Archive for February, 2006

Calif. Stem Cell Agency Fights for Life – Yahoo! News

February 27, 2006

Calif. Stem Cell Agency Fights for Life – Yahoo! News

SAN FRANCISCO – The future of embryonic stem cell research could be shaped in a suburban courtroom where two taxpayer groups are challenging the legality of California’s new agency dedicated to the controversial field.

Opening statements were scheduled for Monday in a pair of lawsuits seeking to invalidate the law that created the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, which is authorized to hand out $3 billion in research grants. The lawsuits allege — among other things — that it violates a state constitutional mandate that the spending of taxpayer dollars be under state control.
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It doesn’t look like they will win, but it will prevent the money from being dispersed for a while. The work will get done. Better to do it here in the states where we have FOIA and other kinds of tools for watchdog groups. If the research goes overseas, who knows what kind of work will get done and who will fund it. But rest assured that it will get done.

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U.S. Company Plans $265M Spaceport in UAE – Yahoo! News

February 19, 2006

U.S. Company Plans $265M Spaceport in UAE – Yahoo! News
LOS ANGELES – A day after Space Adventures announced it was in a venture to develop rocket ships for suborbital flights, the company said Friday it plans to build a $265 million spaceport in the United Arab Emirates.

The commercial spaceport would be based in Ras Al-Khaimah near the southern end of the Persian Gulf, and the UAE government has made an initial investment of $30 million, the Arlington, Va.-based company said in a statement.

The spaceport announcement comes on the heels of Space Adventures’ new partnership with an investment firm founded by major sponsors of the Ansari X Prize to develop rocket ships for suborbital flights.
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United Arab Emirates seems like an odd choice in location, what with the whole unrest in the middle east thing. Cheap land? Or something more sinister. An evil plot perhaps?

Darwin’s nightmare: Toxic toad evolves to secure supremacy – Yahoo! News

February 16, 2006

Darwin’s nightmare: Toxic toad evolves to secure supremacy – Yahoo! News

PARIS (AFP) – He’s fat, ugly and poisonous — and he’s mutating. He’s the cane toad (Bufo marinus), a species which was introduced into the Australian state of Queensland 70 years ago to tackle insect pests in canefields and has since become an ecological catastrophe.

Weighing in at to up two kilos (4.4 pounds), the unwanted anuran has extended its range to more than a million square kilometers (386,000 square miles) in tropical and sub-tropical Australia, crushing native species in its relentless advance.

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Didn’t the Simpsons do an episode where Bart’s pet toad got loose in Australia?