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 http://www.darwinday.org

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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More Evidence that Google is AWESOME!

More reasons to love Google, some great news about your energy bill, and more. Check it out in
this week’s BioBites!

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The worst jobs in science… and grad student didn’t even make the list!

Popular Science has put together a list of the worst jobs in science for 2009. Want to know more? Think your job is worse? After you read about what a taphonomist does, I bet you’ll change your mind!

Photo provided by practicalowl.

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The March of the Penguins

One of the great aspects of science is that most of the time the news is good. New discoveries are constantly being made that improve life for humans and animals. Sadly, sometimes the news is not so good. In this story about emperor penguins, as with most other stories about global warming, the news is not good. However, since emperor penguins are one of my favorite animals, I think that even a sad story deserves our attention. I hope you think so too.

I want more candy!
You’re lying, right?
My brain hurts!

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It’s hard to think about global warming when it’s 12 degrees

If it’s as cold where you are as it has been in Boston, global warming might not be the first thing on your mind, but it’s been a hot topic in science news this week. Read about this and more (including training bees and healing nerves) in…

…this week’s BioBites!

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YouTube for Scientists: DNATube

We scientists also like to procrastinate by checking out cool videos online, but sometimes the videos we check out are pretty nerdy. If you’d like to check out some nerdy videos, DNATube is definitely the best place to go. There are AMAZING videos here of all kinds of biological processes, from how DNA is packaged inside the cell to animations of immune cells attacking cancer cells. Whether animations or live images, the videos here are sure to be interesting, even if you don’t completely understand what’s happening (I know sometimes I don’t!). Check it out here at www.dnatube.com.

Photo by Aaron Escobar

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