The Future of Computing Requires Innovation in Energy | Pacific Standard


There’s little doubt the information technology revolution has improved our lives. But unless we find a new form of electronic technology that uses less energy, computing will become limited by an “energy crunch” within decades.

Even the most common events in our daily life—making a phone call, sending a text message, or checking an email—use computing power. Some tasks, such as watching videos, require a lot of processing, and so consume a lot of energy.

Because of the energy required to power the massive, factory-sized data centers and networks that connect the Internet, computing already consumes 5 percent of global electricity. And that electricity load is doubling every decade.

Source: The Future of Computing Requires Innovation in Energy – Pacific Standard

The biggest security threats in 2019


With an ongoing trade war between the United States and China, Russian military posturing in Eastern Europe at its greatest since the Cold War and the most unpredictable U.S. administration in living memory, 2019 may offer no shortage of strategic surprises.

Here are some of the key areas to watch in the coming 12 months.

Source: Commentary: The biggest security threats in 2019

Protests in India after women defy ancient ban on visiting Hindu temple | Reuters


India’s Supreme Court in September ordered the lifting of the ban on women or girls of menstruating age from entering the Sabarimala temple, which draws millions of worshippers a year.

But the temple refused to abide by the ruling and subsequent attempts by women to visit it had been blocked by thousands of devotees.

The Kerala state government is run by left-wing parties and it has sought to allow women into the temple – a position that has drawn the criticism of both of India’s main political parties, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The uproar has put the issue of religion, which can be highly contentious in India, squarely on the political agenda months before a general election, which is due by May.

Source: Protests in India after women defy ancient ban on visiting Hindu temple | Reuters

Big claims strain senior living market for U.S. insurers | Reuters


As the U.S. society ages, senior living communities are on the rise. So are claims and lawsuits against them. And when they lose, it is usually down to insurers to pay up.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity that has pretty specific challenges,” said Brendan Gallagher, who heads the senior care business at insurance broker Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (AJG.N)

Some senior living facilities could see insurance rate hikes in 2019 as high as 30 percent, according to insurance broker Willis Towers Watson. (WLTW.O)

Source: Big claims strain senior living market for U.S. insurers | Reuters

Congress in 2019: The 2nd most educated and least politically experienced House freshman class


As we outlined in an earlier article, the 116th Congress is going to look a lot different than its predecessors thanks to a younger, more female, less white new cohort of Democrats. And weeks before even being sworn into office, many new members have already made their presence known—from livestreaming portions of their orientation, to joining an environmental protest in likely-Speaker Pelosi’s office, to exchanging their speakership votes for promises of attention to climate change.

Source: Congress in 2019: The 2nd most educated and least politically experienced House freshman class

Shuffling the deck chairs in Saudi Arabia


The depth of the problem is evident in the flight of foreign investors, the onslaught of bad press, the unprecedented Senate action rebuking the crown prince for his role in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and the promise by Senator Lindsey Graham to prevent any new weapons transfers as long as Mohammed bin Salman remains in charge.

But these changes to process and personnel alone will not provide the intended reassurance—to signal a real change in direction, the kingdom must demonstrate that its policy is shifting away from the aggressive overreach that led to the present dire straits.

Source: Shuffling the deck chairs in Saudi Arabia

Vatican letter undermines US cardinal on abuse


The Vatican blocked U.S. bishops from taking measures to address the clergy sex abuse scandal because U.S. church leaders didn’t discuss the legally problematic proposals with the Holy See enough beforehand, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press.

The Nov. 11 letter from the Vatican’s Cardinal Marc Ouellet provides the primary reason that Rome balked at the measures that were to be voted on by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at its Nov. 12-14 meeting. The blocked vote stunned abuse survivors and other Catholics who were demanding action from U.S. bishops to address clergy sex abuse and cover-up.

Source: AP Exclusive: Vatican letter undermines US cardinal on abuse

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Tops on House Democrats’ to-do list: Try to end shutdown


As the Congress gavels in for the 116th session the early votes will be the usual ones — establishing the House rules and electing the House speaker, presumably California Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

But the new majority will quickly pivot Thursday to a pair of bills to fund the parts of the government that have been shuttered in the dispute over money for President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico.

It’s a cold opening for the new majority, setting up an early confrontation with the Republican-led Senate and the White House and testing the House Democrats’ ability to make good on their campaign pledge to focus on kitchen-table issues in the new era of divided government.

“Our first order of business will be to end the reckless Trump shutdown and reopen the government,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the incoming caucus chairman, said in an interview. Then, he said, “we will turn our attention to bringing our democracy to life and returning our government to the people.”

Source: Tops on House Democrats’ to-do list: Try to end shutdown

Democrats Have a Plan to End the Government Shutdown and Blame Trump | Time


House Speaker-Designate Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday that on Thursday, the House would vote on a series of measures that would reopen the government. There are seven outstanding appropriations bills: the series of measures the House Democrats are proposing would fund six for a year, and extend funding for the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 8.

The bills have all passed Senate committees on a bipartisan basis.

They would vote separately on the funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which has been the sticking point that produced the shutdown. That bill would fund Homeland Security through Feb. 8 at current levels, which does not include money for a border wall.

This latter part is similar to what the Senate passed unanimously earlier in December, before the House rejected it to fund Trump’s border wall.

Source: Democrats Have a Plan to End the Government Shutdown and Blame Trump | Time

Seven Government Tech Bills that Died in Congress | Nextgov


As the 115th Congress comes to an end, hundreds of bills that lawmakers failed to approve over the last two years will be put to rest. While legislation is frequently reintroduced once the new session kicks off, it’s likely many of these bills will never again see the light of day.

Here’s a handful of federal tech- and cyber-focused proposals that for one reason or another never made it to the president’s desk.

Source: Seven Government Tech Bills that Died in Congress – Nextgov