Monthly Archives: February 2009

An upside to hyena dung

...because freedom costs a buck'o fiveHappy President’s Day, to those of you who got a day off! Our boss scheduled a meeting today, in spite of the holiday, so Lucy K. and I were busy slaving in the lab. In celebration of the holiday, some light science fare today.

Did you know…

…that hyena dung can preserve human hair for 200,000 years?

…that a famous actor is going to restart the Large Hadron Collider?

…that supersized calories are in our kitchens, not just at McDonald’s?

…that a green comet is passing by next week?

Photo courtesy of dean.franklin


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Filed under BioBites, Lucy Q.

Happy (almost) Darwin Day!

Tomorrow, February 12th, is a big day in the world of biology – it’s Darwin’s 200th birthday! Charles Darwin, the father of the theory of evolution was born on February 12, 1809, and published his famous book “On the Origin of Species” about 50 years later. Scientists around the globe are planning events to celebrate Darwin’s discovery, as well as scientific innovation generally. There are a variety of talks and events aimed at the public.

To find out about Darwin Day and events near you, check out

Photo courtesy of lofaesofa

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What does the stimulus mean for Science?

Like the rest of the US, scientists are looking to see what piece of the stimulus package we’ll get. Under recent administration policies science funding has stagnated. When Obama mentioned science in his inaugural address scientists across the US cheered. Now that the new HUGE stimulus package is appearing, what does it really mean for science? Until a bill passes not much, but here’s what may be coming.
Two of the major sources of grant funding for academia, the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) could each be receiving around $3 billion. The Department of Energy and the Department of Defense (Biodefense) may receive $40 billion and $900 million, respectively. Other science related agencies may also receive additional funding.
So what does it all mean? Well, first the bill will have to be passed. After that happens, hopefully we’ll begin to see the funding distributed. Additional funding means more scientists and more discoveries. This will benefit the general public in a number of ways. Some of the effects will be immediate, like more jobs generated, both for scientists, and for those people that build equipment and consumables that scientists use. Some discoveries will have an effect over the next few years, like those associated with green technology. Other benefits will not be felt for years to come, since the drug discovery process takes years. Other effects will be less tangible but no less important. More money will hopefully encourage more Americans to become scientists, which will help America maintain her place as a world leader in science and innovation.
No matter what happens with the stimulus, more money for science benefits everyone.

Want to know more? Check out the policy blog from
Science magazine.

Photo provided by Steve Wampler.

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