science

February 27, 2019

China has been leaning on American know-how to build a sprawling surveillance program in Xinjiang province, according to the New York Times. Scientists working with Chinese police have been using equipment from Thermo Fisher, a supplier of biotechnology tools in Massachusetts. They also shared genetic survey data with Kenneth Kidd, a geneticist at Yale University. The genetic data was being used to be able to determine, from a blood sample, if someone had Uighur ancestry. Chinese scientists even filed a patent on the idea.

February 25, 2019

We still have no idea what 20 per cent of protein-coding genes are for. What’s more, we have stopped making progress, according to a study looking at what we know about yeast and human proteins. “Basically we really don’t have a clue,” says team leader Valerie Wood at the University of Cambridge.

February 24, 2019

23andMe hasn’t said if the move is designed to retain control over its data or in response to concerns about user privacy. The company had plans several years ago to launch an app store, according to two people familiar with the matter, but opted not to move forward with the project because of challenges with vetting third-party developers. At-home DNA testing companies have been at the center of a privacy firestorm in recent months.

February 24, 2019

A U.S. biotech company will no longer allow China to purchase equipment believed to have been used to help the ruling Communist Party create a DNA database of the country’s Uighur minority. China in recent years has been able to ramp up its controversial monitoring and detaining of the ethnic group mostly situation in the Xinjiang province with the "help of Americans", according to a New York Times report.

February 22, 2019

Droegemeier's message was aspirational, pledging to combat sexual harassment in science without giving any details and to ease federal regulations on research. He made passing mention of climate change, which many researchers see as the most pressing science-based issue of our time. And he said the key to future scientific preeminence isn't increased federal funding, but stronger collaborations among government, industry, academia, and private foundations.

February 21, 2019

Machine-learning techniques used by thousands of scientists to analyse data are producing results that are misleading and often completely wrong. Dr Genevera Allen from Rice University in Houston said that the increased use of such systems was contributing to a “crisis in science”. She warned scientists that if they didn’t improve their techniques they would be wasting both time and money. Her research was presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington.

February 19, 2019

Greenland’s ice sheet is the second largest body of ice in the world, so scientists are naturally interested in how it’s changing with the climate and what’s under there. Recent studies of the ice sheet with radar revealed something unexpected: an impact crater. What’s more unexpected than an impact crater? A second impact crater. NASA says it just spotted a second crater just over a hundred miles from the first one, and the team believes they formed at different times.

February 17, 2019

Kelvin K. Droegemeier, Director of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), spoke at the AAAS Annual Meeting on February 15th, 2019. Entitled “A Second Bold Era of American Science and Technology,” it was Droegemeier’s first major speech since taking the helm at OSTP.

February 17, 2019

Kelvin Droegemeier, newly minted science adviser to US President Donald Trump, wants industry to take a larger role in funding research, with the ultimate goal of ushering in a “second golden era” of US science. Collaboration between the public and private sectors, as well as reducing regulatory burdens, would be key to maintaining America as a dominant global force in science, the meteorologist said on 15 February, in his first public address since taking office last month.

February 15, 2019

With less than two days to go before the US government runs out of money, lawmakers in Congress are scrambling to pass a budget deal that would give small increases to NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and many other science agencies.

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