areas. The discovery promises similar regenerative therapies for brain injuries of degenerative brain disorders.
New nano regulations
Amid studies that have found nanoparticle can dramatically affect nutrient uptake, the FDA has issued tentative regulations for manufacturers using the particles. The non-binding drafts of the regulation is open for comment for 90 days, but encourages manufactures using nanoparticles in food or packaging to contact the FDA as their products may soon require additional safety testing.
Russian arctic oil spill
Oil flowed unimpeded from a well in the arctic for 37 hours beginning last Friday. The spill is believed to have gushed at some 500 tons per hour and covered some 8,000 square meters of land.
Jason Thomas compiled and summarized this week’s news.
Comments on this article