Month: January 2008

Setting the nanotech research agenda

Setting the nanotech research agenda

In December 2003, President George W. Bush signed the Twenty-first Century Nanotechnology Research & Development Act, establishing a framework for enabling what some have described as “the next industrial revolution.” Four years on, the act is up for reauthorization. As legislators grapple with how the nanotechnology landscape has changed in the intervening years, they face the complex task of continuing to ensure U.S. leadership in the development of nanotechnologies that are successful, sustainable, and above all, safe.

Public health lessons from virtual game worlds

Public health lessons from virtual game worlds

It’s challenging to model disease spread during epidemics. Simple mathematical models such as the “general epidemic” model make assumptions about constant population size, homogeneous mixing, and constant recovery rates, but can only go so far in predicting an outbreak’s severity (See “Mathematical Modeling of Epidemics”).

Where the presidential candidates stand on nuclear issues

Where the presidential candidates stand on nuclear issues

With primary season upon us, the presidential candidates have been busy debating and making policy presentations so that we can begin to glean some ideas of their views on everything from the economy to national defense. As is often the case, the media haven’t focused on the candidates’ views on technical issues, but in the end, these may be among the most significant issues that the next president will face.

Reflections on the U.N. climate change negotiations in Bali

Reflections on the U.N. climate change negotiations in Bali

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), long regarded as the single most trustworthy source of information on climate science, states unequivocally that Earth’s climate is warming rapidly and that we’re now more than 90 percent certain that human activities have caused most of the observed warming in recent decades. The research behind these findings, published in the IPCC’s landmark 2007 report, is rock-solid science.

The growing number of immunocompromised

The growing number of immunocompromised

It’s estimated that about 10 million people in the United States (3.6 percent of the population) are immunocompromised. But that’s likely an underestimate because it only includes those with HIV/AIDS (diagnosed and undiagnosed), organ transplant recipients, and cancer patients; there’s a sizable population that takes immunosuppressive drugs for other disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.