Issues in Science and Technology

A quarterly journal of the National Academy of Science focused on discussion of public policy related to science, engineering, and medicine. Provides a forum researchers, government officials, business leaders, and others concerned with public policy to s

Articles from Vol. 22, No. 4, Summer

A Healthy Mind for a Healthy Population: The U.S. Health Care System Must Pay More Attention to Providing Quality Care to People with Mental Problems or Substance-Use Conditions
Each year, more than 33 million U.S. residents receive health care for mental problems and/or for conditions resulting from the use of alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medications. The total comprises approximately 20% of working-age adults,...
Aquaculture and the Environment
As a team leader working "on the ground" of a major interdisciplinary, multi-institutional effort to demonstrate the technological feasibility of offshore aquaculture in the southeastern United States and Caribbean regions, I would like to provide...
Congress Attempts to Rein in Earmarks
In the wake of recent lobbying scandals, leaders in both chambers of Congress are attempting to control the number of earmarks introduced into bills after conference. The habit of inserting earmarks late in the legislative game has increased during...
Dee-Fense! Dee-Fense!: Preparing for Pandemic Flu; Federal Research, Economic Incentives for Industry, and a More Responsive Regulatory Regime Will All Be Necessary to Produce a Timely and Widely Available Vaccine
Vaccination to prevent viral and bacterial diseases is modern medicine's most cost-effective intervention. Were a vaccine to be available quickly after the onset of the widely predicted pandemic from an H5N1 strain of avian influenza, it might save...
Effectiveness of Project Bioshield Examined
A hearing in early April of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health highlighted continuing congressional concerns that the country's program to combat the possible use of biological, chemical, and radiological weapons still...
Ethanol Futures
The centerpiece of a stronger national commitment to expanding domestic ethanol production must be sustained and adequate federal funding for research, development, and demonstration (RD & D) of biorefineries and related technologies. Federal...
Genetic Testing
The subject of "Federal Neglect: Regulation of Genetic Testing," by Gail H. Javitt and Kathy Hudson (Issues, Spring 2006) is clearly an important one as advances in genetics and genomics contribute to the development of new genetic tests and services,...
Let Engineers Go to College
The challenges that engineers will face in the 21st century will require them to broaden their outlooks, have more flexible career options, and work closely and effectively with people of quite different backgrounds. Yet engineering education focuses...
Natural Gas: The Next Energy Crisis? the United States Has Long Been "Addicted" to Foreign Oil. but We Now Risk Becoming Dependent on Foreign Natural Gas as Well
The day after President Bush's State of the Union address on January 31, 2006, the headline in many U.S. newspapers and in the electronic media was: "America Addicted to Oil." Indeed, a major newsworthy section of the speech was the president's...
New Nukes: The Bush Administration's Plan to Use Fuel Reprocessing as the Spark to Revive Nuclear Power Will Not Succeed. Only Centralized Interim Waste Storage Can Make a Difference in the near Term
For the first time in decades, nuclear power is back on this country's list of possible energy sources. New nuclear power plants are on the drawing board. Public opinion is shifting in favor of nuclear energy. Even some veteran antinuclear campaigners...
Nuclear Waste and the Distant Future: Regulation of Nuclear Hazards Must Be Consistent with Rules Governing Other Hazardous Materials and Must Balance Its Risks against Those Linked to Other Energy Sources
Although most of the radioactive material generated by nuclear energy decays away over short times ranging from minutes to several decades, a small fraction remains radioactive for far longer time periods. Policymakers, responding to public concern...
Power Play: A More Reliable U.S. Electric System; U.S. Utilities Have a Lot to Learn about Avoiding Power Outages. They Can Benefit from the Experience of Foreign Utilities, Other U.S. Industries, and Even Their Own Nuclear Power Plants
The United States ranks toward the bottom among developed nations in terms of the reliability of its electricity service. Catastrophic events, such as the August 14, 2003, blackout that put 50 million people in the dark, are well known, but that...
Protecting the West
From my perspective, "Protecting the Best of the West" by Wendy Vanasselt and Christian Layke (Issues, Spring 2006) appears to touch on many of the issues that beset the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM is an agency charged with multiple...
Regulatory Regime for Greenhouse Gases Discussed
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held an all-day conference on April 4 on the issues involved in creating a program to regulate the greenhouse gases that cause climate change. Among other issues, the committee examined whether limits...
Respect for China
In "Don't "Dis" Chinese Science" (Issues, Spring 2006), Alexander P. De Angelis characterizes the U.S. government's apparatus for focusing on China's science and technology (S & T) policy as "woefully inadequate and scattered." It is not the...
Senate Bill Would Raise H-1B Visa Quotas
Shortly before departing for the Memorial Day recess, the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill (S. 2611) that would raise the existing H-1B non-immigrant visa quota from the current 65,000 to 115,000 annually and increase that number by...
Taxes and Highways
As the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation concluded in its November 2005 report, the only real problem facing the gas tax at present is that it has been 13 years since it was last adjusted. Since 1993, it has lost 30% of its purchasing power. Recent...
The Myth of Energy Insecurity: Increasing Oil Imports Do Not Pose a Threat to Long-Term U.S. National Security
The current national debate on energy policy is held together by the proposition that increasing reliance on foreign oil is a national security threat that requires urgent action. Only the character of the needed action is in dispute. Some call for...
The Pentagon's Defense Review: Not Ready for Prime Time; the Quadrennial Review Fails to Realign the Military to Defend against New Threats or Reorder Funding Priorities to Meet Those Threats
The trouble with our times is that the future is not what it used to be. This witty observation by 19th century French poet Paul Valery captures precisely the ever-changing nature of today's global security environment. Consider the events and changes...