Daily Archives: March 4, 2011

And a Phone Call to Space

NASA – President Barack Obama makes a phone call with the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station from the Oval Office, March 3, 2011. Listening in the background are, from left: Ted Wackler, Acting Chief of Staff, Office of Science and Technology; Damon Wells, Assistant Director for Aeronautics and Space, Office of Science and Technology; and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton

Space shuttle Discovery
Space shuttle DiscoverySpace shuttle Discovery approaches the International Space Station for docking. Multipurpose Logistics Module Leonardo can be seen in the shuttle’s cargo bay. Credit: NASA

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MAKE Experimental Science Kits For Space

Make - Space projectsNASA – Make Magazine, a do-it-yourself publication for technology, is partnering with Teachers in Space and ECSO (Emerging Commercial Space Office) to help develop spaceflight kits that high school teachers and students can build and fly on suborbital flights. The project’s ultimate goal is to develop the next generation of technology leaders.

The NASA/ Make competition is designed to inspire curiosity and create interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among classroom teachers and their students. Contenders will be invited to submit ideas, concepts and prototypes for kits that teachers and students can build for future spaceflights.

“This is a new era in space. We would love to see space become as familiar to students as microscopes, or other principal facilities that enable discovery and understanding,” said Dan Rasky, director of ECSO at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. “This competition will do a lot to put technology know-how in the hands of teachers and students.” more> http://tinyurl.com/4dp2uqg

Fed Policy Makers Signal Abrupt End to Bond Buying in June

By Craig Torres, Scott Lanman and Steve Matthews – Federal Reserve policy makers are signaling they favor an abrupt end to $600 billion in Treasury purchases in June, jettisoning their prior strategy of gradually pulling back on intervention in bond markets.

Central bankers, who next meet March 15, are about half way through their second round of bond purchases. To bring the program to a full stop in June, they must be confident that the economy is strong enough to endure higher long-term interest rates and rising expectations of an exit from the most expansive monetary policy in Fed history, said Dan Greenhaus at Miller Tabak & Co. LLC in New York. more> http://tinyurl.com/4ce9vht

Earth’s Sixth Mass Extinction: Is It Almost Here?

Tropical frog extinctionNSF – With the steep decline in populations of many animal species, scientists have warned that Earth is on the brink of a mass extinction like those that have occurred just five times during the past 540 million years.

Each of these “Big Five” saw three-quarters or more of all animal species go extinct.

“If you look only at the critically endangered mammals–those where the risk of extinction is at least 50 percent within three of their generations–and assume that their time will run out and they will be extinct in 1,000 years, that puts us clearly outside any range of normal and tells us that we are moving into the mass extinction realm,” said Anthony Barnosky, an integrative biologist at the University of California at Berkeley, and first author of the paper.

Barnosky is also a curator in the university’s Museum of Paleontology and a research paleontologist in its Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. more> http://tinyurl.com/69jt678

EU wants to tame ‘financialization’ of commodity markets

Commission President José Manuel BarrosoEurActiv – While global metal and mineral markets generally follow a cyclical pattern based on supply and demand, the 2002-2008 period was marked by unforeseen high prices triggered by soaring demand in emerging countries, according to the European Commission.

“It is clear that price movements across different markets have become more closely related, and that commodity markets have become more closely linked to financial markets. In order to secure supplies of raw materials for European industry for the coming years, we need to link this policy with our reforms of the regulatory framework for financial markets,” said Commission President José Manuel Barroso. more> http://tinyurl.com/62nn7ad



US Senate – Measures Considered: Patent Reform Act: Senate continued consideration of S. 23, to amend title 35, United States Code, to provide for patent reform, taking action on the following amendments proposed thereto: Pages S1175-85, S1204-13 Adopted: Stabenow/Levin Amendment … Continue reading


cfr – Council on Foreign Relations announces the launch of the latest component of the Global Governance Monitor, on violent conflict. Preventing armed conflict, keeping peace, and rebuilding war-torn states remain among the most challenging problems for the international community. … Continue reading