Big Bucks, Tom Hanks, and a CO2 Vacuum Cleaner

Lifestyles of the rich and famous. That's the best way to describe the world of science this week. Here are some highlights from our science policy blog, ScienceInsider.

First the rich. Science agencies continued to rack up billions this week, as the ever evolving U.S. economic stimulus package takes shape. The biggest winner looks to be the National Institutes of Health, which would receive $10 billion for research and facilities. You can find the latest rundown for other science agencies here. Also seeing green is the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E), established by Congress 2 years ago to inspire risky energy and climate-related research. The concept hasn't gotten a dime in federal money so far, but lawmakers are set to throw $400 million at it as part of the stimulus.

Now for the famous, and it doesn't get any more famous than Tom Hanks. This week, the movie star stopped by CERN near Geneva, Switzerland, to chat Illuminati and antimatter. So what does he think of the world's largest particle physics laboratory? "I love seeing science fiction become science fact," he told one of our reporters on the scene. Speaking of CERN, its Large Hadron Collider is on the mend and should be back in business by late September.

Finally, in our odds-and-ends bin, what do you get when you cross a vacuum cleaner with a tree? A potential geoengineering solution called air capture, which aims to lower atmospheric CO2 levels by literally sucking the greenhouse gas out of the sky. We smell a sci-fi movie. Someone get Tom Hanks.

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Posted in Policy, Scientific Community