Roundup 3/3: Spuds Edition

The European Union announced yesterday that it would allow large-scale cultivation of the genetically modified potato variety called Amflora, which produces extra starch for paper and glue production. At the same time the European Commission said it would go forward with a plan to let member countries decide for themselves whether to allow cultivation of approved GM varieties.

A plan to cut $2 million from the federal budget by eliminating a workshop of 16 economists who watch international labor trends was flagged by The Washington Post today. The specialized group at the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics is vital, according to GeorgetownUniversity economist Robert Bednarzik, who has started a petition to save their jobs. Gathering such data might have seemed a luxury 50 years ago when global economic competition mattered less, Bednarzik told The Post, "But they've picked the worst possible time to try and get rid of it—when we're all in this together."

The federal high energy physics advisory board meets 11-12 March, and among the topics of discussion will be progress at rhe Linear Hadron Collider.

The people who run the X Prize, which began with a $10 million prize for a spaceship and now includes a high-speed genomics challenge, are thinking about a new competition for generating a life-saving organ from a patient's stem cells.