Daily Archives: November 29, 2012

How Drug Company Money Is Undermining Science: Scientific American

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-drug-company-money-undermining-science

The pharmaceutical industry funnels money to prominent scientists who are doing research that affects its products–and nobody can stop it

By Charles Seife

Image: Goni Montes

In Brief

  • Many researchers maintain close financial ties to the drug companies that stand to gain from the results of their research.
  • Congress passed the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which, starting in 2013, will compel pharmaceutical firms and medical device manufacturers to reveal most of the money that they are putting into the pockets of physicians.
  • Yet as the case study in this article shows, neither scientific institutions nor the scientists themselves have shown a willingness to police conflicts of interest in research.

More In This Article

When Robert Lindsay chose to become a medical researcher in the early 1970s, he did not do it for the money. His field—the effect of hormones on bone—was a backwater. It was also a perfect opportunity for a young researcher to make his mark and, he hoped, help millions of people who suffered from the bone disease osteoporosis. As the body ages, sometimes bones lose the ability to rebuild themselves fast enough to keep pace with the normal process of deterioration, and the skeleton weakens. Neither Lindsay nor anyone else understood much about why this happened, but there was reason to think that hormones might play a role. Some women develop osteoporosis shortly after menopause, when their hormone levels drop sharply, perhaps upsetting that balance between bone creation and destruction. If so, Lindsay reasoned, replacing the hormones with a pill might halt or even reverse the progress of the disease. From a tiny, underfunded clinic in Glasgow, Scotland, he set up one of the first clinical trials of estrogen replacement therapy for bone loss in postmenopausal women. Lindsay’s star was rising….. (more).

Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

BBC News – How melting Arctic ice speeds global warming

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19508604

7 September 2012 Last updated at 02:17 ET Help

Scientists in the Arctic have warned that the melting of the polar ice is likely to accelerate in the next few years.

The summer thaw set a new record last month and the melt is still under way.

One of the world’s leading weather research centres says less polar ice could lead to more storms in Europe.

The BBC’s Science Editor David Shukman visited the Arctic to look at the summer thaw. (video)

Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

BBC News – Sea-level rise from polar ice melt finally quantified

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20543483
29 November 2012 Last updated at 15:22 ET

By David Shukman Science editor, BBC News

Channels like this one can feed water down through hundreds of metres of ice
Continue reading the main story

Related Stories

Melting of polar ice sheets has added 11mm to global sea levels over the past two decades, according to the most definitive assessment so far.

More than 20 polar research teams have combined forces to produce estimates of the state of the ice in Greenland and Antarctica in a paper in Science. Until now different measurement means have produced a wide range of estimates with large uncertainties.  But sea-level rise is now among the most pressing questions of our time.  Polar ice has a tremendous capacity to cause massive rises – with huge potential impacts on coastal cities and communities around the world.

But the remoteness and sheer size of the ice sheets mean accurate measurements are a serious challenge even for satellites which have to distinguish snow from ice, and the rise of the land from the shrinking of the ice.

Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

Secretary of State Candidate Has a Major Financial Stake in Canadian Tar Sands

http://www.onearth.org/article/susan-rice-obama-secretary-state-tar-sands-finances

By Scott Dodd
November 28, 2012

Getty Images

More from OnEarth

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Susan Rice, the candidate believed to be favored by President Obama to become the next Secretary of State, holds significant investments in more than a dozen Canadian oil companies and banks that would stand to benefit from expansion of the North American tar sands industry and construction of the proposed $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline. If confirmed by the Senate, one of Rice’s first duties likely would be consideration, and potentially approval, of the controversial mega-project.

Rice’s financial holdings could raise questions about her status as a neutral decision maker. The current U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Rice owns stock valued between $300,000 and $600,000 in TransCanada, the company seeking a federal permit to transport tar sands crude 1,700 miles to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast, crossing fragile Midwest ecosystems and the largest freshwater aquifer in North America. ….(more).

Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

Fracking Our Food Supply

http://www.thenation.com/article/171504/fracking-our-food-supply#
Elizabeth Royte
November 28, 2012 | This article appeared in the December 17, 2012 edition of The Nation.
Courtesy: Flickr user VancityAllie

This article was produced in collaboration with the Food & Environment Reporting Network, an investigative reporting nonprofit focusing on food, agriculture and environmental health.

In a Brooklyn winery on a sultry July evening, an elegant crowd sips rosé and nibbles trout plucked from the gin-clear streams of upstate New York. The diners are here, with their checkbooks, to support a group called Chefs for the Marcellus, which works to protect the foodshed upon which hundreds of regional farm-to-fork restaurants depend. The foodshed is coincident with the Marcellus Shale, a geologic formation that arcs northeast from West Virginia through Pennsylvania and into New York State. As everyone invited here knows, the region is both agriculturally and energy rich, with vast quantities of natural gas sequestered deep below its fertile fields and forests. ….(more).

Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120
Food-Matters http://Food-Matters.TV

Infographic: America’s water crisis – and how we can fix it

http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2012/11/28/infographic-america-water-crisis
By Gretchen McClain
Published November 28, 2012

More than three in four Americans are concerned about the state of U.S. water infrastructure, and 61 percent are willing to pay more to fix it, according to a nationwide poll of more than 1,000 American voters age 18 and older.

The 2012 Xylem Value of Water Index assessed what Americans think should be done about the country’s water crisis and who should pay for it. It found that most Americans hold all levels of government responsible for investing in fixing and maintaining our water infrastructure. ….(more).

Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

BBC News – Epic photographic odyssey that documented Native Americans

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20351012

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20351012

Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

Former FL GOP leader admits voter suppression

E120,

Christie: Sandy Damage Estimate ‘Realistic’

E130,

Green Economy of Indianapolis

E120, e145,