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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Government reopens after Congress ends 16-day shutdown

October 17, 2013 9:01 am | by Andrew Taylor, Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

Study: Renewable fuel standard needs to be modified, not repealed

October 15, 2013 8:06 am | News | Comments

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.

U.S. businesses worry about a prolonged shutdown

October 2, 2013 3:01 am | by JOYCE M. ROSENBERG - AP Business Writers - Associated Press | News | Comments

As the government's partial shutdown enters a second day, most companies across the country are doing business as usual. Yet concern is rising that a prolonged shutdown would cause some work at private companies to dry up and consumers to lose faith in the U.S. economy.

Study: Methane leaks from gas drilling not huge

September 17, 2013 1:02 pm | by Kevin Begos and Seth Borenstein, Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

Data: a resource more valuable than gold?

September 13, 2013 11:54 am | News | Comments

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.

Hydroelectric power makes big comeback at U.S. dams

September 12, 2013 9:20 am | by David Pitt, Associated Press | News | Comments

In the 1980s and 1990s, hydroelectric development stagnated as environmental groups lobbied against it and a long regulatory process required years of environmental study. But for the first time in decades, power companies are proposing new projects to take advantage of government financial incentives, policies that promote renewable energy over fossil fuels and efforts to streamline the permit process.

Web tool expands access to scientific, regulatory chemical information

September 9, 2013 12:54 pm | News | Comments

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a web-based tool, called ChemView, to significantly improve access to chemical specific regulatory information developed by EPA and data submitted under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The tool displays key health and safety data in an online format that allows comparison of chemicals by use and by health or environmental effects.

NIST announces funding opportunity to support Alaska’s manufacturers

September 6, 2013 2:16 pm | News | Comments

Through its Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), NIST intends to fund a six-month project in support of Alaska's efforts to diversify its manufacturing base. U.S.-based nonprofit institutions or organizations, including state and local governments, are eligible to apply for the $150,000 award.

New agreement strengthens U.S., U.K. research collaboration

September 6, 2013 10:23 am | News | Comments

The U.S. National Science Foundation and U.K. Research Councils have entered into a new agreement designed to help support international research partnerships between the two nations. This new, two-way, lead-agency agreement enables a simplified and flexible process for researchers wishing to apply for U.S.-U.K. collaborative research funding, using the same systems and processes within the respective funding agencies.

Time for tech transfer law to change?

August 29, 2013 2:56 pm | News | Comments

The law that has helped medical discoveries make the leap from university labs to the marketplace for more than 30 years needs revising, according to Univ. of Michigan doctor has taken another look at the history of Bayh-Dole. He says that the Supreme Court ruling on gene patenting, and modern risks raised by industry/academic interaction, signal a need for change.

California vies for new space industry

August 28, 2013 7:52 am | by Mihir Zaveri, Associated Press | News | Comments

As several new private ventures to take people on trips to space come closer to becoming reality, California lawmakers are racing other states to woo the new space companies with cushy incentives. They are debating a bill now in Sacramento that would insulate manufacturers of spaceships and parts suppliers from liability should travelers get injured or killed on a voyage, except in cases such as gross negligence or intentional wrongdoing.

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