The inhabitants inside the Washington Beltway love secrets. They love knowing them, they love keeping them, they love letting people know they know them, and they love reading them after someone else has leaked them to a reporter. One Beltway resident recalls a neighbor's garden party where a fellow guest announced that she would have to kill her listener if she were to reveal where she worked. "I'm still not sure if she was serious or not," the party goer recalls somewhat nervously.

Given Inner Washington's passion for secrets, it is curious that the House of Representatives' secret task force on immigration reform has apparently disappeared without a trace.

President Obama announced Wednesday the nominations of France Anne Cordova, an astrophysicist and former president of Purdue University, to become Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and of Yale microbiologist and science education reformer Jo Handelsman to be the Associate Director for Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).


Dear lab rat,
If you found this article on Facebook (or Twitter or Reddit or Google Plus or whatever social media site you prowl), you can stop reading right now and hit ctrl+P. Then slip the printout onto your PI's desk. Done? Thanks, you've just helped to advance scientific communications. Now go finish your western blot so you can graduate.

Fit an iPad with a powerful magnifying objective and what do you get? A rugged, diagnostic-quality microscope that can instantly make cell biology come alive for schoolchildren in New Orleans. ASCB is teaming with Dan Fletcher's Bioengineering group at the University of California, Berkeley, which created the original instrument, to place a set of 10 CellScopes newly adapted to work with iPads, in a city classroom. ASCB members have already kicked in $3,800 toward the $15,000 cost of the first set for New Orleans.

cellscopeA rugged, diagnostic-quality CellScope
that can instantly make cell biology come alive.
Shown here is a zebrafish embryo.
The iPad screen allows three children to use each device, taking turns making samples and imaging. The CellScopes will come with a new curriculum on plant stomata developed by the California Academy of Sciences, which beta-tested the scopes in May. The ASCB is working with local science educators to identify a motivated teacher (likely 4th—6th grade) who will learn to demonstrate the scopes and loan them to others. The teacher and students will be invited to the ASCB Annual Meeting on Saturday, December 14, to receive the scopes and training on the spot.

As an ASCB member, here's your chance to give back to the schoolchildren of the city that is hosting the 2013 ASCB Annual Meeting. Once upon a time, someone sat you at a microscope and adjusted the eyepiece. Suddenly you were looking into the microworld. Decades later, you still are. It's time to pay it forward. (It's also tax deductible for U.S. residents.)

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