Science & Technology

Dems to ramp up oversight of Trump tech regulators

November 12, 2018

In addition to beefing up oversight of regulators they believe have been too lax on the tech and telecom industry, Democrats are also making it a top priority to craft internet privacy rules. There has been increasing bipartisan support for a national privacy law in recent months following a string of massive data scandals and breaches at major companies.

What the 2018 midterms mean for NASA and planetary science

November 11, 2018

The Democratic party will assume majority control of the House of Representatives next January. As a result, the management of all committees in the House will belong to Democrats, who can pursue issues and topics of their choosing. Republicans, consigned to the minority for the first time in 8 years, will have little influence over committee leadership. While this will be most significant for committees pursuing executive branch oversight and investigations, it will change the focus of the House Science Committee, which writes NASA Authorization bills, and had released a draft bill earlier this year.

China's Xinhua agency unveils AI news presenter

November 11, 2018

No jobs are safe from automation -- not even reading the news on TV. China’s state media agency Xinhua just revealed the first “AI anchor” that can talk, move, and act like a real human news anchor. It also revealed an English version of its new AI anchor.

The House Science Committee May Soon Become... Pro-Science

November 09, 2018

Ranking member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) issued a statement after the election results Tuesday night stating that, if elected chairwoman, she wants to restore the credibility of the science committee “as a place where science is respected and recognized as a crucial input to good policymaking.” Johnson said that includes acknowledging that climate change is real, “seeking to understand what climate science is telling us, and working to understand the ways we can mitigate it.”

Congressional elections may shake up federal science, innovation policy

November 09, 2018

Tuesday’s elections resulted in a Democratic majority in the House, but the changes for the next Congress go far beyond this outcome. Flipping party control means new chairs for every committee in the House; many Senate Republicans in leadership positions are reaching their party’s term limits, yielding new committee seniority; and, retirements and incumbent losses yield further changes.

The US just elected 9 new scientists to Congress, including an ocean expert, a nurse, and a biochemist

November 08, 2018

The faces of Capitol Hill are changing. When the 116th Congress heads to Washington in January, there will be a record number of women in the ranks -- at least 123, according to the news website Axios, including the first Muslim women, the first Somali-American, and the first Native American women. There will be more scientists too.

China's Beating the US to Market on Combat Drones, By Copying US Technology

November 07, 2018

The mockup of China’s CH-7 combat drone unveiled at Zhuhai Airshow this week looks a lot like one the U.S. Navy was developing -- until it dropped the project, allowing China to position itself to beat the U.S. and other allies in fielding a long-range, high-altitude combat drone. That’s despite the fact that--in the words of one expert—the United States had a “ten-year head start.”

How to Lock Down What Websites Can Access on Your Computer

November 07, 2018

As websites and web apps have grown in complexity, so have their demands: They want access to your webcam to make video calls, they want to know where in the world you are to serve up local information, and so on. In fact, websites now ask for almost as many permissions as the apps on your phone do, though you might not be as familiar with how to manage them. We'll show you how.

Physicists measured Earth’s mass using neutrinos for the first time

November 07, 2018

Puny particles have given scientists a glimpse inside the Earth. For the first time, physicists have measured the planet’s mass using neutrinos, minuscule subatomic particles that can pass straight through the entire planet. Researchers also used the particles to probe the Earth’s innards, studying how the planet’s density varies from crust to core.

NASA Will Use ISS Supercomputer for Science Experiments

November 06, 2018

While the International Space Station (ISS) is a technological marvel, it has not traditionally had a lot of onboard processing capacity. That changed last year when NASA delivered a supercomputer to the station. It was only there for a test run, but now the agency plans to use it for processing data and running experiments. Eventually, NASA and manufacturer HP hope to understand why some parts of the computer work well in orbit and others don’t.

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