Poneman nominated for DOE Deputy Secretary

By / April 15, 2009

Yesterday, the Obama administration announced that Daniel B. Poneman has been nominated to be a deputy secretary for the DOE. Poneman isn’t a scientist, and his background is decidedly policy oriented, especially in the areas of arms control, nuclear proliferation and export controls. I really don’t know much about him. At first glance, he seems…

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U.S. installed solar capacity up 16%

By / April 6, 2009

A new solar industry organization publication reports that total solar capacity (electric power plus water, pool and space heating) in the United States grew by 1,265 megawatts in 2008, an increase of 16 percent to a total capacity 9,183 MW. The Solar Energy Industry Association’s Year in Review also notes that even though no new…

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Budget good news for fusion effort

By / April 3, 2009

The FY 2009 federal budget bill, at last, ends what has been something of an embarrassment and point of anger and pessimism with the U.S. scientific community by containing significant funding for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project. This is great news for the international project and for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory employees who…

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Can a nuclear fuel “lease” system aid the growth of nuclear power?

By / April 1, 2009

For those who still see a “Nuclear Renaissance” in the world’s energy future, the Russian Federation’s and the United State’s respective national academies of sciences have a proposal that is akin to pruning a bush in order to make it flourish: Provide to those nations that want to use it a stable – but tightly…

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New hydrogen economy book available

By / March 30, 2009

The American Ceramic Society has just published a book on one of the most vibrant areas of energy research and development: Materials Innovations in an Emerging Hydrogen Economy (Ceramic Transactions Volume 202), edited by George Wicks and Jack Simon. The book is a collection of new papers presented at the 2008 Materials Innovations in an…

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Solyndra snags big solar loan guarantee offer

By / March 23, 2009

The DOE promised to act fast in distributing its stimulus monies and it is. It’s been announced that one of the first offers is going to Solyndra, a Fremont, Calif., company with a maverick technology I profiled back in October. A $535 million guarantee will allow the company to obtain lower-than-market financing to expand its…

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Family matters: Parenting, not ability, affects women in math-related careers

By / March 22, 2009

The under-representation of women in science careers in the United States has been reported before, but a new Cornell University report provides more – but not necessarily startling – details about why this under representation occurs. The Cornell researchers’ conclusion explains the situation along fairly commonsensical lines: The choice to have and raise children unfortunately…

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Video of the week: Improved Outer Tactical Vest

By / March 18, 2009

One of the most prevelant forms of ceramic armor currently in use by the United States military is the IOTV. It went into large-scale use by the Marines in 2007 (nee, the MTV), and his since been relatively popular, as personal armor goes. It is lighter than the older Interceptor body armor and it is…

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New Army task force will attempt to reset protective gear procurement

By / March 18, 2009

Makers of various personal ceramic armor systems are taking note of a new development coming out of the Pentagon. At a March 12 media briefing, the Army announced what amounts to a review of the equipment worn by soldiers, especially in the area of development, procurement, fielding the gear. “Synchronization” seems to be the key…

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Deadline for ComSci applications approaching

By / March 16, 2009

The Commerce Science and Technology Fellowship program, now managed by NIST, was established in 1964 give senior federal employees a look behind the scenes of science and technology policy-making and management in Washington, and at the highest levels of industry and academia. Those selected for the program get to study the national and international issues…

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