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Science and the Stimulus

The numbers of dollars in the stimulus package heading to fund science keep fluctuating, but according to the New York Times, the current Senate version would spend $17.8 billion on science and technology research and development with $10.4 billion of it going to NIH. The House bill has $13.2 billion overall and $3.9 billion for the NIH. At the Questionable Authority, Mike Dunford blogs that the government should fund science research, as much of it is high-risk but with high gain for society. "Spreading out the risk stimulates private commerce and it reduces the time that it takes to develop things that will benefit large numbers of people," he writes.

Timothy Sandefur at Freespace takes the opposing view, saying that government should not fund science and calling it a form of corporate welfare. "For science's sake and for the sake of individual rights, government and science should be entirely separated," Sandefur writes. In his section on how government can distort science, Sandefur references Chris Mooney's book The Republican War on Science. Interestingly, Mooney has come out on his blog in favor of the stimulus funding and asks his readers to contact the conference committee.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.