FROM Kathryn Higley
Medical Radiation: Are Americans Getting Too Much of a Good Thing? Since long before the Fukushima nuclear-plant disaster, doctors and others have been alarmed by Americans' increased exposure to radiation. But Japan's nuclear disaster has reawakened fear of the invisible enemy that's also used to discover diseases and save human lives. Even radiologists say Americans are getting too much of a good thing, but not from fallout, airport scanners or cell phones. Doctors are ordering seven times more radiation scans than they were 30 years ago, while diagnoses of life-threatening conditions have hardly risen at all. Are so many scans really needed for medicine or to avoid lawsuits, pay back investments in expensive machines and satisfy the demands of patients?
Run on Potassium Iodide: Do Californians Need It? Since word of the Japanese nuclear crisis broke Friday night, pharmacies have been besieged by customers worried about exposure to radiation that can cause thyroid cancer. While manufacturers are sending as many potassium-iodide pills as possible to Japan, US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin dismissed the need here, at least for right now. Kathryn Higley, who spent 14 years at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, is Professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at Oregon State University.
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
Does 'hire American' mean fire a foreigner? US companies are allowed to hire employees from other countries with highly developed skills that can't be found here. President Trump says it's being abused as a way to find cheap foreign labor. We hear about the benefits—and the risks—of changing the H-1B program.