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Archive for the ‘policy’ category: Page 4

Jun 6, 2020

The pandemic is challenging China’s breakneck race to the top of science

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, economics, education, government, policy, science

Like all countries, China is facing severe economic losses from the pandemic, and that will certainly have a negative impact on scientific research, because funding will be reduced and projects will be delayed, says physicist Wang Yifang, director of the Institute of High Energy Physics in Beijing. Some universities have already announced a cut in funding. The research budget given by the education ministry to Jiangnan University in Wuxi, for example, will drop by more than 25% for 2020, and other universities are facing similar reductions. “An overall budget cutting of government spending on higher education is highly possible, though the level and scope may vary by regions, universities and fields,” says Tang Li, a science-policy scientist at Fudan University in Shanghai.


The country is rapidly gaining on the United States in research, but problems could slow its rise: part 5 in a series on science after the pandemic.

May 30, 2020

The Navy’s Patent for a Compact Nuclear Fusion Reactor Is Wild

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, policy, space travel

Circa 2019


Scientists have longed to create the perfect energy source. Ideally, that source would eventually replace greenhouse gas-spewing fossil fuels, power cars, boats, and planes, and send spacecraft to remote parts of the universe. So far, nuclear fusion energy has seemed like the most likely option to help us reach those goals.

The big problem? It’s difficult to harness, and we’re nowhere near producing it at the scales we need in order to cause a seismic shift in energy policy. That’s why teams of researchers across the world are racing to improve our understanding of this reaction.

Continue reading “The Navy’s Patent for a Compact Nuclear Fusion Reactor Is Wild” »

May 26, 2020

Coronavirus outbreak likely to go on for two years, scientists predict

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, policy

The coronavirus pandemic is likely to last between 18 and 24 months, scientists from the University of Minnesota have predicted.

In a report published Thursday, researchers from the university’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) stressed that Covid-19 was more contagious than the flu and was likely to continue circulating after a first wave this spring.

May 24, 2020

Italians Can Now Install Rooftop Solar PV Systems For Free

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government, policy, solar power

The Italian government had one of the early invasive experiences of the covid-19 pandemic. Scientists in Italy responded to the global crisis with serious research into the concern. Perhaps results of these inquiries and related information have affected policy makers. Italian homeowners now have new opportunities to put clean energy on the top of their roofs.

May 19, 2020

Technology In A Time Of Crisis: How DARPA And AI Are Shaping The Future

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, health, information science, policy, robotics/AI, security

Then there is the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19), a multi-institutional initiative that includes The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Allen Institute for AI, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), Microsoft, and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The goal of this initiative is to create new natural language processing and machine learning algorithms to scour scientific and medical literature to help researchers prioritize potential therapies to evaluate for further study. AI is also being used to automate screening at checkpoints by evaluating temperature via thermal cameras, as well as modulations in sweat and skin discoloration. What’s more, AI-powered robots have even been used to monitor and treat patients. In Wuhan, the original epicenter of the pandemic, an entire field hospital was transitioned into a “smart hospital” fully staffed by AI robotics.

Any time of great challenge is a time of great change. The waves of technological innovation that are occurring now will echo throughout eternity. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics are experiencing a call to mobilization that will forever alter the fabric of discovery in the fields of bioengineering, biomimicry and artificial intelligence. The promise of tomorrow will be perpetuated by the pangs of today. It is the symbiosis of all these fields that will power future innovations.

Continue reading “Technology In A Time Of Crisis: How DARPA And AI Are Shaping The Future” »

May 13, 2020

An AI can simulate an economy millions of times to create fairer tax policy

Posted by in categories: economics, policy, robotics/AI

Deep reinforcement learning has trained AIs to beat humans at complex games like Go and StarCraft. Could it also do a better job at running the economy?

By

Tony Webster / Flickr.

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May 9, 2020

A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Intravenous Immunoglobulin Treatment in Children With Kawasaki Disease

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, policy

To determine the long-term cost-benefit of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) treatment in Children with Kawasaki Disease (KD), a model was made to compare the total cost for management of these children with and without the use of IVIG. Long-term (10−21 years) follow-up of 594 KD patients treated in the pre-IVIG era reported by Kato, et al. was used to calculate cost using previous cost studies from Chulalongkorn Hospital. Reduction of CAA from 25 per cent to 4 per cent with IVIG treatment was assumed based on previous published data. Total cost was slightly lower for the non-IVIG treatment group compared to the IVIG treatment group (33,451,129 baht vs 35,001,195 baht) for the duration of follow-up in Kato’s model. Cost per effectiveness analysis showed more effectiveness in the IVIG treatment group (359,576 baht vs 383,614 baht). Net cost analysis similarly demonstrated lower costs in the IVIG treatment group (25,365,215 baht vs 33,451,129 baht). Incremental cost-effectiveness analysis demonstrated supplementary costs of 13,663 baht for one case in the reduction of coronary involvement and 387,517 baht for one life saved in the IVIG-treated group. Estimation of total costs for follow-up and treatment for healthy life (until 60 years old) was more expensive in the non-IVIG treatment than the IVIG treated group (75,482,803 baht vs 29,883,833 baht). The authors conclude that treatment of all KD cases in Thailand with IVIG is likely to result in lower cost and better outcome when compared to no treatment with the IVIG policy.

May 4, 2020

Ban on gain-of-function studies ends

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government, health, policy, surveillance

The debate is focused on a subset of gain-of-function studies that manipulate deadly viruses to increase their transmissibility or virulence. “This is what happens to viruses in the wild”, explains Carrie Wolinetz, head of the NIH Office of Science Policy. “Gain-of-function experiments allow us to understand how pandemic viruses evolve, so that we can make predictions, develop countermeasures, and do disease surveillance”. Although none of the widely publicised mishaps of 2014 involved such work, the NIH decided to suspend funding for gain-of-function studies involving influenza, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV.


The US moratorium on gain-of-function experiments has been rescinded, but scientists are split over the benefits—and risks—of such studies. Talha Burki reports.

On Dec 19, 2017, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that they would resume funding gain-of-function experiments involving influenza, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus. A moratorium had been in place since October, 2014. At the time, the NIH had stated that the moratorium “will be effective until a robust and broad deliberative process is completed that results in the adoption of a new US Government gain-of-function research policy”. This process has now concluded. It was spearheaded by the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) and led to the development of a new framework for assessing funding decisions for research involving pathogens with enhanced pandemic potential. The release of the framework by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), of which NIH is part, signalled the end of the funding pause.

Continue reading “Ban on gain-of-function studies ends” »

Apr 30, 2020

The Rise of the Fifth Reich?

Posted by in categories: energy, finance, policy

Over at the always interesting Small Wars Journal, Tony Corn has a stimulating piece on the implications of the European crisis for world politics. He sees a clueless German policy establishment recklessly moving toward an unsustainable quest for power reminiscent in too many ways of problems Germany has had in its past.

Germany, warns Corn, is planning to use its financial domination of Europe to remake the EU into an extension of German power — more or less the way that Prussia used the Zollverein to bring northern Germany under its control and then dominated the Bismarckian Reich through a rigged constitutional system. Once that is in place, he writes, the Germans will continue their policy of deepening relations with Russia at the expense of NATO and transatlantic ties, and end Europe’s embargo on arms sales to China.

As an analyst, Corn sometimes goes to what we more placid types at VM consider overexcited conclusions about Eurasian power realignments. Safely ensconced among the storied oaks and elms, gazebos, pergolas, ha-has, follies and deer parks surrounding the stately Mead manor in glamorous Queens, we tend to take a wait-and-see attitude toward organizations like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization which Russia and China have sometimes posited as a kind of embryonic counter-NATO. Corn, in our perhaps excessively complacent view, can be too quick to take vague Eurasian fantasies and aspirations about diplomatic revolutions as accomplished facts; it is easier to dream about firm Russian and Chinese anti-US cooperation than for those two countries to make it work. But that said, there is no doubt that Corn’s industry, historical grounding and sensitive, even over-sensitive nerve endings give him the ability to produce original and striking ideas.

Apr 24, 2020

America’s bomber force is facing a crisis

Posted by in categories: government, military, policy, security

The path forward begins with admitting the nation has a bomber shortfall. Retiring more aircraft exacerbates the problem. Nor is this just an Air Force problem. Bombers are national assets essential to our security strategy and must be prioritized accordingly. If other services have excess funds to invest in ideas like a 1,000-mile-range cannon when thousands of strike aircraft, various munitions and remotely piloted aircraft can fill the exact same mission requirements, it is time for a roles and missions review to direct funding toward the most effective, efficient options. Bombers would compete well in such an assessment. Ultimately, the solution demands doubling down on the B-21 program.

There comes a point where you cannot do more with less. Given the importance of bombers to the nation, rebuilding the bomber force is not an option — it is an imperative.

Retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Larry Stutzriem served as a fighter pilot and held various command positions. He concluded his service as the director of plans, policy and strategy at North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command. He is currently the director of studies at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, where Douglas Birkey is the executive director. Birkey researches issues relating to the future of aerospace and national security, and he previously served as the Air Force Association’s director of government relations.

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