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. 19, No. 1, Fall

Advanced Technology Program Survives Challenge. (Update)
In "The Advanced Technology Program: It Works" (Issues, Fall 2001), I argued that the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) had proven its success. The research carried out under the National Research Council (NRC) review of government-industry partnerships...
A Fair Deal for Federal Research at Universities. (Perspectives)
The government has gone too far in its efforts to shift the costs of federally funded academic research to the universities. This transfer has reduced researcher productivity, led to inadequate research management, and has almost certainly prevented...
Are All Market-Based Environmental Regulations Equal?
Economists have long advocated using the market to achieve environmental objectives. Possible policies include taxes on waste emissions and programs through which the government limits pollution by issuing emission permits that can be traded among...
Control Mercury Emissions Now. (Forum)
For over a decade, the utility industry and regulators have actively debated whether it is appropriate to control mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants, and if so, to what extent. Matt Little's recent article, "Reducing Mercury Pollution...
Countering Sprawl with Transit-Oriented Development
Since World War II, two mutually reinforcing processes have characterized U.S. cities: decentralization and an increasing reliance on the automobile. Heavy investment in roads and other implicit subsidies of automobile use, combined with comparatively...
Dealing with Terror. (Forum)
I was a member of John Hamre's Commission on Science and Security, and he does an outstanding job in his article of explaining what we were about and why we made the recommendations we did ("Science and Security at Risk," issues, Summer 2002). ...
Fighting Traffic Congestion with Information Technology
Traffic congestion is a vexing problem felt by residents of most urban areas. Despite centuries of effort and billions of dollars worth of public spending to alleviate congestion, the problem appears to be getting worse. Between 1980 and 1999, vehicle-miles...
House Bill Would Bolster Protection of Humans in Clinical Trials. (from the Hill)
The highly publicized deaths in 1999 and 2001 of two volunteers participating in clinical research trials brought attention to what some consider weaknesses in the federal oversight of biomedical research using human subjects. After numerous hearings...
House Votes to Double NSF Budget; Is DOE Next in Line?. (from the Hill)
On June 5, the House of Representatives passed by a 397-to-25 vote the "Investing in America's Future Act" (H.R. 4664), which would launch the National Science Foundation (NSF) on a path to double its budget. A similar bill (5. 2817) has been introduced...
International Ecosystem Assessment Now under Way. (Update)
In "Ecosystem Data to Guide Hard Choices" (Issues, Spring 2000), I discussed the rationale for a new international scientific assessment focused on the consequences of ecosystem change for human wellbeing and described the proposed Millennium Ecosystem...
Managing Our Forests. (Forum)
I have little argument with the idea that we should test new approaches to decisionmaking for the national forests. However, I find Daniel Kemmis' arguments ("Science's Role in Natural Resources Decision," Issues, Summer 2002) less convincing, and...
Memories: True or False? (Forum)
As remarkable as Elizabeth Loftus's evidence of memory fallibility is, I find even more remarkable the utter lack of evidence for memory repression: the pathological inability to remember something that otherwise could not be forgotten ("Memory...
Needed: Achievement and Aptitude. (Forum)
In "Achievement Versus Aptitude in College Admissions" (Issues, Winter 2001-02), Richard C. Atkinson discusses the SAT I and II tests. But to say whether aptitude or achievement should be used as the criterion for university admission is too simplistic....
New Approach to Climate Change. (Forum)
"The Technology Assessment Approach to Climate Change" by Edward A. Parson (Issues, Summer 2002) deals with an extremely important issue that has direct implications not only for the mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but also for adapting...
Paying for Protection from Invasive Species
The introduction of harmful, nonnative, invasive species--terrestrial and aquatic--has received heightened recognition because of the threats this form of "biological pollution" poses to ecosystem health, endangered species, economic interests,...
Public Views of Science Issues. (Real Numbers)
Who should control the human genes used in research? (a) George Bush, (b) Leon Kass, (c) corporate America, (d) Kofi Annan, (e) you? If you said (d) or (e) you are in tune with the views of the general public, according to a recent poll. If you...
Science Advice or Political Cover? (Editor's Journal)
Science advisory committees are being dissed by the Bush administration according to recent stories in Science, the Washington Post, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Several committees that provide scientific input to the Department of Health...
Senate Energy Bill Would Create New OTA-Like Service. (from the Hill)
A provision of the Senate's 977-page energy bill would create a "Science and Technology Assessment Service" within Congress to "coordinate and develop information for Congress relating to the uses and application of technology." The service would...
S&T Given Big Boost in Homeland Security Department. (from the Hill)
Both the House and Senate would create an undersecretary for science and technology (S&T) in the proposed Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The House approved legislation creating the DHS on July 26. The Senate initially expected to approve...
The Developing World's Motorization Challenge
Motorization is transforming cities and even rural areas of the developing world. The economic and social benefits are enormous. It provides individual flexible transportation in urban areas and reduced manual labor and improved market access in...
The Perils of Groundwater Pumping
The next time you reach for a bottle of spring water, consider that it may have come from a well that is drying up a blue-ribbon trout stream. The next time you dine at McDonald's, note that the fries are all the same length. That's because the...
Transportation Security. (Forum)
Layered security measures and curtains of mystery are keys to success in deterring and preventing terrorists, and they are also keys to restoring faith in and profitability to our nation's transportation systems. In "Countering Terrorism in Transportation"...