Daily Archives: February 28, 2012

NASA Memory Lane (6)

On Feb. 27, 2012.

NASA Announces Chair of New
Mars Program Planning Group

NASA – NASA’ s associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, John Grunsfeld, has named former veteran NASA program manager Orlando Figueroa to lead a newly established Mars Program Planning Group (MPPG) tasked to reformulate the agency’s Mars Exploration Program.

Grunsfeld made the announcement at an annual gathering of Mars scientists and engineers in Dulles, Va. Figueroa, a consultant with more than 30 years of aerospace experience, will lead the scientific and technical team to develop an integrated strategy for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program in light of current funding constraints. The team’s initial focus will be on a possible 2018-2020 robotic mission. more> http://is.gd/0fADHg


Does the G20 matter?

By Terra Lawson-Remer – The G20 group was elevated from finance ministers to heads of state to quickly coordinate a decisive response in the face of the global economic crisis in 2008; and effective action required a forum that included China and other important emerging economies, as the former G7/8 club could no longer really call the shots.

The main threat to the G20’s effectiveness is its lack of domestic legitimacy within member countries. The group is widely perceived by the public as transnational elites hatching plans behind closed doors in insulated centers of power. Without genuine ex ante engagement to build trust and support with diverse domestic constituencies — labor, business, civil society, and the members of parliaments and congresses that purportedly represent these different interests — leaders will never have the space within the G20 to negotiate meaningful agreements. Finance ministers and heads of state now come to the table with their hands tied, their positions determined in advance by their governments and a formal script that precludes meaningful and creative compromises. more> http://is.gd/Sbukt0

White House, NSA weigh cybersecurity, personal privacy

The National Security Agency

The National Security Agency
(Photo credit: @mjb)

By Ellen Nakashima – The National Security Agency has pushed repeatedly over the past year to expand its role in protecting private-sector computer networks from cyberattacks but has been rebuffed by the White House, largely because of privacy concerns, according to administration officials and internal documents.

The proposal drew on a Pentagon pilot program launched last year in which Internet service providers used the NSA’s library of threat data to scan e-mails and other computer traffic flowing to and from the nation’s top defense contractors . That program was a response to fears that foreign spy services were using cyber-technology to steal corporate or U.S. military secrets.

A Pentagon-commissioned report in November validated the concept but said the effectiveness of such an approach remained uncertain.

The NSA, however, saw the program as a model for expanding its role in protecting other potentially significant targets of cyberattacks. more> http://is.gd/l3jsE0

IBM snaps an image of electric charge

By Martin LaMonica – IBM researchers have created a subatomic snapshot of the electric charge within a molecule, an advance that could have applications in ever-smaller transistors or in solar power.

Scientists from IBM Research in Zurich, Switzerland, published a paper in Nature Nanotechnology today that describes a technique for measuring how electrons move when forming molecular bonds.

Having a picture of the electric charge distribution could be useful tool for research on making tiny transistors the size of a molecule or developing solar cells from inexpensive organic materials, said Fabian Mohn, who coauthored the paper. more> http://is.gd/QaOQhU

THOMAS Top Ten – compiled on Feb 26 2012

Congress watchLibrary of Congress –

  1. H.R. 3630 [112th]
    Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012
  2. H.R. 3261 [112th]
    Stop Online Piracy Act
  3. H.R. 1981 [112th]
    Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011
  4. H.R. 4646 [111th]
    Debt Free America Act
  5. H.R. 7 [112th]
    American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act of 2012
  6. H.R. 3012 [112th]
    Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act
  7. H.R. 658 [112th]
    FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act
  8. H.R. 2359 [112th]
    Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011
  9. S. 1867 [112th]
    National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012
  10. H.R. 1179 [112th]
    Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011

CONGRESS WATCH Economy Squeezed As Debt Accelerates, US Congress


CONGRESS WATCH More drivers than ever may pay $5 per gallon, Gary Strauss, USATODAY.com Rep. Tom Graves (GA-09): Let States Keep Highway Funds; The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 20. Rep. Renee Ellmers (NC-02): Flip-flop or Not, Freedom Attacked; The Fayetteville Observer, … Continue reading