Once the stuff of science fiction, driverless cars could be commercially available by decade's end. Under a California law passed in 2012, the DMV must decide by the end of this year how to integrate the autonomous vehicles onto public roads. That means the regulation's writers will post draft language regulations around June, then alter the rules in response to public comment by fall in order to get them finalized by the end of 2014.
Intelligence officials are planning a sweeping system of electronic monitoring that would tap into government, financial and other databases to scan the behavior of many of the 5 million federal employees with secret clearances. The system is intended to identify rogue agents, corrupt officials and leakers, in part to prevent cases similar to former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden.
The Obama administration is driving ahead with a dramatic reduction in sulfur in gasoline and tailpipe emissions, declaring that cleaner air will save thousands of lives per year at little cost to consumers. Public health groups and automakers cheered the new rules.
For 15 years trucks have been hauling decades worth of plutonium-contaminated waste to what is supposed to be a safe and final resting place a half mile underground in the salt beds of the Permian Basin in New Mexico. But back-to-back accidents and an above-ground radiation release shuttered the government's only deep underground nuclear waste dump and raised questions about the $5-billion-a-year program for cleaning up legacy waste.
The U.K. could generate almost half its energy needs from biomass sources, including household waste, agricultural residues and home-grown biofuels by 2050, new research suggests. Scientists from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at The Univ. of Manchester found that the U.K. could produce up to 44% of its energy by these means without the need to import.
Science and Engineering Indicators (SEI) is first and foremost a volume of record comprising the major high-quality quantitative data on the U.S. and international science and engineering enterprise. SEI is factual and policy neutral. It doesn’t offer policy options, and it doesn’t make policy recommendations.
Your car might see a deadly crash coming even if you don't, the government says, indicating it will require automakers to equip new vehicles with technology that lets cars warn each other if they're plunging toward peril. The action, still some years off, has "game-changing potential" to cut collisions, deaths and injuries, federal transportation officials said at a news conference Monday.
According to a study by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, China can build its way to a more energy efficient future by improving the rules regulating these structures like houses, apartments and retail stores. The scientists created a unique model that projects how much energy can be saved with changes to China's building energy codes, and those savings were significant.
According to a report from The New York Times, the National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the U.S. to conduct surveillance on those machines. The technology, which is not used in the U.S., relies on radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted covertly into the computers.
A German magazine lifted the lid on the operations of the National Security Agency's hacking unit Sunday, reporting that American spies intercept computer deliveries, exploit hardware vulnerabilities, and even hijack Microsoft's internal reporting system to spy on their targets.
America's newest, most expensive coal-fired power plant is hailed as one of the cleanest on the planet, thanks to government-backed technology that removes carbon dioxide and keeps it out of the atmosphere. But once the carbon is stripped away, it will be used to do something that is not so green at all. It will extract oil.
A government panel proposed additional measures to lessen the radioactive water crisis at Japan's crippled nuclear power plant, saying Tuesday that current plans are not enough to prevent the risk of a disaster. Officials on the Industry Ministry's contaminated water panel also said that the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant could run out of storage space for contaminated water within two years if current plans are not fully workable.
The Chinese government has declared victory in cleaning up what it considers rumors, negativity and unruliness from online discourse, while critics say the moves have suppressed criticism of the government and ruling Communist Party. Beijing launched the campaign this summer, arresting dozens of people for spreading rumors and creating new penalties for people who post libelous information.
The scientist credited with inventing the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, says a growing tide of surveillance is threatening democracy's future. Lee, a former R&D Magazine Scientist of the Year said Friday that as more people use the Internet and social media to "expose wrongdoing," some governments are feeling threatened.
Workers started removing radioactive fuel rods Monday from a reactor building at the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said. The painstaking and risky task is a crucial first step toward a full cleanup of the earthquake and tsunami-damaged plant in northeastern Japan.
Google has become less likely to comply with government demands for its users' online communications and other activities as authorities in the U.S. and other countries become more aggressive about mining the Internet for personal data. Legal requests from governments for people’s data have risen 21% from the last half of last year.
When Iran appeared close to a preliminary deal with world powers over its nuclear program, France stepped up to say: Not so fast — a surprise move that exposed divisions among the United States and other Western negotiators who had long been in lockstep on the issue.
According to a study published by scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the strategy of assigning a price to global carbon nanotubes emissions could generate a revenue of $32 trillion over the 21st century, exceeding by far the $12 trillion of lost profits from fossil fuel owners.
The Ukrainian government signed a shale gas production-sharing agreement with the Chevron, as the country strives for energy independence from neighboring Russia. Energy Minister Eduard Stavitsky said that under the deal, Chevron will initially invest $350 million into exploratory and drilling work in the Oleska field in western Ukraine. Total investment could surpass $10 billion over 50 years.
European Union lawmakers on Monday adopted sweeping new data protection rules to strengthen online privacy, and sought to outlaw most data transfers to other countries' authorities to prevent spying. The draft regulation was beefed up after Edward Snowden's leaks about allegedly widespread U.S. online snooping, and the legislation is poised to have significant implications for U.S. Internet companies.
In waters off Long Beach, Seal Beach and Huntington Beach—some of the region's most popular surfing strands and tourist attractions—oil companies have used fracking at least 203 times at six sites in the past two decades. This discovery made from drilling records and interviews shows that offshore fracking is more widespread and frequent that state officials believed.
The government reopened its doors after a battle-weary Congress approved a bipartisan measure to end a 16-day partial shutdown and avert the possibility of an economy-jarring default on U.S. obligations. Early Thursday, President Barack Obama signed the measure ending a brawl with Republicans who tried to use the must-pass legislation to mount a last-ditch effort to derail the president's landmark health care law.
Congress should minimally modify—and not, as petroleum-related interests have increasingly lobbied for, repeal—the Renewable Fuel Standard (RSF), the most comprehensive renewable energy policy in the U.S., according to a new paper from two Univ. of Illinois researchers. In the study, the researchers argue that RFS mandates merely ought to be adjusted to reflect current and predicted biofuel commercialization realities.
According to research published this week drilling and fracking for natural gas don't seem to spew immense amounts of the greenhouse gas methane into the air, as has been feared. The study, mostly funded by energy interests, doesn't address other fracking concerns about potential air and water pollution, but does generally with government estimates.
From Sept. 16 to 18, 2013, top leaders from the White House and U.S. science agencies and their international colleagues will gather for three days in Washington, D.C., for a major meeting of the Research Data Alliance (RDA). More than 850 researchers and data experts belong to the RDA, which focuses on the development and adoption of common tools, harmonized standards and infrastructure needed for data sharing by researchers.