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Posts Tagged "policy"

Beautiful Minds

Talent on the Sidelines: The Widening Gap in Excellence

Reserved sign

An alarming report on the current state of excellence in the United States has been released today. The conclusion of the report “Talent on the Sidelines: Excellence Gaps and the Persistence of America’s Permanent Talent Underclass” is that the United States is relying on less than half of its talent, with large percentages of our brightest students [...]

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Guest Blog

Can Obama Sell the Nation on Health Care Reform?

As a journalist and a health advocate, I have a professional interest in health care reform. But as the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act this week, I had a personal interest as well. Last fall, after three decades as a salaried employee with health benefits, I became a self-employed consultant with none. And [...]

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Guest Blog

High-Altitude Surveillance Drones: Coming to a Sky Near You

Last week President Obama signed a sweeping aviation bill that, among other things, will open the skies to “unmanned aircraft systems,” more commonly known as drones. Much of the discussion regarding the coming era of domestic drones has been focused on the many important questions regarding their use at low altitudes. To what extent will [...]

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Guest Blog

Book Review: The Future of Water

The Future of Water: A Startling Look Ahead, by Steve Maxwell, with Scott Yates, Published in 2011 by the American Water Works Association, Denver Colo., ISBN 978-1-58321-809-9 Full disclosure: I answered an open e-mail solicitation for reviewers of this new book and received a review copy for free in exchange for my promise of a [...]

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Guest Blog

The Emperor’s New Missile Defense

"Regardless of Russia’s actions in this regard, as long as I am president, and as long as the Congress provides the necessary funding, the United States will continue to develop and deploy effective missile defenses to protect the United States, our deployed forces, and our allies and partners". So said President Barack Obama in a [...]

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Observations

Expanded Medicaid in Oregon Brought More, Not Fewer, ER Visits for Nonemergencies

More bad news for Obamacare and its proponents. A new study from Oregon shows that better access to health care increased—rather than decreased—both the number of folks crowding emergency rooms and the subset of those who sought care for conditions that clearly were not emergencies. Many health experts who supported the Affordable Care Act had [...]

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Observations

What the President Can and Should Do about Climate Change

In Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, he intoned: ” For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. … If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.” Now the president’s science advisors, a group known as PCAST for President’s Council of Advisors [...]

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Observations

Space Out: NASA Faces More Budget Cuts in 2013

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

No matter who is elected president of the United States on November 6, there are bound to be new cuts to next year’s federal budget. The question is whether they will be really really big or just sort of big. Congress can avoid the really, really big (and semi-random) cuts during its lame-duck session between [...]

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Observations

Obama and Romney Should Talk about Climate Change at Next Debate

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

Somebody please ask Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama to talk about climate change at the next debate for crying out loud! Or what to do about growing fresh water shortages or protecting the Internet or addressing any of the other fundamental challenges the U.S. faces in the coming years that are based on [...]

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Observations

Romney Cites Energy Report That Advocates Carbon Price

Mitt Romney at Castor Concepts

Mitt Romney wants to fund energy research and development, but not the “green energy” research that Barack Obama has favored. That’s the clear takeaway from his answers to the 14 questions posed to the two candidates by Scientific American and ScienceDebate.org. In his answer to the question on “Research and the Future” Romney writes: I [...]

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Observations

Particles for Peace: Iranian, Israeli, Turkish and Arab Physicists Lay Plans for a Joint Particle Accelerator

Eliezer Rabinovici at Dahab physics conference, November 1995

SANTA BARBARA—Physics has always been one of the most globalized of professions. Physicists think of themselves as supranational, rising above national and cultural concerns. They may not always live up to this ideal, but at least they try. I got a glimpse of this as a college student in 1987 when I spent my spring [...]

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Observations

Verizon and AT&T Accused of Being Threats to Democracy

AUSTIN, Texas—Just two companies—Verizon Wireless and AT&T—control 60 percent of the U.S. wireless market. Four companies control 90 percent. A thriving marketplace this is not. And while the lack of competition partly explains why cell phone service in the U.S. is slower, less reliable and more expensive than in other developed countries, a perhaps more [...]

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Observations

What’s Next in the SOPA Fight?

The English version of Wikipedia may have gone black in a one-day protest, but SOPA isn’t going away. U.S. Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and one of the sponsors of the House version of the Stop Online Privacy Act, announced January 17 that he expected the committee to restart work [...]

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Observations

Stupid Science Statements Made by Public Figures: Send Us Your Favorites

classic misrepresentation of human evolution from chimp to modern man

“The brain holds on to false facts, even after they have been retracted” —Valerie Ross, “Lingering Lies: The Persistent Influence of Misinformation,” Scientific American MIND, July 2011 Lingering lies and entirely false scientific statements sometimes make a bigger impact on the public, policy, elections and scientific practice than do the facts themselves. How often have [...]

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Observations

Obama stops in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to push his National Wireless Initiative

wireless, government

President Obama spent some time on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on Thursday to promote his administration’s National Wireless Initiative, a project first mentioned in last month’s State of the Union address to make available high-speed wireless services to at least 98 percent of U.S. residents. The president’s speech at Northern Michigan University in Marquette revealed few [...]

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Oscillator

Glowing Futures

Ow et al. Science, 1986.

Back in 2010 I was a teaching fellow for a group of undergraduates competing in the International Genetically Engineered Machines competition (iGEM) with a project on “personalized” genetic engineering of plants. We designed genetic modifications that would alter flavor, color, vitamin production, and the presence of allergens, so that a gardener could customize seeds to [...]

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Plugged In

When David always beats Goliath

Image from http://rummuser.com/?p=2733

Perhaps I’m just out of touch or a just new school environmentalist, but I don’t agree with beating up on fossil fuels just because it’s the convenient thing to do. I see it all over the web and my Twitter feed, like today in this article from ThinkProgress about how the IPCC report has increased [...]

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Science with Moxie

Tonight is the premiere of PBS’ Brains on Trial

Brains on Trial

If you are interested in the intersection of neuroscience and the law, tune into your local PBS station tonight at 10 pm (Eastern time, check local listings) to see the first episode in a new two-part series, Brains on Trial. The first episode takes us to the real-life New York Southern District courtroom of Judge [...]

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Voices

More and Better Science en Español: a Call to Action

RedComuniciencia_ROJA_BLOCK

Para leer esta entrada en Español, presione aquí. Few communities encompass as many challenges and opportunities as the 53 million Hispanics living in the United States. Hispanics or Latinos have the second highest poverty rate and the overall lowest educational attainment[1] [2] in the nation. They also have some of the lowest levels of science [...]

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