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U.S. officials concerned about Japan's plan to reprocess nuclear fuel

April 22, 2013 11:56 am | News | Comments

Some U.S. government officials and experts have strong concerns about Japan's plan to operate a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Aomori to retract plutonium while most of the nation's reactors remain shut down, a member of the government's Japan Atomic Energy Commission said Monday. Japan possesses a large amount of plutonium but prospects for consuming it remain unclear as most of Japan's nuclear reactors are idled.

China's struggle to measure economy clouds outlook

April 16, 2013 9:32 pm | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

After China reported quarterly economic growth of 7.7% this week, global markets reacted by falling, wiping out billions of dollars in stock. The reason? Growth came in under the 8% expected by forecasters. The plunge highlighted complaints about the possible inaccuracy of Beijing's official data and the intense, possibly excessive importance traders attach to a handful of Chinese economic indicators.

Hawaii land board approves Thirty Meter Telescope

April 15, 2013 8:39 am | by Audrey McAvoy, Associated Press | News | Comments

A plan by California and Canadian universities to build the world's largest telescope at the summit of Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano won approval from the state Board of Land and Natural Resources on Friday, clearing the way for a land lease negotiation. The telescope, with its proposed 30-m long segmented primary mirror, should help scientists see some 13 billion light years away.

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Satellite shelved after 2000 election to now fly

April 11, 2013 2:51 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Obama proposed Wednesday spending nearly $35 million in his 2014 budget to refurbish a satellite, nicknamed GoreSat by critics, that's been sitting in storage after it was shelved in 2001, months after Bush took office. It cost about $100 million by then with NASA's internal auditors faulting its cost increases.

NC renewable energy law diminished in House bill

April 4, 2013 9:24 am | by GARY D. ROBERTSON - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

A House panel on Wednesday narrowly approved an effort to scale back and ultimately repeal a 2007 law requiring North Carolina electric utilities to generate a percentage of their power through alternative sources and locate energy savings. The House commerce subcommittee voted 11-10 in favor of the bill that would cap renewable energy and efficiency requirements by power companies, electric cooperatives, and city-owned electric utilities at roughly half the level the law ultimately demands.

Obama proposes $100M for brain mapping project

April 2, 2013 12:35 pm | by Nedra Pickler, Associated Press | News | Comments

President Barack Obama on Tuesday asked Congress to spend $100 million next year on a new project to map the human brain in hopes of eventually finding cures for disorders like Alzheimer's, epilepsy and traumatic injuries. The BRAIN Initiative, he said, could create jobs and eventually lead to answers to ailments including Parkinson's and autism and help reverse the effect of a stroke.

Obama to propose $100M brain mapping project

April 2, 2013 9:46 am | by NEDRA PICKLER - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

President Barack Obama is proposing a new research investment to map the human brain in hopes of eventually finding treatments for traumatic injuries and disorders like Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy. The president planned to propose an initial $100 million investment next year during remarks Tuesday morning. The White House said in a statement that the goal of the project—called the BRAIN Initiative for Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies—is "to revolutionize our understanding of the human mind" and create jobs.

Optimism in UN over 1st global arms trade treaty

March 27, 2013 9:25 pm | by EDITH M. LEDERER - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

The first global treaty on regulating the multimillion-dollar arms trade appeared to be nearing consensus, supporters said, though worries remained that Iran, India, or other countries would back off an agreement that requires approval from all 193 United Nations member states.

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Researchers seek to reduce deafening jet engine noise

March 25, 2013 11:59 am | News | Comments

Have you ever had a fighter jet fly over your home and the noise of the aircraft booms loud enough to rattle the windows? Imagine working on an aircraft carrier or air base, up close to the engines as they take off or land. Several U.S.-based research teams, with the support of the Office of Naval Research, have been tasked with finding a way to reduce that deafening noise as part of a three-year project.

Cyberwar manual lays down rules for online attacks

March 20, 2013 10:01 am | by Raphael Satter, Associated Press | News | Comments

Even cyberwar has rules, and one group of experts is putting out a manual to prove it. Their handbook, the Tallinn Manual, due to be published later this week, applies the practice of international law to the world of electronic warfare in an effort to show how hospitals, civilians and neutral nations can be protected in an information-age fight.

Study reveals potential for deep cuts to petroleum use, emissions

March 19, 2013 4:16 pm | News | Comments

The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory this week announced the release of the Transportation Energy Futures study, an assessment of avenues to reach deep cuts in petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. The project suggests opportunities for 80% reductions by 2050

Carnegie Mellon, NSA seek high school hackers

March 18, 2013 9:10 am | by Kevin Begos, Associated Press | News | Comments

One of the government's top spy agencies, the National Security Agency, has teamed with Carnegie Mellon University to interest high school students in a game of computer hacking. Their goal with "Toaster Wars" is to cultivate the nation's next generation of cyber warriors. The free, online "high school hacking competition" is scheduled to run from April 26 to May 6, and any U.S. student or team in grades six through 12 can apply and participate.

Researchers find German-made spyware across globe

March 13, 2013 5:28 pm | by Raphael Satter, Associated Press | News | Comments

A Canadian research center said Wednesday that it had identified 25 different countries that host servers linked to FinFisher, a Trojan horse program which can dodge anti-virus protections to steal data, log keystrokes, eavesdrop on Skype calls, and turn microphones and webcams into live surveillance devices. This finding doesn't necessarily mean those countries' governments are using FinFisher, but it is an indication of the spyware's reach.

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China wrestles with cost of cleaner environment

March 13, 2013 5:19 pm | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Facing public outrage over smog-choked cities and filthy rivers, China's leaders are promising to clean up the country's neglected environment—a pledge that sets up a clash with political pressures to keep economic growth strong.

Researchers map out an alternative energy future for New York

March 12, 2013 2:39 pm | by Rob Jordan, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment | News | Comments

Hydraulic fracturing may soon be approved for the state of New York. However, a new study finds that it is technically and economically feasible to convert New York's all-purpose energy infrastructure to one powered by wind, water, and sunlight. The authors say that overall switch would reduce New York's end-use power demand by about 37% and stabilize energy prices.

Ground-level ozone falling faster than model predicted

March 11, 2013 1:32 pm | News | Comments

According to a recent study from Rice University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, there is good news and better news about ground-level ozone in American cities. While dangerous ozone levels have fallen in places that clamp down on emissions from vehicles and industry, the report suggests that a model widely used to predict the impact of remediation efforts has been too conservative. 

EU fines Microsoft $733M for breaking browser pact

March 7, 2013 9:18 am | by Toby Sterling, Associated Press | News | Comments

The European Union has fined Microsoft €561 million ($733 million) for breaking a pledge to offer personal computer users a choice of Internet browsers when they install the company's flagship Windows operating system. The penalty imposed by the EU's executive arm, the Commission, is a first for Brussels: no company has ever failed to keep its end of a bargain with EU authorities before.

India rejects Bayer plea against cheap cancer drug

March 5, 2013 10:15 am | by Nirmala George, Associated Press | News | Comments

India's patent appeals office has rejected Bayer AG's plea to stop the production of a cheaper generic version of a patented cancer drug in a ruling that health groups say is an important precedent for getting inexpensive lifesaving medicines to the poor. Bayer sells a one month supply of the drug for about $5,600. Natco's version would cost Indian patients $175 a month, less than 1/30th as much.

White House: Cell phone unlocking should be legal

March 5, 2013 10:07 am | News | Comments

An Obama administration adviser says the White House believes smartphone and tablet users should be allowed to unlock their phones and use the devices on the network of their choosing. The administration's opinion on the matter also goes for tablets, since they are becoming similar to smartphones.

MIT’s Ernest J. Moniz nominated Secretary of Energy

March 4, 2013 2:37 pm | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

President Barack Obama announced today that he intends to nominate Ernest J. Moniz to head the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Moniz is the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as the director of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) and the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment. At MIT, Moniz has also served previously as head of the Department of Physics and as director of the Bates Linear Accelerator Center.

In death, Facebook photos could fade away forever

March 4, 2013 8:17 am | by Lauren Gambino, Associated Press | News | Comments

A grieving Oregon mother who battled Facebook for full access to her deceased son's account has been pushing for years for something that would prevent others from losing photos, messages and other memories—as she did. The Oregon Legislature took up the cause as well, only to be turned back by pressure from the tech industry, which argued that both a 1986 federal law and voluntary terms of service agreements prohibit companies from sharing a person's information. Still, lawmakers pushed forward, seeking to treat digital information, from photos to intellectual property, as material property for estate purposes.

U.S. may face inevitable nuclear power exit

March 1, 2013 10:13 am | News | Comments

In a 2012 report, the Obama administration announced that it was "jumpstarting" the nuclear industry and injected significant funding into two new nuclear reactor projects in Georgia. But this investment—the first of its kind in three decades—belies an overall dismal U.S. nuclear power landscape, according to a recently published report. Where Japan and many European countries responded to the Fukushima disaster with public debate and significant policy shifts in the nuclear arena, the U.S. has scarcely broached the subject.

NSF, partners to expand access to publicly-funded research

February 25, 2013 10:13 am | News | Comments

Late last week, the National Science Foundation , along with federal partners, announced its commitment to expand public access to the results of its funded research. This announcement follows a memorandum issued from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy directing science-funding agencies to develop plans to increase access to the results of federally funded research.

Russia, Kazakhstan may manage space base together

February 15, 2013 8:39 am | by Peter Leonard, Associated Press | News | Comments

Russia may suspend its lease for some facilities at the Baikonur space complex in Kazakhstan, opening the way for its joint administration by the two countries, a senior Russian space official says. The launch pad for satellite-deploying Zenit rockets at the complex will be the first facility to be reviewed, Roscosmos deputy head Sergei Savelyev told the Ivzestia newspaper in an interview published Thursday.

U.S. weighs tougher action over China cyberattacks

February 1, 2013 4:06 am | by LOLITA C. BALDOR - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

High-level talks with the Chinese government to address persistent cyberattacks against U.S. companies and government agencies haven't worked, so officials say the Obama administration is now considering a range of actions. China-based hackers have long been an economic and national security concern, but as cybersecurity experts report an increase in attacks, U.S. leaders are looking at ways to better address the threat and analyze its impact.

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