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Search Tags: Meeting Mission and Goals through Technology
The National Security Agency has launched two new digital communications efforts. Both are designed to educate prospective employees on career opportunities with NSA. It's part of an overall push to recruit workers to support NSA's cyber security initiatives. NSA officials anticipate this year will see the agency's largest hiring effort of cybersecurity workers to date. They've targeted communications tools they hope will appeal to today's tech-savvy generation. The NSA Career Links Smartphone application is available for download through the iTunes platform. Career Links delivers real-time job updates directly to a user's iPhone. This includes information about available jobs, career fairs, and Agency news. NSA is also employing Smartphone tagging on many of its printed recruitment advertisements. Users with Smartphones equipped with Android or other operating systems can scan the tags and launch a video related to the ad.
Military aircraft are typically burdened with miles of heavily shielded copper wire cables that connect many types of components. The cabling is often heavy, yet fragile, subject to deterioration, as well as expensive. More modern aircraft employ multimode digital fiber-optic cables. A network program created by DARPA - the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency - aims to replace current aircraft wiring with a single-mode fiber-optic network, where each fiber can carry multiple digital and analog signals. The program will develop prototype photonic transmitters and receivers - and will support advanced electronic warfare, radar and communications systems. Such systems have the potential to save the Defense Department billions of dollars over the lifecycle of an aircraft fleet. Prototype digital transmitters are designed to support tuning over 32 wavelength channels, each carrying 10 gigabit-per-second data rates.
The Internal Revenue Service has opened its 21st season of electronic filing. The agency has sent reminders to taxpayers saying e-file remains the best way to get fast refunds and ensure accurate tax returns, particularly following several changes in the tax law. A number of tax deductions and credits for were extended for 2011 and 2012. To date, the IRS says it's processed over one-billion returns through e-files. In 2010, nearly 100 million people - or 70-percent of taxpayers - used IRS e-file. IRS commissioners anticipate that more tax return preparers will be using e-file this year. They anticipate starting to process tax returns impacted by December's tax law changes by mid-February. Even with the delay, the IRS says e-file remains the fastest option. It will take less than two weeks to process an e-filed return, but as many as four to six weeks to process a paper return.
An Iowa State University associate professor and associate of the Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory has been working with polymers that repair themselves when they crack. He's worked with polymers made from vegetable oils. Now - he's working to combine the two technologies. Michael Kessler is researching and developing biorenewable polymers that are capable of healing themselves as they degrade and crack. He says - if successful, the research will provide biorenewable alternatives to petroleum-based resins, which he says could have a huge economic and environmental impacts. The technology has evolved into a system that embeds catalysts and microcapsules containing a liquid healing agent inside the polymer. As cracks develop, they rupture the microcapsules and release the healing agent.
To help mark the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy, officials with the National Archive and the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, have unveiled the nation's largest online digitized presidential archive. It provides unprecedented global access to the most important papers, records, photographs and recordings of President John F. Kennedy's thousand days in office - making them accessible without traveling to the Kennedy Library in Boston. The Digital Archive includes over 200,000 pages, 300 reels of audio tape containing over 12-hundred recordings of telephone conversations, speeches and meetings, 300 museum artifacts, 72 reels of moving images and 15-hundred photos. It's now available to teachers, students, scholars, and others through the website jfklibrary-dot-org.
NASA's Kepler mission has confirmed the discovery of its first rocky planet, named Kepler-10-b. It's 1-point-four times the size of Earth, making it the smallest planet ever discovered outside our solar system. Team leaders at NASA'a Ames Research Center in California say it's also the first solid evidence of a rocky planet orbiting a star other than our sun. The size of the exoplanet can be derived from periodic dips in brightness. Kepler's ultra-precise photometer measures the tiny decrease in a star's brightness that happen when a planet crosses in front of it. The distance between the planet and the star is calculated by measuring the time between successive dips as the planet orbits the star. As a result of the analysis, that star orbited by the planet - Kepler-10 - is now one of the most well-characterized planet-hosting stars in the universe.
The production of high quality chocolate, and the farmers who grow it, will benefit from the recent sequencing and assembly of the chocolate tree genome. An international team, including scientists from the National Science Foundation, sequenced the DNA of a variety of Theobroma cocoa, considered to produce the world's finest chocolate. Many growers currently prefer to grow hybrid cocoa trees that produce chocolate of lower quality more resistant to disease. Increasing the productivity and ease of growing cacao can help to develop more sustainable economies. Other genes were found that influence the production of flavonoids, natural antioxidants, hormones, pigments and aromas. Altering the genes for these chemicals might produce chocolate with better flavors, aromas and even healthier chocolate.
The Federal Communications Commission is asking the public to weigh in on a plan to expand the services offered by travelers information radio stations. The stations now typically broadcast traffic information - often near airports or major interchanges - and typically at the high end of the AM band. The FCC wants to expand what the stations broadcast to include weather reports, Amber alerts, and public health warnings. The stations would also get a power boost under the FCC proposal. Many of the stations operate on solar-power or have battery back-up power systems that enable them to continue to provide broadcast information to travelers regionally during significant power outages.
Thanks to more powerful and reliable super computers - NOAA - the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - is now using enhanced weather and marine forecast models for the Great Lakes. That means that forecasts can be extended from 36 to 60 hours into the future to better serve mariners, the shipping industry, emergency responders, water resource managers and others. The Great Lakes Operational Forecast System is now running on the super computers. They operate around the clock, offering a more reliable computing framework to generate Great Lakes forecast models and ultimately producing more timely forecasts. It also marks a first step toward linking NOAA's environmental modeling efforts with state-of-the art technology that paves the way for a more seamless way to deliver forecasts.
The National Archives and Records Administration's new Online Public Access is now available. It's part of NARA's Open Government plan - including the development of online services. Archives officials say it's also a key component of the agency's Transformation Plan - to become more customer-focused and to ensure the nation's heritage is accessible to everybody. The prototype portal provides access to digitized records, and information about the Archives own records. It also provides a centralized means of searching multiple National Archives resources at once. The prototype currently contains 10.9 million permanent electronic records. The National Archives will add additional functionality in the coming year, including an image zooming feature that will enable users to zoom and pan the online holdings, and social sharing through Facebook, Twitter, and other sites.