At the moment, all that stands in the way of the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act (that’s long for the America Competes Act) is the President’s signature. Passing by a wide margin in the House and then sailing through the senate, the 18 month long legislative effort appears to be on the verge of becoming the next big step in American science & technology competitiveness. According to Titles V and VII of the Bill (H.R. 2272 for those hardcore legislative watchdogs), DoE and NSF are to be allocated more than $30 billion, combined, between 2008-2010. It’ll be interesting to see if the America Competes Act affects the outcome of the Sowing the Seeds Through Science and Engineering Research Act (H.R. 363) passed by the House in April. If you want to know how the funds for all the agencies are to be appropriated (at least at present), you probably should read the enrolled Bill (the one passed by both the House and Senate), since there are four other versions of it. Kudos to the Tech Policy Summit and News.com for their info.
Archive for the ‘Policy’ Category
The President’s NSF budget request for 2007 contains some good news. The NSF Office of Cyberinfrastructure is slated for a $55 million increase and cybinfrastructure R&D is slated for a 15% increase over the previous budget, which sends a strong message, especially considering the overall budget increase is only 7.9%. Visit NSF’s official budget site for full details or a summary can be found here. Also check out the Computing Research Policy Blog for a brief analysis of the budget.
The budget is good but how much of it Congress cuts remains to be seen.
In an article on ZDNet recently, the myriad of opinions on the direction of legislation for updating the Telecommunications Act of 1996 have been exposed. Before Congress can agree on the updates for the Act, they have to overcome the philosophical hurdle of how much government regulation to include, which is no easy task when legislators think partisan thoughts instead of logical thoughts. And the overwhelming evolution of the Internet since the passage of the Act in February of 1996 creates a whole new set of problems for Congress to grapple with. Lots of stuff on the table with this one. For those interested in the text of the Act as it currently stands, the official citation is Telecommunications Act of 1996, Pub. LA. No. 104-104, 110 Stat. 56 (1996). Also, see the previous post on Dec. 4th below.
Underscoring recent unrest with the status of ICANN, resulting from Western dominance of character encoding among other things, is an interesting article from the folks at The Register about a letter written by the CEO of the Multi-lingual Internet Names Consortium (MINC) to ICANN that calls for greater efforts in making the Internet more multi-lingual and less US dominant. Follow the link to download a copy of the letter.
Once again, another article has come out about the Internet, ownership, regulation, and pay for use. In this article by InfoWorld, some of the scenarios of the telecom reform bill are covered, including the possibility of ISPs slowing down access to certain sites and content. More info can be found here at ITworld and this article at National Journal’s Insider Update. This is garnering a lot of attention (as it should) as more and more diverse interests begin to weigh in. And the outcome will be important - to education, commerce, and everything in between.
A new report from the National Academies, reported in the NYT today (registration required), should reinforce concerns that a lot of people in the CTWatch community have about the need for change in current government policy. It sounds a loud alarm about the erosion of American economic competitiveness in the face of economic globalization, inadequate investment in research and education in science and engineering, and the need for policy reform in areas such as patent law. Along with the standard press release, you can stream or download the hour long briefing (requires RealPlayer) that accompanied the release of the report. The presidents of the National Academies are all on hand for the event, and Norman Augustine, Craig Barret, and Roy Vagelous, who were all on the committee that developed the report, provide the briefing and take questions from the audience. There’s some good Q&A. The report has now been Slashdotted as well.
Strictly speaking, this is not a real podcast, but it’s only a step away. If this is a sample, I think a regular podcast from the National Academies would be relatively inexpensive to produce and a real benefit to the community.