2017 is shaping up to be a pivotal year in so many ways. Basic research is suffering funding cuts, government agencies are being silenced, and changes in immigration laws threaten to drive away our best and brightest scientists.
Yet suddenly there has emerged a glimmer of hope.
The Women's March on Washington started on social media with those words so important in scientific inquiry, “What if?”. What followed was a groundswell the likes of which have never been seen in the United States. In a few short weeks this idea morphed into the largest demonstration in the history of the nation, dwarfing the Presidential inauguration held one day prior.
A few weeks ago some asked that question again on social media, this time about science. Once more the reaction was breathtaking in its speed and immensity. In just one day the March for Science Twitter account gained over 100,000 followers. Just a few days later it stands at nearly 300,000 followers.
The science community, not known for its activism, is planning a march on Washington, D.C.. The date has yet to be set, but the interest is strong.
Watch this space, and science on.
What The Hell Was That?
Seriously, what the hell was that? An ape, a reptile, or indigestion? Have a listen!
Blue Streak Science News Roundup
These are summaries of our discussions on the podcast. For the full conversation please listen to this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.
Scientists reprogram embryonic stem cells to expand their potential cell fate
UC Berkeley researchers found that by blocking a specific microRNA, pluripotent stem cells can regain the ability to become extra-embryonic tissue, providing a way to expand the developmental potential of iPC cells with implications for regenerative medicine and stem cell-based therapies.
Earth sets a temperature record for the third straight year
For the third year in a row, the Earth has set a record for warmth, according to three analyses just released from three government agencies. The findings were released just two days before the inauguration of an American president who has called global warming a Chinese plot and vowed to roll back Barack Obama’s efforts to cut emissions of greenhouse gases.
The planet's mean surface temperature in 2016 was 0.99 degrees Celsius above the late 20th-century average, topping the previous record set in 2015 of 0.87 degrees above average, according to NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
Gadget boom sees e-waste in Asia spike 63 per cent in 5 years
A United Nations University report found the amount of e-waste in Asia has risen by 63% in just five years.
The report warns of the need to improve recycling and disposal methods across the region to prevent serious environmental and health consequences.
British Antarctic Survey abandons polar base worrying crack grows in ice
Scientists at the British Antarctic Survey are abandoning their research station for the first time ever this winter after a new worrying crack developed in the ice sheet.
The renowned Halley VI ice base, from which the hole in the ozone layer was first detected, was already scheduled to be relocated 14 miles across the Brunt Ice Shelf because of an encroaching fissure in the ice. But a new crack has been steadily growing to the north of the base, and computer modeling suggests that it could cause a large iceberg to calve away from the sheet, which could destabilize the area.
Pub Quiz! Tom starts strong, but on the home stretch Sophie begins to close the gap. Who'll cross the finish line first?
Shout-outs and Acknowledgments
Women's March on Washington
An historic event took place in Washington, D.C. last week.
The Women’s March on Washington.
Hundreds of other sister marches took place around the world.
The goal of this march wass to “send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights.”
It was estimated that over 200,000 people could participate in this important statement of solidarity and democracy. As it turns out, estimates of attendance in Washington were about 500,000 people.
According to an article in Fortune Magazine the nationwide total attendance of this march range from 3.3 million to 4.6 million. No other single protest event comes even close to this number in the history of the republic.
Are we witnessing the beginning of a new populist movement?
The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from California, Washington, D.C., and Cambridge, England.