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Search Tags: Scott Carr
Federal News Radio's Scott Carr and Jason Miller discuss OMB's five-part plan to restructure IT project management.
The Office of Management and Budget announced five structural changes to put renewed focus on improving IT management. OMB CPO Jeffrey Zients says the way government currently budgets for and acquires IT is "broken."
In theory, plants could be the ultimate "green" factories, engineered to pump out the kinds of raw materials we now obtain from petroleum-based chemicals. In reality, its been an elusive goal. Now, in a first step toward achieving industrial-scale green production, scientists from the Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Lab and their collaborators report engineering a plant that does produce the levels of compounds that could potentially be used to make plastics. The raw materials for most precursors currently come from petroleum or coal-derived synthetic gas. Additional technology is needed, but researchers say they've now engineered a new metabolic pathway in plants for producing a kind of fatty acid that can be used as a source of precursors to chemical building blocks for making plastics such as polyethylene.
The Department of Commerce and National Telecommunications and Information Administration have released a report called "Digital Nation II," that analyzes broadband Internet access across the United States. The study is the the most comprehensive of its kind. It finds that even after accounting for socioeconomic differences, large gaps persist along racial, ethnic, and geographic lines. The report analyzes data collected through a survey of 54,000 households conducted by the Census Bureau. It shows that while virtually all demographic groups have experienced increases of broadband Internet use at home, and 64 percent of households overall have the service, there are still historic disparities among demographic groups. Officials worry that Americans who lack broadband Internet access are cut off from educational and employment opportunities.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just completed a major update of the agency's primary education resource portal; the website Education.noaa.gov. The aim is to better connect educators and students interested in NOAA's education and science resources. The website serves as a portal to lesson plans, educational multi-media, data sources, career profiles, and other education content from across the agency. The content contains five themes. Teachers can find information about hurricanes, tides, climate change, the water-cycle or other earth science topics on the site. The site also provides information on professional development, academic scholarships, career exploration, and education grants. NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine resources.
The Army has begun the process of overhauling the energy efficiency of all of its facilities worldwide. Two policy memos will change the way the Army designs and builds permanent buildings.
The new guidance focuses on water reduction, energy consumption, and specific ways to reduce the impact of Army facilities on the natural environment. Those include more efficient siting, solar water heating, and storm water management. Also, all incandescent light bulbs and older lighting technology is to be replaced within five years.
The Army Corps of Engineers has issued a study that found the Army spends about $1.5 billion dollars a year to provide electricity, and air handling for its structures. The new guidelines, they say, could save as much as 45 percent of that amount in new buildings.
Software developed at NASA's Ames Research Center is enabling fuel savings for airlines while also increasing their planes' environmental efficiency.
The Ames Direct-To software is a product of NASA aeronautics research in air traffic management. It enables airlines to save fuel and reduce emissions by automatically identifying flight shortcuts that are wind-favorable and acceptable to air traffic controllers.
It's already been adopted by the Boeing Company for commercial use. Their offering a new air traffic efficiency service that uses the software.
Project directors say they've estimated a potential combined savings of about 900 flying minutes per day for all aircraft using the software. That means a potential savings of tens of thousands of flight minutes per year for a medium-sized airline.
If smoked salmon is on the menu or being served at an upcoming holiday gathering, you can thank scientists with the Department of Agriculture for doing their part to ensure it is safe to eat.
They say they've developed a first-of-its-kind mathematical model that food processors can use to select the perfect combination of temperature and concentrations of salt and smoke compounds in order to reduce or eliminate the possibility of contaminated smoked salmon making its way to market.
USDA researchers say smoked salmon is typically sold in packages that have a refrigerator shelf life of about three to eight weeks. Since dangerous microbes can live at refrigerator temperatures, they say it's important to get rid of the microbes before packages leave the processing plant.
Several cyber experts are not sold on how security around cloud computing will work. Some of the doubts come as GSA issues draft requirements for FedRAMP. Others say agencies likely will move to a private cloud first before trusting data to a public provider.
Researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado say vegetation likely plays a bigger role in cleaning the atmosphere than was even previously thought.
They used genetic studies, and computer modeling to show that deciduous plants absorb about a third more of a common class of air-polluting chemicals than past studies showed. The new study was supported in part by the National Science Foundation.
Plants can produce a particular class of oxygenated chemicals to protect themselves from irritants and repel invaders such as insects, similar to the human body's production of white blood cells due to an infection. It turns out the chemicals have long-term impacts on the environment and human health.
Their research also shows plants can actually adjust their metabolism - absorbing more of the chemicals - as a response to various types of stress.