Research and Development (R&D) has become something of a dirty word throughout a giant swath of the Science, Technology, Engineering
and Math (STEM) community. Academia is
where it's at, the saying goes, and basic research, learning for the sake of learning
with no defined public benefit, is what scientists are told they must do if
they want to be real scientists.
Technology will be fine, it is assumed. Like gifted students who find their
school programs cut, the belief is that American technology will be find a way
to be dominant.
In the endless war on pharmaceutical companies, there is a consistent refrain; the US Food and Drug Administration is too slow to approve new drugs unless it approved drugs too quickly and the product hurt someone. Mainstream media highlight the complaints of doctors and patients that some drug or another is available in Europe or Asia but not here and then on another page delights in a lawsuit about how evil the company was for making a drug which carried risks.
Evolutionary biology sounds exciting - there wouldn't be any movies on the SyFy Channel without Gatoroids and Sharknados and other feats of life science run amok - but in reality you are going to spend a lot of time paying your dues watching sponges in mid-sneeze before you get to create an epidemic or a giant monster.
Sneezing sponges? Isn't that a little far-fetched, even for the network that brought us "Arachnoquake"? No, actually the sponge thing is real, and a new paper points to Porifera sneezing as evidence for a sensory organ in one of the most basic multicellular organisms on Earth, even though it doesn't even have a nervous system to interpret sensory information.
Yet another government science report
has found that the Keystone XL pipeline
is not going to be risky to the environment.