News Article | April 25, 2017
LONDON, UK / ACCESSWIRE / April 25, 2017 / Active Wall St. announces the list of stocks for today's research reports. Pre-market the Active Wall St. team provides the technical coverage impacting selected stocks trading on the Toronto Exchange and belonging under the Agriculture industry. Companies recently under review include Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, Agrium, IC Potash, and Stonegate Agricom. Get all of our free research reports by signing up at: At the closing bell on Monday, April 24, 2017, the Toronto Exchange Composite index edged 0.63% higher to finish the trading session at 15,712.46 with a total volume of 321,482,095 shares exchanging hands for the day. Active Wall St. has initiated research reports on the following equities: Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (TSX: POT), Agrium Inc. (TSX: AGU), IC Potash Corporation (TSX: ICP), and Stonegate Agricom Ltd. (TSX: ST). Register with us now for your free membership and research reports at: Saskatoon, Canada headquartered Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc.'s stock advanced 1.56%, to finish Monday's session at $22.17 with a total volume of 2.66 million shares traded. Potash Corp.'s shares have gained 6.59% in the past one year. The Company's shares are trading below its 50-day and 200-day moving averages. Potash Corp.'s 200-day moving average of $23.49 is above its 50-day moving average of $22.71. Shares of the Company, which together with its subsidiaries, produces and sells fertilizers, and related industrial and feed products worldwide, are trading at a PE ratio of 58.34. See our research report on POT.TO at: On Monday, shares in Calgary, Canada headquartered Agrium Inc. recorded a trading volume of 369,039 shares, which was above their three months average volume of 302,879 shares. The stock ended the day 1.36% higher at $123.86. Agrium's stock has gained 14.28% in the past one year. The Company's shares are trading below its 50-day and 200-day moving averages. The stock's 200-day moving average of $130.67 is above its 50-day moving average of $126.72. Shares of the Company, which produces, markets, and distributes crop nutrients, crop protection products, seeds, and merchandise products primarily in the US, Canada, Australia, and South America, are trading at PE ratio of 28.87. The complimentary research report on AGU.TO at: On Monday, shares in Toronto, Canada headquartered IC Potash Corp. ended the session flat at $0.09 with a total volume of 16,500 shares traded. IC Potash's shares have surged 50.00% in the past one year. Shares of the Company, which engages in the exploration and development of potash and potash-related mineral assets, are trading below its 50-day moving average of $0.10. Register for free and access the latest research report on ICP.TO at: Toronto, Canada headquartered Stonegate Agricom Ltd.'s stock closed the day flat at $0.02. The stock recorded a trading volume of 83,400 shares. Shares of the Company, which together with its subsidiaries, acquires, explores for, and develops agricultural nutrient projects in Canada and internationally, are trading below their 50-day moving average of $0.02. Get free access to your research report on ST.TO at: Active Wall Street (AWS) produces regular sponsored and non-sponsored reports, articles, stock market blogs, and popular investment newsletters covering equities listed on NYSE and NASDAQ and micro-cap stocks. AWS has two distinct and independent departments. One department produces non-sponsored analyst certified content generally in the form of press releases, articles and reports covering equities listed on NYSE and NASDAQ and the other produces sponsored content (in most cases not reviewed by a registered analyst), which typically consists of compensated investment newsletters, articles and reports covering listed stocks and micro-caps. 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News Article | April 25, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC -- India will not be able to meet its Paris climate agreement commitments in the coming years if it carries through with plans to build nearly 370 coal-fired power plants, a new study finds. "India is facing a dilemma of its own making," said Steve Davis, associate professor of Earth system science at the University of California Irvine and coauthor of a new study published today in Earth's Future, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. "The country has vowed to curtail its use of fossil fuels in electricity generation, but it has also put itself on a path to building hundreds of coal-burning power plants to feed its growing industrial economy." According to Davis and his colleagues, India has pledged to the international community to reduce its emissions intensity--the amount of carbon dioxide released per unit of gross domestic product--by as much as 35 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, and to increase the percentage of renewable energy in its power grids. The construction of 65 gigawatts worth of coal-burning generation with an additional 178 gigawatts in the planning stages would make it nearly impossible for India to meet those climate promises, the researchers say. Further, by developing all of the planned coal-fired capacity, India would increase the share of fossil fuels in its energy budget by 123 percent. If the country also met their goal to produce at least 40 percent of their power from non-fossil sources in 2030, the total power being generated would greatly exceed its own projected future electricity demand, according to the new study. "In looking closely at all of India's active coal plant proposals, we found they are already incompatible with the country's international climate commitments and are simply unneeded," said Christine Shearer, a senior researcher with CoalSwarm, a research institute in San Francisco, California and lead author of the new study. "These plants therefore risk either locking out the country's renewable electricity goals or becoming stranded assets operating well below optimal rates and leading to financial losses." "India's Paris pledges might be met if they built these plants and only ran them 40 percent of the time, but that'd be a colossal waste of money, and once built there'd be huge incentives to run the plants more despite their contrary climate goals," Davis said. India relies heavily on coal; 70 percent of the country's power comes from plants burning the fuel. Because of its historically low cost and accessibility (India has large domestic coal reserves), it is seen by the country as an aid in its quest to become a manufacturing and economic power and a way to provide electricity to the roughly 300 million people in the country who don't have it. But the researchers stress there are significant downsides to the fossil fuel habit. In addition to spewing harmful soot and other types of air pollution into the atmosphere, coal-burning power plants are the largest carbon dioxide source on the planet, making up 41 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions in 2015. Choices individual countries make with regard to their energy mix have a global impact, according to the study's authors. "India's proposed coal plants will almost single-handedly jeopardize the internationally agreed-upon climate target of avoiding 1.5 degrees Celsius of mean global warming," Davis said. The researchers are not convinced coal is the way to go for India, pointing to the example set by the only country in the world with a larger population, China. India's neighbor to the north started building too many coal plants at the height of its economic boom. Now it's having to suspend hundreds of unneeded plants that were under development, Shearer said. Further, India's own draft National Energy Plan, released in December 2016, states no further coal power capacity beyond that currently under construction will be needed until at least 2027--although it remains unclear what the country will do about its many proposed coal plants. "India should take a hard look at these coal proposals and avoid the mistakes of China," Shearer said. Turning the ship around will be a challenge for the world's largest democracy. Davis said one of the problems may be communication. "The people going to the international meetings to participate in climate negotiations aren't the same one that are permitting new power plants in the country," he said. "Maybe this paper will help bring that conflict out into the open." The American Geophysical Union is dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs. AGU is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization representing 60,000 members in 137 countries. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and our other social media channels. Founded in 1965, the University of California, Irvine is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It's located in one of the world's safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County's second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. This research article is open access. A PDF copy of the article can be downloaded at the following link: http://onlinelibrary. . Journalists and PIOs may also order a copy of the final paper by emailing a request to Lauren Lipuma at email@example.com. Please provide your name, the name of your publication, and your phone number. Neither the paper nor this press release is under embargo. Title: "Future CO2 emissions and electricity generation from proposed coal-fired power plants in India" Robert Fofrich, Steven J. Davis: Department of Earth System Science, University of California at Irvine, Irvine, California, U.S.A.
News Article | April 20, 2017
A series of video frames shows the Chelyabinsk meteor passing through the skies above the Siberian city of Kamensk-Uralskiy on Feb. 15, 2013. (Aleksandr Ivanov / Popova et al. / Science / AAAS) If an asteroid strikes, don’t head for the hills, or the windows: Head for the basement. A study aimed at sorting out the effects of a catastrophic asteroid impact found that violent winds and pressure shock waves would be the biggest killers, accounting for more than 60 percent of the lives lost in simulated scenarios. “This is the first study that looks at all seven impact effects generated by hazardous asteroids and estimates which are, in terms of human loss, most severe,” Clemens Rumpf, a senior research assistant at the University of Southampton in Britain, said today in a news release from the American Geophysical Union. Rumpf is the lead author of the study, which is published in Geophysical Research Letters, an AGU journal. The seven effects on Rumpf’s list are wind blasts, shock waves, heat, flying debris, tsunami waves, cratering and seismic shaking. The researchers lumped wind blasts and shock waves together because those phenomena would tend to occur together in the wake of an asteroid strike. The winds whipped up by an impact would carry enough power to hurl human bodies and flatten forests, while the spike in atmospheric pressure would set off shock waves strong enough to rupture internal organs. To gauge the damage, the researchers ran 50,000 simulated scenarios with artificial asteroids ranging from 15 to 400 meters (49 to 1,312 feet) across. They found that land-based impacts would be roughly 10 times as dangerous as ocean impacts. Large asteroids hitting the ocean could generate huge tsunami waves; however, the waves’ energy would tend to dissipate as it traveled. Tsunamis accounted for more than 70 percent of the deaths associated with an ocean impact, but only about 20 percent of the lives lost across all scenarios. Heat effects were implicated in nearly 30 percent of the deaths in the land-based simulations, and here’s where Rumpf offered his advice. He said affected populations were likely to avoid harm by hiding in basements and other underground structures. Cratering and airborne debris each accounted for less than 1 percent of the deaths. Seismic shaking was of the least concern, causing only 0.17 percent of the casualties in the simulated scenarios. Rumpf emphasized that the risk of an asteroid strike is low, ranging from once every 1,500 years for a 190-foot-wide space rock to once every 100,000 years for a 1,300-foot-wide monster. The scenarios suggest that most asteroids on the lower end of the spectrum burn up in the atmosphere. An asteroid would have to be wider than 60 feet across to be lethal. That’s roughly the width of the asteroid involved in the 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor blast, which injured hundreds of people in the vicinity of the Siberian city but caused no known deaths. Most of the injuries in Chelyabinsk occurred when the shock wave from the blast sent broken window glass flying into the faces of spectators. Purdue geophysicist Jay Melosh, who wasn’t involved in the study, said the report represents “a reasonable step forward in trying to understand and come to grips with the hazards posed by asteroids and comet impactors.” Rumpf said the findings could help Earthlings plan for future asteroid strikes. “If only 10 people are affected, then maybe it’s better to evacuate the area,” he said. “But if a million people are affected, it may be worthwhile to mount a deflection mission and push the asteroid out of the way.” Rumpf plans to present his findings at the 2017 International Academy of Astronautics Planetary Defense Conference, set for next month in Tokyo.
News Article | April 11, 2017
In a little over two weeks, scientists and science advocates are planning to flood the streets of 480 cities around the globe. They’ll stand up for science, but March for Science organizers want to make sure they don’t go back to sitting down after that. On Monday, the organizers revealed they plan to keep organizing for science after the April 22 march as they attempt to kickstart a new social movement. “The march isn’t going to change anything unless we keep it going after April 22,” Caroline Weinberg, one of the March for Science organizers, said. “After April 22, we’re transitioning from organizing marches to a global organization focused on science education, outreach, and advocacy.” That transition will start on the day of the march. A rally prior to the main march in Washington, D.C., on the National Mall will include 18 teach-ins on science and how it benefits people directly. And after the placards are sorted and recycled, organizers plan to hold a week of activities to solidify next steps to keep momentum going. The small organizing committee has enlisted the support of more than 170 partner organizations who work with or support scientists in an effort to make sure their efforts aren’t for naught. The list includes heavyweights like the American Association for the Advancement of Science and American Geophysical Union and smaller groups like the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund. Occasional fracas have broken out on Twitter, Reddit, and elsewhere over the goals of the march, the symbols that define it, and where diversity fits. But overall, the march has generated steady momentum since its viral explosion in the wake of President Trump’s inauguration. Tens of thousands of people have volunteered to help, and hundreds of thousands of are engaged with the march’s social media accounts. Weinberg said only a quarter of volunteers are self-identified scientists, underscoring that while scientists are the core of the movement, people from all backgrounds are engaged with it. Trump’s election was a clear catalyst for the march, as were his subsequent attacks on science through his rhetoric, cabinet appointments, and proposed budget. Organizers and partners have emphasized that while the march is political, it is not aimed at being partisan. Rather, they see the march as a way to catalyze support for evidence-based policymaking and against a growing anti-expert sentiment. “Solidarity within the global science community is but one of the reasons to march,” Claudio Paganini, a PhD student organizing a satellite march in Berlin, said, noting that recent crackdowns on scientists at universities in Hungary and Turkey are cause for concern. Christine McEntee, AGU’s executive director and CEO, said the outpouring of support is a natural culmination of years of scientists increasingly realizing they need to be more engaged with the public and policymakers. “There was a growing recognition even before this election that scientists have an obligation to communicate their science,” she said. “[Now] the stakes are higher. In this particular administration, the rhetoric is not just coming from one person, it’s coming from lots of people that have been misstating the facts.” Climate change has been one of the scientific areas most under fire by the Trump administration. Climate science is certainly a focal point of the March for Science itself, but Weinberg said they’re aiming to make the march as inclusive as possible to protect all forms of scientific integrity. “Science is not being ignored by policymakers anymore,” she said. “The process of science itself is being attacked and jeopardizing our ability to answer questions about the world.”
News Article | April 19, 2017
On Earth Day, April 22, thousands of people descended on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and took to the streets in cities across the globe — in the name of science. Inspired by the success of the January 21 Women’s March on Washington, the March for Science celebrated the scientific method and advocate for using evidence in decision-makng in all levels of government. Though the event’s website didn’t explicitly mention Trump, it was a protest of his administration’s policies, including his proposal to cut billions in funding for scientific research. The march drew a lively crowd — and the nerdiest protest signs you can imagine. Here’s what you need to know about it. On April 22, science-friendly individuals gathered on the National Mall, and in dozens of satellite marches across the United States and even around the globe. The Earth Day Network — the nonprofit that organizes Earth Day events every year — took the lead on programming for the march. The main event was co-hosted by Questlove (of the Roots and The Tonight Show) and Derek Muller (who runs a popular science YouTube channel). Jon Batiste and Stay Human (the band for Stephen Colbert’s Late Show) served as the house band. And there were four main attractions. The main march programming took place on the north side of the Washington Monument, with a main stage facing the South Lawn of the White House. Around 10 a.m., a series of speakers took the stage. They included: The march programming puts a strong emphasis on education and helping the demonstrators think about how to get further involved in science activism. The Earth Day Network set up a series of 20-plus “teach-ins,” with a vibe that was part science fair, part TED talk. These teach-ins focused on specific topics in science and science communication, and how to move the needle. Sessions included “How to Stop Your Climate Denialist Uncle in His Tracks,” “Protecting Wildlife in an Era of Climate Change,” and one giving marchers tips on how to “protect forests from hungry beetles” and “track threatened wildlife.” Find more information on the teach-ins here. At 2 pm, the crowd marched down Constitution Avenue toward the Capitol building (a little over a mile). There are 518 official satellite marches in the United States and across the world, from Quezon City in the Philippines to Blantyre, Malawi. You can search for the satellite marches here. There are marches in all 50 US states. (There will also be a live stream of the DC event.) Yes! Right here: At the very least, the Science March was a celebration of the scientific method and its ability to inform policy. With Trump in the Oval Office, scientists have been losing seats at the policy-making tables. The hope is that the march will leave an impression: Science matters. Already Trump is calling for a dramatic reduction in the amount of money the US government spends on scientific research, he’s scaling back efforts at the Environmental Protection Agency to combat climate change, and overall, he seems to disregard or not seek out advice from scientific efforts. He has yet to name a top White House science adviser, and it’s unclear if he ever will. Meanwhile, science skeptics in Congress are emboldened. The House recently passed two bills that (under the guise of transparency) would stifle scientific research and expertise at the EPA. It’s the gravity of these concerns that helped the March attract support from the scientific mainstream: Major science advocacy groups and publishers, such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, the Association for Psychological Science, and many others, have endorsed the march and are encouraging their members to attend. Scientists have long been active in Washington, putting pressure on Congress and advocating for funding for their work. Groups like the AAAS and AGU do a lot of this work. But the grassroots movement that’s propelling the March for Science is a bit different. It’s like an awakening of “scientist” as a political identity. At the very least, the event may inspire some of its attendees to go on to greater political action. “Protest is also an opportunity to create what we call ‘collective identity,’” Dana R. Fisher, a sociologist who studies protest movements, said in an interview. “It’s about getting sympathizers, people who agree with the cause, to be activists.” The marchers may then be more ready to mobilize when or if the administration lashes out against the nation’s scientists. “It’s so important to take the energy and excitement from the march, go back home, and carry it into legislatures offices, and hold them accountable,” says Shaughnessy Naughton, a chemist who runs 314 Action, a political action committee dedicated to getting more people with a science background to run for public office. (Just two days before the march, 314 held an information session for scientists thinking about making the leap into public service.) There’s also a consequence the scientists have to wrestle with: A March for Science could be self-defeating. If the public gets the impression that scientists are liberal crusaders, it will be a hard mental image to break. (More on that here.) Many scientists have long been hesitant to get into the political fray. And some worry that further activism will make future fights for science funding more difficult and more partisan. But that concern didn’t stop thousands of scientists and allies from demonstrating. And it could be just the beginning. No. That’s a separate event taking place the next week, on April 29. It will focus more on climate issues, but it will overlap with the Science March in the sentiment that the Trump administration is not heeding scientific experts’ calls for action on climate change. On the day of the Women’s March on Washington, Jonathan Berman, a biology postdoc at the University of Texas Health Science Center, was reading a Reddit thread about an article headlined “All References to Climate Change Have Been Deleted From the White House Website.” One comment caught his eye: “There needs to be a Scientists' March on Washington.” “The only way to make things happen is to do them,” Berman told me in February. So he purchased the web domain MarchForScience.com, and set up a Facebook and Twitter account. The march will “send the message that we need to have decisions being made based on a thoughtful evaluation of evidence,” he says. And all of a sudden, he had a movement. (Some 521,000 had “liked” the march on Facebook as of Tuesday.) But the march organizers are also trying to thread a tough needle with their goals: opposing the anti-science policies of the Trump administration, while furthering the message that science is not a partisan issue. (How precisely to thread the needle on these issues — and how strongly to add issues of diversity, identity, and inclusion to the roster of march causes — has been an ongoing debate around the event.) Unclear. The March for Science isn’t releasing any estimates, though there is a lot of interest in the event. In the week after its founding, the Science March received 40,000 emails from people who wanted to volunteer. But thousands — maybe even tens of thousands — showed up.
News Article | April 19, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC -- If an asteroid struck Earth, which of its effects--scorching heat, flying debris, towering tsunamis--would claim the most lives? A new study has the answer: violent winds and shock waves are the most dangerous effects produced by Earth-impacting asteroids. The study explored seven effects associated with asteroid impacts--heat, pressure shock waves, flying debris, tsunamis, wind blasts, seismic shaking and cratering--and estimated their lethality for varying sizes. The researchers then ranked the effects from most to least deadly, or how many lives were lost to each effect. Overall, wind blasts and shock waves were likely to claim the most casualties, according to the study. In experimental scenarios, these two effects accounted for more than 60 percent of lives lost. Shock waves arise from a spike in atmospheric pressure and can rupture internal organs, while wind blasts carry enough power to hurl human bodies and flatten forests. "This is the first study that looks at all seven impact effects generated by hazardous asteroids and estimates which are, in terms of human loss, most severe," said Clemens Rumpf, a senior research assistant at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, and lead author of the new study published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. Rumpf said his findings, which he plans to present at the 2017 International Academy of Astronautics Planetary Defense Conference in Tokyo, Japan, could help hazard mitigation groups better prepare for asteroid threats because it details which impact effects are most dominant, which are less severe and where resources should be allocated. Though studies like his are necessary to reduce harm, deadly asteroid impacts are still rare, Rumpf said. Earth is struck by an asteroid 60 meters (more than 190 feet) wide approximately once every 1500 years, whereas an asteroid 400 meters (more than 1,300 feet) across is likely to strike the planet every 100,000 years, according to Rumpf. "The likelihood of an asteroid impact is really low," said Rumpf. "But the consequences can be unimaginable." Rumpf and his colleagues used models to pepper the globe with 50,000 artificial asteroids ranging from 15 to 400 meters (49 to 1312 feet) across--the diameter range of asteroids that most frequently strike the Earth. The researchers then estimated how many lives would be lost to each of the seven effects. Land-based impacts were, on average, an order of magnitude more dangerous than asteroids that landed in oceans. Large, ocean-impacting asteroids could generate enough power to trigger a tsunami, but the wave's energy would likely dissipate as it traveled and eventually break when it met a continental shelf. Even if a tsunami were to reach coastal communities, far fewer people would die than if the same asteroid struck land, Rumpf said. Overall, tsunamis accounted for 20 percent of lives lost, according to the study. The heat generated by an asteroid accounted for nearly 30 percent of lives lost, according to the study. Affected populations could likely avoid harm by hiding in basements and other underground structures, Rumpf said. Seismic shaking was of least concern, as it accounted for only 0.17 percent of casualties, according to the study. Cratering and airborne debris were similarly less concerning, both garnering fewer than 1 percent of deaths. Only asteroids that spanned at least 18 meters (nearly 60 feet) in diameter were lethal. Many asteroids on the lower end of this spectrum disintegrate in Earth's atmosphere before reaching the planet's surface, but they strike more frequently than larger asteroids and generate enough heat and explosive energy to deal damage. For example, the meteor involved in the 2013 impact in Chelyabinsk, Russia, was 17 to 20 meters (roughly 55 to 65 feet) across and caused more than 1,000 injuries, inflicting burns and temporary blindness on people nearby. "This report is a reasonable step forward in trying to understand and come to grips with the hazards posed by asteroids and comet impactors," said geophysicist Jay Melosh, a distinguished professor in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana. Melosh, who wasn't involved in the study, added that the findings "lead one to appreciate the role of air blasts in asteroid impacts as we saw in Chelyabinsk." The majority of the injuries in the Chelyabinsk impact were caused by broken glass sent flying into the faces of unknowing locals peering through their windows after the meteor's bright flash, he noted. The study's findings could help mitigate loss of human life, according to Rumpf. Small towns facing the impact of an asteroid 30 meters across (about 98 feet) may fare best by evacuating. However, an asteroid 200 meters wide (more than 650 feet) headed for a densely-populated city poses a greater risk and could warrant a more involved response, he said. "If only 10 people are affected, then maybe it's better to evacuate the area," Rumpf said. "But if 1,000,000 people are affected, it may be worthwhile to mount a deflection mission and push the asteroid out of the way." The American Geophysical Union is dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs. AGU is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization representing 60,000 members in 137 countries. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and our other social media channels.
News Article | April 26, 2017
Increasing diversity within academic science has been a priority for France Córdova since she became director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2014. Within a year she had launched an initiative, called INCLUDES, that challenges universities to do a better job of attracting women and minorities into the field. Now, Córdova has turned her attention inward in hopes of improving the dismal track record of NSF’s most prestigious award for young scientists. Only five women have won NSF’s annual Alan T. Waterman Award in its 41-year history, and no woman of color has ever been selected. The 2017 winners announced this month mark the 13th year in a row that the $1 million research prize has gone to a man (two, actually, including the second black scientist ever chosen.) For decades, NSF rules required candidates to be either 35 or younger, or within 7 years of having received their doctoral degree. Those ceilings made sense when the typical academic scientist was someone who “went straight through school with no debt and no family commitments, and who could focus on research in their late 20s and early 30s without distractions,” says Karan Watson, provost of Texas A&M University in College Station and chair of the Waterman selection committee. But Watson says those caps penalize anyone whose career has been slowed or interrupted by family, finances, or physical challenges—a group likely to be disproportionately female and members of underrepresented minority groups. So Córdova pushed to raise the ceilings to age 40 and 10 years post-Ph.D. “We hope it will level the playing field,” says Maria Zuber, chair of the National Science Board in Arlington, Virginia, NSF’s oversight body, which approved the change at its November 2016 meeting. (The change, announced last week, applies to the 2018 competition deadlines arriving this fall.) Zuber, an astrophysicist and vice president for research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, compared it to “stop-the-clock” policies at MIT and other universities that give faculty members more time to build the research record needed to win tenure. If only it were that easy, says Kim Cobb, a paleoclimate researcher at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and one of six university ADVANCE professors with a remit to improve gender equity. Cobb, who has spent the past several years championing women for awards handed out by the American Geophysical Union (AGU), cites “the deep pool of issues” that female academics must deal with. “There’s explicit bias—the idea that women don’t belong in science,” she begins. “Then there’s structural bias—only women have babies, for example. And then there’s the implicit bias that every one of us carries around without even being aware of its effect on our decisions.” Those biases affect much more than a quest for professional recognition, of course. But prizes are important to academics, and those responsible for handing them out often aren’t aware of the baggage that they may be bringing to the selection committee. “I think that [prize] committees genuinely want to do the right thing,” says Joan Strassmann, a sociobiologist at Washington University in St. Louis in Missouri, a vocal campaigner against gender bias in science. “And they honestly think they are doing a good job.” But she says the Matilda effect—a phrase coined by Margaret Rossiter in the 1990s to describe how the scientific achievements of women are so often credited to men, or simply ignored—demonstrates that good intentions aren’t nearly enough. Strassmann cited research showing that individuals have a hard time choosing the best candidate from a large pool of highly qualified applicants to make the case for diversity. “Scientists pride themselves on being able to spot talent,” says Strassmann, a member of the National Academy of Sciences. “If we had more humility, we might feel free to use other criteria” that would address gender inequity more directly. What is the nature of the current imbalance? In response to a request from Insider, NSF analyzed the last 15 years of the Waterman prize. NSF receives an average of 59 nominees a year—from a high of 86 last year to a low of 42 and 43 in 2005 and 2006. Roughly one-quarter of the pool is deemed worthy of closer scrutiny. And women make up 26% of those finalists, called top performers. (NSF doesn’t ask applicants about gender, but officials did a manual search to determine the gender of the top performers.) The actual percentage can vary considerably from one year to the next year—women made up as few as 10% of the top performers in 2007 and 12% in 2015, and as many as 40% last year. But regardless of the percentage, only a tiny number of women—one and two in 2007 and 2015, for example—make the short list of top performers. Several years ago, AGU identified a similar problem with its prestigious early career award. So in 2011, AGU removed the age limit, then 36, and replaced it with a 10-year post-Ph.D. ceiling. The new rules also allow applicants to describe “special circumstances” that would warrant removing the ceiling altogether. “We know women may take time off to have children,” says Beth Paredes, assistant AGU director for honors and science affiliations in Washington, D.C. “And it can also apply to men, for example, in countries with required military service.” The exemption is rarely invoked, Paredes acknowledges. “But we wanted to be as inclusive as possible,” she says. An uneven distribution of Waterman applicants across disciplines also works against women. Last year, for example, 30 of the 86 nominees were engineers, a field in which women are badly underrepresented. In contrast, the committee received only eight applications from researchers in the social, behavioral, and economic sciences. Watson says the committee would like to see more applicants from the social sciences. Only two have won the prize, and sociologist Dalton Conley of Princeton University, a 2005 Waterman winner and current committee member, says that his colleagues face a Catch-22 situation. “Due to a lack of extant winners, the award is not as known in the social sciences,” Conley says. “And among those who are aware of it, they may figure that there is not much of a shot of winning. Hence fewer apply.” Bumping up those numbers will take more than simply beating the bushes for strong candidates, however. Both Cobb and Strassmann say that the skills needed to succeed in winning prizes—from identifying a heavyweight advocate to rounding up the necessary supporting letters and filling out all the paperwork—aren’t taught in graduate school. Instead, they are learned through the same old boys’ network that for so long has excluded women and minorities. “I didn’t even know the Waterman existed until 6 or 7 years ago,” says Cobb, adding that she became familiar with the award only after she and a small group of women within AGU began their advocacy efforts. And modesty would have ruled it out. “I would never have dared to aspire to such an award,” says Cobb, who was named a chaired professor last year at the age of 41. Changing that culture will require some arm-twisting, Strassmann acknowledges. “I realize everybody is inundated with other tasks,” she says. “But I’ve resolved to nominate 10 people a year, and to urge others to do the same. And why not? I know how to do it. And it feels good.” Though nominating more women and minorities is a necessary first step, nobody expects it will be enough to make the problem disappear. “The old excuse—that there are none who are good enough—is no longer valid,” Watson says. “But maybe we were clipping their wings too soon. The new rules will give them more time to build up their record.” Data from AGU show a surprising gender distribution in its James B. Macelwane Medal for early-career scientists. After being an almost exclusively male prize in its first 2 decades (36 of 37 winners from 1962 to 1983), women received 17% of the awards in the next 2 decades and actually reached parity in the 5 years preceding the rule change. Since 2012, however, men have captured 70% of the 24 medals.
News Article | May 1, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC-- Scientific research in Earth and space sciences advances our understanding of our world and contributes to strong global economies, security, and public health and safety. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) announced a newly adopted position statement, "The Responsibilities and Rights of Scientists," acknowledging that scientists have certain "rights and responsibilities that must be followed individually and defended universally." The statement charges all scientists with three key responsibilities: demonstrating excellence in research conduct; adhering to the highest professional ethics and integrity; and supporting a diverse, inclusive environment. In turn, all scientists have the right to conduct science without fear of retaliation; to collaborate with others independent of political opinion or affiliation; and to freely and openly communicate their findings, protect data, and respond to inaccurate portrayals or usage of science. The statement asserts that "the free, open, and responsible practice of science is fundamental to scientific advancement for both human and environmental well-being." "The scientific profession makes enormous contributions to human health, economic prosperity, and environmental sustainability," said Eric Davidson, AGU president. "With that public-interest role comes great responsibility. This position statement acknowledges not only the importance of scientific excellence and integrity, but also the challenges of cultivating inclusivity, diversity, and safety throughout our profession. Finally, it articulates the essential rights of scientists to freely and openly exchange ideas in their pursuits and communications of knowledge." The new position statement was adopted by AGU's Board and Council on April 13, 2017, and originally proposed in early 2016. It was developed by a panel of AGU members and was open for comments and review by the entire AGU membership in October 2016. AGU is also currently in the process of updating its Ethics policy to provide the best guidance for scientists and members. The new position statement supplements both the forthcoming Ethics policy as well as second existing statement, "AGU Supports Free and Open Communication of Scientific Findings." As an organization committed to promoting discovery in Earth and space science for the benefit of humanity, AGU develops and maintains position statements to provide scientific expertise on significant policy issues related to the understanding and application of the Earth and space sciences. The American Geophysical Union is dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs. AGU is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization representing 60,000 members in 137 countries. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and our other social media channels.
News Article | April 20, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC -- The American Geophysical Union (AGU) today published a collection of 27 essays as commentaries in its scientific journals highlighting the important role Earth and space science research plays in society. The essays, covering a broad swath of scientific disciplines and written by notable scientists in their fields, discuss the critical role of research, the growing importance of data and the increasing globalization of the scientific enterprise. Together, they highlight how Earth and space science research can help grow our economy and enable our society to thrive. An overview of the special collection is detailed in a blog post by AGU's journal editors, and AGU's director and assistant director of publications. The collection comes as science is increasingly under threat in the United States and around the world and ahead of Saturday's March for Science. AGU is one of nearly 200 partner organizations that have joined with science advocates, science educators, scientists and concerned citizens to advocate for evidence-based policymaking, science education, research funding and inclusivity as part of the March for Science. About 70 percent of the near-Earth objects large enough to cause severe regional damage have yet to be discovered. While the chance of an impact is small, the consequences can potentially be severe, so reasonable measures, such as finding, tracking and characterizing the asteroids should be undertaken, writes Amy Mainzer, senior research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets. Snow is critical in sustaining human life. It provides water and plays a key role in the climate through its unrivaled power to cool the Earth. It is also changing rapidly. In Water Resources Research, Matthew Sturm and Charles Parr, geophysicists at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Michael Goldstein, a professor of finance at Babson College, provide a strong rationale and guidelines for accelerated snow research that will allow society to make major impending decisions related to snow resources on the soundest base and best scientific knowledge. Essential science for understanding risks from radiation for airline passengers and crews Cosmic ray fluxes will likely be the highest since the dawn of the aviation age during the upcoming solar minimum, a low point in the solar cycle when weak solar activity provides less protection against cosmic rays entering the atmosphere. Considering this, measuring high-altitude radiation doses and turning those data into useful information for aviation operators, schedulers and frequent flyers will provide support for key decisions, according to Delores Knipp, a researcher professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, in a commentary in Space Weather. A commentary in Tectonics by Timothy Stahl, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan and co-authors from the University of Michigan and the University of Colorado Boulder, explores the scientific pathways through which earthquake-resilient societies are developed. They highlight recent case studies of evidence-based decision making and how modern research is improving the way societies respond to earthquakes. Solving water quality problems in agricultural landscapes: new approaches for these nonlinear, multi-process, multi-scale systems Changes in climate and agricultural practices are putting pressure on agro-environmental systems all over the world. Patrick Belmont, an associate professor at Utah State University, and Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, a distinguished professor at the University of California - Irvine, present a perspective, gained from a decade of research and stakeholder involvement in the Minnesota River Basin, where research findings have influenced solutions and policy in directions not obvious at the outset. Their essay appears in Water Resources Research. Scientific advances in the field of coastal hydrogeology have enabled responsible management of water resources and protection of important ecosystems. To address the problems of the future, we must continue to make scientific advances, and groundwater hydrology needs to be firmly embedded in integrated coastal zone management. This will require interdisciplinary scientific collaboration, open communication between scientists and the public, and strong partnerships with policymakers, according to Holly Michael, an associate professor at the University of Delaware and co-authors, in a commentary in Water Resources Research. The simultaneous emergence of the terms "GeoHealth" and "Planetary Health" from the earth science and health communities, respectively, signals recognition that developing a new relationship between humanity and our natural systems is becoming an urgent global health priority -- if we are to prevent a backsliding from the past century's great public health gains. Achieving meaningful progress will require collaboration across a broad swath of scientific disciplines as well as with policy makers, natural resource managers, members of faith communities and movement builders around the world, write members of the Planetary Health Alliance in GeoHealth. The American Geophysical Union is dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs. AGU is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization representing 60,000 members in 137 countries. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and our other social media channels. The following press release can be found at: https:/
News Article | April 18, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC -- Climate change is causing thick ice deposits that form along Arctic rivers to melt nearly a month earlier than they did 15 years ago, a new study finds. River icings form when Arctic groundwater reaches the surface and solidifies on top of frozen rivers. They grow throughout the winter until river valleys are choked with ice. Some river icings have grown to more than 10 square kilometers (4 square miles) in area - roughly three times the size of New York's Central Park - and can be more than 10 meters (33 feet) thick. In the past, river icings have melted out around mid-July, on average. But a new study measuring the extent of river icings in the U.S. and Canadian Arctic shows most river icings disappeared 26 days earlier, on average, in 2015 than they did in 2000, melting around mid-June. In addition, the study found most icings that don't completely melt every summer were significantly smaller in 2015 than they were in 2000. Watch a video of river icings here. "This is the first clear evidence that this important component of Arctic river systems - which we didn't know was changing - is changing and it's changing rapidly," said Tamlin Pavelsky, a hydrologist at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and lead author of the new study published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. Scientists have studied the effects of climate change on other types of Arctic ice like glaciers and sea ice, but until now no study has systematically looked at whether river icings are changing in response to a warming climate, according to the authors. Although the decline in river icings is likely a result of climate change, the authors are unsure whether the decline in river icings is a direct result of rising temperatures or if climate change is altering how rivers and groundwater interact. "While glaciers tell us about climate in the mountains and sea ice tells us about sea-atmosphere interactions, the processes that control river icing may offer great insight into how groundwater and surface waters are connected in the Arctic and how our headwaters will be connected to the ocean in the future," said Jay Zarnetske, a hydrologist at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, and co-author of the study. The decline in river icings is remarkably rapid and if it continues, it could have huge impacts on Arctic river ecosystems, Pavelsky said. River icings are found all over the Arctic and create wide channels that are important habitats for animals and fish. So much water is tied up in river icings that when they melt in summer, usually in July and August, they keep rivers flowing that might otherwise dry up, providing important freshwater habitat for fish and other animals, he said. The idea to study river icings came to Pavelsky in 2013 during a flight to northern Alaska for a recreational canoe trip. The pilot of the small plane, who had flown in the area for more than 30 years, said he noticed river icings were melting earlier in the season and the timing was becoming more unpredictable. River icings pack down the gravel on riverbeds and pilots use them as makeshift runways. "My scientist antenna went right up," Pavelsky said. "I said 'Hey, I think I know how to look at that." When Pavelsky returned from the trip, he downloaded data from the moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the NASA Terra satellite, which takes daily images of Earth. Pavelsky and Zarnetske then analyzed daily MODIS images of the U.S. and Canadian Arctic from 2000 to 2015, wondering if they could see evidence of changes to the ice that Pavelsky's pilot had described. They could. Pavelsky and Zarnetske detected 147 river icings using the MODIS data and found that of those, 84 are either becoming smaller or disappearing earlier in the season. The rest were unchanged. None of the river icings they analyzed grew or persisted later in the season. The minimum area of ice they measured also shrank considerably over the study period. In 2000, Pavelsky and Zarnetske measured a minimum ice area of 80 square kilometers (30 square miles) - roughly half the area of Washington, D.C. By 2010, that number had dwindled to just 4 square kilometers (2 square miles) - smaller than San Diego's Balboa Park. By 2015, the ice had rebounded slightly, with a minimum area of about 7 square kilometers (3 square miles). "I think it's a really important study, as another example of the types of changes we're seeing in the Arctic landscape," said Ken Tape, an ecologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks who was not connected to the study. "This is not a prediction about something that will change, it's demonstrating something that has changed, likely in response to warming." The American Geophysical Union is dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs. AGU is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization representing 60,000 members in 137 countries. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and our other social media channels.