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Highlights from Sci on the Fly: July 2017


Foodwaste, from Flickr

In this edition: Changes to NIH funding policy aim to be more equitable, encountering objections; a new post on the Feedback miniseries discusses the pros and cons of rating your local government on Yelp; a new podcast on food waste and what we can do about it; and the harmful pollution coming out of half the world’s kitchens. Sci on the Fly is a blog and podcast by STPF fellows.

Changes in NIH Funding Policy
Alumna fellow Dorothy Yuan covers a recent policy change at the National Institutes of Health which aims to more equitably distribute limited funds. The new policy would limit how much grant support a single lab can receive in order to free up money for struggling midcareer and junior scientists. Yuan mentions that objections to the plan, many raised by grant recipients, have already caused the NIH to modify their plan by reducing the number of labs that could benefit from 1600 to 900.

Feedback: Checking out Reviews
Current fellow Kyle Wesson writes the second in a series of blogs on feedback, this time asking “How could feedback from five-star style reviews and public comments improve the government?” Reporting on the Government Services Administration’s recent partnership with Yelp to allow the public to rate federal and local government, Wesson elaborates on the pros and cons of these types of reviews. 

PODCAST | From Food Waste and Wasted Food to Resource Recovery
Current fellow Ariela Zycherman hosts an episode on food waste and what you can do about it. The most surprising takeaway comes in the first minute: Americans waste 40% of their food. Joined by a social psychologist, EPA employee, and two co-founders of the MEANS Database, Zycherman tries to get to the bottom of what parts of food go wasted, why we waste, and what we can do to reduce waste.

Cooking: Deadlier than you thought
Current fellow Sutyajeet Soneja discusses the health and climatic impacts of household kitchens. Nearly half the world’s population rely on solid fuels like wood and crop residue to cook. The resulting indoor pollution level is associated with almost four million premature deaths annually. Soneja writes about the short-lived climate pollutants that result from cooking with many solid fuels.