Day: February 25, 2019

With Democrats in Charge, House Science Committee Talks About Climate Science

Read the full story at Inside Climate News.

The hearing revealed a subtle shift on the Republican side, with younger members acknowledging that scientific research points to human-driven global warming.

Why Stericycle’s medical waste incinerator operations are leaving Utah

Read the full story at KSL.com.

Stericycle will close its North Salt Lake medical waste incinerators after deciding to abandon a planned move to Tooele County as part of a negotiated settlement with the state of Utah.

The Utah Division of Air Quality agreed to waive half of a $2.3 million fine in 2015 if the company agreed to locate its incineration operations to a more remote section of the state away from residential populations.

Study Links Consumer Choice Modification to Plastic Straw Reduction

Read the full story in Waste360.

A recent study looks at how a “plastic straw upon request only” ordinance in California drastically decreased consumer usage of single-use straws.

How to Bring Prestige to Open Access — and Make Science More Reliable

Read the full story in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Beginning next year, a coalition of European research-funding agencies will require funding recipients to publish grant-supported work in open-access journals. While this is a positive step in making research more widely accessible, many researchers are worried because the plan, known as Plan S, also severely restricts their ability to publish in high-profile subscription journals, which are typically associated with high impact factors.

This is not a trivial concern. Regardless of the evidence that a journal’s impact factor is not associated with the quality of its papers, researchers continue to be evaluated by the journals they publish in, rather than by the work itself.

Grant-making agencies can address this prestige problem while still exerting control over publication practices. Moreover, in doing so they can help solve the replicability crisis that has plagued scientific research in recent years. How? By establishing journals themselves that adhere to publication practices that promote replicability.

A Turning Point for Scholarly Publishing

Read the full story in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Though initiatives to make published research more freely available have for years poked at the publishing industry’s armor, these efforts — known as the open-access movement — have not toppled the norms of how academic work is distributed and read. Titans like Elsevier, Springer Nature, and Wiley own troves of journals that enjoy immense respect in academe. In the dominant system, a person can read newly published research in one of two ways: pay a one-time fee to obtain an article locked behind a paywall, or get it through a campus library, which may pay millions of dollars for subscriptions.

That may soon change. Smaller-scale efforts are mixing with top-down decisions — through universities’ subscription negotiations and a major European plan that mandates open-access publication for certain research — to put unusual pressure on publishers.

Renewable energy is not the political wedge it once was

Read the full story at The Hill.

As the 2020 election ramps up, renewable energy simply isn’t the wedge issue it once was — a trend that’s borne out in recent polling data from a post-election survey of midterm voters by the Conservative Energy Network and CRES Forum. The poll, which was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and WPA Intelligence from Nov. 8 to 12, found that a significant majority of U.S. voters (81 percent) across all party affiliations said they would vote for elected officials who support clean energy development such as wind and solar.

Italian Sportswear Company Debuts Fibers From Tropical Tree As Eco-Friendly Down Alternative

Read the full story in Forbes.

La Sportiva uses kapok fiber as insulation in a variety of products, including hoodies and jackets.

 

 

Pharmaceutical residues in fresh water pose a growing environmental risk

Read the full story in Science Daily.

Over the past 20 years, concentrations of pharmaceuticals have increased in freshwater sources all over the world, as research by environmental experts has revealed. Levels of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin have reached the point of potentially causing damaging ecological effects.

New White House Science Advisor Outlines His Goals at AAAS Annual Meeting

Read the full story in R&D.

After filling a position that was previously vacant for more than two years, the new director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) said he is ready to enact changes that will push the U.S. to new frontiers in science.

Planting 1.2 Trillion Trees Could Cancel Out a Decade of CO2 Emissions, Scientists Find

Read the full story at e360 Digest.

There is enough room in the world’s existing parks, forests, and abandoned land to plant 1.2 trillion additional trees, which would have the CO2 storage capacity to cancel out a decade of carbon dioxide emissions, according to a new analysis by ecologist Thomas Crowther and colleagues at ETH Zurich, a Swiss university.

The research, presented at this year’s American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Washington, D.C., argues that planting additional trees is one of the most effective ways to reduce greenhouse gases.

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