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California pushes to finish driverless car rules

March 12, 2014 1:44 pm | by Justin Pritchard, Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

U.S. network to scan workers with secret clearances

March 10, 2014 9:49 am | by Stephen Braun, Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

Obama admin drives ahead with new cleaner gas rule

March 3, 2014 2:22 pm | by Josh Lederman - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

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Nuclear dump leak raises questions about cleanup

February 28, 2014 2:56 pm | by Jeri Clausing, Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

Research: U.K. failing to harness its bioenergy potential

February 19, 2014 10:26 am | by Aeron Haworth, Media Relations, The Univ. of Manchester | News | Comments

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.

Report compiles quantitative information on S&E

February 12, 2014 12:00 pm | by National Science Foundation | News | Comments

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.

Pharma data play larger role in Olympic drug tests

February 10, 2014 7:48 am | by Matthew Perrone, AP Health Writer | News | Comments

Some of the world's biggest drugmakers are playing a larger role in anti-doping efforts at this year's Winter Olympics: They're providing information on drugs that once would have been considered proprietary trade secrets. GlaxoSmithKline, Amgen and Roche are among the drugmakers that have begun sharing data about experimental drugs as part of an effort to stay one step ahead of drug cheats.

Car-to-car talk offers warning on collisions

February 4, 2014 1:33 pm | by Joan Lowy, Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

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Modeling buildings by the millions: Building codes in China tested for energy savings

January 31, 2014 8:50 am | News | Comments

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.

Report: NSA maps pathway into computers

January 15, 2014 8:44 am | News | Comments

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.  

Report: NSA intercepts computer deliveries

December 30, 2013 9:37 am | by Raphael Satter, Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

UNOS to oversee hand, face transplants like organs

December 27, 2013 10:39 am | by Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer | News | Comments

The government is preparing to regulate the new field of hand and face transplants like it does standard organ transplants, giving more Americans who are disabled or disfigured by injury, illness or combat a chance at this radical kind of reconstruction. The United Network for Organ Sharing, or UNOS, will develop the new policies over the next few months.

To clean up coal, Obama pushes more oil production

December 23, 2013 10:31 am | by Dina Cappiello, Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

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NSA: No better way to protect U.S. than surveillance

December 11, 2013 4:49 pm | by LARA JAKES - AP National Security Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

The NSA chief said Wednesday he knows of no better way his agency can help protect the U.S. from foreign threats than with spy programs that collect phone and Internet records from around the world. Pleading with the Senate Judiciary Committee to not abolish the National Security Agency's bulk-collection programs, Gen. Keith Alexander warned that global threats are growing that pose what he called "an unacceptable risk" to America.

Tech firms vie to protect personal data, profits

December 10, 2013 8:39 am | by Marcy Gordon and Michael Liedtke, AP Business Writers | News | Comments

Even as Silicon Valley speaks out against the U.S. government's surveillance methods, technology companies are turning a handsome profit by mining personal data. Tarnished by revelations that the National Security Agency trolls deep into the everyday lives of Web surfers, companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are aggressively battling any perception that they voluntarily give the government access to users' information.

Japan proposes more steps to store Fukushima water

December 3, 2013 10:15 am | by MARI YAMAGUCHI - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

China claims victory in scrubbing Internet clean

December 2, 2013 1:39 pm | by Didi Tang, Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

Web inventor: Surveillance threatens democracy

November 22, 2013 8:24 am | News | Comments

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.

Damaged Japan nuke plant begins removing fuel rods

November 18, 2013 8:23 am | by MARI YAMAGUCHI - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

Governments mining Google for more personal data

November 14, 2013 2:50 pm | News | Comments

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.

French out-tough U.S. over Iran nuclear program

November 10, 2013 12:49 pm | by JAMEY KEATEN - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

Emissions pricing revenues could overcompensate profit losses of fossil fuel owners

November 5, 2013 4:43 pm | News | Comments

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.

Ukraine, Chevron sign shale gas deal

November 5, 2013 9:16 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

EU lawmakers approve tough new data protection laws

October 22, 2013 8:28 am | by Juergen Baetz, Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

Calif. finds more instances of offshore fracking

October 21, 2013 7:56 am | by Alicia Chang and Jason Dearen, Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

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