The inhabitants inside the Washington Beltway love secrets. They love knowing them, they love keeping them, they love letting people know they know them, and they love reading them after someone else has leaked them to a reporter. One Beltway resident recalls a neighbor's garden party where a fellow guest announced that she would have to kill her listener if she were to reveal where she worked. "I'm still not sure if she was serious or not," the party goer recalls somewhat nervously.

Given Inner Washington's passion for secrets, it is curious that the House of Representatives' secret task force on immigration reform has apparently disappeared without a trace.

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President Obama announced Wednesday the nominations of France Anne Cordova, an astrophysicist and former president of Purdue University, to become Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and of Yale microbiologist and science education reformer Jo Handelsman to be the Associate Director for Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

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Fit an iPad with a powerful magnifying objective and what do you get? A rugged, diagnostic-quality microscope that can instantly make cell biology come alive for schoolchildren in New Orleans. ASCB is teaming with Dan Fletcher's Bioengineering group at the University of California, Berkeley, which created the original instrument, to place a set of 10 CellScopes newly adapted to work with iPads, in a city classroom. ASCB members have already kicked in $3,800 toward the $15,000 cost of the first set for New Orleans.

cellscopeA rugged, diagnostic-quality CellScope
that can instantly make cell biology come alive.
Shown here is a zebrafish embryo.
The iPad screen allows three children to use each device, taking turns making samples and imaging. The CellScopes will come with a new curriculum on plant stomata developed by the California Academy of Sciences, which beta-tested the scopes in May. The ASCB is working with local science educators to identify a motivated teacher (likely 4th—6th grade) who will learn to demonstrate the scopes and loan them to others. The teacher and students will be invited to the ASCB Annual Meeting on Saturday, December 14, to receive the scopes and training on the spot.

As an ASCB member, here's your chance to give back to the schoolchildren of the city that is hosting the 2013 ASCB Annual Meeting. Once upon a time, someone sat you at a microscope and adjusted the eyepiece. Suddenly you were looking into the microworld. Decades later, you still are. It's time to pay it forward. (It's also tax deductible for U.S. residents.)

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Ever since Jessica Polka, co-chair of ASCB's committee for postdocs and students (COMPASS), published an extremely popular post on how to print your favorite protein in 3D, the media seems to have exploded with articles about 3D printing. Coincidence? You decide. Send us your comments in two dimensions.

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Falling-MouseIn 2013, Celldance is determined to be really useful. The ASCB's video contest, now in its ninth year, wants to make cell biology perfectly clear, especially for those who teach at the introductory level and for the curious prowling the Web.

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If you were playing with an app on your phone, you would have missed it. Earlier today, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations Subcommittee approved the FY14 Departments of Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education appropriations bill without amendment and by voice vote. The bill, which is notable for its funding for the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), includes $30.9 billion for the NIH, which is $1.6 billion more than the NIH's FY13 budget, after sequestration.

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Cholera is changing the human genome, according to research published in Science Translational Medicine on Wednesday. The investigators scanned the genomes of individuals living in the Ganges Delta of Bangladesh and West Bengal in India, where cholera is prevalent. ScienceNow and the New York Times report that the researchers found 305 regions of the genome with changes due to cholera, evidence that natural selection made its mark on the genes over the past 5,000 to 30,000 years.

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Fundamental knowledge of biology is what drives the pharmaceutical industry, James Sabry, Vice President of Partnering at Genentech and an ASCB Council member, told a Biomedical Research Caucus briefing on Capitol Hill Wednesday. And yet the kind of primary research that yields new insights into fundamental biological mechanisms is government-funded through agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Sabry said. "We can't get a grant from the NIH at Genentech. The money doesn't come to us directly. What comes to us is basic knowledge. Without that, our industry would come to a grinding halt in the United States."

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Immigration laws could be changed substantially for the first time since 1986, says CNN reporting Senate passage by a 68 to 32 vote.

For foreigners working legally in the country, the bill addresses hiring and an entry-exit system according to the Huffington Post.

The New York Times reports that this bill provides a 13-year citizenship plan for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants currently living in the US.

The bill would also double US Border Patrol on the Mexican border says the Washington Post.

For details on the bill, click here.

To read the ASCB position paper on immigration reform, click here

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Two days after touring the main Bethesda campus of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) took to the Senate floor June 19 to speak about what he'd seen at NIHand what he feared for American biomedical research as sequestration-related cuts tear through the agency's budget. The Senate Majority Leader told his colleagues about talking with a 7-year-old patient at the NIH Clinical Center. "The little girl I met there – think of the work that is not going to be done with little girls and little boys like her because, this year alone, $1.5 billion is cut from their program," Reid said.

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