Public reaction sways nanotech funding
In an unusual example of opening up decisions on science funding to the public, June's nanotechnology funding calls from the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) were informed by a comprehensive (though expensive) public consultation - recently published. Of note is the strong opposition to theranostics (smart diagnostic nano-devices inserted into patients); that attitude seems to carry through to the EPSRC's calls in its 'grand challenge' strategic research programme.
Soy and sperm count
Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health have reported a small-scale study suggesting that eating soy products might lower sperm count. The researchers, publishing in Human Reproduction (DOI: 10.1093/humrep/den243), think that isoflavones might be interfering with the body's hormone signals.
EPA chief called to resign
Stephen Johnson, head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, was called upon to resign by four Democrat senators, over his dismissal of California's plea to be allowed to regulate CO2 emissions - allegedly against the advice of agency scientists, and under pressure from the White House. Johnson says he won't resign.
Criminal acts of anti-science violence
George Blumenthal, chancellor of the University of California, Santa Cruz, condemns the 1 August firebombing of the homes of two UCSC biomedical researchers. Animal rights activists were held responsible.