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. 25, No. 3, Spring

A Reverse Brain Drain: The United States, Long the Beneficiary of Talented Immigrants, Needs to Act Quickly to Keep These Valuable Workers from Leaving to Pursue Expanding Opportunities in Their Home Countries
Although most of the national immigration debate originates with those who want to limit immigration, U.S. policymakers should be focusing on the more important task of attracting and keeping more highly skilled foreign-born scientists and engineers....
Bent Science: Bending Science: How Special Interests Corrupt Public Health Research
by Thomas O. McGarity and Wendy E. Wagner. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008, 400 pp. Kenneth E. Warner As Thomas McGarity and Wendy Wagner demonstrate quite vividly, advocates frequently distort policy-relevant health and environmental...
Biological Weapons Threat Examined
The Senate and the House held hearings in December 2008 and January 2009, respectively, to examine the findings of the report A World at Risk, by the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation and Terrorism. At the hearings,...
Biomedical Enhancements Entering a New Era: Products and Services to Boost Performance, Appearance, or Capability Are Here to Stay, and Better, More Sophisticated Ones Are on the Way. Banning Them Would Be Misguided, but Regulation Will Be Needed
Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a drug to lengthen and darken eyelashes. Botox and other wrinkle-reducing injections have joined facelifts, tummy tucks, and vaginal reconstruction to combat the effect of aging. To gain a competitive...
Closing the Environmental Data Gap: Information Limitations Are Severely Constraining Our Ability to Identify and Understand Emerging Environmental Problems, Devise Interventions to Address Them, and Evaluate Whether Our Responses Work
The compelling evidence that the global climate is changing significantly and will continue to change for the foreseeable future means that we can expect to see similarly significant changes in a wide variety of other environmental conditions such...
Democrats Press Action on Climate Change
Amid efforts to use green technologies and jobs to stimulate the economy, Congress began work on legislation to cap greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. At a press conference on February 3, Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chair of the...
Economic Stimulus Bill Provides Major Boost for R&D
The $790-billion economic stimulus bill signed by President Obama on February 17 contains $21.5 billion in federal R & D funding--%18 billion for research and $3.5 billion for facilities and large equipment. The final appropriation was more than...
Global Warming: The Hard Road Ahead
With a president committed to fighting climate change and a new Congress inclined to go along, the prospects for greenhouse gas emissions abatement legislation are bright. That's good news. The Bush and Clinton administrations' intransigence on this...
In Defense of Biofuels, Done Right: Despite Recent Claims to the Contrary, Plant-Based Fuels Developed in Economically and Environmentally Sensible Ways Can Contribute Significantly to the Nation's-Indeed, the World's-Energy Security While Providing a Host of Benefits for Many People Worldwide
Biofuels have been getting bad press, not always for good reasons. Certainly important concerns have been raised, but preliminary studies have been misinterpreted as a definitive condemnation of biofuels. One recent magazine article, for example, illustrated...
In the Zone: Comprehensive Ocean Protection
Comprehensive ecosystem-based zoning could address many of the critical problems with U.S. ocean policy by providing a mechanism for coordinated management of ocean uses that takes into account the cumulative effects of multiple human activities. ...
Irrational Exuberance
We're back! The mood at the recent annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science was buoyant. President Obama speaks science. The crowd for A1 Gore's talk filled not only the main ballroom but also the giant ballroom in...
Multifaceted Ocean Research Bill Advances
The Senate on January 15, 2009, approved by a vote of 73 to 21 the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009, a package of five bills authorizing $794 million for expanded ocean research through FY 2015, including $104 million authorized for FY 2009,...
Nuclear Fears: Will Terrorists Go Nuclear?
by Brian Michael Jenkins. Amherst, NY; Prometheus Books, 2008, 410 pp. Michael A. Levi Are there any big-idea books left to be written about nuclear terrorism? After all, every possible threat assessment, from apocalyptic to anodyne, is well...
Obama Cabinet Picks Vow to Strengthen Role of Science
Key members of President Obama's new cabinet are stressing the importance of science in developing policy as well as the need for scientific integrity and transparency in decisionmaking. In one of his first speeches, Ken Salazar, the new Department...
Proposed Regulatory Changes under Review
As one of its first acts, the Obama administration has halted all proposed regulations that were announced but not yet finalized by the Bush administration until a legal and policy review can be conducted. The decision means atleast a temporary stop...
The Bioterror Threat: Bracing for Armageddon? the Science and Politics of Bioterrorism in America
by William R. Clark, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2008, 224 pp. Michael Moodie World at Risk, a new report by the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, concludes that "it is more likely...
The Challenge for the Obama Administration Science Team
President Obama's choices for top government science positions have made a strong statement about the importance of science and technology (S & T) in our society. In choosing Nobel prize-winning physicist Stephen Chu for Secretary of Energy, marine...
Truth in Testing: Measuring Up: What Educational Testing Really Tells Us
by Daniel Koretz. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008, 353 pp. Paul W. Holland It has been said that "few wish to be assessed, fewer still wish to assess others, but everyone wants to see the scores." Throughout the world, tests are...
U.S. Workers in a Global Job Market: Government Needs to Collect and Analyze Data on the Offshoring of Science and Technology Jobs So That It Can Take Action to Nurture and Encourage Highly Skilled U.S. Workers
Among the many changes that are part of the emergence of a global economy is a radically different relationship between U.S. high-tech companies and their employees. As late as the 1990s, a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics...