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Cybersecurity and fighting the insider-threat

Our Federal News Radio Discussion this month explores cybersecurity and the insider-threat with Jerry Davis of NASA, NIST's Elaine Newton, and Bobbie Stempfley from DHS.

Tags: Federal Drive , technology , cybersecurity , Jerry Davis , NASA , Elaine Newton , NIST , Bobbie Stempfley , DHS , Federal News Radio Discussion , Suzanne Kubota

Friday - 07/30/2010, 11:00am EDT
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NASA Completes Survey of the Entire Sky

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, called WISE, has just completed its first survey of the entire sky. The globe-trotting satellite has generated more than one million images so far, of everything from asteroids to distant galaxies. The mission scanned strips of the sky as it orbited around the Earth's poles since it launched last December. One pictured region shows the Pleiades cluster of stars, also known as the Seven Sisters, resting in a tangled bed of wispy dust, highlighting the telescope's ability to take wide shots of vast regions of space. So far, WISE has observed more than 100,000 asteroids, both known and previously unseen, most lying in a belt between Mars and Jupiter. 90 of them are new near-Earth objects.

Tags: technology , NASA , WISE , Scott Carr

Wednesday - 07/21/2010, 02:54pm EDT

US AID Sets Out New Technology Strategy

Officials with USAID - the U.S. Agency for International Development - recently gathered many of the world's leading scientists and development thinkers, along with leaders of key federal science agencies, to help map out a new Science, Technology and Innovation strategy. More than 60 experts from around the world spent two days discussing issues and how technology might provide solutions. One of the specific goals will be bridging the divide between the interests of the public and private sectors. The conference was the first step in helping USAID to identify what agency leaders call "grand challenges" and explore how science, technology, and innovation can be used to solve them. USAID officials have now appointed the first science advisor the Agency has had in 19 years as well as established a new dedicated Science and Technology office.

Tags: technology , USAID , Scott Carr

Wednesday - 07/21/2010, 02:50pm EDT

New Batteries Provide Shorter Recharge Times

New battery materials developed by the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Lab and a Maryland company could enable electric vehicles, power tools and even cell phones to recharge in minutes rather than hours. In collaboration with a Princeton University researcher, the Lab has demonstrated that small quantities of graphene - an ultra-thin sheet of carbon atoms - can dramatically improve the power and stability of lithium-ion batteries, while maintaining high energy storage capacity. The pioneering work could lead to the development of batteries that store larger amounts of energy and recharge quickly. Today, a typical cell phone battery takes between two and five hours to fully recharge. Researchers think using new battery materials with graphene could cut recharge time to less than 10 minutes.

Tags: technology , DoE , Scott Carr

Wednesday - 07/21/2010, 02:33pm EDT

Proposed Battery Revolutionizes Century-Old Technology

The University of California San Diego along with General Atomics are about to begin work on developing a new kind of flow battery technology that pumps chemicals through a battery cell when electricity is needed. The development of the battery would revolutionize current century-old lead-acid battery technology - creating low cost, high efficiency and reliability needed for use on the smart electrical power grid. This project is receiving $2 million dollars in funding through the U.S. Department of Energy and APRA-E, the Advanced Project Research Agency devoted to Energy research. The goal is the production of a battery that can be scaled for grid-scale energy storage but which costs less and performs far longer than current technologies.

Tags: technology , DoE , APR-E , Scott Carr

Wednesday - 07/21/2010, 02:29pm EDT

Grants Fund Study of Alternative Refrigeration

A Milwaukee-based company is about to begin research on an alternative form of refrigeration for cooling buildings, under a $2-point-nine million dollar energy research grant funded through the federal stimulus package. Using a solid state cooling technology, the privately held Astronautics Corporation of America will research a type of magnetic refrigeration that does not rely on a liquid-based refrigerant. Energy Department officials say, if successful, the breakthrough system could achieve significant energy efficiency, greatly reducing system operating costs compared to conventional compression systems, in addition to producing zero greenhouse gases. In all, $30 million dollars in grant money is being given to 17 different projects around the country that focus on a variety of novel approaches to air-conditioning.

Tags: technology , Energy , DoE , Scott Carr

Wednesday - 07/21/2010, 02:26pm EDT

Scientists Find HIV-Fighting Antibodies

Scientists led by the National Institutes of Health have discovered antibodies that will prevent most HIV strains from infecting human cells. Two potent human antibodies have been found to stop more than 90 percent of known global HIV strains from infecting human cells in the lab. Scientists have even demonstrated how one of the disease-fighting proteins is able to do it. They found the antibodies using a novel molecular device that homes in on the specific cells that make antibodies that fight HIV. According to the scientists, the antibodies could be used to design improved HIV vaccines, or could be further developed to prevent or treat HIV infection. Moreover, the method used to find the antibodies could be used to find therapeutic antibodies for other infectious diseases.

Tags: technology , HIV , NIH , Scott Carr

Wednesday - 07/21/2010, 02:25pm EDT

Ship Anchorage Site to Inspect and Decontaminate Gulf Ships

The National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration - with assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard and Navy - has started to survey a new ship anchorage site at the mouth of the Mississippi River in the Gulf of Mexico - for ships to undergo inspection and oil decontamination before entering ports.

Shipping vessels are currently facing increasing time delays and other challenges as they try to avoid the oil slicks caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. A magnetometer survey of a proposed alternate anchorage site would ensure the safety of ships, their crews, and the marine environment by making sure that there are no buried pipelines in the proposed area that would be ruptured by ships lowering their anchors. Maritime commerce is important farmers especially, who need to export their crops through Gulf ports, as do the millions of retail outlets nationwide that rely on a constant flow of imports.

Tags: technology , NOAAA , Coast Guard , Navy , Scott Carr

Friday - 07/09/2010, 11:55am EDT

Choosing Genetically Engineered Crops

A new USDA report says American farmers continue to choose genetically engineered crops over their conventional counterparts.

A July USDA Economic Research Service report finds the rate of adoption of Genetically Engineered soybeans is up to 93 percent this year; the adoption of all Genetically Engineered cotton climbed to 93 percent; and the adoption of all biotech corn reached 86 percent in 2010. An April report from the National Research Council notes, many U.S. farmers who grow genetically engineered crops are realizing substantial economic and environmental benefits - such as lower production costs, fewer pest problems, reduced use of pesticides, and better yields. In 2009, 330 million acres of biotech crops were planted in 25 countries by 14 million farmers.

Tags: technology , USDA , NRC , Scott Carr

Friday - 07/09/2010, 11:54am EDT

New Performance-Based Fire Protection for Nuclear Reactor Plants

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved the Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant's adoption of the National Fire Protection Association's new "Performance-Based Standard for Fire Protection for Light-Water Reactor Electric Generating Plants."

NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko calls it an important milestone in advancing fire protection at nuclear power plants. Under the NFPA 805 standard, reactor owners and operators perform engineering analysis to demonstrate their fire protection systems. Plant owners must also install additional equipment or take other measures if the analysis call for them. In the case of Shearon Harris, the analysis led the plant to make several modifications, including installation of an additional fire detection system and an additional diesel generator. The new regulatory approach will be adopted by additional 47 reactors at 31 sites, representing 17 utilities.

Tags: technology , NRC , National Fire Protection Association , Scott Carr

Friday - 07/09/2010, 11:48am EDT
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