Monday, February 28, 2011

the problem with mis-clicking

so a few weeks ago the entire internet was up in a tizzy about the future of meat, thanks to a researcher who works in my building.

From huffpo condescendingly telling all vegetarians that they should all eat this lab-grown meat, to people generally interested in the idea, to futurist Ray Kurzweil betting the future of humanity on it (among other things), it seemed that everyone was talking about this research, which made me smile. Most often South Carolina is in the news for something horrible.

I even jumped into the fray, with a few posts about my opinions of the science and how it relates to being vegetarian.

What I didn't see reported after the Internet got bored of this story, however, is what greeted me a week ago- apparently the PI for the project had been suspended for "Academic Misconduct"....and none of my lab partners (some of whom worked with this man) knew exactly what that meant.

well, now we know what happened, thanks to Nature News:

Mironov says he feels he wasn't getting enough financial support for his lab or enough input into how the grant was being used. At a grant meeting on 7–8 February in particular, he says he felt that his views were being squashed by one of the grant's co-principal investigators, Scott Little, who is also director of the South Carolina Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research and the Institutional Development Awards office.

Mironov sent a very strongly-worded, accusatory email of complaint to Little, disinviting him from participating in a panel that Mironov convened for the 2011 American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Washington DC on 21 February. Mironov says he accidentally hit 'reply all', sending this e-mail to a list of more than 100 people.
This is exceedingly unfortunate, but I have to wonder exactly what was in that email that warranted shutting the entire lab down.

Unfortunately it looks like this is another sad bit of news from good old South Carolina, and it also looks like it puts quite a lid on the PETA-funded in-vitro meat project. Nick Genovese, the visiting scholar associated with this grant, has now gone on record as saying that if Mironov is permanently let go that he will look to other places to continue his research. Right now, the future of "charlem" is unclear.

Let this be a lesson- be careful what you click!