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January 31, 2015

Posts in "R&D"

January 21, 2015

Obama’s Tech Talk in SOTU

President Barack Obama’s call for lawmakers to pass legislation to address “cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children’s information” in his State of the Union address wasn’t a surprise given his announcements last week in advance of Tuesday night’s speech, but he also mentioned net neutrality, surveillance and space in his speech. Below are some of his science and tech-related mentions:

  • “I intend to protect a free and open internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks, so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world.”
  • “21st century businesses need 21st century infrastructure — modern ports, stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest internet.”
  • “No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids. We are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism. And tonight, I urge this Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children’s information.”
  • “So while some have moved on from the debates over our surveillance programs, I haven’t. As promised, our intelligence agencies have worked hard, with the recommendations of privacy advocates, to increase transparency and build more safeguards against potential abuse. And next month, we’ll issue a report on how we’re keeping our promise to keep our country safe while strengthening privacy.”
  • “I want Americans to win the race for the kinds of discoveries that unleash new jobs — converting sunlight into liquid fuel; creating revolutionary prosthetics, so that a veteran who gave his arms for his country can play catch with his kid; pushing out into the Solar System not just to visit, but to stay. Last month, we launched a new spacecraft as part of a re-energized space program that will send American astronauts to Mars. In two months, to prepare us for those missions, Scott Kelly will begin a year-long stay in space. Good luck, Captain — and make sure to Instagram it.”

January 9, 2015

Weekly Wrapup: Net Neutrality, Panel Changes & More

This week, the big news included Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler’s comments on Title II at International CES in Las Vegas and the announcement of DISH Network’s Sling TV, which will start offering select television channels delivered over the Internet, including ESPN.

At Technocrat, we had posts for you on net neutrality, changes on a House panel with jurisdiction over intellectual property, and more.

  • Online sales tax legislation could make it through this new Congress, but only if there are significant changes from the measure the Senate passed back in May 2013, per CQ Roll Call’s Katy O’Donnell.
  • Technocrat chatted with Arizona State University law professor Adam Chodorow, who wrote a piece in Slate this week on taxes and Mars. Apparently, tax law even specifies how to treat income earned from space activities.

January 6, 2015

Radiation Research Bill on the House Floor This Week

Among the bills the House is set to consider this week is a measure dealing with research on low-dose radiation.

According to CQ House Action Report’s Annie Shuppy, the House passed a similar measure last Congress, but the bill didn’t see Senate action.

The bill would direct the Energy Department’s Office of Science to enter into an agreement with the National Academies for a study “assessing the current status and development of a long-term strategy for low-dose radiation research.” The study would need to include elements such as identifying the scientific challenges to understanding the effects of ionizing radiation in the long-term as well as recommending a long-term research agenda  to address those challenges. After the study, the Energy Department would have to submit a five-year research plan to Congress.

The bill wouldn’t authorize any money and specifies that the legislation would be implemented “using funds otherwise appropriated by law.”

Former Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga.,  sponsored the proposal last Congress and had contended that there wasn’t enough data for experts to determine whether there was a level of radiation where there was no health risk, the effects of which which he argued included hampering regulatory agencies from establishing more precise limits for radiation.

According to the Energy Department, medical diagnostic tests are the main reason for human exposure to radiation, but exposure can also come from sources like waste cleanup and natural catastrophes.

Update

Roll Call’s Matt Fuller reports on what this bill has to do with the “mini-revolt” against re-electing House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, to his leadership position here.

December 1, 2014

The Week Ahead: Cybercrime, Telecommunications Law and the Internet of Things

I hope you had your rest and relaxation over the Thanksgiving holiday because things are kicking into gear again, with events on cybercrime, telecommunications law and the Internet of Things.

Tuesday

The Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies holds an event on patent regulation and policy.

New America hosts talk with Shane Harris, author of “@War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex.”

New York University’s Information Law Institute and Microsoft’s Innovation & Policy center host an event titled “Building Privacy Into Data-Driven Education.”

The Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic  Public Policy Studies holds its U.S. Telecoms Symposium.

The Planetary Society holds an event on the future of solar system exploration.

Wednesday

The Bipartisan Policy Center holds an event on health information technology.

The Cato Institute hosts a talk with Terence Kealey, vice-chancellor emeritus at the University of Buckingham, on public funding of science and research.

The House Oversight & Government Reform Committee holds a hearing on the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act.

The Information Technology Industry Council and Intel host an event on technology, policy and emerging health crises.

Thursday

Georgetown University Law Center and the Justice Department’s Criminal Division sponsor an event titled “Cybercrime 2020: The Future of Online Crime and Investigations.”

The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation’s Center for Data Innovation holds an event on the Internet of Things.

Republic 3.0 hosts a panel discussion on progressives and a rewrite of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

November 11, 2014

‘Queen of Carbon’ Among Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients

Mildred Dresselhaus after receiving the  2012 Kavli prize in Oslo on Sept. 4, 2012. (AAS, ERLEND/AFP/GettyImages)

Mildred Dresselhaus after receiving the 2012 Kavli prize in Oslo on Sept. 4, 2012. (AAS, ERLEND/AFP/GettyImages)

Among the Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients announced early Monday evening:  Mildred Dresselhaus, also known as the Queen of Carbon.

The White House release described the physics and electrical engineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as “one of the most prominent physicists, materials scientists, and electrical engineers of her generation,” and that “she is best known for deepening our understanding of condensed matter systems and the atomic properties of carbon, which has contributed to major advances in electronics and materials research.”

The New York Times published an interview with her in 2012. The piece described her work on carbon, her various accolades — including the 2012 Kavli Price in Nanoscience — and noted that she’s been a “prominent advocate for women in physics and engineering, disciplines that are still short on high-ranking female faces and that were outright hostile to women when she began her career in the late 1950s.”

Full story

By Anne L. Kim Posted at 8:29 a.m.
R&D

September 26, 2014

Friday Q&A: Application Developers Alliance’s Tim Sparapani

(Source: Application Developers Alliance)

(Source: Application Developers Alliance)

The Application Developers Alliance, which *surprise* represents app developers, is just a couple years old and has roughly 40,000 individual and nearly 180 companies as members. The policy issues they focus on are data and patents and Technocrat talked with the group’s vice president for policy, law and government affairs, Tim Sparapani. He was previously Facebook’s public policy director and senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union.

Q: What are your top policy issues that you’re working on right now?

A: Well, it’ll be no surprise that most of them revolve around data.

And, you know, because our members are the experts in how to build new and novel technologies, using both businesses’ and the public’s data, there are a whole host of questions that arise from that.

So, they sort of span the globe of things. But mostly it’s about how we can use data wisely and well to benefit consumers and the public writ large.

Sometimes people sort of truncate this by calling it a privacy debate. Well, it’s a lot more than that. You know, it’s a really a sort of a debate about whether data can be used to solve a series of societal problems, as our members believe it can be. And whether we can provide increasingly customized and personalized services and benefits to individuals, which give them tools and services that before the app industry arose used to cost them a whole lot of money, and now we can hopefully give them to them for free or nearly so. So it’s also about consumer benefit.

Full story

September 11, 2014

Eshoo Wants an Updated Innovation Agenda Next Congress

Eshoo attends a news conference at the House Triangle on April 8.  (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Eshoo attends a news conference at the House Triangle on April 8. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If California House Democrat Anna G. Eshoo, who’s been vying to become the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee next Congress, gets that spot, one area she might pursue is updating an innovation agenda.

Eshoo spoke at an education and technology event hosted by The Atlantic on Thursday, and while she didn’t mention her bid for the senior Democratic spot on the panel, she did say she wants to see an updated innovation agenda next Congress. She wrote an innovation agenda for Democrats several years ago and next Congress she said she wants to “update the innovation agenda, to go back and review not only what we accomplished, but where we need to build.”

“I think that we really have to put the pedal to the medal in producing future teachers that are skilled… in these key areas of science, technology, engineering and math,” she continued. “And we need to bring that and integrate it into the educational experience of younger and younger students and we need to attract more girls and young women into the field.”

Eshoo, currently the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee, also called for a reauthorization  of a science authorization law known as America COMPETES. The most recent reauthorization expired in 2013.

August 1, 2014

Senate Appropriators Worry About ‘Gold Standard’ of Research, Too

House appropriators have worried the “gold standard” of science — the ability to reproduce results — isn’t being met in a significant amount of recent research. It looks like Senate appropriators have the same concern, at least as it applies to some biomedical research.

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.

Full story

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

FRANCE-TECHNOLOGY-3D-PRINTING

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.

Full story

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