The whispers have been steadily gaining strength for a good while now. Gossip is rampant. People are reporting their NIDA contacts as doing a lot of “gloating”. Nothing really bloggable until now.
The Research Society on Alcoholism has issued a review of a just completed two day meeting to decide what to do. I’m mulling over the brief report, more later.
Update 050109:
Links to the NIH Scientific Management Review Board Agenda, Federal Register Notice and a webcast are here.
The RSA overview text is here.
I think we can safely say the traditional alcohol research constituencies are registering a vote against merger.
The NRC/IOM report Enhancing the Vitality of the National Institutes of Health: Organizational Change to Meet New Challenges (2003) is here. The recommendation on the process of consolidation starts on page 70. On the next page I note two specific mergers were proposed, NIDA/NIAAA and NIGMS/NHGRI, right from the start. I have no dog in the latter hunt but the NIDA/NIAAA is a “no duh” as far as I am concerned. I will admit this is because I am only vaguely aware of the arguments for keeping alcohol separate. I’ll be looking to hear those arguments in the coming months. Another interesting proposal is on page 73. This mentions NIMH and NINDS briefly but together this might argue that all four perhaps be collected into an omnibus Brain Institute. This is not as crazy as you might think. The NCI budget is about $4.8 billion, the NIMH/NINDS/NIDA/NIAAA total would be about $4.3 billion.

There are two retractions in PNAS this week. Here is the body of the first one:

The authors wish to note the following: “After thorough efforts by K. Berry in the laboratory of J. A. Doudna to reproduce our reported IRES-specific translational inhibition were unsuccessful, we initiated an extensive effort to reproduce the IRES-specific peptide binding. These experiments, carried out with the assistance of Y. Guillen in the laboratory of J. W. Szostak, also failed to confirm our previously published results. Therefore, we retract the paper. We sincerely apologize for any confusion that the publication of this study may have caused.”

Translation: “There is a fraud investigation going on right now.”
Here is the second:

The undersigned authors wish to note the following: “We have discovered errors in some of the figures in this paper. Therefore, the undersigned authors regretfully retract the paper.”

Translation: “There is a fraud investigation going on right now.”

Amanda Schaffer has a piece up on Slate subtitled “The biomedical research community goes bananas for $200 million in stimulus funding“.
I dunno. It just comes across as kinda negative to me.

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The Mixed Experience

April 30, 2009

BikeMonkey GuestPost
Reading over one of Razib’s pot stirrer posts, I was reminded of something I ran across last year and discussed elsewhere.
Light Skinned-ed Girl promotes the month of May as “Mixed Experience Month“. (And she had a series of posts last May on famous tan folk; it’s worth a browse.)
Oh jebus, not another freaking month of celebrating non-majority-cultureness!!!???? Why o why o why do we need this?

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