April 19, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Technology & Science Archive

Cutting Science Funding Starves Future Generations | Commentary

Almost 30 years ago, Paul Blustein introduced the slogan “starving the beast.” It has since become the mantra of conservative policymakers who want to shrink the federal government by cutting taxes and curbing revenues. Blustein was quoting a Reagan White House official in his Wall Street Journal column when he wrote, “We didn’t starve the beast. It’s still eating quite well — by feeding off future generations.”

Oysters at Risk From Ocean Acidification, as Are Farmer Livelihoods | Commentary

The recent news about illnesses related to eating raw oysters is having big impacts on our nation’s shellfish farmers. It is a prime example of how a good year can quickly take an unexpected turn in the opposite direction. Shellfish farmers around the nation confront some of the same threats that land farmers face — unfavorable weather, predators, disease and varying market conditions — any one of which can ruin the harvest for the year.

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Lawmakers Offer Appropriations Directions, but Don't Call Them Earmarks

Appropriators who have been hamstrung by a moratorium on earmarks in Congress still have tools they can use to favor particular programs, and they are working against strong headwinds to make sure they can continue to use them this year.

Bringing Civic Engagement Into the 21st Century | Commentary

The 21st century has afforded us new technology that allows us tools to be connected in ways we never have been before. Social media and the mobile Web are bringing voices together every day, but, surprisingly, government is still clinging to outdated methods when it comes to driving civic engagement.

So You Want to Move From D.C. to Silicon Valley? | Commentary

A growing number of Capitol Hill and executive branch staffers are leaving D.C. to pursue careers in Silicon Valley, especially those who have worked on information technology, energy or cybersecurity policies.

Europe's Internet Handcuffs Show U.S. How Not to Regulate | Commentary

The United States’ future as a world economic leader may hinge on how the next Federal Communications Commission chairman approaches broadband policy.

The Benefits of Transparency and Accountability in Online Communications | Commentary

The Internet continues to offer amazing opportunities for members of Congress and constituents to build relationships and communicate in a genuinely constructive way. When the Congressional Management Foundation surveyed congressional staff in 2010, 57 percent said email and the Internet have made members of Congress more “accountable” to their constituents — only 17 percent disagreed.

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West Virginia Taps White Spaces for Wi-Fi Network

West Virginia University recently became a pioneer in the use of unlicensed spectrum when it launched a Wi-Fi network based on unused airwaves between TV channels known as “white spaces.”

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Congress Watches as FCC Mulls Spectrum Giveaway

Baby monitors. Bluetooth headsets. Wi-Fi Internet access. E-Z Pass. These are just some of the common technologies used by consumers every day that run on free, public airwaves known as unlicensed spectrum.

Chemical Reform: Time to Strengthen and Fix Legislation | Commentary

It might sound like a crazy thing to say but the United States Senate has been doing a pretty good job at compromise in the past month or so. From student loans, to immigration, to even avoiding a crisis over filibuster reform, Democrats and Republicans have been working together to move forward on getting things done. It’s my hope that this sense of compromise holds intact for an important piece of legislation that stands to make the products we buy online and off store shelves a lot safer when we bring them into our homes.

Chemical Reform, Getting It Done Right | Commentary

Both chambers of Congress are suddenly stirring on how to protect the public from toxic chemicals. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has a marathon hearing on Wednesday with three large panels of experts. House Energy and Commerce has already conducted two hearings. Improbably, reforming our broken chemical law is emerging in this Congress as a thing that can get done.

House Is a 'Hacker's Dream'

An enterprising computer hacker or foreign intelligence agent would have little problem hacking into the House of Representatives’ information technology systems, an unauthorized review of the chamber’s cybersecurity found.

Wireless: What You, Dick Tracy and Captain Kirk Have in Common | Commentary

The House Energy and Commerce Committee recently held a hearing on the government auction of spectrum — the fuel that brings us modern-day miracles such as the Internet, smartphones and other mobile devices, and the applications that ride over these networks. Additionally, the Senate Commerce Committee just held a “State of Wireline Communications” hearing. Unlike Congress’ many fishing expeditions, these separate but interconnected hearings are time well spent. Because while it is now a lively younger sibling to some cable and fiber technologies, mobile wireless is the future of pretty much everything we do.

Why Social Science Research Matters | Commentary

Social, behavioral and economic science research has become the punching bag for many conservatives. In February, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., told an American Enterprise Institute audience, “Funds currently spent by the government on social science  . . .  would be better spent helping find cures to diseases.”

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Alaska Governor Pursues New Strategy in Push to Open Arctic Refuge to Drilling

After being frustrated for decades in their efforts to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas development, Alaska politicians are trying a new approach that may shift the battleground from Congress to the courts.

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No Clear Direction on Cellphone Location Tracking

The question of whether law enforcement officials need a warrant to track individuals using their cellphones remains open, but the prospects for legislation on the issue are murky at best in Congress.

States Not Waiting for Congress on GPS Tracking Laws

When Maine enacted legislation last week banning law enforcement officials from tracking individuals using cellphones or other GPS-enabled devices, it became the second state to do so after Montana. A similar effort failed in the Texas Legislature, but there is little doubt that other states will also act if Congress fails to update the statutes that govern access to digital communications.

NASA Authorization Advanced by House Panel

The House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Space approved legislation to reauthorize NASA for two years, calling for $16.9 billion annually for the agency.

Helium Bill Needed to Maintain U.S. Economic and Scientific Strength | Commentary

The commentary “Blimps and Budgets: The Helium Reserve Isn’t Broken” erroneously criticizes the need for legislation to continue sales of helium from the Federal Helium Reserve and ignores the legislation’s benefits to U.S. taxpayers and America’s leading industries and scientific researchers. It also ignores the fact that the 1996 bill created more problems than it solved. Congress has a chance to get it right this time.

Don't Take Helium Shortage Lightly | Commentary

You know about the fiscal cliff, but have you heard of the helium cliff?

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