The Scientific Activist

Archives for April, 2008

When the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) last week released a report detailing widespread political interference in science at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), I almost didn’t blog about it, since the fact that political interference runs rampant in the Bush Administration shouldn’t be news to anyone. And, since this interference is occasionally motivated by…

China Behaving Badly

Earlier this week, I wrote about the Chinese ship carrying arms bound for Zimbabwe that was turned away thanks primarily to the actions of the South African dockworkers’ union. A news story from the Mail & Guardian today gives a pretty good indication of just how those weapons might have been used if they had…

Last Thursday (April 24), the Senate unanimously passed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA, H.R. 493) in a landmark vote. The goal of this bill is “to prohibit discrimination on the basis of genetic information with respect to health insurance and employment,” and it therefore would help fill this gaping hole that exists…

Now that the Chinese ship An Yue Jiang–which was delivering arms from China to Zimbabwe–has been turned away for good, there are two significant aspects of this story upon which we should reflect. The first is that the true heroes of this tale are the unionized dockworkers, who catalyzed this turn of events by their…

Molecule of the Day has a post up about isotopically-enriched food that caught my eye for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the idea is wildly outrageous, and, secondly, this is something that actually gets joked about quite a bit in an NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) lab. Any given element can come in various isotopes, which…

Why Are Veins Blue?

When someone asks the question “why are veins blue?” a likely response is that they’re blue because the blood in veins is deoxygenated. While it’s true that venous blood vessels carry a lower concentration of oxygen than their arterial counterparts, this isn’t the reason for their blue appearance in your skin. Still, when someone invariably…

The arguably wacky premise behind a New York Times article this Saturday is that the Large Hadron Collider (LHR)–slated to be the world’s most impressive particle accelerator when it’s up and running later this year–could inadvertently produce an Earth-destroying black hole. Or, that’s at least what a couple of guys in Hawaii think, and they’re…