Daily Archives: February 16, 2012

Views from the Solar System (28)


Aurora Borealis Over the Midwest
NASA – In this image taken on Jan. 25, 2012, the Aurora Borealis steals the scene in this nighttime photograph shot from the International Space Station as the orbital outpost flew over the Midwest. The spacecraft was above south central Nebraska when the photo was taken. The image, taken at an oblique angle, looks north to northeast.

Stemming the tide of overtreatment in U.S. healthcare

By Debra Sherman – A leading group of U.S. doctors is trying to tackle the costly problem of excessive medical testing, hoping to avoid more government intervention in how they practice.

“Excessive testing costs $200 billion to $250 billion (per year),” Dr. Steven Weinberger, CEO of ACP said in an interview from his office in Philadelphia. “There’s an overuse of imaging studies, CT scans for lung disease, overuse of routine electrocardiograms and other cardiac tests such as stress testing.”

In an article published last month in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the ACP cited 37 clinical situations where screening did not promote health and might actually hurt patients. more> http://is.gd/X5zgtl

Cybersecurity bill blocked by top GOP senators

By Jennifer Martinez – Lack of harmony, which erupted into public view earlier this week, promises to hamstring an effort to quickly pass a sweeping cybersecurity bill through the Senate.

The same day Lieberman revealed his bill, which was accompanied by choreographed floor speeches from its backers, top Republicans on seven other Senate committees wrote to Reid and McConnell to complain that the measure was being rushed. The GOP critics said the measure should be vetted — through hearings and markups — by their committees.

The seven Republicans — Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas), John McCain (Ariz.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.) and Saxby Chambliss (Ga.) — wrote that Lieberman’s bill “does not satisfy our substantive concerns, nor does it satisfy our process concerns.”

McConnell was quick to align himself with the group. more> http://is.gd/JsM9c7

Swiss to craft janitor satellites to grab space junk

By John Heilprin – The 10-million-franc ($11-million) satellite called CleanSpace One—the prototype for a family of such satellites—is being built by the Swiss Space Center at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology in Lausanne, or EPFL.

The U.S. space agency NASA says over 500,000 pieces of spent rocket stages, broken satellites and other debris are being tracked as they orbit Earth.

Swiss Space Center’s director, Volker Gass, said it hopes to someday “offer and sell a whole family of ready-made systems, designed as sustainably as possible, that are able to de-orbit several different kinds of satellites.” more> http://is.gd/ld1rLf

AT&T Must Let Beastie Boy Vote on Net Neutrality, SEC Says

English: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Comm...

Image @Wikipedia

By Jesse Hamilton – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has told AT&T Inc. and other telecommunications companies they must include a resolution supporting wireless net-neutrality in annual shareholder votes.

“In view of the sustained public debate over the last several years concerning net neutrality and the Internet and the increasing recognition that the issue raises significant policy considerations, we do not believe that AT&T may omit the proposal from its proxy materials,” the SEC said in the Feb. 10 letter.

The shareholder resolution would recommend each company “publicly commit to operate its wireless broadband network consistent with network neutrality principles,” the letter said. more> http://is.gd/g1wk3E


CONGRESS WATCH Boxer Praises Agreement to Connect Clean Energy Projects at National Parks to Electric Grid, US Senate Boxer Calls on Southern California Edison to End Delay in Connecting Renewable Energy Projects to Electric Grid, US Senate related> Renewable energy … Continue reading


CONGRESS WATCH Pay-As-You-Go Estimate for H.R. 658, FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011 Pay-as-you-go Table for the Conference Agreement as published in the Congressional Record for February 1, 2012. Related articles Updates from Congressional Budget Office (blogs.strategygroup.net) House Floor … Continue reading