Articles Posted in scientific advances

false certifications An investigation by the U.S. Space Agency found that a metals manufacturer had provided hardware to Nasa backed by fraudulent test results. These materials eventually resulted in a loss of over $700 million, as well as multiple failed satellite launches. The company involved in the fraudulent materials scheme was an Oregon based company called Sapa Profiles Inc., which according to the investigation has falsified thousands of parts certifications throughout its nearly 20 years in business.

According to NASA, the faulty parts were used to surround a rocket named the Taurus XL, which was designed to deliver years of satellite research regarding the Earth’s climate. However, with the uncertified parts installed, the rocket was not able to break out of its encasement properly during launch. This effectively destroyed the project and resulted in several years of work and funding put to waste.

When testing results are altered and certifications are provided falsely, missions fail,” stated the director of launch services for NASA, Jim Norman. However, the Taurus XL was not the only equipment ruined by the faulty hardware provided by Sapa Profiles Inc.

cancer-research-300x199At the MD Anderson Cancer Center, a number of senior researchers were found violating the rules of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Three researchers have already been terminated for disclosing confidential information and withholding information involving their foreign connections.

This case was part of an effort the NIH launched in order to address the U.S. government’s concern in foreign nations attempting to gain insight into intellectual property and take unfair advantage of federally funded research. This investigation has promoted over 55 institution investigations, but the MD Anderson case was the first to have led to inquires serious enough to evoke termination. While three of the scientists at MD Anderson were terminated, one is still under investigation, and a fifth is free of termination.

MD Anderson Cancer Center was given $148 million in NIH funding in the year 2018 in order to support their research. The center must adhere to all NIH rules in order to maintain funding.

Researchers in Spain and England recently found that the larvae of greater wax moths can efficiently break down polyethylene which accounts for 40% of the plastic in the environment.  We produce 300 metric tons of plastic yearly and 12 million metric tons pollute the ocean. The scientists have found that the moths have developed enzymes in their stomachs which break down the plastic and the hope is to harvest or reproduce the enzyme to break down plastics in our land fills and in the oceans. The research is reported in Current Biology and in this month’s Scientific American August 2017 Page 21.


Recent studies also show that physicians who use clinical support decision systems in making their diagnoses have a significantly lower adverse events rate for misdiagnosis. The most popular computer software system is Visual Dx, in a 2012 study comparing 1600 emergency rooms those who used the systems to check diagnoses had a 60% correct diagnosis rate. Those that did not use the system had a 14% success rate. About 1600 hospitals use the system now but the numbers are expected to increase substantially. Scientific American August 2017 Page 24.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers