President Trump due to sign into law regulations that overrule federal judgeFellow Americans: if you receive a drone as a Christmas gift this year, you will probably have to register it with the US federal government.President Trump is due to sign into law the National Defense Authorization Act for 2018 today that will reinstate rules created by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2015 that required owners of any drones over 0.55lb to register their gizmos with the watchdog – and pay a $5 registration fee – or face criminal charges.Some 800,000 drone owners did exactly that, coughing up the dosh and handing over their details, according to the FAA, but one hobbyist – John Taylor – took exception to the rules, and argued in court that the agency doesn't have the right to decide what is a model aircraft.After winding its way through the legal system, in May this year the US Court of Appeals in Washington DC agreed with him – and the argument the drone database violates another piece of FAA red-tape that says the watchdog cannot "promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft."So the database ground to a halt, and the FAA offered a full refund for registration – an offer that fewer than 1,000 people took up on.
But the postage rates among countries for that shipping greatly vary.To explain it all, I recently spoke with Paul Steidler, a senior fellow with the Lexington Institute, a public-policy think tank in Washington, D.C.To understand programs like the ePacket and why it’s far less expensive to ship goods from foreign countries to the U.S. than to send goods within the U.S. itself, it’s important to understand “terminal dues.”The Universal Postage Union sets common rates and common standards for 192 countries around the world.And this puts U.S. ecommerce merchants and others at a competitive disadvantage.It also applies to Hong Kong and some other countries.
A new study from the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) establishes a novel catalytic method to produce renewable acrylonitrile using 3-hydroxypropionic acid (3-HP), which can be biologically produced from sugars.Acrylonitrile is produced today industrially via an energy-intensive and chemically hazardous process.Pictured from left to right are Adam Bratis, Violeta Sànchez i Nogué, Todd Eaton, Gregg Beckham, Vassili Vorotnikov, and Eric Karp, part of the NREL team working on a cost-competitive, sustainable process for creating acrylonitrile and carbon fibers from renewable biomass.(Photo by Dennis Schroeder / NREL)Propylene price volatility and environmental sustainability have motivated a search for alternative pathways using bio-derived feedstocks such as glycerol and glutamic acid.Based on yields alone, this is a very important discovery: in comparison, after six decades of commercial-scale improvements and optimization, the traditional acrylonitrile production process achieves yields of approximately 80%-83%.
- Nearly one in 50 children in the United States is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, usually before age 3, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.But the number of people trained to help them isn't keeping pace with the demand.The disparity is in part because training takes place one-on-one with children with a wide range of symptoms, from the highest-functioning to those with multiple, severe issues.But a UMass Lowell faculty researcher is out to change this with a "virtual child" - immersive, interactive software to help professionals learn key treatment techniques.The software will feature a virtual child, programmed with learning difficulties associated with autism spectrum disorder, who can interact with people training in behavioral intervention techniques.Serna is the principal investigator on the grant, which was awarded by the National Institute of Mental Health's Small Business Technology Transfer Program, which funds projects that translate academic research into products and services.
As a self-described half-store/half-blog, New Stand is trying to improve how you travel one purchase or article at a time.After launching two years ago and beginning 2017 with just three locations in New York’s busy subway transit hubs like Columbus Circle and Union Square, New Stand will end the year with 25 locations across the United States including LAX and Minneapolis/St.With bright lights, trendy items and helpful employees, New Stand’s founders are trying to connect young consumers with a better way to travel.“We’re a day improvement company,” said co-founder and CEO Andrew Deitchman.“We do spend time with people by selling them things they need, but we also provide great content and playlists for them within our app.” With each purchase made or article read, New Stand customers earn redeemable points that can be used for discounts on other products.An in-App wallet allows for seamless transactions.
A declaration to establish an International Brain Initiative has been made by representatives from some of the world's major brain research projects, including the Human Brain Project.At the Australian Academy of Science in Canberra, representatives from Japan, Korea, Europe, the United States of America and Australia announced a formal declaration to work together to speed up progress on 'cracking the brain's code'.Human Brain Project executive director Chris Ebell said the 'Canberra declaration' recognised that no single project will be able provide the full picture."This really is a chance to step-up to another level of interdisciplinary, international scientific research and deliver results that will profoundly impact our collective societies," he said.Human Brain Project Scientific Director Katrin Amunts said unlocking the complexity of the brain was one of the great challenges of our time.President-elect of the European Brain Council Professor Monica di Luca welcomed the International Brain Initiative as the next step in deepening our ability to understand the brain.
An international team of researchers, affiliated with UNIST has presented a core technology for quantum photonic devices used in quantum information processing.They have proposed combining of quantum dots for generating light and silicon photonic technologies for manipulating light on a single device.This breakthrough has been led by Professor Je-Hyung Kim in the School of Natural Science at UNIST in collaboration with Professor Edo Waks and a group of researchers at the University of Maryland, United States.We use a hybrid approach that combines silicon photonic waveguides with InAs/InP quantum dots that act as efficient sources of single photons at telecom wavelengths spanning the O-band and C-band.Although there are several potentially fruitful approaches exist to quantum information processing based on a variety of quantum technologies, including atom, light, and superconducting devices.A recently developed quantum light source exhibits the characteristics of quantum physics, including the superposition, quantum entanglement, and no-cloning theorem.
Abundance is everywhere and food is now so plentiful, food prices have dropped to a 60-year low as a percentage of income spent.And while obesity levels in the United States have started to level out, excessive calorie intake is still an epidemic, with some two-thirds of the population overweight or obese.Last fall, Medical Economics presented data in “The American Nutrient Gap: And How Vitamin and Mineral Supplements Can Help Fill It,” showing that “the diets of more than 90 percent of Americans fall short in providing the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) or Adequate Intake (AI) for one or more vitamins and minerals.”Using data from the comprehensive and ongoing National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and U.S.Departments of Health and Human Services findings, the report revealed that Americans aren’t getting enough of the vitamins A, C, D, and E; the minerals magnesium, calcium, and zinc; or of the nutritional components dietary fiber and choline.Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in their Second National Report on Biochemical Indicators of Diet and Nutrition, revealed that a significant number of Americans are not getting enough vitamin B6 or iron.
A rendering of Hope on Alvarado in Los Angeles, California.KTGY Architecture + PlanningLike many other dense cities around the United States, Los Angeles has a homelessness epidemic.A new housing project called Hope on Alvarado aims to address this issue.Local architecture firm KTGY Architecture + Planning has designed an affordable micro-apartment complex that will start housing dozens of LA's homeless residents by 2019.The Hope on Alvarado building will be located in Westlake, a neighborhood in northwest LA.Construction on the 84-unit complex, developed by Aedis Real Estate Group, will begin in 2018.
President Donald Trump has signed a directive that authorises NASA to return American astronauts to the Moon—a mission that would lay the foundation for a possible mission to Mars.The renewed emphasis on space exploration, said Trump, is to ensure America’s primacy in space, to protect its citizens, and to create jobs.But while a coherent and ambitious space program is welcome news, the announcement can also be seen as a distraction.With astronauts Christine Coke, Peggy Whitson, and Jack Schmidt in attendance, Trump made “Space Policy Directive 1” official.The decision to return to the Moon and lay the groundwork for a mission to Mars was based on recommendations made by the National Space Council National, which made its findings known this past October.“This marks an important step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for long term exploration,” said Trump, adding that the mission will do more than just leave “a flag and footprints on the Moon,” hinting at a possible base and potential mining activities.
Former CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) has chased terrorists around the world for the better part of six seasons on Showtime’s award-winning drama Homeland.For season 7, her target is much closer to home — the U.S. government.Those details, as well as the season’s premiere date, are revealed in Showtime’s explosive Homeland season 7 trailer.The seventh season of Homeland is set to premiere at 9 p.m.ET on Sunday, February 11, nearly a year after the end of season 6.Showtime did not reveal the episode count for season 7, but if it follows the trend of the previous six seasons, we should be in for 12 action-packed episodes .
Spleeters is a field investigator for Conflict Armament Research (CAR), an international organization funded by the European Union that documents weapons trafficking in war zones.But while Chuckwagon is barely discoverable by Google, Spleeters’ detailed reports for CAR are both publicly available online and contain more useful information than any classified intelligence I ever received when I was commanding a bomb disposal unit for the US military in Iraq in 2006.Iraq’s oil fields provided the industrial base—tool-and-die sets, high-end saws, injection-molding machines—and skilled workers who knew how to quickly fashion intricate parts to spec.ISIS engineers forged new fuzes, new rockets and launchers, and new bomblets to be dropped by drones, all assembled using instruction plans drawn up by ISIS officials.Since the early days of the conflict, CAR has conducted 83 site visits in Iraq to collect weapons data, and Spleeters has participated in nearly every investigation.It’s a small company with less than 20 researchers; Spleeters’ job title is head of regional operations, but he has no permanent employees.
Meanwhile, the gulf between demand for organic food and the amount being produced by American farmers continues to grow: Organic now accounts for more than 5 percent of total food sales, but despite increases, organic farmland still represents less than 1 percent of total farm acreage in the U.S. One recent report found that 25 percent of organic corn and 75 percent of organic soybeans used in the country are imported.“Plus, American farmers are missing those markets, which usually pay a better price, involve less toxic chemicals for the farmers, and are better for the soil and environment.” She added that she sees the USDA’s job as giving “farmers the technical assistance and background research to help them move into new markets.”In order to move this needle, Pingree in May introduced the Organic Agriculture Research Act of 2017 (H.R.2436), which proposes more than doubling the program’s funding to $50 million per year through 2023, with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.Support for the legislation has been picking up steam, with more than 50 new co-sponsors (47 Democrats, 4 Republicans) signing on between September and November 2017.Organizations like the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF), the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), and Beyond Pesticides are all lobbying for its passage, and Rodale Institute’s Organic Farmers’ Association included it in the group’s first round of policy positions.
SEC says it's monitoring transactions like a hawkThe chair of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a strongly worded Statement on Cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings that recommends extreme caution for anyone contemplating any kind of involvement in such investments.The main thrust of Chairman Jay Clayton's words urged individual investors to make sure they inform themselves, because promises of enormous and rapid returns often prove too good to be true and the SEC has approved no exchange-traded products related to cryptocurrencies.The statement suggested some investors have been told otherwise.Financial market professionals were warned to make sure they stay on the right side of securities laws, because Initial Coin Offerings and some cryptocurrencies appear to be de facto securities, but none have been ratified by the regulator.Clayton also called on professionals to do no harm to retail investors.
China’s wearables market will overtake the US this year, with more than one-fifth of internet users wearing a connected device, according to eMarketer.The findings, from eMarketer’s first-ever wearables forecast for China, predicts 21% of adult internet users in China, or 144.3 million people, will wear devices like the Apple Watch compared with 20.4% in the US.The China market is expected to continue to grow, with eMarketer estimating wearables will be worn by almost a quarter (24.5%) of Chinese internet users by 2019.“Wearable devices will continue to experience high growth among those in China,” said Shelleen Shum, senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer.“Thanks to the availability of inexpensive devices with constantly improving functionalities, coupled with an enthusiasm for new technology among working adults, it is not surprising that the adoption of wearable technology is on the rise in China and will surpass the US in 2017.”The Chinese wearable technology market has experienced triple-digit growth in recent years with no signs of slowing down, with the growth driven by inexpensive trackers such as the Mi Band, while the Apple watch has also led to growth among middle class Chinese.
The UK has risked a fresh row with America after Chancellor Philip Hammond attacked Donald Trump’s tax cuts.Hammond has sided with four other European treasury ministers to warn the US President’s massive tax overhaul could spark a trade war.In a letter to US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, the Chancellor joined finance ministers from Germany, France, Italy and Spain to say they had “significant concerns” about three tax initiatives that could have “a major distortive impact on international trade”.EU nations have long expressed fears the reforms might hurt world trade and European companies in particular if international agreements are flouted.The letter warns World Trade Organisation rules and America’s own tax guidelines are being undermined by the plan.“The inclusion of certain less conventional international tax provisions could contravene the US’s double taxation treaties and may risk having a major distortive impact on international trade,” the five wrote.
New data from the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft orbiting the planet shows their shadow can actually change the planet’s atmosphere.The new research from scientists in Sweden and the United States demonstrates a clear difference between the particles in the Northern and Southern parts of the planet’s ionosphere, its electrically charged upper layer.But the star of the paper is Cassini.The probe is continuing to deliver, even three months after plummeting into the planet.“One can imagine this as the grand finale phase of the Cassini mission as an entirely new mission with the veteran spacecraft,” William Kurth, a scientist at the University of Iowa’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, told Gizmodo.“There was never any plan to go this close to Saturn...we’re just getting our feet wet with the fresh data that we have.”
Iron Mountain announced today that it’s acquiring the U.S. data center assets of IO Data Centers for a cool $1.3 billion — and the price tag could potentially go higher.With today’s purchase, Iron Mountain gets some serious assets, including four state-of-the-art data centers in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona; Edison, New Jersey; and Columbus, Ohio.The four buildings in total encompass 728,000 square feet of data center real estate with 68 megawatts of capacity.Iron Mountain also reported there is room for expansion at the Arizona and New Jersey facilities with the potential for an additional 77 megawatts of capacity.Iron Mountain, which has mostly been known for digital and physical records management, including storing and shredding of physical documents, has been quietly expanding its business this year to include physical data centers.In fact, today’s news follows the acquisition of the Fortrust data center in September and the previously announced acquisition of two Credit Suisse data centers in London and Singapore, which are expected to close next year.
Earlier this year, the Trump administration officially announced its plans to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, or Paris Climate Accord, as soon as legally eligible.The decision is one in a series of climate change-denying moves by the administration, including removing online resources related to climate change from the EPA’s website.Now, a professional skier wants to raise awareness about the planet’s plight on America’s biggest stage.Julian Carr, an ambassador for Protect Our Winters (POW) and the Climate Reality Project, is launching a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.To raise the $5.5 million necessary to buy a 30-second Super Bowl ad, inspired by the Trump administration’s decision to remove the U.S. from the global agreement to combat climate change.“America is the biggest polluter in history.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (December 11, 2017) - As state voter identification (ID) laws across the country are being contested amid questions about the integrity of the voting process, researchers have developed a new statistical method that not only matches multiple records with precision, but can also identify the scope of discrimination when applied to voter ID laws.Recently featured in the American Statistical Association's journal Statistics and Public Policy, the research titled "ADGN: An Algorithm for Record Linkage Using Address, Date of Birth, Gender and Name" was applied to a 2011 Texas voter ID law (S.B.14), which the United States Department of Justice investigated as possibly discriminatory."Our evidence suggests a smaller number of people lack ID than recent survey evidence suggests, and it also suggests a discriminatory effect of the law, in line with concerns of those who believe these laws disproportionately affect minorities," noted Eitan Hersh, associate professor of political science at Tufts University and co-author of the paper.Hersh and fellow researcher Stephen Ansolabehere, professor of government at Harvard University, designed a way to link individual records across databases.Such linking is challenging because databases tend to have errors and missing values and often lack unique identifiers such as social security numbers.