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Massachusetts Institute of Technology;
This report provides a number of tangible examples of under-exploited areas of science and likely consequences in the form of an innovation deficit, including:
opportunities with high potential for big payoffs in health, energy, and high-tech industries;fields where we risk falling behind in critical strategic capabilities such as supercomputing, secure information systems, and national defense technologies;areas where national prestige is at stake, such as space exploration, or where a lack of specialized U.S research facilities is driving key scientific talent to work overseas.This introduction also cites examples of the benefits from basic research that have helped to shape and maintain U.S. economic power, as well as highlighting industry trends that have made university basic research even more critical to future national economic competitiveness.
Pew Research Center;
This report emerges from the Pew Research Center's efforts to understand public attitudes about a variety of scientific and technological changes being discussed today. The time horizons of these technological advances span from today's realities -- for instance, the growing prevalence of drones -- to more speculative matters such as the possibility of human control of the weather.
Part of the motive for doing this work is to explore Americans' comfort levels -- their excitement, interest or wariness -- in the face of a raft of scientific innovations that are emerging or being considered. Since much of the funding for scientific research comes from the government, these attitudes can give key signals to policy makers and the scientific community about where the public stands on crucial funding decisions.
Another motive for doing this work is to test the state of the public's mood about the long-term future. Their relative optimism -- or pessimism -- says something about the current state of American culture. It also says something about the state of the American dream.
Rockefeller Archive Center;
My project seeks to reconstruct and explain to what extent and how U.S. foundations strove to further democratic values and practices in West German academia. It also assesses the impact of these American initiatives on the consolidation of West German democracy beyond its institutional framework and its constitutional foundation, the Basic Law. In particular, the Rockefeller and Ford foundations attempted to ingrain values that were amenable to a vibrant, pluralist civil society into West Germany's community of scholars. Beyond exploring the relationship between philanthropy and democracy, the project seeks to reassess concepts of "Americanization." This process is to be conceived of as an ensemble of non-linear, multilateral, selective and thus limited appropriations according to the needs of the receiving society. This complex relationship has been underestimated in research, not least by advocates of diffusion theory that highlight the preconditions of transfers, but underestimate "the autonomy of the receiving subject as well as the bilateral character of transatlantic communication."
Earth Policy Institute;
This year's world grain harvest is projected to fall short of consumption by 61 million tons, marking the sixth time in the last seven years that production has failed to satisfy demand. As a result of these shortfalls, world carryover stocks at the end of this crop year are projected to drop to 57 days of consumption, the shortest buffer since the 56-day-low in 1972 that triggered a doubling of grain prices.
World carryover stocks of grain, the amount in the bin when the next harvest begins, are the most basic measure of food security. Whenever stocks drop below 60 days of consumption, prices begin to rise. It thus came as no surprise when the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) projected in its June 9 world crop report that this year's wheat prices will be up by 14 percent and corn prices up by 22 percent over last year's.
International Rectal Microbicide Advocates;
The first-ever report tracking rectal microbicide research and development expenditures, was released on April 24 by the International Rectal Microbicide Working Group (IRMWG) at a special symposium titled "Rectal Microbicides - A New Frontier in HIV Prevention" at the Microbicides 2006 conference in Cape Town, South Africa.
"This important document describes the current landscape of rectal microbicide research and helps define what resources will be needed to develop a safe and effective rectal microbicide," said one of the field's chief researchers and a key organizer of the symposium, Dr. Ian McGowan of the Center for Prevention Research at the UCLA AIDS Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine.
Similar to a vaginal microbicide, a rectal microbicide may be formulated as a gel, cream or lubricant and would provide protection against HIV and other STDs in the absence of a condom during anal intercourse. Studies show that up to 30% of the heterosexual population in many cultures engages in anal intercourse, making the development of a safe, effective rectal microbicide a desperately needed new prevention option for women, males who have sex with males, and gay men around the world.
"At any given moment, more heterosexual women than gay men are engaging in anal intercourse," said Anna Forbes, Global North Programs Coordinator for the Global Campaign for Microbicides. "A receptive sex partner is a receptive sex partner. We need rectal microbicides, just as we need vaginal microbicides, to help receptive sex partners save their own lives."
According to the report, funding for rectal microbicide research totaled US$34 million between 2000 and 2006, an increase from US$2 million in 2000. The U.S. public sector, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH),contributed 97.4% of these funds. Philanthropic funding totaled US$739,649 between 2000 and 2006, accounting for approximately 2.2% of total investments for rectal microbicide research. The commercial sector has yet to contribute actual dollars and instead has supported the work through in-kind donations including time spent, pipeline compounds, and infrastructure. Microbicide funding from the European Union designated specifically to the research and development of a rectal product proved too elusive to track. However, in 2004, Europe contributed 23% of the global resources for microbicides. The report recommends a series of urgent actions to discover a rectal microbicide within a time frame proportionate to the urgency of its need, beginning with a call for a signifcant increase of funding. According to the IRMWG, "donors from all sectors must provide a minimum of US$350 million over 10-15 years, for an average of US$35 million per year, to build a comprehensive rectal microbicide research program." Recommendations for researchers include recruiting new scientists to the field and promoting rectal microbicide research within the scientific community. Advocates must "promote global, national and regional surveillance efforts to determine the percentage of HIV infection attributed to anal intercourse in order to better assess the need for rectal microbicide development," says the report.
World Security Institute;
The Winter 2007 issue addresses implications of the Chinese ASAT test with article titles such as:
- Deterrence Revisited: Outer Space
- US-Sino Relations in Space: From "War of Words" to Cold War in Space?
- China's ASAT Test: Strategic Response
- Nuclear Challenges and China's Choices
- US Nuclear Primacy and the Future of the Chinese Deterrent and Crisis Management in China
Environmental Research Foundation;
Carbon sequestration is an industrial plan to bury as much as 10 trillion tons of carbon dioxide deep in the ground, hoping it will stay there forever. Though most people have heard little or nothing about this plan, it has already been endorsed by major environmental groups, universities, philanthropies and the federal government.
Coalition for Juvenile Justice;
Brain imagery now allows us all to see the developmental milestones achieved by the human brain as it grows and matures throughout the early stages of life -- confirming in pictures what parents and those who work closely with youth have long found to be true: adolescence is a period of gradual maturation. Hard science demonstrates that teenagers and young adults are not fully mature in their judgment, problem-solving and decisionmaking capacities. This paper endeavors to explore the implications of such science for policy and practice in juvenile justice and delinquency prevention.
Coalition for Juvenile Justice;
Brain imagery now allows us to see some of the developmental milestones achieved by the human brain as it grows and matures throughout the early stages of life, confirming in pictures what parents and those who work closely with youth have long found to be true: adolescence is a period of gradual maturation. Hard science demonstrates that teenagers and young adults are not fully mature in their judgment, problem-solving and decisionmaking capacities.
In the spring of 2006, the Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ), with grant support from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) at the U.S. Department of Justice, devoted a national conference to explore how juvenile justice systems can work more effectively with youth and families in light of growing and more refined knowledge about the nuances of adolescent development and maturation. Some of the ideas about applying research to juvenile justice practice are contained in this brief report -- the second of two resource papers derived from presentations and discussions held at and since the conference.
Earth Policy Institute;
Production of photovoltaics (PV) jumped to 3,800 megawatts worldwide in 2007, up an estimated 50 percent over 2006. At the end of the year, according to preliminary data, cumulative global production stood at 12,400 megawatts, enough to power 2.4 million U.S. homes. Growing by an impressive average of 48 percent each year since 2002, PV production has been doubling every two years, making it the world's fastest-growing energy source.
Photovoltaics, which directly convert sunlight into electricity, include both traditional, polysilicon-based solar cell technologies and new thin-film technologies. Thin-film manufacturing involves depositing extremely thin layers of photosensitive materials on glass, metal, or plastics. While the most common material currently used is amorphous silicon, the newest technologies use non-silicon-based materials such as cadmium telluride.
A key force driving the advancement of thin-film technologies is a polysilicon shortage that began in April 2004. In 2006, for the first time, more than half of polysilicon production went into PVs instead of computer chips. While thin films are not as efficient at converting sunlight to electricity, they currently cost less and their physical flexibility makes them more versatile than traditional solar cells. Led by the United States, thin film grew from 4 percent of the market in 2003 to 7 percent in 2006. Polysilicon supply is expected to match demand by 2010, but not before thin film grabs 20 percent of the market. The top five PV-producing countries are Japan, China, Germany, Taiwan, and the United States. Recent growth in China is most astonishing: after almost tripling its PV production in 2006, it is believed to have more than doubled output in 2007. With more than 400 PV companies, China's market share has exploded from 1 percent in 2003 to over 18 percent today. Having eclipsed Germany in 2007 to take the number two spot, China is now on track to become the number one PV producer in 2008. The United States, which gave the world the solar cell, has dropped from third to fifth place as a solar cell manufacturer since 2005, overtaken by China in 2006 and Taiwan in 2007. See data at www.earthpolicy.org/Indicators/Solar/2007_data.htm.
Program for Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, University of Calgary, Canada;
Oscar Pistorius is a Paralympic bionic leg runner and record holder in the 100, 200, and 400 meters who wants to compete in the Olympics. This paper provides an analysis of a) his case; b) the impact of his case on the Olympics, the Paralympics and other -lympics and the relationships between the -lympics; c) the impact on other international and national sports; d) the applicability of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It situates the evaluation of the Pistorius case within the broader doping discourse and the reality that new and emerging science and technology products increasingly generate internal and external human bodily enhancements that go beyond the species-typical, enabling more and more a culture of increasing demand for, and acceptance of modifications of the human body (structure, function, abilities) beyond its species-typical boundaries and the emergence of new social concepts such as transhumanism and the transhumanisation of ableism.
Physics Education Research Group at Colorado;
Interactive computer simulations with complex representations and sophisticated graphics are a relatively new addition to the classroom, and research in this area is limited. We have conducted over 200 individual student interviews during which the students described what they were thinking as they interacted with simulations. These interviews were conducted as part of the research and design of simulations for the Physics Education Technology (PhET) project. PhET is an ongoing project that has developed over 60 simulations for use in teaching physics, chemistry, and physical science. These interviews are a rich source of information about how students interact with computer simulations and what makes an educationally effective simulation. We have observed that simulations can be highly engaging and educationally effective, but only if the student's interaction with the simulation is directed by the student's own questioning. Here we describe our design process, what features are effective for engaging students in educationally productive interactions and the underlying principles which support our empirically developed guidelines. In a companion paper we describe in detail the design features used to create an intuitive simulation for students to use.