Committee(s) on Science, Space, and Technology

  • House Resolution 44, introduced in the United States House of Representatives on January 11, 2017, would, if passed, express the House’s support of designating February 12, 2017, as Darwin Day, and its recognition of Charles Darwin as “a worthy symbol of scientific advancement on which to focus and around which to build a global celebration of science and humanity intended to promote a common bond among all of Earth’s peoples.” (NCSE)

  • The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) does not currently have an active webpage.  Former director John P. Holden spoke with Scientific America regarding science and energy policy and the incoming Trump administration, expressing that he is “optimistic that progress on climate will not be undone” (Scientific American).

Higher Education

  • Grad students are eligible for a free 1-year National Center for Science Education membership are to participate in NCSE’s Scientist in the Classroom program (NCSE)

  • Texas Freedom Network has created this handy two minute explainer of the battle to teach evolution in Texas public schools (TFN). The first public hearing is scheduled for Tues, Jan 31, Action: testify publicly on Jan 31 and/or sign the petition here (TFN)

Public Health

  • A new international coalition, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has been established to fund the R&D of vaccines against three emerging virus threats. The US government has not committed any direct funds at this time, but is open to collaboration. (ScienceInsider)

  • H.R.586 (To provide that human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization) has been introduced in the House. Expect interesting conversations about in-vitro fertilization and the role of science in determining when life begins (Wired).

City of Austin Development

  • Environmental Commission met on Jan 18 (video) – they discussed requests for variances (i.e., development requests that deviate from zoning codes), an application by the Junior League of Austin to develop a 7-acre area, and fight in a number of cases to save older trees.

Climate Change

  • The GOP wants to eliminate the Office of Electricity, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and the Office of Fossil Energy, and potentially eliminate the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are candidates for elimination (The Hill).

  • Two-thirds of Americans support alternative energy sources, but there is still political divide in the issue (Pew).

Outreach / Professional Development

  • A pocket guide for scientists: Handling political harassment & legal intimidation from The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (Climate Science Defense Fund).

Science Communication / Miscellaneous

  • The Union of Concerned Scientists issued a report of lessons learned in preserving scientific integrity in federal policymaking under the previous two administrations with recommendations for the Trump administration.

  • Complete survey here to help the Union of Concerned Scientists better streamline their priorities

Events this week:

  • Thursday, Jan 26, 1-2pm (central time). AAAS Webinar: The Outlook for Science in the New Administration and Congress. Register here.


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