Will a new law change postdoc pay? Structure of scientists? @NatureNews

Many established scientists look back on their postdoc wistfully as a time of unparallelled focus on research. Yet the postdoc now too often gives way to the ‘permadoc’. Postdocs may languish in that position for more than a decade, sometimes bouncing from one position to another. Their careers are in stasis even as their lives march on. Today’s postdocs are older than ever. They raise families and care for elderly parents. Many can hardly be considered trainees: they are functioning as lab managers or staff scientists, but are paid at a lower rate.

Watch inflation of new expandable habitat on ISS! – @NASA

NASA has inflated the BEAM (Bigelow Expandable Activity Module) module on the ISS. Check out the cool time-lapse video of the expansion above! The below image from NASA shows the location of the expandable habitat in the context of the whole space station.

The module measured just over 7 feet long and just under 7.75 feet in diameter in its packed configuration. BEAM now measures more than 13 feet long and about 10.5 feet in diameter to create 565 cubic feet of habitable volume. It weighs approximately 3,000 pounds.

During the next week, leak checks will be performed on BEAM to ensure its structural integrity. Hatch opening and NASA astronaut Jeff Williams’ first entrance into BEAM will take place about a week after leak checks are complete.

BEAM is an example of NASA’s increased commitment to partnering with industry to enable the growth of the commercial use of space. The project is co-sponsored by NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Division and Bigelow Aerospace.

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Top 6 stories from Genetic Literacy Project – #GMO#GLPTop6

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  1. 9 misdirected arguments against GMOs that really reflect modern and organic ag issues by Layla Katiraee
  2. Science by news release: Media miss on bee “extinction” reports by Jon Entine
  3. LSD redux: Psychedelics may help brain functioning by Andrew Porterfield
  4. Are GMOs safe? by Genetic Literacy Project
  5. Farmer’s view: Celebrities embrace organic cotton over GMOs, but is it more sustainable? by Michelle Miller
  6. Why did global GMO crop acreage decline in 2015? by Val Giddings

Top scientists agree that GMOs are safe! #duh

From NPR:

The National Academy of Sciences — probably the country’s most prestigious scientific group — has reaffirmed its judgment that GMOs are safe to eat. But the group’s new report struck a different tone from previous ones, with much more space devoted to concerns about genetically modified foods, including social and economic ones.

The report marks an anniversary. Twenty years ago, farmers started growing soybeans that had been genetically modified to tolerate the popular weedkiller known as Roundup and corn that contains a protein, extracted from bacteria, that kills some insect pests.

In the years since, arguments about these crops have grown so contentious that the National Academy can’t be sure that people will believe whatever it has to say on the topic.

Even before this report came out, an anti-GMO group called Food & Water Watch attacked it. The group accused some members of the committee that prepared the report of receiving research funding from biotech companies, or having other ties to the industry.

“The makeup of the panel is pretty clear. People are coming in with a perspective that is pro-genetically engineered crop,” says Patty Lovera, assistant director of Food & Water Watch.

The preemptive attack frustrates Fred Gould, the North Carolina State University scientist who chaired the committee. Gould has been known in the past as a GMO critic. He has pushed for restrictions on the planting of some GMO crops. “I have not been a darling of the industry. As a matter of fact, they denied me seeds and plants to do my experiments,” he says.

Gould says that over the two years that he and the other members of this committee worked on this report, they had one important rule: “If you had an opinion, you had to back it up with data. If you didn’t have the data, it didn’t go into the report.”

The report tries to answer a long list of questions about GMOs, involving nutrition, environmental effects, effects on the farm economy and monopoly control over seeds.

The most basic conclusion: There’s no evidence that GMOs are risky to eat.

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COOL! What happens to your DNA after a year in space?

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