Programs: Science and Policy
Science and Technology in Congress
After months of heated debate, a compromise was finally reached on funding for the federal government for the remainder of FY 2011.
The FY 2011 full-year continuing resolution (H.R. 1473), which provides funding for agencies through the end of the fiscal year, was signed by President Obama on April 15, six and one-half months after the fiscal year began. It includes $38.5 billion in spending cuts from FY 2010 levels. R&D-intensive programs and agencies were spared the worst of the reductions.
R&D investment in FY 2011 is estimated to be $144.4 billion, a 3.5 percent ($5.2 billion) cut from FY 2010. However, $4.7 billion of that cut comes from the Department of Defense. Non-defense R&D received cuts of just 0.9 percent, with increases at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid balancing out the largest decreases at the Department of Energy's energy programs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Homeland Security. Basic research programs fared better than applied research programs, especially at the Department of Energy, reflecting the current policy debates.
The legislation funds the National Institutes of Health at $30.7 billion, a 0.8% ($260 million) cut from FY 2010 spending levels. The National Science Foundation is funded at $6.8 billion, 1.0% ($67 million) below FY 2010. The Department of Energy's Office of Science will receive $4.9 billion, a 0.4% ($20 million) reduction from FY 2010, while the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) program, an applied research effort, will receive $1.8 billion, an 18.4% ($408 billion) cut from FY 2010. The cuts could have been greater; EERE had been slated for a 35.0% ($775 million) cut in the original House-passed H.R. 1. Although ARPA-E is largely an applied research program with some development spending, it received $180 million in the year-long funding bill, less than the $300 million requested by the President in FY 2011, but its first significant funding outside of the Recovery Act. These funding levels do not include a 0.2% across-the-board cut for all non-defense agencies.
As the dust settles on the massive bill, many of the policy riders included in the bill are drawing attention. One example is an amendment inserted by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) that prohibits the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and NASA from using federal funds to "develop, design, plan, promulgate, implement, or execute a bilateral policy, program, order, or contract of any kind to participate, collaborate, or coordinate bilaterally in any way with China or any Chinese-owned company." At a May 4 hearing in front of Wolf's appropriations panel, however, OSTP Director John Holdren stated that the prohibition does not apply to the president's "constitutional authority to conduct negotiations." Holdren also stated that applications of the legislative provision to Administration policy would be considered on a case-by-case basis. That did not satisfy Rep. John Culberson (R-TX), who warned that OSTP and NASA funding might be jeopardized by efforts to collaborate or coordinate in any way with China.
Another provision included in the bill removed gray wolves in Idaho and Montana, as well as parts of Oregon, Utah and Washington, from the threatened or endangered list under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The provision was championed by western members Rep. Mike Simpson (R‑ID), chair of the House Appropriations Interior and Environment Subcommittee, and Sen. John Tester (D‑MT) and opposed by many environmental groups because it circumvented the usual delisting process. On May 4, the Fish and Wildlife Service published a rule to comply with this directive.
Although the budget fights on FY 2011 are over, they are just beginning for FY 2012. The House passed its FY 2012 budget resolution on April 15. The resolution contains a discretionary budget of $1.019 trillion, almost a full $100 billion less than President Obama's request. In a speech on April 13, the President discussed his long-term budget vision. In that speech, he showed signs of flexibility through his desire to "keep annual domestic spending low by building on the savings that both parties agreed to last week." He remained firm, however, in his commitment to "not sacrifice the core investments that we need to grow and create jobs" and reaffirmed his State of Union Address pledge to invest in medical research, clean energy technology, new roads and airports and broadband access, education, and job training to "do what we need to do to compete."
Detailed analyses of the CR levels are available on the R&D Budget and Policy Program website.
-- Patrick Clemins
On April 13, the Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing on the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) medical device approval process. The hearing highlighted the release of a report by the Government Accountability Office.
In general, new medical devices are subject to FDA review in one of two ways. The 510(k) process determines whether a device is substantially equivalent to another legally-marketed device. The PMA (premarket approval) process requires a manufacturer to provide evidence indicating the safety and effectiveness of a device. The PMA process is necessarily more stringent than the 510(k) process. In 2009, the GAO released a report advising the FDA to examine devices classified as high-risk and either require their approval through the PMA process or downgrade them to a lower risk category.
GAO representative Marcia Crosse, who heads the GAO's health care team, said that the FDA's progress on implementing the 2009 GAO recommendations has been "limited." Of the 27 types of devices classified as high risk, FDA has issued new final rules on just one. In addition, the GAO report stated that though FDA does maintain extensive information on device recalls, it has not routinely analyzed trends on such recalls, and there have been internal inconsistencies in the evaluation of the success of recalls.
FDA representative William Maisel, chief scientist of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, acknowledged that the agency is "strained" by limited funds but is working to improve adverse event reporting. He expects to issue rules on the remaining 26 device categories by the end of 2012. The FDA has already issued strategic goals to improve its medical device approval process. It has also commissioned the Institute of Medicine to study the issue; the results of the study are expected this summer.
Several other witnesses testified, including a patient affected by a hip implant recall, as well as a representative from the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), who expressed concern over a lengthening average approval time and noted that the 510(k) process has a strong safety record overall.
-- Erin Heath
The U.S. Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit has vacated a preliminary injunction imposed by a district court judge last summer that blocked federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research, temporarily causing a shutdown of NIH stem cell projects.
The injunction was issued in August 2010 by U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth in response to a lawsuit involving two adult stem cell researchers who argued that the funding of embryonic stem cell research would cause them "irreparable injury" by increasing competition and therefore potentially taking funds away from their work. Judge Lamberth agreed and deemed human embryonic stem cell research illegal under the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, an annual feature in NIH's appropriations bill that prohibits the use of federal funds for research that destroys an embryo. NIH was forced to shut down its intramural human embryonic stem cell experiments and halt any grants or renewals that had not yet been paid out. See the October 2010 newsletter for more background.
In September, a three-judge panel from U.S. Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit stayed the temporary injunction while the appeals process moved forward, and in December a separate panel heard oral arguments. Their ruling on the injunction was released April 29.
Judges Thomas Griffith and Douglas Ginsburg disagreed with Lamberth's contention that the harm to human embryonic stem cell researchers caused by the injunction was "speculative." Instead, they said the harm would be "certain and substantial. … Their investments in project planning would be a loss, their expenditures for equipment a waste, and their staffs out of a job." They also concluded that the Dickey-Wicker Amendment "is ambiguous and the NIH seems reasonably to have concluded that, although Dickey-Wicker bars funding for the destructive act of deriving an ESC [embryonic stem cell] from an embryo, it does not prohibit funding a research project in which an ESC will be used."
Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson dissented, however, writing that the other two judges had to "strain mightily to find the ambiguity the Government presses" and that separating the derivation of stem cells from research on those cells was a feat of "linguistic jujitsu."
Although the Appeals Court judges have ruled on the injunction, Judge Lamberth still must rule on the underlying lawsuit in the case—which means that for now, legal questions will continue to hamper the stem cell field.
-- Erin Heath
SBIR/STTR Reauthorization: Two steps forward, one step back
Two House committees marked up legislation to reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program, while an attempt to force a final vote on the Senate reauthorization bill failed.
The SBIR/STTR programs are administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration to ensure "that the nation's small, high-tech, innovative businesses are a significant part" of the federal government's R&D efforts. Primary research agencies that contribute to SBIR/STTR programs include the National Institutes of Health (NIH), NASA, and the Department of Energy (DOE). The programs, however, have not been reauthorized since 2008 and have been operating under short-term authorization extensions since then.
On May 4, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee passed the Creating Jobs Through Small Business Innovation Act of 2011 (H.R. 1425). A week later on May 11th the Small Business Committee marked up the bill.
The House bill approved by the Science Committee would increase the size of the awards but would not increase the current percentage "set-asides" (2.5% for SBIR and 0.3% for STTR), which are funds taken from federal R&D budgets of participating agencies to fund the program. The Senate SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S. 493), on the other hand, would increase the amount of set-asides that federal research agencies contribute from 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent over a ten-year period.
The original House bill would reauthorize the programs for a period of eight years. An amendment introduced during a Science subcommittee mark–up requires agencies to encourage applications from small businesses owned by women, veterans and minorities. The Science Committee also approved an amendment by Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) that would create a new "Proof-of-Concept Partnership" pilot program within NIH for universities and industry to partner in evaluating the potential commercialization of innovative ideas.
During the Small Business Committee mark-up, language was approved that would reduce the number of reauthorization years from eight to three. The committee argued that such a long period of time would not allow the government to adapt and evolve the SBIR/STTR programs to meet the dynamic needs of high-technology innovation sectors. The committee also eliminated language to encourage applications from minority-owned businesses that was included in the Science committee's bill. At the same time the Small Business Committee approved three amendments introduced by Rep. Ritz (R-PA) that would give preference to proposals for research on clean coal technology, acid mine drainage, and hydraulic fracturing.
Meanwhile, the Senate SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011 continued to stagnate on the Senate floor as it became mired in a larger debate over the economy. Over 130 amendments were introduced to the bill, the majority of which were non-germane to the SBIR/STTR program, and the Senate managed to debate only 11 of the 137 amendments. Small Business Committee Ranking Member Olympia Snowe (R-ME) argued that many of the amendments were important for improving transparency and accountability to the programs and should be accorded a vote on the floor.
In a last-ditch effort, bill sponsor Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) introduced a cloture vote to limit debate and move the bill to final passage, but her effort failed. Senator Landrieu issued a statement after the cloture vote, "The door may have shut today for reauthorization of programs that have given us companies that are the envy of the world, like Qualcomm, Sonicare, and iRobot, but rest assured at some point, we will find a way to get this done."
-- Joanne Carney
Measures to Limit EPAís Climate Change Regulations in the Spotlight
Efforts to take away the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) ability to regulate greenhouse gas emission reached a fever pitch in early April. Although a bill to limit EPA's efforts to address climate change passed the House, similar measures failed to advance in the Senate. In addition, the final version of the Continuing Resolution that funded the federal government for FY2011 was free of such riders.
The Senate debate took place on April 6 on a bill that was unrelated to climate change: a small business reauthorization bill that became the vehicle for all sorts of unrelated measures with 137 amendments. The closest vote occurred on an amendment that would have removed EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gases and overturned EPA's Endangerment Finding, which is the basis for the EPA's authority to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases. The amendment was defeated on a vote of 50-50, with forty-six Republicans and four Democrats [Sens. Mary Landrieu (LA), Joe Manchin (WV), Ben Nelson (NE) and Mark Pryor (AR)] voting for the amendment, and most Democrats and one Republican [Senator Susan Collins (ME)] voting against it. The amendment was a companion to H.R. 910, the "Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011", which came to the House floor later that week.
Three other amendments failed by a large margin. Six months after being promised a vote in the previous session of Congress, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) finally saw a vote on his measure to delay EPA's regulation of greenhouse gases for two years. The amendment failed by a vote of 12-88.
Two compromise measures with a focus on exempting agriculture from regulation were considered, and each failed with a vote of 7-93. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) introduced an amendment that would have limited EPA's rules by excluding agriculture from the regulations and codifying EPA's "Tailoring Rule," which exempts smaller emitters from the permitting process. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced an amendment that would have delayed the implementation of regulations for two years, exempted agriculture from regulation, and increased tax credits for manufacturing clean energy equipment.
The day after the Senate rejected these measures, the House passed H.R. 910, the "Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011," by a 255-172 vote, with all House Republicans and 19 Democrats voting in favor of the bill. Several amendments were offered during committee markup of the bill a few weeks prior addressing the science of climate change. Although most were defeated, the Committee did adopt a "Sense of Congress" amendment proposed by Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) that recognized "the established scientific concern over the warming of climate."
The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy against the bill: "The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 910, which would halt the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) common-sense steps under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to protect Americans from harmful air pollution. H.R. 910 would also increase the Nation's dependence on oil and other fossil fuels as well as contradict the scientific consensus on climate change."
However, the administration was forced into an awkward position during a Supreme Court hearing, American Electric Power Co., et al., v. Connecticut, et al. (10-174), by having to defend the federally operated Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in a case that will determine whether states can use public nuisance laws to curtail greenhouse emissions in other states. The main sticking points appear to be (1) whether the courts can rule on this issue, or whether it will be seen as too political for them; (2) whether emissions from a specific power plant can be considered a public nuisance because of the global nature of emissions; and (3) whether the plaintiffs have standing to sue. It appears as if the Court will rule that this is not a matter for the judicial system and EPA would be the best body to regulate greenhouse gases.
-- Kasey White and Phillip Chalker
Patent Reform Bill Makes it Out of Committee
On March 30, 22 days after the Senate passed their version of a patent reform bill by a vote of 95-5 (see March STC), House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced the House version of the bill, H.R. 1249. Keeping to his word, the introduced America Invents Act was similar to the Senate bill. On April 14, after the bill was amended to look even more like the Senate version, it passed out of the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 32-3.
Like the Senate bill, the House bill would create a first-to-file system that would align the U.S. patent filing system with that of other countries. Inventors would still have a one-year period from the time they publish information to file a patent without their invention being considered prior art.
Moreover, the bill would allow the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to set its fees and keep the returns. Previously Congress would allocate profits from the PTO to other programs, rather than reinvest them in the PTO. This change in funding is anticipated to result in expedited patent reviews and shrink the 700,000-long backlog of patents. Of note is the six-year sunset provision for fee-setting authority that is included in the House bill and not the Senate. Both the House and Senate bills would create three or more satellite patent offices.
Additionally, both patent bills allow patent holders to correct misfiled patents that either inaccurately portray or omit information, providing the patentee is forthcoming prior to litigation in making the corrections. Because there is no penalty associated with this process, some groups are afraid that this may lead to dubious patent applications. To avoid this scenario, the House bill includes an amendment offered by Rep. Goodlatte (R-VA) that prevents obvious cases of fraud from amnesty. No such provision exists in the Senate bill.
Furthermore, both bills give third parties the opportunity to petition the validity of a patent once it is awarded. For inter partes review, the Senate bill mandates that petitions to a patent must be filed within nine months of the patent being awarded, while the House bill provides twelve months. The rationale for this review is to weed out weaker patents or ones that should be considered prior art. Some argue that it could also result in increased challenges to patents. In both bills, petitions would not be allowed if the petitioner has filed a related civil action or filed the petition more than six months after being alleged of patent infringement.
Hydraulic Fracturing Debated in the House
In the wake of both a natural-gas well eruption and leak, a report published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences stating that hydraulic fracturing (also called fracking) can contaminate drinking water with methane, and a House Democrat report asserting that chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing could contaminate drinking water, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee held a May 5 hearing to examine whether additional studies need to be conducted to determine if hydraulic fracturing is safe.
Chairman Ralph Hall (R-TX), who is opposed to additional government studies, called an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study that is being drafted "yet another example of this Administration's desire to stop domestic energy development through regulation." Paul Anastas, the lone witness in the second panel and Assistant Administrator for EPA's Office of Research and Development, defended EPA's hydraulic fracturing study. He explained, "The study is designed to examine the conditions that may be associated with the potential contamination of drinking water resources, and to identify the factors that may lead to human exposure and risks. The scope of the proposed research includes the full lifespan of water in hydraulic fracturing, from acquisition of the water, through the mixing of chemicals and actual fracturing, to the post-fracturing stage, including the management of flow back and produced water and its ultimate treatment and disposal." Anastas tried to assure the committee that the EPA would not presuppose any results of the study.
Most witnesses on the first panel were not concerned that hydraulic fracturing could be a danger because fracking has never resulted in unsafe drinking water. Also, they commented that there were enough studies for regulators to analyze and additional studies are unnecessary. In response to a question by Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), every witness on the first panel, minus Robert Summers from the Maryland Department of the Environment, stated that states should create their own standards and it was unnecessary to create a set of nationwide baseline hydraulic fracturing safety standards.
While Democrats, for the most part, cited the need for need for natural gas, they also thought that studies need to be conducted to prove that natural gas extraction using hydraulic fracturing is safe. Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) reminded members that although hydraulic fracturing has been used in the past, the technology and the drilling processes have evolved quite a bit in the past few years. Not disagreeing with Rep. Johnson, Harold Fitch, the Director of the Office of Geological Survey for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, stated that when aquifers have been contaminated, it was because of the well construction, not because of the practice of hydraulic fracturing.
--Phillip Chalker and Kasey White
Quick status reports to keep you up to date on recent S&T bills and hearings.
Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) introduced legislation (S. 973) to establish the National Endowment for the Oceans (NEO). The bill would establish a permanent funding source for ocean research and restoration funded primarily by interest accrued from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and revenues from offshore energy development.
On April 7 Senator Al Franken (D-MN) introduced legislation to improve STEM education training for teachers. The STEM Master Teacher Corps Act (S. 758) would implement a recommendation outlined in a report on STEM education by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). It would create a mentoring program and a financial reward system for high-performing teachers and schools.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a May 12 hearing on two pieces of legislation to encourage the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) introduced The Carbon Dioxide Capture Technology Act (S. 757),which would create incentives for development of new CCS technologies through a prize system. The Senators also introduced S. 699, which focuses on creating a long-term liability program that would incentivize large-scale early-mover deployment of integrated geologic CCS.
Identical bills to prohibit biomedical research with chimpanzees entitled "Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act" have been introduced in the House (H.R.1513) and Senate (S.810). Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) has also introduced a new version of a bill (H.R.1417) that would require the Department of Defense to "develop, test, and validate human-based training methods for the purpose of training members of the armed forces in the treatment of combat trauma injuries with the goal of replacing live animal-based training methods."
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held an executive session on May 5 and favorably reported a number of bills as well as the nomination of Scott C. Doney to be the Chief Scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Among other bills, the committee reported out S. 46, Coral Reef Conservation Amendments Act of 2011; S. 646, Natural Hazards Risk Reduction Act of 2011; and S. 692, National Hurricane Research Initiative Act of 2011.
On March 30 Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) introduced bipartisan legislation (S. 679) to eliminate the need for Senate confirmation of almost 200 executive branch positions, including all members of the National Science Board, the four Associate Directors of OSTP, and the Chief Scientist of NOAA. The bill to streamline the confirmation process is supported by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The bill was reported out of the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs on April 13.
The Administration released its 2011 Department of Energy Strategic Plan, which aims to serve as a blueprint for DOE to help address the nation's energy, environmental, and nuclear challenges. The plan is organized into four categories: catalyzing the transformation of the nation's energy system and securing U.S. leadership in clean energy technologies; maintaining a vibrant U.S. effort in science and engineering as a cornerstone of our economic prosperity; enhancing nuclear security through defense, nonproliferation, and environmental efforts; and establishing a framework to maximize mission success.
On May 5 White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director John Holdren announced that OSTP has requested that every covered agency "provide its draft scientific integrity policy within 90 days." At the time of the announcement, 30 executive departments or agencies had submitted progress reports to OSTP on their scientific integrity policies, and six of them submitted draft policies.
The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) issued a proposed rule that would allow federal employees to serve or participate in an official capacity in nonprofit organizations, including professional scientific societies. The OGE proposal reflects a recommendation made in the OSTP Scientific Integrity Memorandum. Public comments are due by July 5, 2011.
EPA has announced that it will delay the effective date of its new standards for major source air boilers and commercial incinerators to allow the agency to seek additional public comment. EPA will accept additional data and information on these standards until July 15, 2011.
On April 4, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard oral arguments in an appeal by Myriad Genetics, the company that controls patents on two genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer (BRCA1 and BRCA2), and other defendants. A year ago a district court judge issued a ruling invalidating the patents, a ruling which, if upheld, could significantly affect genetics research and patent law. The appeals court hopes to make a decision by June.
The National Institutes of Health has established a working group to examine the future of the biomedical research workforce. The group will recommend actions to the Advisory Committee to the Director "to ensure a diverse and sustainable biomedical and behavioral research workforce." The group plans to develop a model to "help inform decisions about how to train the optimal number of people for the appropriate types of positions that will advance science and promote health."
The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), in response to an executive order requiring federal agencies to track greenhouse gas emissions, created an inventory detailing federal emissions. The inventory shows the Department of Defense was responsible for over half of the government's direct and indirect emissions, which total 66.4 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents in FY 2010.
On April 18 NASA announced awards totaling $269 million to four companies—Boeing, Blue Origin, SpaceX and Sierra Nevada Corporation—to develop space transportation technologies with the ultimate goal of building an operational vehicle capable of delivering crew and cargo to the International Space Station. After the final space shuttle missions are completed later this year, the U.S. plans to use Russian Soyuz vehicles to service the space station until commercial vehicles are available.
On April 27, the Obama Administration released a national Clean Water Framework that "affirms its commitment to protecting the health of America’s waters." That same day, the EPA issued draft guidance for determining which bodies of water are protected by the Clean Water Act. There is a 60-day public comment period for the guidance.
The National Biodefense Science Board issued recommendations in A Call to Action: Include Scientific Investigations as an Integral Component of Disaster Planning and Response. The report stresses that "each disaster constitutes a critical opportunity in what may be a brief window of time to conduct scientific research that could lead to improved assistance to those affected by the event, and improve capabilities for responding to future disasters." It recommends the creation of a new Interdepartmental Center within the Department of Health and Human Services that would, among other things, "establish funding mechanisms to support a rapid and robust scientific response to disasters."
The Food and Drug Administration has issued its first set of rules under the authority given to it in the Food Safety Modernization Act. The first of the two rules strengthens FDA's ability to prevent potentially unsafe food from entering U.S. commerce by allowing the agency to administratively detain food it believes has been produced under unsanitary or unsafe conditions. The second rule requires anyone importing food into the United States to inform the FDA if any country has refused entry to the same product, including food for animals.
- Nuclear Waste: DOE Needs a Comprehensive Strategy and Guidance on Computer Models that Support Environmental Cleanup Decisions, (GAO-11-143)
- Homeland Security: Improvements in Managing Research and Development Could Help Reduce Inefficiencies and Costs (GAO-11-464T)
- Federal Food Safety Oversight: Food Safety Working Group Is a Positive First Step but Governmentwide Planning Is Needed to Address Fragmentation (GAO-11-289)
- Energy‑Water Nexus: Amount of Energy Needed to Supply, Use, and Treat Water Is Location‑Specific and Can Be Reduced by Certain Technologies and Approaches (GAO-11-225)
- Commercial Nuclear Waste: Effects of a Termination of the Yucca Mountain Repository Program and Lessons Learned (GAO-11-229)
- National Earthquake Resilience: Research, Implementation, and Outreach (ISBN-13: 978-0-309-18673-5)
- America's Climate Choices (ISBN-13: 978-0-309-14585-5)
- A Risk-Characterization Framework for Decision-Making at the Food and Drug Administration (ISBN-13: 978-0-309-21280-9)
- Structural Integrity of Offshore Wind Turbines: Oversight of Design, Fabrication, and Installation - Special Report 305
- Child and Adolescent Health and Health Care Quality: Measuring What Matters (ISBN-13: 978-0-309-21173-4)
- Nutrition and Traumatic Brain Injury: Improving Acute and Subacute Health Outcomes in Military Personnel (ISBN-13: 978-0-309-21008-9)
- Advancing Oral Health in America (ISBN-13: 978-0-309-21184-0)
U. S. Math Performance in Global Perspective: How well does each state do at producing high-achieving students?
Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance & Education Next
Reefs at Risk Revisited
World Resources Institute
The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program: FEMA Accomplishments in Fiscal Year 2010
Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency
Snow, Water, Ice, and Permafrost in the Arctic
The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme
Climate Change: Mastering the Public Health Role A Practical Guidebook
American Public Health Association
Audit of NRC's Implementation of 10 CFR Part 21, Reporting of Defects and Noncompliance
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
- EPA Greenhouse Gas Performance Standards: What the Settlement Agreement Means
Resources for the Future
Climate Change and Water Resources Briefing
AAAS and the American Meteorological Society (AMS) cosponsored a congressional briefing on May 9 entitled The Vulnerability of U.S. Water Resources to Climate Change. Peter Gleick, a leading expert on climate and water, discussed recent reports of increased precipitation intensity in North America, the Mississippi River flood events, and efforts to prepare for climate and water risks facing cities, farmers, and natural systems.
AAAS Appreciates Congress' Support for R&D
On May 3, AAAS sent House and Senate leadership a letter thanking them for supporting R&D in the 2011 Continuing Resolution to the best of their ability.
Budget Battles: Outlook for Federal Research and Development
On April 7, AAAS, in conjunction with the House Research and Development Caucus, sponsored a congressional budget briefing to analyze R&D funding in the FY 2012 and FY 2011 proposals.
AAAS Opposes Tennessee Anti-Evolution Bill
On April 5, AAAS sent Representatives from the Tennessee Legislature a letter asking them to reject an anti-evolution education bill and support a rigorous scientific education curriculum.
AAAS Supports Goal of Bill to Enhance STEM Education
On March 25, AAAS sent Senator Franken (D-MN) a letter supporting the overall goal of the STEM Master Teachers Corp Act of 2011.
Working With Congress A Scientist's Guide to Policy - New AAAS Publication
Working With Congress, written by science and policy experts, is designed to bridge the gap between the mutually dependent "cultures" of science and government. The first two chapters of this book provide background on congressional organization and the legislative process, while Chapter 3 discusses in detail the communication strategies that one can utilize and presents a list of the top ten rules for working with Congress.
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By reconstructing the fossils of two Early Jurassic Period mammals, paleontologists discovered that the mammalian brain evolved in three major stages 1) by improvements in sense of smell 2) by an increase in tactile sensitivity and 3) and by improvements in neuromuscular activity. By reconstructing brain molds of Morganuocodon and Hadrocodium fossils, researchers noticed that areas associated with smell enlarged and they speculate that body hair, which both species likely had, increased tactile awareness, motor skills, and neuromuscular coordination which would have caused the brain to grow. The resulting enlargement may have caused the brain to fold and would make mammals able to exploit the world in novel ways.
Rowe, Timothy et. al. "Fossil Evidence on Origin of the Mammalian Brain." Science 20 May 2011: Vol. 332 no. 6022 pp. 955-957