- Science & technology writer Amanda Schaffer has been busy! First, she critiqued the prevalence of the great-man view of innovation in the tech industry in MIT technology review. Now, she’s published a three-part series on how the religious opposition of Jehovah’s Witnesses to blood transfusions has helped inspire a more conservative approach to the use of blood in surgery (and new high-tech, high-skills surgical techniques).
- Historians of science in the (chemical) news! The intrepid experimental replicators of Columbia University’s Making and Knowing project were featured in a profile in Chemical & Engineering News.
- Zeynep Tufekci explains why smart devices may be a dumb idea, when it comes to security and public safety.
- The strange history of scientists who eat their research subjects.
- A paper with 5,184 authors: big science, “kilo-authorship,” and the shifting taxonomy of scientific credit.
Political theorist Jedediah Purdy looks at the darker side of American environmentalism in the twentieth century.
- The British Library wants help cracking the code on a 13th-century sword.
- Amazon, it turns out, monitors and patrols its own employees’ behavior just as ruthlessly as it does your shopping habits. Jeff Bezos says that’s not his company.
- The author of a study casting doubt on the connection between sports-related trauma and chronic traumatic encephalopathy has been criticized for failing to disclose his affiliations with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFL, and the WWE. A sign that the sports-medical-industrial complex has truly come into its own?
- Notes of gooseberry or traces of thiols? A new movement among the sommelier set – not without its skeptics – seeks to recast wine description in chemical terms.
- If you’re on the lam, don’t use Spotify: the police can identify you that way now, too.
- A high school student at Sidwell Friends, in Washington D.C., has just published an article in the Oxford Journal of Social History that demonstrates the prevalence of job and apartment ads warning “No Irish Need Apply” in the nineteenth-century U.S. In doing so, she demolished the widely-accepted thesis of a historian at the University of Illinois that such signs were a figment of the historical imagination, and then defeated him in an internet comments fight.
- It turns out that the academic job market works just like a drug gang.
- What do poo, genetic testing, and privacy law all have in common? A: This lawsuit, the first case to be brought to trial under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, a 2007 law designed to protect American workers from privacy violations.
- “It’s just like planning a dinner”: Cosmopolitan explains the new field of computer programming (and why women are so well suited for the job), circa 1967.
For an overview of the recent history of chemical regulation in America and the proposals to restructure it currently under consideration by the Senate, see my post of last Friday.
In this post, I’ll get into a little more detail on how these two bills, Udall-Vitter and Boxer-Markey, deal with several of the issues at the heart of calls to reform the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). As I covered in my previous post, the Udall-Vitter bill stands a better chance of being approved in something close to its current form, so I will discuss this bill in more detail. Continue reading
Perhaps you have heard: over the past couple of weeks, the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works has begun to consider a pair of dueling bills to overhaul the regulation of chemicals in America. Perhaps you have seen this debate described under the heading of “TSCA reform.” Perhaps you have wondered what TSCA is, why everybody seems to want to reform it, and what substantive differences lie behind the competing proposals for doing so.
Perhaps you haven’t. But you should! The bills under consideration have significant stakes for human health, the environment, and businesses that produce, processe, trade in, or use any of the tens of thousands of chemicals in American commerce. And – not to be glib about such weighty matters – chemical regulation is also pretty fun grist for nerding out.