Science & Technology

Europe is so not done regulating Google and other US tech giants

December 23, 2019

The US is edging ever closer to regulating its giant, world-famous tech companies. But even as lawmakers in DC spar with the likes of Google and Facebook over potential overreach, European regulators have already been busy. And there are no signs of stopping next year.

'Robotic blacksmithing': A technology that could revive US manufacturing

December 23, 2019

Metal implements made by blacksmiths oftentimes have legendary strength because the working of the metal, like kneading of dough, makes its structure finer, more homogeneous. As the material is shaped, it develops directional strength, much like wood is stronger along the direction of its grain. However, no human blacksmith can deal with parts the size of aircraft landing gear or have the reproducibility and stamina to make the parts needed for our economy.

Here's how China became the world’s No. 2 economy and how it plans on being No. 1

December 23, 2019

The ascension began in the late 1970s with a move to more open markets. It continued through aggressive central planning, utilizing the advantages of cheap labor, a devalued currency and a robust factory system to spread its products around the world. All of that changed the economy from slumbering rural decay to a prospering diverse superpower. The country now seems on a inexorable path to No. 1.

Congress should revive the Office of Technology Assessment. Here's how to do it

December 22, 2019

For over two decades, OTA helped Congress to navigate complex science and technology issues. After its defunding in 1995--a casualty of Congress’s dramatic downsizing--the issues piled up. What to do about the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel? Should the federal government invest more or less in carbon capture and sequestration? What to make of 5G and CRISPR? Of AI and AVs? Congress’s experts disappeared, but the issues didn’t.

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft makes safe landing after botched test flight

December 22, 2019

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft made a soft touch down in the desert of New Mexico early Sunday. It marked the end of a tense two-day effort to return the vehicle to Earth after unexpected issues plagued its inaugural flight to orbit, forcing it to make an early return. The spacecraft launched an uncrewed test flight on Friday but had to abort its mission to dock with the International Space Station when it failed to put itself on the right trajectory.

How to Leverage Tech Without Displacing Workers

December 22, 2019

As organizations increasingly implement automated technologies, artificial intelligence and other new technologies, a panel of workforce experts argued before House representatives Wednesday for a series of innovative and preemptive actions Congress and employers should take to prevent technology-driven displacement of workers.

The Space Force is officially the sixth military branch. Here's what that means.

December 22, 2019

President Trump officially signed the Space Force into law Friday, but for now, all that means is everyone at Air Force Space Command will now be assigned to Space Force. Over the next 18 months, officials said, the finer details of manning and training the new branch will be hammered out and set in motion.

Trump Picks Sethuraman Panchanathan as Next NSF Director

December 20, 2019

The White House announced today (Dec 19) that President Trump intends to nominate Sethuraman Panchanathan, a professor of computing and informatics at Arizona State University, to be director of the National Science Foundation. Panchanathan, who often goes by the nickname “Panch,” would replace France Córdova, whose six-year term expires in March. Córdova said in a statement that she is “delighted” with the pick, saying Panchanathan has the “character and knowledge that make him an ideal fit for the job.”

Is it Time for the U.S. Government to Drag Tech Jobs out of Silicon Valley and Into the Heartland?

December 19, 2019

The solution Brookings researchers propose? Government intervention. They argue that the federal government should create eight to 10 regional “growth centers” in the U.S. heartland. According to them, each area should receive $700 million in direct R&D funding each year for the next 10 years. In addition, each should get workforce development funding of $5 million per year, plus exemptions from certain regulations, and other benefits, for a total 10-year cost of about $100 billion.

Is the race for 5G a run or a crawl?

December 18, 2019

In what is widely characterized as a “race” for technology dominance, fifth generation wireless networks are being deployed in Europe, Asia and North America. But the mammoth task of revamping the cellular landscape will likely take at least a decade--as well as trillions of dollars. In actuality, the “race to 5G” is more like a slog.

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