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- The Data Privacy Imperative: Safeguarding Sensitive Data
- Eliminating the Pitfalls: Steps to Virtualization in Government
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Search Tags: Scott Carr
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.
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.
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.
The Federal Aviation Administration has announced $125 million dollars in contracts to develop and demonstrate technologies that will reduce commercial jet fuel consumption, emissions and noise. The contracts are part of the FAA's Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise - or CLEEN - program - to speed up the introduction of "green" technology into aviation.
The FAA is contracting with five companies including Boeing, General Electric, and Rolls-Royce to research and demonstrate a variety of technologies, including sustainable alternative aviation fuels; and lighter and more efficient gas turbine engine components.
Among the goals are a reduction in fuel burn by 33 percent; a 60-percent reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions; and a 32-decibel reduction in cumulative aircraft noise levels.
Smart USA, which recently debuted its smart for two electric vehicle or EV , will deploy a fleet of 250 of them across the U.S. in October. The company says it will target key cities leading in electrification and Department of Energy grant areas, but it hasn't yet released its list of cities. Smart USA is looking for partnerships and is targeting companies, municipalities, organizations, and individuals interested in making a statement on conservation and environmental awareness. The Electric Vehicles are powered by a 30 kilowatt drive motor and a 16.5 kilowatt/hour lithium ion battery; can be fully recharged in about eight hours with a 220 volt outlet. The vehicles can reach highway speeds of 60 miles an hour and offer a range of 82 miles on a single charge.
The Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Lab is constructing the world's most brilliant light source, the National Synchrotron Light Source II. In a recent decision, DOE approved a new project to begin the conceptual design of experimental tools needed to complete the project.
Its research potential will only be realized when equipped with scientific instruments known as beamlines. Specialized magnets called insertion devices will create the light used by the most advanced of the beamlines.
Energy officials say, as the world's most brilliant light source, NSLS II will foster groundbreaking scientific advances. The new source will give scientists the ability to image materials down to a nanometer, or one billionth of a meter. The facility is expected to start operating in 2015.
The General Services Administration is reiterating its promise to boost cybersecurity and privacy of cloud computing.
As part of the so-called FEDRAMP program, beginning this fall an interagency group will inspect vendors' cloud computing facilities to make sure they meet federal security standards. If the group certifies a cloud facility, agencies would be able to sign up for service without having to further inspect the facility.
U.S. officials have largely ruled out North Korea as the origin of a computer attack last July that took down U.S. and South Korean government websites.
But, authorities aren't much closer than they were a year ago to knowing exactly who did it, or why.
Early analysis of the fast-moving "denial of service" attacks pointed to North Korea since code used included Korean language.
Experts say agencies are better prepared today, but that many government and business sites remain vulnerable to similar attacks.
The so-called "continuous monitoring" of systems is becoming a hot topic in government. That's because under federal guidelines, agencies must report how they protect their information systems, plus, agencies are now required to submit real-time data about the state of their networks.
Continuous monitoring doesn't mean systems have to be watched every minute. Even now, some agencies are able to monitor their systems through international networks at least once a day.
A new study that finds 80-percent of I-T managers expect network-born threats to increase over the next year. Perhaps even more troubling, more than half of managers told netForensics their organization was not budgeting enough, or recruiting enough new talent, to counter any added cyber-threats. Almost 25-percent of respondents said they saw a decrease in staff size in the last year.
More than half of the managers polled did however say their organization was more secure now than it was a year ago.