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Phasing Out Use of Radioactive Highly Enriched Uranium in Medical Isotopes Feasible

Photo credit: U.S. Government

Jan. 14 -- Eliminating highly enriched uranium -- a key ingredient in nuclear weapons -- from the production of medical isotopes, which are used for medical imaging, is technically and economically feasible, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council. The conversion to low enriched uranium will take several years and could require additional research and development.

Museums, Zoos, After-School Programs Boost Science Learning

Photo taken from Flickr Creative Commons. Photo Credit: SoccerMasta

Jan. 14 -- Each year, tens of millions of Americans, young and old, learn about science in informal ways -- by visiting museums and watching TV documentaries, for example. There is abundant evidence that these experiences contribute to people's knowledge and interest in science, says a new report from the National Research Council. Such settings and programs may also support academic gains for young people from groups historically underrepresented in science.

TRB’s 88th Annual Meeting to Highlight Transportation, Energy, and Climate Change

© PhotoDisc

Jan. 9 -- The National Research Council's Transportation Research Board will host more than 3,500 transportation-related presentations in 600 sessions and workshops at its annual meeting, to be held Jan. 11-15 in Washington, D.C. Some 10,000 people -- policymakers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, journalists, and representatives of government, industry, and academia -- are expected to attend the meeting, and all modes of transportation will be represented. This year's spotlight theme is "Transportation, Energy, and Climate Change."

Current Approaches to U.S. Health Care IT Are Insufficient

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Jan. 9 -- Current efforts aimed at the nationwide deployment of health care information technology (IT) will not be sufficient to achieve medical leaders' vision of health care in the 21st century and may even set back the cause, says a new report from the National Research Council. It concludes that greater emphasis should be placed on IT that provides health care workers and patients with cognitive support, such as assistance in decision-making and problem-solving.

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TV Ads Themselves Contribute to Child Obesity

Dec. 31 -- Researchers performed a statistical analysis of children’s television viewing habits and found a link between the amount of time spent viewing fast food commercials and a risk of obesity. They suggest it is not the snacking done in front of the TV or the hours kids spend like couch potatoes, not exercising, that is making them fat. Rather, it is the suggestive messages in ads and the frequency of those messages that leads children to seek out not-so-good-for-you foods. [more]

NAS, NAE, and IOM Members Selected for Obama Administration

Steven Chu. Photo Credit: Lawrence Berkeley Nat'l. Lab — Roy Kaltschmidt, Photographer

Dec. 23 -- U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has picked six Academy members to serve in his administration, including Steven Chu for secretary of energy, John P. Holdren as chief science adviser, Jane Lubchenco as administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Lawrence Summers as national economic adviser. Harold Varmus and Eric Lander will serve as co-chairs on the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology along with Holdren. [more]

Insurance Coverage for Vaccinations Found Inconsistent

Photo Courtesy CDC

Dec. 16 -- Evidence from two surveys on the financial burden of vaccination, recently published in the journal Pediatrics, suggests that private insurance does not sufficiently cover the cost of immunization services, highlighting a possible growing problem in the U.S. health care system. [more]

Texas Science Academy Responds to Gathering Storm

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Dec. 9 -- The Academy of Medicine, Engineering, and Science of Texas today released a report recommending ways to improve math and science education in the state of Texas. The report was developed in response to the National Academies' 2005 report Rising Above the Gathering Storm, which called for reforms to U.S. science and math education and a greater investment in basic research, steps that are needed to keep the nation economically competitive. [more]

Widespread Presence of Certain Minerals Indicate Wetter Mars

Photo of Martian surface from Reconnaissance Orbiter showing hydrated mineral similar to opal. Photo Courtesy NASA.

Nov. 26 -- Scientists have reported the extensive presence of hydrated silicas on Mars after analyzing data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been gathering information on the planet since 2006. The data, published in the November issue of the journal Geology, also show these water-bearing minerals in areas that were formed less than 2 billion years ago, well into the planet’s 4.5 billion year life. [more]

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January 13, 2009:
Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesScaling behavior in columnar jointing
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