Month: November 2008

Biological codes of conduct versus government oversight

Biological codes of conduct versus government oversight

A recent conference, “Sustaining Progress in the Life Sciences: Strategies for Managing Dual Use Research of Concern,” hosted by the World Health Organization and the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) in Washington, addressed a range of issues, many of which map well on to the agenda of the States Parties meeting of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) which will be held next week.

Barack Obama’s missile defense challenge

Barack Obama’s missile defense challenge

What a difference eight years makes. Following the 2000 U.S. presidential election, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered a new disarmament initiative that called for reducing U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals to 1,500 warheads apiece. Although that statement was basically ignored–at the time, Washington was embroiled in the recount saga–Putin’s proposal remained the official Russian position on disarmament in subsequent years.

Joseph Rotblat’s would-be advice to the new president

Joseph Rotblat’s would-be advice to the new president

November 4 marks the centenary of the birth of Nobel laureate Joseph Rotblat, the only scientist to walk away from the Manhattan Project on moral grounds and a man who held determined views on the kind of world we should try to create. He was an ardent advocate for dialogue across political divides, the elimination of nuclear weapons, the need ultimately for a world without war, and the social responsibility of scientists.

The role of bats in disease transmission

The role of bats in disease transmission

Bats are considered mysterious creatures and often generate fear. Specifically, South American vampire bats feed on animal blood and possess a legendary lore. But more importantly, bats are the host species for deadly diseases such as rabies, Nipah and Hendra viruses, and SARS. There’s also evidence that they continue to serve as sources of novel emerging viruses.