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Biomedical researchers are getting personal. That, at least, is the trend foreseen by geneticist T. Conrad Gilliam of the University of Chicago, who spoke on 13 February at the AAAS meeting in Chicago. In a provocative address titled "Human Genetics, Genomics, and the Future of Medicine," Gilliam explored personalized medicine — and his efforts to trace some diseases to many sets of interacting genes.

Despite long-standing suspicions between the governments of the United States and North Korea, a progressive group of American intellectuals is calling for increased scientific cooperation between the two countries. Speaking at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Chicago on 13 February, members of the U.S - D.P.R.K. Scientific Engagement Consortium pointed to science as a tool for bridging the political gap.

Climate change, one of the leading science and society stories of the past decade, remained a hot ticket for both scientists and journalists at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago. Attendees packed a session titled "Hot and Hotter: Media Coverage of Climate-Change Impacts, Policies, and Politics" on 13 February.

Africa's reputation as a scientific backwater has deep roots. Political instability, malnutrition, disease, and poverty have loomed as far more serious issues than tinkering with science. But in recent years, biotechnology research and development has emerged in many African countries. Researchers there now have the potential to tackle the AIDS epidemic, water pollution, and other major problems through local and national initiatives, said speakers on 13 February at the AAAS meeting in Chicago.

There's nothing like the introduction of four top editors to quiet a room of science writers. This year, editors from the New York Times, Scientific American, Sierra, and Wired formed the panel of the Pitch Slam, a fan favorite at the annual NASW workshops. Writers, eager to hear insider tips and witness on-the-spot feedback to story pitches, packed the room in October in Palo Alto, the site of ScienceWriters 2008.

If any reporters sitting in the session "Turning the Tables: Meet the Press Critics" have had a piece panned by one of the critics present, they didn't speak up. The three panelists, who participated in ScienceWriters 2008 in October in Palo Alto, instead enjoyed a cordial environment in which they explained how they think science journalists are living up to their responsibilities — and how they're not.

Science writers who wish to adapt to the digital age have two fundamental questions to answer: What new skills do I need? And what equipment do I need to buy? Panelists at this session of ScienceWriters 2008 in October in Palo Alto — organized by Tabitha Powledge — discussed how multimedia can enhance stories, how to get started with going digital and how to choose the right laptop computer.

From the blogosphere to Silicon Valley and back, technology impacts both the way we write and the topics we can cover as science writers. In a session called "Geeks, Freaks and Deadlines: Writing about Technology and the Humans Who Love It" at ScienceWriters 2008 in October in Palo Alto, panelists advised, admonished and cajoled the science writing audience to be creative in their use of technology — as both topic and medium.