Science  28 Nov 2008:
Vol. 322, Issue 5906, pp. 1313
  1. Obama Transition: Science Team Named

    1. Eli Kintisch

    President-elect Barack Obama has named members of his transition team for science agencies. Nobel Prize-winning chemist Mario Molina of the University of California, San Diego, former Clinton White House officials Rosina Bierbaum and Tom Kalil, and Michael Stebbins of the Federation of American Scientists are reviewing the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the role of the science adviser. The review team for the National Science Foundation is led by Jim Kohlenberger, previously a top aide to former Vice President Al Gore, and communications lawyer Henry Rivera.

    Last week, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives dethroned their most senior member, Representative John Dingell (D-MI), and chose Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) to lead the powerful House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The surprising vote is expected to strengthen Obama's hand in the debate over setting limits on greenhouse gas emissions, and climate scientists say the vote augurs well for meaningful legislation in the next Congress. “It's a sea change,” says Stephen Schneider of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, adding that “they replaced seniority with 21st century thinking instead of 19th century protectionism for the auto industry.”

    Also last week, the Senate's failure to pass an economic stimulus package that would have helped the U.S. auto industry was also a defeat for the U.S. National Institutes of Health, which would have received a $1 billion boost under the measure. The legislation also contained $800 million for energy research.

  2. Big Push for Peanut Butter

    1. Martin Enserink

    The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given $16 million to an international network led by Kathryn Dewey of the University of California, Davis, for studies in Malawi, Burkina Faso, and Ghana to develop and test a peanut butter-like food supplement that prevents malnutrition. Fat-based peanut pastes have revolutionized the treatment of malnutrition in poor countries, but their use in prevention is hotly debated (Science, 3 October, p. 36). “There's a huge need for more research,” says Carlos Navarro-Colorado, an independent consultant on health and malnutrition in Barcelona.

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