ScienceScope

Science  19 Oct 2007:
Vol. 318, Issue 5849, pp. 375
  1. Sequestration (in) Rocks

    1. Eli Kintisch

    Last week, the U.S. government took two important steps on the long road to testing the feasibility of burying carbon dioxide to combat global warming. The Department of Energy chose three sites in Texas, North Dakota, and Alberta, Canada, to inject 1 million or more tons of CO2 from coal plants in an effort to sequester carbon emissions from power plants. And the Environmental Protection Agency said that it would begin crafting rules on regulating such large-scale injection projects. The rules will help maintain clean drinking water during massive injection projects.

  2. New SETI Array Deployed

    1. Andrew Lawler

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen threw a switch last week christening an array of 42 antennas designed to search for signals from other intelligent life in the universe. Although the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has been going on for more than 3 decades, the Allen Telescope Array will expand the search 1000-fold in the next 20 years and eventually could include 350 antennas at a site 480 kilometers north of San Francisco, California. Allen has pledged $11.5 million for the venture, which Congress forced NASA to abandon in the early 1990s.

  3. Nuclear Deal in Deep Freeze

    1. Pallava Bagla

    NEW DELHI, INDIA—The U.S.-India nuclear agreement hit a roadblock last week when India's Communist parties threatened to withdraw their support from the government if the pact went forward. The deal is likely to be consigned to cold storage, politicians say, possibly to be resurrected in 2009 after both countries have held national elections.

    The completion of the process leading to the so-called 123 Agreement would have allowed India to purchase equipment and fuel for its civilian nuclear program on the U.S. and world markets, ending 4 decades of isolation following India's explosion of a nuclear device in 1974. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh repeated his support for the plan, calling it an “honorable deal, good for the country, good for the world.” But in a tactical climb-down, Singh noted that although it would be a “disappointment” if the deal does not go through, it would not be “the end of life.” Reacting to the announcement, M. R. Srinivasan, a member of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission, said, “A delayed deal is better than a bad deal.”

  4. Remains Remain Controversial

    1. Constance Holden

    Jockeying over what constitutes a native American may resume after the Senate Indian Affairs committee approved a bill (S. 2087) late last month that would redefine the term under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Pro-research groups say the change could prevent scientists from studying ancient remains, whereas Indian groups say it would merely clarify the law's original intent.

    Tribal activists have been trying to reverse a federal court ruling in 2004 that said the law did not apply to the 9000-year-old bones of the culturally unidentified Kennewick Man, clearing them for scientific study. S. 2087, a collection of technical amendments to Indian law, adds two words to the definition of “Native American” to make it cover any member of a tribe or culture that is “or was” indigenous to the United States. With a crowded fall calendar, no Senate floor vote is expected in the near future. Representative Doc Hastings (R-WA) is expected to reintroduce a measure in the House shortly that would counter the proposed change.

  5. NSF Shortens Drilling Season

    1. Richard A. Kerr

    A funding crunch is forcing the National Science Foundation (NSF) to shorten by 4 months annual deep-sea drilling operations beginning in 2009, according to Steven Bohlen of the Joint Oceanographic Institutions (JOI), the NSF-funded operator of the U.S. drill ship JOIDES Resolution. “Our operating costs are well beyond what we anticipated,” he says, due to the escalating costs of ship fuel, drilling gear, and maintenance. Add in NSF's commitments to support ocean-observing systems and non-drilling-ship operations, and “there are not sufficient funds to support the drill ship for science for the entire year,” says Bohlen. JOI will be pursuing work with petroleum companies and other science agencies that Bohlen hopes will fill in the looming gaps. “We're definitely scrambling here. We're worried,” he says.

    “Is it a big deal?” says Terry Schaff, director of government relations with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. “It would be good if there was enough funds to run it for a whole year,” he says. But most ships that run U.S. academic oceanographic research run between 250 and 300 days a year, he points out. “Most of the ships haven't run a full year for a while. It's not a terribly unusual situation.”

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