The mad ramblings of a scientist
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Thursday, June 29, 2006

New life for federal funding for stem cell research

I have likened the (modern incarnation) of the conservative party as the party of selfishness. What else do you call the obsession over tax cuts even though it is clear people will suffer? Why else would anyone recklessly exchange short-term gains in riches for a huge budget deficit? Fortunately, selfishness sometimes changes policy for the better. Consider the case of Nancy Reagen. Her personal experience with the tragedy of Alzheimer's disease has turned her into one of the most powerful proponents of stem-cell research. And, according to the Associated Press, her efforts may very well result in overturning one of the many selfish decisions of our President.

Posted at: 3:12 PM
Categories: Diary

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Gore got it right

&hellipin his blockbuster documentary "An Inconvenient Truth", based on an informal survey of climate scientists performed by the Associated Press. According to the article, President Bush has no plans to see the movie. Neither do the heads of the EPA or NASA, although it is supposed to be on the "to-see" list of the president's science advisor.

Posted at: 2:22 PM (Edited: June 30, 2006, 9:12 AM)
Categories: Physics in the news

Monday, June 26, 2006

We're going to the moon, now let's figure out why

Here is an article from space.com. Since the administration has basically decided we are going to the moon no matter what, now is perhaps a good time to figure out why we should go. If you have any great idea for a science project on the moon, feel free to forward them to the National Academies panel that NASA has commissioned. Of course, since the manned exploration program is draining all of the money out of the NASA science budget, make sure your idea is cheap.

Here is a quote in the article that summarizes things nicely:

ÜThe exploration program is not science driven but we want to do as much great science as we possibly can within the resources that are available to us,Ý Hertz (chief scientist for NASA's Science Mission Directorate) said, later adding: ÜThere is no augmentation to the science budget to execute any science opportunities that are enabled by exploration no matter how important they are.Ý
Posted at: 2:40 PM
Categories: Physics in the news
The search for gravity waves continues

The collaboration behind the GEO600 gravity wave detector has announced the beginning of an eighteen month data collection run. In their press release they sound optimistic that they have a good chance of detecting gravitational waves for the first time. If they do, they will beat the older American-based gravity wave experiment called LIGO, based in Hanford, WA and Livingston, LA.

Meanwhile, there is an excellent article from the Economist, also pointed out by interactions, discussing gravitation waves and the race to detect them. (I only wish the New York times science reporters were half as good as the ones used by the Economist.)

Posted at: 9:37 AM (Edited: June 26, 2006, 2:47 PM)
Categories: Physics in the news

Sunday, June 25, 2006

LHC schedule confirmed

The startup schedule for the Large Hadron Collider (or LHC) has been confirmed by the project leader, according to interactions. The LHC, currently in construction at the European high-energy physics laboratory CERN, will be the highest energy particle accelerator to ever operate. The first low-energy collisions are planned for November 2007, with full-energy operation taking place the spring of 2008.

Posted at: 6:36 PM
Categories: Physics in the news