Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 29, 2014

Posts in "Ideas"

July 18, 2014

Sizing Up the National ‘Research Enterprise’

Is the U.S. measuring its “research enterprise” well enough?

At a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing Thursday, Stephen Fienberg, a statistics and social science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, talked about some findings in a report the National Academy issued last month:

We found that current measures are inadequate to guide national decisions about what research investments will expand the benefits of science. Moreover, we noted that the U.S. lacks an institutionalized capacity for systematically evaluating the nation’s research enterprise taken as a whole and assessing its performance and developing policy options for federally-funded research.

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3D Printing in Space: There’s Much to Learn, Report Says

188124497 445x296 3D Printing in Space: Theres Much to Learn, Report Says

This 3D printer creation by Joshua Harker, shown in Paris in November, was not printed in space. (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images)

Three-dimensional printing has been a hot topic lately, with Home Depot even starting to sell the machines in some stores and the National Institutes of Health maintaining an exchange for 3D printer files. What about using 3D printing in space? There are potential benefits, but we still don’t know the full scope of this technology, and its capabilities in the short-term have been exaggerated, says a new report by the National Research Council.

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July 14, 2014

Unauthorized In-App Charges: Questions About Parents’ Role and the FTC’s Approach

The Federal Trade Commission has filed a lawsuit alleging that Amazon on numerous occasions billed customers for unauthorized “in-app” charges made by children, but several writers are raising questions about whether parents should take more responsibility in choosing what games their children have access to, and how the Federal Trade Commission should go about addressing such issues.

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July 9, 2014

Facebook News Feed Filtering: Beyond the Emotion Study

Among the flood of writing that’s emerged after news of Facebook’s controversial changing of users’ News Feeds for an emotion study involving more than 689,000 users, a number of articles point out that even the News Feeds that users see outside of such an experiment don’t fully reflect all of their friends’ activities on the site.

For example, Vox’s Nilay Patel writes that “manipulating the News Feed is Facebook’s entire business” and lays out how it works with advertising.

So, what’s the response to the idea that everything’s filtered, whether it’s for a study or not? David Weinberger, a senior researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society in his piece in CNN raises concerns about commercial objectives of entities making decisions about what people see.

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By Anne L. Kim Posted at 10:28 a.m.
Ideas, R&D, Social Media

July 7, 2014

MIT’s Joi Ito on ‘Stodgy Institutions’ and Innovation

The world is changing — that’s nothing new. But what about innovation itself? MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito  says in a newly posted TED Talk that there’s a fundamentally “new way of thinking” about it, and that “stodgy institutions” need to embrace it.

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By Anne L. Kim Posted at 2:50 p.m.

July 3, 2014

What Do the Experts Fear About the Future of the Internet?

Will the way people access and share content on the Internet be significantly worse in 2025 compared to now? And what are the “most serious threats to the most effective accessing and sharing” of content online?

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June 30, 2014

Airbnb’s Brian Chesky on Regulation

“I think that we want to be regulated [because] to regulate us would be to recognize us,” says Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky in a recent video from the Aspen Ideas Festival talks. “What we don’t want is a blanket prohibition.”

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By Anne L. Kim Posted at 1:25 p.m.

June 23, 2014

Reps. Bucshon, Gibbs to Talk Driverless Car Ride on Facebook

gibbs 17 0303111 445x295 Reps. Bucshon, Gibbs to Talk Driverless Car Ride on Facebook

Gibbs (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two Republicans on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee are slated to take to Facebook on Wednesday to talk about what it’s like to be in a driverless car.

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By Anne L. Kim Posted at 11:27 a.m.

June 19, 2014

Are Cities’ Budget Woes Helping Drive Open Data?

10891662296 c98eaec412 b 445x296 Are Cities Budget Woes Helping Drive Open Data?

Kraft (Photo by Flickr user Daniel X. O’Neil, used under a Creative Commons license.)

Local governments’ resources pale in comparison to what the federal government has on hand, but could that actually be helping with open data at the local level?

The way the OpenGov Foundation’s Seamus Kraft sees it, local governments are taking the lead on open data, and that’s because of a combination of budget woes, the presence of  “civic hackers” and flexibility that leaders have at the local level.

“The vast majority of innovation in producing government information is happening at the local level,” said Kraft, group’s executive director, in an interview with Technocrat. Full story

June 18, 2014

More ‘Giraffe Cam’ Than You Can Handle From the White House Maker Faire

Above is the live video stream from the Maker Faire at the White House today. As of 10:55 a.m. it had been showing more than 20 minutes of the Giraffe Cam, which is apparently the point of view of this thing. (If you scroll back to about the 29-minute mark, you can see an interview with the makers, who are from San Diego.)

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