The estate of James Joyce is disputing the right of Craig Venter and other scientists to encode a 14-word fragment of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man into synthetic genetic code for a bacterium. [David Ewalt, Forbes via Jessa Crispin via Tyler Cowen; & see Blawg Review #305 at A Fool in the Forest]
The quota pressure in sports has been around for a while, but the idea of an enforcement push in hard academic disciplines may be getting extra encouragement from the very top:
Obama himself seems to have latched onto the idea. While praising Title IX’s impact on increasing women’s participation in athletics, he said, “If pursued with the necessary attention and enforcement, Title IX has the potential to make similar, striking advances in the opportunities that girls have in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (“STEM”) disciplines.” The nation’s university science, engineering, and mathematics departments may thus soon find themselves faced with the task of complying with a regulatory regime similar to the intercollegiate athletics three part test.
[Alison Somin, Federalist Society “Engage”, PDF]
“The amount of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon rig blowout will be determined by protracted court proceedings rather than purely scientific calculations, the nation’s top environmental enforcement officer said Thursday.” [Houston Chronicle]
The website of the Golden Cockerel import firm includes a rather elaborate warning as to why its matryoshka are not meant for the under-12 set, at least not since the enactment of the calamitous Jan-Schakowsky–backed law:
the law requires each batch of toys be tested by a 3rd party laboratory to be sure they are “toy safe.” Such tests can cost well over $1000 per nesting doll set! And sometimes, as with our museum quality one-of-a-kind dolls, a “batch” consists entirely of one doll, or only a few, making it totally unfeasible to test.
CPSIA: reserving treasured toys for strictly adult use since 2008.
More: The CPSC has just sided with purported consumer groups and against pleas from the business community in adopting a broad definition of what constitute “children’s products” under the disastrous Barbara-Boxer–backed law: for example, ordinary paper clips must go through costly separate CPSIA testing when meant for kids’ use as part of a science kit with magnets and similar items [NY Times, AP/WaPo (“Kids’ science kits may take hit from safety ruling”), Commissioners Anne Northup and Nancy Nord]
The historic town of Mauch Chunk, Pa. changed its name to Jim Thorpe, Pa. as part of a deal to honor the Native American-descended athlete. Now a lawsuit is invoking the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 (NAGPRA) to demand removal of Thorpe’s remains to Oklahoma [Never Yet Melted]
Meanwhile, scientists, universities and museums are considering their legal options in the face of new Interior Department interpretations of NAGPRA mandating “that after appropriate tribal consultation, transfer of culturally unidentifiable remains is to be made to a tribe from whose tribal or aboriginal lands the remains were excavated or removed.” [Indian Country Today, April; earlier posts on Kennewick Man controversy]
At his highly interesting QuackWatch site, where he is scathingly critical of many alternative therapies, Stephen Barrett has expressed the view that some tests frequently prescribed by “chelation” practitioners (who address a variety of ills through techniques designed to remove heavy metals from the body) are inaccurate and misleading. Now a laboratory of which Barrett has been critical has sued him and several related entities, demanding $10 million [QuackWatch, Respectful Insolence]