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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Field Notes

New Rules—and New Era—for Federally Funded Embryonic Stem Cell Research
This morning marks a rebirth of a U.S. stem cell research program, now that government-funded researchers can take advantage of many of the 700 stem cell lines that exist around the world. On Monday, following President Barack Obama's election promise, the National Institutes of Health issued the final rules on government-funded research on embryonic stem cells, loosening Bush-era restrictions that limited them to just 21 lines already in existence on August 2001. (Brendan Borrell, 60-Second Science Blog, Scientific American)

Obama Receives Daily Prayer Via BlackBerry
Obama told reporters from religious news organizations that White House faith director Joshua DuBois sends him a morning devotional every day to his e-mail device. He says it's a "wonderful practice" that started during the campaign. (Associated Press)

Pope Releases Encyclical on Markets and Morality

Pope Benedict XVI today called for reforming the United Nations and establishing a "true world political authority" with "real teeth" to manage the global economy with God-centered ethics. In his third encyclical, a major teaching, released as the G-8 summit begins in Italy, the pope says such an authority is urgently needed to end the current worldwide financial crisis. It should "revive" damaged economies, reach toward "disarmament, food security and peace," protect the environment and "regulate migration." (Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA Today)
TEXT: Introduction and Conclusion of "Charity in Truth"

Why Biologists Are So Certain About Evolution (Hint: the Mistakes!)
A large chunk of this post comes from Kenneth Miller, a biology professor at Brown University who has been at the forefront of the evolution wars, explaining why biologists are convinced of evolution. He gave this talk at the North American Paleontological Convention in Cincinnati last month, and I think it’s worth reading his words unfiltered, in context. (Kenneth Chang, TierneyLab Blog, The New York Times)

Mourning Michael Jackson
For decades, psychologists have been studying the one-way relationships we create with celebrities. Some researchers say such connections are merely a fact of life in a media-saturated age. Others suggest that celebrating dead celebrities offers a way to come to terms with our own mortality—and reach for a kind of immortality as well. (Alan Boyle, Cosmic Log, MSNBC)