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Social sciences/Sociology/Society/Social problems

BEIJING—With the world growing smaller and the research enterprise of individual nations growing increasingly inter-dependent, ethics and policy experts from the United States convened here with their Chinese counterparts to discuss common problems and solutions to issues of scientific ethics and social responsibility.

The American public likes scientists almost as much as it likes firefighters and teachers. And, economists say that investments in basic research have offered tremendous returns over the past 50 years. Why, then, do researchers in the United States find themselves on the precipice of a devastating financial cliff, facing $54 billion in across-the-board funding cuts by 1 March unless the U.S. Congress can agree on a budget fix?

When physicist Francis Slakey decided to become the first person to climb the highest peak on every continent and surf every ocean, he never thought the challenge would cause him to reevaluate his approach to life and his career. But after encountering some unanticipated complications during his world travels, that’s just what happened.

In the aftermath of the 2008 California fires that destroyed 550 homes north of Los Angeles, reminders of the former neighborhood remain: sidewalks, some plants, concrete steps to what used to be front porches. The fire displaced many residents, and others decided to move away.

Spring break season is here and many teenage girls may be tempted to take their first drink. The AAAS Science Inside Alcohol Project suggests that parents, teachers and caregivers help girls delay that drink by telling them of scientific research that shows they may be more vulnerable than boys to alcohol-related problems.