Odd-sounding or laughter-inducing research projects are commonly pushed into the spotlight as examples of wasteful government spending. (Remember comments in 2008 about fruit fly research or the shrimp-on-a-treadmill brouhaha from 2011?) Critics argue that such studies have no practical applications and shouldn't be recipients of governmental largesse.

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Rare gene mutations are guiding the search for drugs to manage chronic pain without opioids, according to CNBC.

The new Francis Crick Institute building can get too noisy for some researchers to concentrate, according to the Guardian.

CBS News reports that there are still many vacancies at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, but that it's uncertain whether they will be filled.

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: pipeline to analyze and visualize bacterial genomes, database of global set of human genomes, and more.