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EU — Photonics: An industry moving at the speed of light

October 9, 2014 Comments off

Photonics: An industry moving at the speed of light
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

Photonics is all around us; it is an integral part of modern human society, contributing to our daily lives. The science of photonics is the study an utilisation of light or photons. Consequently due to its interdisciplinary nature it crosses the fields of physics, chemistry and electrical engineering.

The majority of society is unaware if the collective study of phonics or its importance to industry. Instead of seeing devices that are produced by, or that use photonics, we simply see electronics. Unaware of the amazing technology within, it’s extensive nature or its complexities. Yet photonics is a sector that is increasingly vital to our economic growth and standard of living.it is driving innovation forward faster than ever before and revolutionising our lives, and altering the way we view and experience the world around us.

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Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts (2014)

September 29, 2014 Comments off

Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts (2014)
Source: National Research Council

Hurricane- and coastal-storm-related losses have increased substantially during the past century, largely due to increases in population and development in the most susceptible coastal areas. Climate change poses additional threats to coastal communities from sea level rise and possible increases in strength of the largest hurricanes. Several large cities in the United States have extensive assets at risk to coastal storms, along with countless smaller cities and developed areas. The devastation from Superstorm Sandy has heightened the nation’s awareness of these vulnerabilities. What can we do to better prepare for and respond to the increasing risks of loss?

Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts reviews the coastal risk-reduction strategies and levels of protection that have been used along the United States East and Gulf Coasts to reduce the impacts of coastal flooding associated with storm surges. This report evaluates their effectiveness in terms of economic return, protection of life safety, and minimization of environmental effects. According to this report, the vast majority of the funding for coastal risk-related issues is provided only after a disaster occurs. This report calls for the development of a national vision for coastal risk management that includes a long-term view, regional solutions, and recognition of the full array of economic, social, environmental, and life-safety benefits that come from risk reduction efforts. To support this vision, Reducing Coastal Risk states that a national coastal risk assessment is needed to identify those areas with the greatest risks that are high priorities for risk reduction efforts. The report discusses the implications of expanding the extent and levels of coastal storm surge protection in terms of operation and maintenance costs and the availability of resources.

Reducing Coastal Risk recommends that benefit-cost analysis, constrained by acceptable risk criteria and other important environmental and social factors, be used as a framework for evaluating national investments in coastal risk reduction. The recommendations of this report will assist engineers, planners and policy makers at national, regional, state, and local levels to move from a nation that is primarily reactive to coastal disasters to one that invests wisely in coastal risk reduction and builds resilience among coastal communities.

New From the GAO

September 22, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Identity Theft: Additional Actions Could Help IRS Combat the Large, Evolving Threat of Refund Fraud. GAO-14-633,August 20.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-633
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665367.pdf
Podcast – http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/665529

2. Oil and Gas Transportation: Department of Transportation Is Taking Actions to Address Rail Safety, but Additional Actions Are Needed to Improve Pipeline Safety. GAO-14-667, August 21.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-667
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665403.pdf
Podcast – http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/665350

3. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Procedures for Reporting Certain Financial Management Information Should Be Improved. GAO-14-697, September 22.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-697
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665984.pdf

4. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Some Privacy and Security Procedures for Data Collections Should Continue Being Enhanced. GAO-14-758, September 22.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-758
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666001.pdf

5. Bureau of Prisons: Management of New Prison Activations Can Be Improved. GAO-14-709, August 22.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-709
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665416.pdf

6. Army Corps of Engineers: The Corps Needs to Take Steps to Identify All Projects and Studies Eligible for Deauthorization. GAO-14-699, August 21.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-699
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665394.pdf

Unemployment among Doctoral Scientists and Engineers Remained Below the National Average in 2013

September 19, 2014 Comments off

Unemployment among Doctoral Scientists and Engineers Remained Below the National Average in 2013
Source: National Science Foundation

In 2013, an estimated 837,900 individuals in the United States held research doctoral degrees in science, engineering, and health (SEH) fields, an increase of 4.0% from 2010. Of these individuals, approximately 735,900 were in the labor force, which includes those employed full time or part time and those actively seeking work (i.e., unemployed). The unemployment rate for SEH doctorate recipients in the labor force was 2.1% in February 2013, down from 2.4% in October 2010 (table 1). Moreover, the 2013 unemployment rate of the SEH doctoral labor force was one-third of the February 2013 unemployment rate for the general population aged 25 years or older (6.3%).

Census Bureau Reports Majority of STEM College Graduates Do Not Work in STEM Occupations

July 10, 2014 Comments off

Census Bureau Reports Majority of STEM College Graduates Do Not Work in STEM Occupations
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau reported today that 74 percent of those who have a bachelor’s degree in science, technology, engineering and math — commonly referred to as STEM — are not employed in STEM occupations. In addition, men continue to be overrepresented in STEM, especially in computer and engineering occupations. About 86 percent of engineers and 74 percent of computer professionals are men.

According to new statistics from the 2012 American Community Survey, engineering and computer, math and statistics majors had the largest share of graduates going into a STEM field with about half employed in a STEM occupation. Science majors had fewer of their graduates employed in STEM. About 26 percent of physical science majors; 15 percent of biological, environmental and agricultural sciences majors; 10 percent of psychology majors; and 7 percent of social science majors were employed in STEM.

Approximately 14 percent of engineers were women, where they were most underrepresented of all the STEM fields. Representation of women was higher among mathematicians and statisticians (45 percent), life scientists (47 percent) and social scientists (63 percent). The rates of mathematicians and statisticians, and life scientists are not statistically different from each other.

Making Effective Fixed-Guideway Transit Investments: Indicators of Success

July 5, 2014 Comments off

Making Effective Fixed-Guideway Transit Investments: Indicators of Success
Source: Transportation Research Board

TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Report 167: Making Effective Fixed-Guideway Transit Investments: Indicators of Success provides a data-driven, indicator-based model for predicting the success of a fixed guideway transit project. The handbook and final research report make up Parts 1 and 2 of TCRP Report 167, and the spreadsheet tool is available separately for download.

Still Searching: Job Vacancies and STEM Skills

July 2, 2014 Comments off

Still Searching: Job Vacancies and STEM Skills
Source: Brookings Institution

This report uses a unique database from the labor market information company Burning Glass and other sources to analyze the skill requirements and the advertisement duration time for millions of job openings. It reaches the following conclusions:

Job openings for STEM positions take longer to fill than openings in other fields.

Specific high-value skills requested by employers and common to STEM occupations are particularly scarce relative to demand and yet particularly valuable to employers.

The regional supply of workers in a given occupation affects the length of vacancy advertisements.

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