Author Archives: Tom Burroughs

Bringing Brain Science to Court


This article is in News Updates,


  4/21/17 -San Francisco now uses an unusual approach in handling young adults charged with breaking the law, hearing their cases in a special court that the New York Times calls “a hybrid of the adult and juvenile justice systems tailored to the biology and circumstances of offenders 18 to 24.” This approach aligns with […]




A Possible Key to China’s Rise as a Tech Innovator


This article is in News Updates,


  4/19/17 – In Issues recently, a scholar at a major university in China described how his nation had tailored itself into a technocracy and sketched some possible benefits. One possible outcome is China’s emergence as a source of new commercial technology, as evidenced by a new study (summarized here) finding that China recently surpassed […]




Preparing for Pandemics


This article is in News Updates,


  4/13/17 – The potential threat raised by the current outbreak of bird flu in China provides sharp reminder that the United States remains inadequately prepared to fight communicable diseases that break borders and spread globally. And the recent explosion of unfiltered channels of communication complicates matters, a US inventor and entrepreneur has explained in […]




Give Bats a Break


This article is in News Updates,


  4/12/17 – CNN recently highlighted a team of researchers studying a cave-full of bats because, the story asserted, “Each bat has the potential to carry…some of the planet’s deadliest, but least understood, viruses…that could come to humans.” But a leading bat expert explains in Issues that focusing on potential diseases from bats is unlikely […]




Effective Fisheries Management under Attack


This article is in News Updates,


  4/11/17 – A fisheries management tool called “catch shares,” described and recommended by a trio of ocean analysts in Issues nearly a decade ago, has gained advocates and opponents alike as it has been applied in various US waters and elsewhere. Now, a new study summarized here provides what the researchers call the “first […]




Framing a Geoengineering Research Plan


This article is in News Updates,


4/7/17 – As the Earth continues to warm in response to human activities, the prospects of using engineering techniques to control climate change are gaining attention, the New York Times reports, noting that an important step is to invest more in research. In Issues, a pioneer in geoengineering has laid out the framework for a […]




Innovation Key to Nuclear Power Future


This article is in News Updates,


  4/5/17 – To hold or even expand its place in the US energy system, the nuclear energy industry needs a new operational model characterized by innovative reactor and plant designs, revitalized business models, and smaller entrepreneurial start-ups, says a new report from the Breakthrough Institute. It aligns with recommendations presented in Issues by a […]




Needed: Foreign Skilled Workers–and Visa Reform


This article is in News Updates,


4/4/17 – The United States doesn’t have enough home-grown workers with the training in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics that many employers need, according to a new study by a coalition of mayors and business leaders. But there is also concern that the federal government’s visa program for bringing in highly skilled temporary workers from […]




Affirming the NAFTA Partnership


This article is in News Updates,


  4/3/17 – President Trump may be backing off his campaign vow to abandon the North American Free Trade Agreement and reportedly may keep major parts in place in any renegotiated deal. This shift would align at least a bit better with observations offered in Issues by a policy analyst who detailed the economic gains […]




Robots Cut Jobs and Wages for Many Workers


This article is in News Updates,


  4/3/17 – Based on an analysis of the capabilities that robots and information technology have or might acquire over the next few decades, an economic analyst recently predicted in Issues that strains on the US workforce will likely be great, requiring major adjustments for workers and the nation alike. Now, a new study adds […]




Yellen Knows: Boosting R&D Key to Better Economy


This article is in News Updates,


  3/15/17 – In the midst of debate leading up to the Federal Reserve’s latest decision to raise interest rates, the central bank’s chair observed that changing fiscal policies alone will not generate technological breakthroughs “that would boost real GDP growth over the longer run or address the root causes of income inequality.” A long-time […]




In Defense of NOAA


This article is in News Updates,


  3/13/17 – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration seems marked for drastic funding reductions under the new Trump administration, to the chagrin of critics who say this would undercut important areas of science for little reward. Indeed, the government should strengthen the agency by reformulating it into a new department focused directly on ocean […]




Helping Workers in an Automated World


This article is in News Updates,


  3/12/17 – Automation, driven by advances in robotics and artificial intelligence, is changing the face of jobs across the United States, as detailed in Issues by an economic analyst who added that the nation will have to find ways to adjust accordingly. Now experts from an array of fields have provided in the New […]




Navy Enlisting Robots for Sea Action


This article is in News Updates,


  3/11/17 – The US Navy has bold ambitions for sea-based robots that can carry out a range of missions, a security analyst has explained in Issues, adding that a key will be developing practical systems quickly and gaining experience using them. A recent online report points to progress along several lines, including field evaluations […]




Visa Reform Still Needed–and Possible


This article is in News Updates,


  3/7/17 – Controversy over the system by which the United States brings in highly skilled foreign guest workers is still roiling political waters. In the midst of the turmoil, a set of proposals for reforming the federal visa and immigration systems for scientists and engineers is already on hand in Issues, tailored to meet […]




Road Map for Road Building


This article is in News Updates,


  3/6/17 – The new secretary of transportation, Elaine Chao, recently pledged to look at alternative financing mechanisms beyond federal funding to pay for infrastructure improvements, including highway construction. Should she take this route, a long-time transportation analyst has already provided in Issues some options that he says capitalize on technology to collect fees directly, […]




US and Mexico: Stronger Together


This article is in News Updates,


  2/28/17 – With President Donald Trump declaring his intention to renegotiate with Mexico the North American Free Trade Agreement, it may be worth revisiting an Issues article in which an experienced policy analyst laid out the benefits that NAFTA has brought to the United States. And a panel of international political, business, and academic […]




US and Mexico: Stronger Together


This article is in ,


  2/23/17 – With President Donald Trump declaring his intention to renegotiate with Mexico the North American Free Trade Agreement, it may be worth revisiting an Issues article in which an experienced policy analyst laid out the benefits that NAFTA has brought to the United States. And a panel of international political, business, and academic […]




Hazards of Science Reporting


This article is in ,


  2/22/17 – At a recent news conference, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and others once again expressed concern that childhood vaccines may actually make some kids sick or cause autism—and that journalists and the government have been colluding to cover up the truth about vaccine safety. In Issues, a journalist who has covered such claims […]




Hazards of Science Reporting


This article is in News Updates,


  2/16/17 – At a recent news conference, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and others once again expressed concern that childhood vaccines may actually make some kids sick or cause autism—and that journalists and the government have been colluding to cover up the truth about vaccine safety. In Issues, a journalist who has covered such claims […]




India Sets Satellite Launch Record


This article is in News Updates,


2/15/17 – India just set a world record (here and here) by placing 104 satellites into orbit using a single rocket, with the payload including 101 “nanosatellites” built by companies and universities in six other countries. The achievement reflects the emerging pattern in the global space enterprise, described recently in Issues, as a growing roster […]




China Luring Chip Makers


This article is in News Updates,


  2/14/17 – Turning a pragmatic face to the world, China is pressing a major initiative to attract semiconductor manufacturers and research facilities—and the plan seems to be working. In a more philosophical look at such matters, a scholar at a leading Chinese university recently examined in Issues his nation’s emergence as a technocracy “run […]




Making Wise Infrastructure Investments


This article is in News Updates,


2/10/17 – President Donald Trump’s advisory team recently released a preliminary list of projects that might be funded as part of a promised plan to revitalize roads, bridges, ports, and various other components of the nation’s infrastructure. In Issues, two scholars who have studied the history of infrastructure development have proposed a set of principles […]




Productivity of Immigrant Innovators


This article is in News Updates,


  2/9/17 – Among engineering and technology companies started in the United States between 1995 and 2005, a quarter were headed by immigrants, and immigrants founded roughly a third of firms in the semiconductor sector, according to a survey led by a technology entrepreneur and described in Issues. Now underscoring immigrants’ innovative impact, new research […]




Conservative Call for Climate Action


This article is in News Updates,


  2/9/17 – A group of conservative policy and business leaders has released what it calls a “pro-growth, pro-competitiveness and pro-working class” action plan for addressing human-caused climate change (here and here). The plan reflects some of the concerns expressed in Issues by a conservative scholar who argued that all climate policies “must be compatible […]




Immigration of Scientists and Engineers


This article is in News Updates,


  2/8/17 – Arguments are heating up over the need for, or proper balance of, visas for US-bound immigrants, including those with high-level technical skills. President Donald Trump reportedly is planning drastic cuts, whereas many corporate leaders argue otherwise. In a pragmatic earlier look this situation, a leading policy analyst proposed in Issues a comprehensive […]




Building Paths to Middle-Skill Jobs


This article is in News Updates,


  2/3/17 – Students in the United States are offered few routes to middle-skill careers built around jobs that require some education beyond high school but typically not a bachelor’s degree. Issues has examined this gap in a series of articles on the importance and scope of such jobs; the skills and training they require, with […]




White House Seeking Advice on Manufacturing


This article is in News Updates,


  2/3/17 – The White House recently announced the launch of a Manufacturing Jobs Initiative (here and here) to bring together business and labor leaders to offer insights into revitalizing the US manufacturing sector. Issues has already been on the job, detailing how to boost manufacturing strength by improving the nation’s innovation system and by […]




India May See Major Solar Energy Boost


This article is in News Updates,


  2/1/17 – India may be thinking more ambitiously than ever about solar energy, according to an account from the Worldwatch Institute, with proposed measures including rapid expansion of small-scale photovoltaic panels and solar lighting systems. But even as the promise is bright, an analyst who spent a year exploring firsthand India’s solar energy ecosystem […]




The Science of Communicating Science


This article is in News Updates,


  1/31/17 – In today’s complex world, communicating science-related information to the public is more important than ever—and also more complicated. In Issues, an experienced communication hand has proposed ways to improve the process. Now a science establishment heavyweight has, well, weighed in with a new report (here and here) that examines what research says […]