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Moral courage and science

Marc Edwards, the scientist who helped expose the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, says that the systems built to support scientists do not reward moral courage and that the university pipeline contains toxins of its own — which, if ignored, will corrode public faith in science. When is it appropriate for academics to be skeptical of an official narrative when that narrative is coming from scientific authorities? “I grew up…

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To Fight Pandemics, Reward Research

THAT frightening word “pandemic” is back in the news. A strain of avian influenza has infected people in China, with a death toll of more than 25 as of late last week. The outbreak raises renewed questions about how to prepare for possible risks, should the strain become more easily communicable or should other deadly variations arise. Our current health care policies are not optimal for dealing with pandemics. The…

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Science and Censorship: A Duel Lasting Centuries

The specter of censorship loomed over science last week with news that a federal advisory panel had asked two leading journals to withhold details of experiments out of fear that terrorists could use the information to make deadly flu viruses — the first time the government had interceded this way in biomedical research. But science and secrecy go back centuries, their conflicting agendas often rooted in issues of war and…

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