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. 24, No. 2, Winter

A Blind Man's Guide to Energy Policy: The Broad Vision Needed to Transform the Energy System Will Develop Only When Narrowly Focused Constituencies Learn to See through the Eyes of Others
The United States has seemingly reached a consensus that energy is a serious problem. Unfortunately, there is no consensus on the solution. Three major constituencies are dominating discussion of the problem, and each approaches the issue from a different...
A New Strategy to Spur Energy Innovation: No One Questions the Need to Develop New Energy Technologies. Government Can Play a Critical Role by Increasing Funding and Reorganizing Its Programs
The United States must confront the reality of its energy circumstances. Consumers and industry are facing the prospect of a continued rise in the real price of oil and natural gas as conventional reserves are depleted. The increased reliance of the...
Bill to Promote Electronic Health Records Proposed
Arguing that the use of electronic health records (EHRs) is a necessary first step toward more comprehensive use of information technology (IT) in health care, the House Committee on Science and Technology on October 24 passed a bill (H.R. 2406) supporting...
Climate Change Science Program under Fire
As discussions in Congress shift from debating the causes of climate change to examining solutions to address it, increasing attention is being paid to the research that supports these decisions. In particular, the Climate Change Science Program (CCSP),...
Dealing with Disability: Disabilities Will Touch Nearly Everyone in Some Manner. Here's a Plan for Preparing the Nation for This Future, but Choices Should Not Be Put Off
Between 40 million and 50 million people in the United States--at least one in seven residents--currently report having some kind of disability that limits their daily activities or restricts their participation in work or social life. Given current...
Expansion of FDA Oversight Power Sought
In the wake of high-profile problems with drugs such as Avandia and Vioxx as well as concerns about the safety of imported food, members of Congress are continuing to push for an expansion of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) oversight authority....
Fiscal Year 2008 R&D Funding Levels on Hold
The federal government's fiscal year (FY) 2008 began on October 1, but most agencies are still operating under a continuing resolution extending funding at 2007 levels through December 14. Congress would like to spend $23 billion more on domestic programs...
Forging a New, Bipartisan Environmental Movement
Although our passion for the living Earth dates to our joyful youth spent outdoors, in Pennsylvania and California respectively, our intellectual commitment to the environment as a political and social issue can be traced to the first Earth Day, an...
Freedom of Speech in Government Science
Since the early 1990s, researchers, scholars, journalists, and professional organizations have published hundreds of articles, books, and reports on the ethical problems related to industry-funded science, addressing such concerns as conflicts of interest,...
Global Science Gaps Need Global Action: The Opportunity Exists for Many Developing Countries to Become Active Participants in Science, Technology, and Innovation, but to Succeed They Will Need the Support of the International Scientific Community
When it comes to the global state of science, technology, and innovation (ST&I), there's more than one divide. Many readers of Issues in Science and Technology are familiar with the North-South divide between developed and developing countries--a...
How to Use Technology to Spur Development: Merging Technology and Entrepreneurialism to Meet the Needs of the Poor and Improve Their Productivity Has Obvious Appeal, but Such Efforts Need More Careful Study and Planning to Deliver on Their Potential
After decades of global antipoverty efforts in which nonprofit organizations operated on a separate track from the business sector, disappointment with the results is leading a diverse group of institutions to test a new approach. In recent years,...
Legislation Would Boost Support for Women in Science
On September 10, 2007, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) introduced the Gender Bias Elimination Act of 2007 (H.R. 3514), which would implement many of the recommendations of the 2006 National Academies report Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the...
Living Legos
Benjamin, I have one word for you: Syntheticbiology. Of course, there is no need to update The Graduate, and that is really two words, but rewriting that line is a national pastime, and if we can string together small stretches of DNA to create a new...
Open Access to Research for the Developing World: As Scientists in Poor Countries Connect to the Internet, Their Colleagues in the Wealthy Nations Must Make More Scientific Literature Available to Them
Kofi Annan, then secretary-general of the United Nations, noted in 2002 that "[A] wide consensus has emerged on the potential of information and communications technologies (ICT) to promote economic growth, combat poverty, and facilitate the integration...
Racial Disparities at Birth: The Puzzle Persists
A baby born to an African-American (black) mother in the United States is twice as likely to die before reaching her first birthday as a baby born to a European-American (white) mother. A range of conditions contribute to infant mortality, but the...
Sharing the Catch, Conserving the Fish: To End the Urgent Problem of Overfishing, We Need a New Approach in Which Fishermen Are Given a Share In-And Take Responsibility For-A Fishery's Total Allowable Catch
The mid-1990s were tough times to be a Pacific rockfish fisherman on the West Coast of the United States or a ground-fish fisherman in Canada's British Columbia. Fish populations in both regions were on the decline. Fishermen were working harder for...
The Political Einstein: Einstein on Politics: His Private Thoughts and Public Stands on Nationalism, Zionism, War, Peace, and the Bomb
eds. David E. Rowe and Robert Schulmann. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2007, 523 pp. If you've thought of Albert Einstein as he's so often pictured by news media--as that famously tousle-haired, remote genius off in his own abstract...
The Whys and Hows of Energy Taxes: The 20th-Century Policy Aimed at Developing Domestic Energy Sources No Longer Makes Sense. the 21st Century Demands a Fresh Approach
Current federal energy tax policy is premised in large part on a desire to achieve energy independence by promoting domestic fossil fuel production. This, we argue, is a mistake. The policy also relies heavily on energy subsidies, most of which are...