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 Post subject: from current journals as of 2015 09 03
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:38 pm 
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I've been behind in my journal reading, so some of these are from older ones.

Science 21 August 2015
News
Crowdsourcing animal research
The Beagle Freedom Project is an animal rights group that teaches its members how to use FOIA to get information from public universities. BFP members are invited to “adopt” a particular research animal. In particular, BFP has accused Ohio State University of violating NIH guidelines on animal care; OSU provided information to Science refuting the allegations; however note says BFP could cause “headaches” for animal researchers.
News in Depth
Big Archaeology fights Big Oil to preserve ancient landscape
The ancient landscape in question is the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in western New Mexico. The area has experienced a boom due to gas and oil production; archaeologists want a 16-mile buffer zone off limits to exploration or production. It’s noted that the BLM only owns about 19% of the land in the buffer zone’ the remainder is owned by the State, the Navajo Nation, or individual Navajo.
War over Belgian polar station
The International Polar Foundation raised €21M (with €9M coming from the Belgian government and the rest from private donors) to build the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica research station. The completed station was turned over to the Belgian government in 2009, with the IPF continuing to handle logistics and operations. However, in 2011, auditors found irregularities in the way the IPF was handling public funds; in particular IPF president Philippe Mettens was accused of diverting money to companies owned by him or his wife. In 2013, with the investigation still ongoing, the IPF announced it was rescinding the agreement with the Belgian government and taking back ownership of the station. In August 2015 emails to that effect were sent to all researchers. Five days later, the Belgian government struck back with its own emails, stating that the IPF announcement was “null and void” and from now on the station would be run by the Belgian government. Researchers at the station are understandably concerned; despite whatever financial irregularities the IPF may be involved in, they don’t believe the Belgian government has the technical expertise to operate the station.
New rules may end U.S. chimpanzee research
In June 2015 the USFWS announced that it was reclassifying all chimpanzees in the United States as “endangered species”. As a result, any “invasive” research requires a FWS permit, and such permits for endangered species are required to be for the benefit of the animals, not for humans. We’ve had some discussion before on what constitutes a “taking” under the ESA; even organizations that are only doing behavioral research on chimps are concerned that their activities may constitute “taking” and therefore be subject to FWS permit. The deadline to apply for a permit has passed, and no one applied for one; thus all chimp research must end by September 14 2015 (labs engaged in behavioral research only are apparently crossing their fingers and hoping they don’t count).
Rethinking the time “lost” to red tape
Studies in 2005 and 2012 estimated that researchers with Federal grants spend 42% of their time on administrative activities associated with complying with grant regulations rather than actually doing research. In this note it’s suggested that the 42% number is exaggerated; the surveys counted anything except “active research” as “administrative costs”. As a result, preparing proposals, library research, training graduate students, and communicating the results of research all counted as “administrative” costs.
Features
The Supplement Sleuth
Pieter Cohen is an MD working for the Cambridge Health Alliance, which operates low-income clinics in Massachusetts. A number of his patients were Brazilian immigrants; when they began coming to him with various mysterious symptoms he identified a common thread: they were all taking weight loss dietary supplements imported from Brazil. He had the supplements analyzed; they turned out to contain amphetamines, fluoxetine (generic for Prozac), thyroid hormones, and diuretics. Cohen then started sort of a one-man crusade against supplements; his strategy was to publish fast in low-profile journals and send the results to a network of sympathetic journalists. In 2015 he identified illegal and prescription-only drugs in more than 50 dietary supplements. The supplement industry has filed a lawsuit against him, claiming that the supposed “drugs” were actually natural herbal products and “botanicals”. I’m all for Cohen; “supplement” is too often a synonym for “snake oil”. However, his tactic of publishing in obscure journals and feeding his results to journalists is suspiciously like the tactics of anti-vax, anti-gmo and other antiscience groups. Perhaps turnabout is fair play.
Genetically engineered trees: Paralysis from good intentions
The theme for this issue of Science is forestry; this article notes that genetic engineering of trees has been subject to the same regulatory stalemate as other products. Trees are particularly problematical since conventional breeding techniques take much longer than, for example, tomatoes. The article notes something I wasn’t aware of; the various “sustainable” certifications for forest products all preclude genetically engineered trees, even for research and even of their lumber is not used in the finished product (in other words, if you have genetically engineered tree test plot, that part of your land is no longer considered “sustainable”, even if it is reverted to conventional trees. The article notes, plaintively “No GE regulatory system adequately accounts for the costs of not using a genetically engineered technology or product”.

Nature 20 August 2015
Seven Days
Pollution deaths
A climate-science non-profit, Berkeley Earth, used data from 1500 air pollution monitoring sites in China to estimate 38% of the country had air that exceeded US EPA standards; if the EPA pollution death estimates are applied to this, air pollution causes 1.6M deaths/year in China, 17% of the total mortality.
News in focus
China’s emissions overestimated
Data from 4200 Chinese coal mines finds that China’s carbon emissions are 40% less than the figure adopted by the IPCC. The short note implies that the misestimate was due to underestimating the energy content of Chinese coal. It’s also noted that even with the reduction, China is still the world’s largest carbon emitter. It’s also noted that the reduction is Chinese emission estimates is greater than the total amount of carbon dioxide all the world’s forests pull out of the air; to put it another way, the best method of reducing “carbon footprint” is to recalculate the data rather than plant trees. There is a caution; a research warns “With Chinese energy statistics there is always a ‘but’”. There is a full length Letter (Reduced carbon emission estimates from fossil fuel combustion and cement production in China) with details on methodology.
Feature news
The Cannabis Experiment
As laws legalizing marijuana go into effect, scientists note there isn’t any really good data on potential effects. A researcher at the University of Colorado commented that there are about 100 times as many studies on effects of tobacco and alcohol as marijuana. It’s noted, ironically, that since there are well-organized and politically powerful lobbies for legalization “marijuana research is like tobacco research in the ‘60s. Any study about harms is challenged” and researchers are bombarded with emails from pro-marijuana groups if they make any negative comments about the drug. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has established a lab to measure drug potency; previous studies found that only 17% of marijuana sold was accurately labeled for THC content.
Letter
Reconstructing the reproductive mode of an Ediacaran macro-organism
(Appended to an earlier thread)

Science 10 July 2015
News in depth
U.S. to review agricultural biotech regulations
The federal rules for reviewing agricultural biotech products were issued in 1986 and updated in 1992, and were based on the technology in use at the time. As an example, the note cites the GM sterile mosquito developed to reduce dengue fever – this counts as an “animal drug” and is under review by the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. OTOH glow-in-the-dark house plants are now commercially available, because the particular technique used to make them wasn’t one of the ones covered in the 1986 and 1992 regulations. The USDA has similarly determined that a soybean modified for longer storage using a CRISPR-like precision gene-editing technique falls outside its authority for GM plants.


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 Post subject: Re: from current journals as of 2015 09 03
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 1:30 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:45 am
Posts: 8222
setnahkt wrote:
Big Archaeology fights Big Oil to preserve ancient landscape
The ancient landscape in question is the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in western New Mexico. The area has experienced a boom due to gas and oil production; archaeologists want a 16-mile buffer zone off limits to exploration or production. It’s noted that the BLM only owns about 19% of the land in the buffer zone’ the remainder is owned by the State, the Navajo Nation, or individual Navajo.


Good luck telling the Navajo Nation it can't develop its oil resources. Tribal sovereignty, etc. Still. I love Chaco, but responsible drilling isn't going to ruin the place.

Quote:
War over Belgian polar station
The International Polar Foundation raised €21M (with €9M coming from the Belgian government and the rest from private donors) to build the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica research station. The completed station was turned over to the Belgian government in 2009, with the IPF continuing to handle logistics and operations. However, in 2011, auditors found irregularities in the way the IPF was handling public funds; in particular IPF president Philippe Mettens was accused of diverting money to companies owned by him or his wife. In 2013, with the investigation still ongoing, the IPF announced it was rescinding the agreement with the Belgian government and taking back ownership of the station. In August 2015 emails to that effect were sent to all researchers. Five days later, the Belgian government struck back with its own emails, stating that the IPF announcement was “null and void” and from now on the station would be run by the Belgian government. Researchers at the station are understandably concerned; despite whatever financial irregularities the IPF may be involved in, they don’t believe the Belgian government has the technical expertise to operate the station.


Ya think?

Also: Princess Elisabeth:

Image

Not exactly your perky Katie Couric type.

Quote:
New rules may end U.S. chimpanzee research
In June 2015 the USFWS announced that it was reclassifying all chimpanzees in the United States as “endangered species”. As a result, any “invasive” research requires a FWS permit, and such permits for endangered species are required to be for the benefit of the animals, not for humans. [url=http://www.notesoft.com/DiscussionBoards/Debunkers/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=6118]We’ve had some discussion before on what constitutes a “taking” under the ESA; even organizations that are only doing behavioral research on chimps are concerned that their activities may constitute “taking” and therefore be subject to FWS permit. The deadline to apply for a permit has passed, and no one applied for one; thus all chimp research must end by September 14 2015 (labs engaged in behavioral research only are apparently crossing their fingers and hoping they don’t count).


Doncha love living in a democracy, where bureaucrats are answerable to the voters? </not>

I'm coming to the view that the military-industrial complex is meh; the real threat is the judicial-bureaucratic complex. </rant>

Quote:
The Supplement Sleuth
Pieter Cohen is an MD working for the Cambridge Health Alliance, which operates low-income clinics in Massachusetts. A number of his patients were Brazilian immigrants; when they began coming to him with various mysterious symptoms he identified a common thread: they were all taking weight loss dietary supplements imported from Brazil. He had the supplements analyzed; they turned out to contain amphetamines, fluoxetine (generic for Prozac), thyroid hormones, and diuretics. Cohen then started sort of a one-man crusade against supplements; his strategy was to publish fast in low-profile journals and send the results to a network of sympathetic journalists. In 2015 he identified illegal and prescription-only drugs in more than 50 dietary supplements. The supplement industry has filed a lawsuit against him, claiming that the supposed “drugs” were actually natural herbal products and “botanicals”. I’m all for Cohen; “supplement” is too often a synonym for “snake oil”. However, his tactic of publishing in obscure journals and feeding his results to journalists is suspiciously like the tactics of anti-vax, anti-gmo and other antiscience groups. Perhaps turnabout is fair play.


If he has a legal defense fund, please post the link here.

Quote:
Genetically engineered trees: Paralysis from good intentions
The theme for this issue of Science is forestry; this article notes that genetic engineering of trees has been subject to the same regulatory stalemate as other products. Trees are particularly problematical since conventional breeding techniques take much longer than, for example, tomatoes. The article notes something I wasn’t aware of; the various “sustainable” certifications for forest products all preclude genetically engineered trees, even for research and even of their lumber is not used in the finished product (in other words, if you have genetically engineered tree test plot, that part of your land is no longer considered “sustainable”, even if it is reverted to conventional trees. The article notes, plaintively “No GE regulatory system adequately accounts for the costs of not using a genetically engineered technology or product”.


Sigh. ... Till Birnam forest come to Dunsinane? One can hope that will work out as well for the anti-GMO activists as it did for Macbeth.

Quote:
Nature 20 August 2015
Seven Days
Pollution deaths
A climate-science non-profit, Berkeley Earth, used data from 1500 air pollution monitoring sites in China to estimate 38% of the country had air that exceeded US EPA standards; if the EPA pollution death estimates are applied to this, air pollution causes 1.6M deaths/year in China, 17% of the total mortality.


It would be great to get the actually mortality as the test of the EPA models. Alas, it's China ...

Quote:
Feature news
The Cannabis Experiment
As laws legalizing marijuana go into effect, scientists note there isn’t any really good data on potential effects. A researcher at the University of Colorado commented that there are about 100 times as many studies on effects of tobacco and alcohol as marijuana. It’s noted, ironically, that since there are well-organized and politically powerful lobbies for legalization “marijuana research is like tobacco research in the ‘60s. Any study about harms is challenged” and researchers are bombarded with emails from pro-marijuana groups if they make any negative comments about the drug.


What, you mean tobacco executives weren't uniquely evil? I am shocked, shocked...

Quote:
Science 10 July 2015
News in depth
U.S. to review agricultural biotech regulations
The federal rules for reviewing agricultural biotech products were issued in 1986 and updated in 1992, and were based on the technology in use at the time. As an example, the note cites the GM sterile mosquito developed to reduce dengue fever – this counts as an “animal drug” and is under review by the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. OTOH glow-in-the-dark house plants are now commercially available, because the particular technique used to make them wasn’t one of the ones covered in the 1986 and 1992 regulations. The USDA has similarly determined that a soybean modified for longer storage using a CRISPR-like precision gene-editing technique falls outside its authority for GM plants.

[/quote]

So bureaucratic error is our best hope of actually realizing some benefits from GMOs? Not that a glow-in-the-dark house plant is gonna revolutionize Western living, even though it does sound pretty cool.


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 Post subject: Re: from current journals as of 2015 09 03
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2016 7:33 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:48 am
Posts: 4315
Location: Broomfield, Colorado
setnahkt wrote:
Science 21 August 2015
News in Depth
New rules may end U.S. chimpanzee research
In June 2015 the USFWS announced that it was reclassifying all chimpanzees in the United States as “endangered species”. As a result, any “invasive” research requires a FWS permit, and such permits for endangered species are required to be for the benefit of the animals, not for humans. We’ve had some discussion before on what constitutes a “taking” under the ESA; even organizations that are only doing behavioral research on chimps are concerned that their activities may constitute “taking” and therefore be subject to FWS permit. The deadline to apply for a permit has passed, and no one applied for one; thus all chimp research must end by September 14 2015 (labs engaged in behavioral research only are apparently crossing their fingers and hoping they don’t count).


Science 13 May 2016
News
Research facility to release its chimps
The New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana will move all 220 of its chimpanzees to Project Chimps, a sanctuary in Blue Ridge,Georgia. The chimps will be moved in small groups, to keep social networks intact; the move will take 3-5 years.


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 Post subject: Re: from current journals as of 2015 09 03
PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 8:27 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:48 am
Posts: 4315
Location: Broomfield, Colorado
setnahkt wrote:
Science 21 August 2015
Features
The Supplement Sleuth
Pieter Cohen is an MD working for the Cambridge Health Alliance, which operates low-income clinics in Massachusetts. A number of his patients were Brazilian immigrants; when they began coming to him with various mysterious symptoms he identified a common thread: they were all taking weight loss dietary supplements imported from Brazil. He had the supplements analyzed; they turned out to contain amphetamines, fluoxetine (generic for Prozac), thyroid hormones, and diuretics. Cohen then started sort of a one-man crusade against supplements; his strategy was to publish fast in low-profile journals and send the results to a network of sympathetic journalists. In 2015 he identified illegal and prescription-only drugs in more than 50 dietary supplements. The supplement industry has filed a lawsuit against him, claiming that the supposed “drugs” were actually natural herbal products and “botanicals”. I’m all for Cohen; “supplement” is too often a synonym for “snake oil”. However, his tactic of publishing in obscure journals and feeding his results to journalists is suspiciously like the tactics of anti-vax, anti-gmo and other antiscience groups. Perhaps turnabout is fair play.


Science 11 November 2016
News
Court clear supplement sleuth
A jury trial found for defendant Peter Cohen in a libel suit filed by H-Tech Pharmaceuticals of Norcross, Georgia. Cohen had asserted that H-Tech’s supplements contained β-methylphenylethylamine, which the FDA had ordered off the market; H-Tech insisted that their supplements only contained an extract of Acacia rigidula.


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