Elsewhere in Science, 28 February 2014

Each week, Science publishes a few articles that are likely to be of interest to career-minded readers. But because those articles aren’t featured on Science Careers, our readers could easily overlook them.

To remedy that, every Friday we’re pointing readers toward articles appearing in Science—the print magazine as well as the other Science-family publications (ScienceInsider, ScienceNOW, Science Translational Medicine—Sci. TM—and Science Signaling)—that hold some relevance or nuggets of advice for readers interested in furthering their careers in science. (Please note that while articles appearing in ScienceInsider and ScienceNOW can be read by anyone, articles appearing in Sci. TM, Science Signaling, and Science may require AAAS—publisher of Science Careers—membership/Science subscription or a site license.)

• At ScienceInsider on Thursday, Mi-Young Ahn and Dennis Normile reported that discredited stem cell researcher Woo Suk Hwang “suffered a setback in his bid to reclaim respectability today when South Korea’s Supreme Court confirmed his conviction on embezzlement and bioethics violations. The court also sent Hwang’s plea to overturn his dismissal from Seoul National University (SNU) back to a lower court for review and upheld previous rulings acquitting him of fraud charges.”

• This week’s “Newsmakers” section features a “Three Q’s” interview with physicist and Congressman Rush Holt (D–NJ), who announced last week that he would retire from the U.S. House of Representatives. When asked what it would take to achieve bipartisan support for science-related legislation, Holt replied, “It will take more people who have an allegiance to evidence. And what I’m saying is that many [current members] do not. That’s what would have to change.”

• Twitter recently announced that it would make available to researchers its vast archive of tweets—apparently a great research opportunity for data-savvy social scientists. Indeed, many scientists are “scrambling” to apply before the company’s 15 March deadline, writes John Bohannon in this week’s News & Analysis section. “But some, scrutinizing the fine print of the application, worry about legal strings that seem to grant Twitter ownership of their research ideas.”

Before signing the legislation, Yoweri Museveni, Uganda’s president, empaneled a committee of scientists to advise him on whether homosexuality is genetic or behavioral. After reading the committee’s report, Museveni wrote, in a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, that the committee’s “unanimous conclusion was that homosexuality, contrary to my earlier thinking, was behavioural and not genetic. It was learnt and could be unlearnt.”

Committee members say they concluded no such thing. “They misquoted our report,” says Paul Bangirana, a clinical psychologist at Makerere University in Kampala. “The report does not state anywhere that homosexuality is not genetic, and we did not say that it could be unlearnt.” Two committee members have resigned to protest the use of their report to justify the legislation.

Shortly after the committee presented its findings to Museveni and others, the National Resistance Movement—Uganda’s ruling party—put out a press release declaring that Museveni would sign the bill “since the question of whether one can be born a homosexual or not had been answered.” The press release combined and altered two of the committee’s statements—”Homosexuality is not a disease” and “Homosexuality is not an abnormality”—to read, “Homosexuality is not a disease but merely an abnormal behavior which may be learned through experiences in life.”

Apparently the scientists on the committee were used for political cover. “Regardless of what our report would say, this bill was going to be signed,” Bangirana says.

A scientist’s guide to social media

On American Scientists’ Dismal Morale