What does the future hold for science funding in the United States? And can politicians get along when it comes to research spending? Today on ScienceLive, we chatted with two veterans of the federal science policy wars—Michael Stephens, director of policy at the Association of Schools of Public Health, and Joel M. Widder, a partner at The Oldaker Law Group, a Washington, D.C.-based law and government relations consulting firm—about these and other issues. If you missed the chat, you can check out the full transcript here.
- Djokovic sets up another tilt at career slam in Paris
By Alison WilliamsNovak Djokovic eventually wore down mercurial Latvian Ernests Gulbis 6-3 6-3 3-6 6-3 in the French Open semi-finals on Friday but only after suffering a sudden loss of form in the process.The Serbian world No.2 was cruising at two sets ahead but his level dipped suddenly allowing Gulbis to make a real match of it before he managed to finish the job and remain on course for the only grand slam title to elude him.Djokovic was overpowered by Gulbis in the third set and seemed to be lacking energy but some errors by his opponent in the fourth spared him being dragged into a decider.The number two seed displayed ice cool efficiency in the first two sets, more consistent from the baseline and clinical when the chances arose in the pair’s first match since 2011.But moments of casual brilliance from 18th seed Gulbis stunned Djokovic in the third which he sealed with an ace after breaking the serve of his worried-looking opponent.Suddenly what had looked like a straightforward afternoon on Phillipe Chatrier court for Djokovic, last year’s runner-up, threatened to turn ugly.However, he upped his level in the fourth as Gulbis started to wilt, earning the right to take on king of clay Rafa Nadal or Wimbledon champion Andy Murray in Sunday’s final.Gulbis, who had reached the last four of a grand slam for the first time after 27 attempts, mostly matched Djokovic’s athleticism scrambling around the court but neither appeared to really hit top gear on the hottest day of the tournament.Djokovic will have to draw deeper on his stamina, belief and weapons if he meets Nadal who is looking for his ninth title on the Paris clay.Reaching Sunday’s clash mean’s Djokovic becomes just the sixth man since tennis turned professional in 1968 to reach multiple finals in each grand slam.Djokovic will reclaim the world number one spot if Nadal fails to win the title.
- Grace of Lent
Dear Editor,Many times, people ask me as to what I have given up for this Lent? Many Christians decide to forgo something for the season of Lent; be it meat, alcohol, chocolate, biscuits, smoking and so on. Apart from material forgoing, some make decision to forgo the things that help them to rediscover God in their lives. Why do we do that in the Lent alone? Why can’t we do it other times of the year? What makes Lent so significant for the people of God?Lent is one of the important seasons in the Christian Liturgical Calendar. It is a season of Grace; a grace poured into our hearts ever since we were born. We grow into an awareness of this grace and renew our relationship with God. In this season we are invited to reflect on our lives and realign our lives towards God. Lent offers us an opportunity to retrospect our commitment to God through prayer, fasting, almsgiving and penance. We acknowledge that we are weak and fragile before God despite our technological advancements. We turn towards God so that he can work in us through his mercy and compassion. We also recognise our love for God and love for our neighbour. Hence, it is a time for fixing our relationship with God. It is the time to make God relevant in our modern times where God has become irrelevant.Lent means ‘spring’; it is a springtime where we are renewed and refreshed through the Lenten observances. We are washed clean so that we enter into paschal mysteries of Christ death and resurrection. The Latin-based language uses the word “Quaresma” for Lent, which simply means 40 days. After the baptism, Jesus was tempted and tried in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights while he was in prayer and fasting. Thus, the Church invites the faithful to reflect on one’s own life to be aware that we are also tempted in our everyday lives. Temptation is part of human life, but how do we deal with it, is more important than dwelling on the issue of temptation.The four pillars of Lent – prayer, penance, almsgiving and fasting – help not only the people in need but makes us empathise with the poor, in other words it makes us feel the pain of the needy; for instance, when we fast, we feel the hunger that a poor person goes through. These pillars help us to mend and to deepen our relationship with God.Sincerely,Fr Jerri Dias SJ