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Policy Archive

The Stories Behind the Numbers on Afghan Translator Visas

Just before Congress left for recess last week, it did something rare: It worked across the aisle to quickly clear legislation that filled what the Obama administration had declared an urgent need: authorization of 1,000 additional special visas to bring over Afghan citizens who helped the United States during the war there.

No Consensus Among Experts on the Net Job Cost of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence

Technology experts and industry executives are almost evenly divided on whether advances in robotics and artificial intelligence will cause a net loss of jobs in the next decade, according to a report from the Pew Research Center and Elon University in North Carolina. Many of those who responded to a canvass on the future of the Internet did agree that the advances in those technologies would have a broad effect on daily life and that the nationís educational system isnít up to the challenge of preparing workers for the altered world.

Missouri Voters Reject Tax Increase to Pay for Transportation Projects

Missouri voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected an increase in the stateís sales tax to pay for highways, roads, and bridges.

Moniz to Visit Waste Isolation Plant

Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz will visit a nuclear waste dump in New Mexico next week and take part in a town hall meeting, the department announced.

How Can the World Help Libya?

Syria and Iraq have spiraled out of control, and Libya feels like it could be next on the list, now that the United States and other countries have evacuated many of their diplomats and officials amid fighting between Islamists and those opposed to them. But the rest of the world doesnít appear eager to intervene militarily in either Syria or Iraq, and any financial aid so far has been limited. So what could be done to help Libya, then?

Analyst: Solar to Lose Tax Credit Training Wheels

The utility-scale solar power market in the United States is expected to falter in the next couple of years, contracting when the investment tax credit is no longer renewed, before expanding as a viable market, according to Ethan Zindler, head of policy analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Fuel Cells (Still) on the Rise

Though often scorned because they havenít materialized as the energy-cure-all they were supposed to be, fuel cells have been getting a lot of recent attention, both as a power source for vehicles and for use in stationary backup power generation.

Ebola Drug Reportedly Shows Promise

Concern about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has prompted a heightened response from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The federal health agency imposed tight security and safety precautions as the first Americans infected with the virus arrived in the United States from Liberia, where they had been working. Dr. Kent Brantly arrived on Saturday in Atlanta for treatment at Emory University Hospital, and Nancy Writebol is due to arrive on Tuesday. CNN reports that both received doses of an experimental drug. The report could lead to calls for wider use of the product, which has not been approved for use, based on anecdotal reports about promising results in the two patients.

Rhetoric Overload, Four Decades After Nixon

Richard M. Nixonís fate was effectively sealed 40 years ago today. Itís a curious coincidence at the start of an August recess when the extraordinarily serious matter of presidential impeachment is going to be tossed around in such a cavalier and cynical manner.

Skirting Keystone XL Pipeline

As the Keystone XL pipeline lingers in legal limbo, companies are finding new ways beyond rail to move tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to refiners in the Gulf Coast and elsewhere.

Text-to-911, 3D Printing and Privacy Policies Abroad This Week

With Congress out of town, itís the start of a quieter month, but there are at least a few events this week, including the FCCís monthly open meeting.

Defense Contracts, Gaza in the Week Ahead

The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit is underway, as discussed last week. Here is the full schedule of that, and a brief preview on the security angle. For some other events this week, read on.

McCain Staffer Rachael Dean Lands at Javelin | Downtown Moves

Seven years ago, 20-year-old Rachael Dean entered the doors of Sen. John McCainís campaign war room just as the Arizona Republicanís presidential race was getting off the ground.

Producing Pee Power

Ioannis Ieropoulos and his team at Bristol Robotics Laboratory are studying how to produce electricity from urine, The Economist reports.

Philips Lighting VP: Light Bulbs Will Become Extinct

Lighting as we know it will be completely revolutionized in coming years, according to an executive at the worldís largest lighting company.

Is China’s State-Owned Aircraft Manufacturing Company A Threat to Boeing?

You may wear Chinese-made shirts and not even notice, so will you someday be flying aboard a Chinese-made passenger plane?

DARPA Wants to Chop Military Materials Development Time From 10 to 2.5 Years

Say youíre trying to design a hypersonic plane. It will have to deal with shell temperatures of several thousands of degrees of steel-melting heat.

A Sugar Tax? Rosa DeLauro Wants One.

Just in time for the closing of a comment period on proposed new rules on nutrition labels on most packaged food products, Connecticut Democratic Rep. Rosa DeLauro weighed in with a letter to the FDA encouraging the plan to keep added sugar as a stand-alone line on the proposed food nutrition labels. It wasnít her only proposal this week on keeping the sweet ingredient in check.

The Internet.org App, Net Neutality and the Digital Divide

Facebook on Thursday announced an app from Internet.org Ė a project among companies including Facebook which tries to expand Internet access in parts of the world where people arenít connected Ė that lets mobile phone users connect to certain websites without incurring data charges, starting with Airtel customers in Zambia. A couple articles say thatís a good thing or at least has the potential to do so, but they also lay out questions about implications on net neutrality and the digital divide.

Drug Coverage Premiums and Spending Forecast Remain Low

The Department of Health and Human Services has announced a slight increase in the Medicare Part D programís premiums for next year. The prescription drug benefit, first implemented in 2006, now offers drug coverage to 39 million people.

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