Tag Archives: Policy

Sacked drugs advisor launches private panel

The scientist fired from the British government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) last year has launched a privately funded scientific committee to advise the public on the risks of drug use.

David Nutt, a psychopharmacologist from Imperial College in London, was dropped from the ACMD in October after his remarks contradicting the government’s classification of marijuana reached the press. Last month he announced the launch of his group, the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (ISCD). Continue reading Sacked drugs advisor launches private panel

Haiti earthquake may have primed nearby faults for failure

Geophysicists studying the 12 January earthquake in Haiti met yesterday with United Nations representatives and Haitian president René Garcia Préval to discuss what the latest measurements of the Earth’s shape can tell policymakers about future earthquakes. Several such ongoing geodesy studies suggest that the magnitude 7.0 earthquake, which has killed over 170,000 people so far, caused a 30- to 50-kilometre stretch of the fault southwest of Port-au-Prince to slip — possibly adding tension along an unreleased stretch of the same fault that passes even closer to Haiti’s capital.

Read the rest of the story on Nature News [html] or here [pdf]

Plans for alien contact found wanting

Enormous satellite dishes make up the search party for extraterrestrial life, but in the event of success, should a welcome party follow? Astronomers and biologists involved in the search for life on other planets are worried about a lack of regulatory and ethical policies to guide them.

“No government has plans” for what to do in the event of the discovery of intelligent extraterrestrial life, says astrophysicist Martin Dominik of the University of St Andrews, UK, who organized a conference at the Royal Society in London that began today

Read the entire news story at Nature News [html] or here [pdf]

Spanish awards rekindle old rivalries

nature_cover_091203An ambitious effort to develop Spanish universities into campuses that are among Europe’s best has stoked some long-standing regional rivalries.

On 26 November, the government announced which universities would benefit from the inaugural round of an annual programme called the Campus of International Excellence, administered jointly by the Ministry of Science and Innovation and the Ministry of Education. The €150-million (US$226-million) scheme is designed to steer resources, in the form of government seed money and loans, to the strategic infrastructure projects with the most potential to aid teaching and research.

Read the entire news story on Nature.com [html] or here [pdf]