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Archive for the ‘government’ category

Apr 4, 2020

Tests That Can Tell Who Has Had the Coronavirus Are Here, With Some Limitations

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government

This week, the U.S. government approved the first blood test in the country that will look for the antibodies produced by the body to fight the novel coronavirus. Such a test can reveal whether someone is actively infected by the virus, as well as whether they were previously infected but recovered. While these tests are very much needed to better understand the scale of the outbreak, they have a few major limitations.

On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization to a covid-19 antibody test developed by the company Cellex. The test looks for two types of antibodies, IgM and IgG, created by the body’s immune system in response to the new coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2. The test, which requires blood drawn from a vein, can return results within 15 to 20 minutes, though the testing itself has to be done in a certified laboratory, not at a doctor’s office, unlike some other rapid covid-19 tests.

Apr 3, 2020

Key GOP senator warns that U.S. needs millions of coronavirus tests

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government

congress

“The big test for the administration right now is: Can you scale up the production of hundreds of millions of tests,” he says.

Apr 3, 2020

NASA Worm on Falcon 9 but do you know the story behind it?

Posted by in categories: government, space
NASA Worm logo on a Falcon 9

Yes, that’s right. The classic NASA “worm” logo is back! An image of the revived NASA worm logo was released on Twitter by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine as well as press release on the NASA.gov website.

NASA explained that original NASA insignia is an iconic symbol widely recognized in the world. The NASA “meatball” logo as many know it by represented patriotic American colors. A red chevron wing piercing a blue sphere(Planet) with white stars, and an spacecraft orbiting. This “meatball” logo was not easy to reproduce with 1970’s technology so the Federal Design Improvement Program introduced in 1975 a new logo, the “worm.”

Some History about the logo

By the beginning of World War I, the United States lagged behind Europe in airplane technology. On March 3, 1915, Congress founded NACA as an independent government agency in response to the perception that the United States was falling behind in aeronautical technology. NACA would report directly to the President with the purpose to catch up. But technology had evolved, and once again the US was falling behind in technology. Russia launched Sputnik. The space race was being lost.

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Apr 2, 2020

Australia begins coronavirus vaccine tests

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government

Australian government scientists have begun the first stages of testing for a potential vaccine against the SARS CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19. Australia’s national science agency CSIRO said Thursday that testing at a biosecurity facility was expected to take three months. The testing is being undertaken in cooperation with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a global group that aims to help speedily develop vaccines against emerging infectious diseases.


Australia’s national science agency will test two vaccine candidates over the next three months. It is part of a global race to halt the coronavirus pandemic.

Apr 2, 2020

Sponsored: Taking a Quantum Leap for Near-Term Defense

Posted by in categories: economics, finance, government, information science, law, policy, quantum physics, robotics/AI

Quantum computers will revolutionize information technology, ushering in an era where certain types of calculations will be performed with almost unimaginable speed. Practical applications will include healthcare disciplines such as molecular biology and drug discovery; big data mining; financial services such as portfolio analysis and fraud detection; and artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The federal government is helping to create an environment in which quantum computing innovation and experimentation can flourish. The National Quantum Initiative Act puts $1.2 billion into the quantum research budgets of the Energy Department, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NASA and the National Science Foundation. The law also outlines a 10-year plan to accelerate the development of quantum information science and technology applications.

Meanwhile, The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy is working to ensure that economic growth opportunities and opportunities for improving the world are baked into quantum policies and systems.

Apr 1, 2020

The world’s largest aircraft will now test hypersonics for the military

Posted by in categories: government, military, satellites

“Our hypersonic testbeds will serve as a catalyst in sparking a renaissance in hypersonic technologies for our government, the commercial sector, and academia,” said W. Jean Floyd, Stratolaunch’s chief executive, in a statement.

This is an interesting, if not wholly unexpected, turn for Stratolaunch. During the last decade, the aerospace community has often collectively scratched its head, wondering how such a large aircraft could be cost-competitive in the hotly contested market to launch small- and medium-sized satellites. And without a dedicated rocket in existence, the company seemed little more than a vanity project for the wealthy Allen. If Stratolaunch served any purpose, the speculation went, it must be to meet some unspecified military need.

There can be no question that the military is interested in hypersonic technology. China, Russia, and the United States are all racing to develop hypersonic missiles, as well as new countermeasure technology as high-speed missiles threaten to penetrate most existing defenses. A Rand Corporation report from 2017 provides more basic information, suggesting, “There is probably less than a decade available to substantially hinder the potential proliferation of hypersonic missiles and associated technologies.”

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Mar 31, 2020

One world government needed to cope with COVID-19, says former British PM

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government

The Guardian reported that Brown would have liked the U.N. Security Council to have been invited to an emergency online meeting of the G20 countries today. The meeting, hosted by Saudi Arabia, is tackling the issue of the novel coronavirus.

“This is not something that can be dealt with in one country,” Brown said.

“There has to be a coordinated global response.”

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Mar 31, 2020

Maker Mask launches in Seattle using 3D-printing technology to produce protective gear

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical, engineering, finance, government, health

The 19 3D-printable parts that make up the mask are visible on the Maker Mask website along with details on materials needed, download instructions, videos, the ability to donate to the cause and more. The cost of each finished mask, printed in about three hours, is estimated to be between $2 and $3.


A technology veteran and a 3D-printing “savant” have teamed with other members of industry, health care and government to launch Maker Mask, a Seattle nonprofit creating medically endorsed, reusable protective masks using everyday 3D printers.

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Mar 30, 2020

Why a business case for Mars settlement is not required

Posted by in categories: business, economics, Elon Musk, government, space travel

Some people have claimed that a “business case” for profitable interplanetary trade with a Mars settlement, or at least the identification a saleable product for trade, is required before such a settlement can be established or supported by business or government. But there is no reasonable prospect for trade in any significant mass of physical material from a Mars settlement back to Earth in the near future due to the high transport costs. In his recent article in the National Review, “Elon Musk’s Plan to Settle Mars,” Robert Zubrin makes exactly the same point: a business case based on physical trade is not necessary and makes little sense. Later trade and commerce via non-physical goods such as software is probable once a settlement is fully operational. More significant and interesting economic situations will occur on Mars.

A good model for the expenditures needed to found colonies is the Greek and Phoenician expansion all across the Mediterranean and Black Sea areas in the period early in Greek history (before about 600 BC), leading to the founding of one of the greatest trading cities in history, Carthage. The cities who founded each colony did not expect immediate profit, but wanted good places for an expanding population and knew that, once the new cities were established, trade would also become established. Most of the cost was probably in building more ships. When European colonies were first established in the New World by Spain and Portugal, the emphasis was initially on a search for treasure, not production of products. English and Dutch colonies later led the way to commerce across the Atlantic, with tobacco, sugar, and cotton suddenly becoming a major part of world trade.

A look at some of the steps required to create a Mars settlement will help us understand at least a little about Mars settlement economics. For a Mars settlement, motivation and economics are interwoven. It is possible for at least a partial business case to be made for the transport of settlers and the materials they will need to initiate some phase of Mars settlement. This includes the current effort to create a large number of reliable, low cost, and reusable super-heavy boosters and spacecraft, able to take payloads of 100 tons or more of cargo and passengers to Mars and land them at the right location. Part of this development and construction cost will be defrayed by commercial and government uses of the same vehicles, such as placing very heavy payloads in LEO and taking equipment and passengers to and around the Moon.

Mar 30, 2020

The Next Pandemic Will Be Arriving Shortly

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government, health, security

Circa 2018: In January 2017, while one of us was serving as a homeland security advisor to outgoing President Barack Obama, a deadly pandemic was among the scenarios that the outgoing and incoming U.S. Cabinet officials discussed in a daylong exercise that focused on honing interagency coordination and rapid federal response to potential crises. The exercise is an important element of the preparations during transitions between administrations, and it seemed things were off to a good start with a commitment to continuity and a focus on biodefense, preparedness, and the Global Health Security Agenda—an initiative begun by the Obama administration to help build health security capacity in the most critically at-risk countries around the world and to prevent the spread of infectious disease. But that commitment was short-lived.


Deadly diseases like Ebola and the avian flu are only one flight away. The U.S. government must start taking preparedness seriously.

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