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Pew Research Center;
This report emerges from the Pew Research Center's efforts to understand public attitudes about a variety of scientific and technological changes being discussed today. The time horizons of these technological advances span from today's realities -- for instance, the growing prevalence of drones -- to more speculative matters such as the possibility of human control of the weather.
Part of the motive for doing this work is to explore Americans' comfort levels -- their excitement, interest or wariness -- in the face of a raft of scientific innovations that are emerging or being considered. Since much of the funding for scientific research comes from the government, these attitudes can give key signals to policy makers and the scientific community about where the public stands on crucial funding decisions.
Another motive for doing this work is to test the state of the public's mood about the long-term future. Their relative optimism -- or pessimism -- says something about the current state of American culture. It also says something about the state of the American dream.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology;
This report provides a number of tangible examples of under-exploited areas of science and likely consequences in the form of an innovation deficit, including:
opportunities with high potential for big payoffs in health, energy, and high-tech industries;fields where we risk falling behind in critical strategic capabilities such as supercomputing, secure information systems, and national defense technologies;areas where national prestige is at stake, such as space exploration, or where a lack of specialized U.S research facilities is driving key scientific talent to work overseas.This introduction also cites examples of the benefits from basic research that have helped to shape and maintain U.S. economic power, as well as highlighting industry trends that have made university basic research even more critical to future national economic competitiveness.
Rockefeller Archive Center;
My project seeks to reconstruct and explain to what extent and how U.S. foundations strove to further democratic values and practices in West German academia. It also assesses the impact of these American initiatives on the consolidation of West German democracy beyond its institutional framework and its constitutional foundation, the Basic Law. In particular, the Rockefeller and Ford foundations attempted to ingrain values that were amenable to a vibrant, pluralist civil society into West Germany's community of scholars. Beyond exploring the relationship between philanthropy and democracy, the project seeks to reassess concepts of "Americanization." This process is to be conceived of as an ensemble of non-linear, multilateral, selective and thus limited appropriations according to the needs of the receiving society. This complex relationship has been underestimated in research, not least by advocates of diffusion theory that highlight the preconditions of transfers, but underestimate "the autonomy of the receiving subject as well as the bilateral character of transatlantic communication."
Earth Policy Institute;
This year's world grain harvest is projected to fall short of consumption by 61 million tons, marking the sixth time in the last seven years that production has failed to satisfy demand. As a result of these shortfalls, world carryover stocks at the end of this crop year are projected to drop to 57 days of consumption, the shortest buffer since the 56-day-low in 1972 that triggered a doubling of grain prices.
World carryover stocks of grain, the amount in the bin when the next harvest begins, are the most basic measure of food security. Whenever stocks drop below 60 days of consumption, prices begin to rise. It thus came as no surprise when the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) projected in its June 9 world crop report that this year's wheat prices will be up by 14 percent and corn prices up by 22 percent over last year's.
Environmental Research Foundation;
Carbon sequestration is an industrial plan to bury as much as 10 trillion tons of carbon dioxide deep in the ground, hoping it will stay there forever. Though most people have heard little or nothing about this plan, it has already been endorsed by major environmental groups, universities, philanthropies and the federal government.
Presents abstracts from a May 2002 workshop on strategies for improving maize, rice, and millet varieties. Includes papers on genetic markers for stress and drought tolerance and socioeconomic aspects of adoption of improved cultivars.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases;
Despite its great public health importance, few control initiatives addressing podoconiosis (non-filarial elephantiasis, a geochemical neglected tropical disease) exist. In June 2010, the first podoconiosis program in Northern Ethiopia, consisting of prevention, awareness, and care and support activities, began in Debre Markos, Northern Ethiopia. This study aims to document and disseminate the lessons learned from a new community podoconiosis program in Debre Markos.
We used a content analysis approach to examine and evaluate data from a series of sources. These sources include conducted interview transcripts, a focus group discussion transcript and secondary sources including monitoring and evaluation field reports, observation notes, and research obtained from a literature review. Themes were identified and grouped into matrix tables. Overall, sixteen program steps were identified and grouped into 6 domains: Initial preparation, training and sensitization, foundation building, treatment activity implementation, awareness, and follow-up. Emphasis is placed on the need for baseline data, effective training, local leadership, experience-sharing, mass-awareness, cross-cutting sector issues (i.e., water and waste management), and integration with government health systems. Related successes and challenges are also described, as are stakeholder roles and misconceptions and socio-cultural challenges affecting the program start-up. Many of the identified successes and challenges are relevant to the aim of the podoconiosis program to be sustainable and community-led.
Much of this information has already been used to improve the Debre Markos program. We also anticipate that the domains and steps identified will be useful in guiding new programs in other settings where podoconiosis is highly prevalent. We hope to encourage partnerships and collaboration among podoconiosis stakeholders in future growth and disease control expansion.
Translational Behavior Medicine;
Evidence-based practice is important for behavioral interventions but there is debate on how best to support real-world behavior change. The purpose of this paper is to define products and a preliminary process for efficiently and adaptively creating and curating a knowledge base for behavior change for real-world implementation. We look to evidence-based practice suggestions and draw parallels to software development. We argue to target three products: (1) the smallest, meaningful, self-contained, and repurposable behavior change modules of an intervention; (2) ?computational models? that define the interaction between modules, individuals, and context; and (3) ?personalization? algorithms, which are decision rules for intervention adaptation. The ?agile science? process includes a generation phase whereby contender operational definitions and constructs of the three products are created and assessed for feasibility and an evaluation phase, whereby effect size estimates/casual inferences are created. The process emphasizes early-and-often sharing. If correct, agile science could enable a more robust knowledge base for behavior change
American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, The;
Little is known about how beliefs about heredity as a cause of health conditions might influence preventive and interpersonal behaviors among those individuals with low genetic and health literacy. We explored causal beliefs about podoconiosis, a neglected tropical disease (NTD) endemic in Ethiopia. Podoconiosis clusters in families but can be prevented if individuals at genetically high risk wear shoes consistently. Adults (N = 242) from four rural Ethiopian communities participated in qualitative assessments of beliefs about the causes of podoconiosis. Heredity was commonly mentioned, with heredity being perceived as (1) the sole cause of podoconiosis, (2) not a causal factor, or (3) one of multiple causes. These beliefs influenced the perceived controllability of podoconiosis and in turn, whether individuals endorsed preventive and interpersonal stigmatizing behaviors. Culturally informed education programs that increase the perceived controllability of stigmatized hereditary health conditions like podoconiosis have promise for increasing preventive behaviors and reducing interpersonal stigma.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases;
Podoconiosis (endemic non-filarial elephantiasis, also known as mossy foot) is a non-communicable disease now found exclusively in the tropics, caused by the conjunction of environmental, genetic, and economic factors. Silicate particles formed by the disintegration of lava in areas of high altitude (over 1,000 m) and seasonal rainfall (over 1,000 mm per annum) penetrate the skin of barefoot subsistence farmers, and in susceptible individuals cause lymphatic blockage and subsequent elephantiasis . Although an estimated one million Ethiopians (of a total population of 77 million) are afflicted with podoconiosis , which creates a huge economic burden in endemic areas , no national policy has yet been developed to control or prevent the condition, and most affected communities remain unaware of treatment options.
Institute of HeartMath;
This monograph is an overview of Institute of HeartMath's research on the physiological correlates of positive emotions and the science underlying two core HeartMath techniques which supports Heart-Based Living. The heart's connection with love and other positive emotions has survived throughout millennia and across many diverse cultures. New empirical research is providing scientific validation for this age-old association. This 21-page monograph offers a comprehensive understanding of the Institute of HeartMath's cutting-edge research exploring the heart's central role in emotional experience. Described in detail is physiological coherence, a distinct mode of physiological functioning, which is generated during sustained positive emotions and linked with beneficial health and performance-related outcomes. The monograph also provides steps and applications of two HeartMath techniques, Freeze-Frame(R) and Heart Lock-In(R), which engage the heart to help transform stress and produce sustained states of coherence. Data from outcome studies are presented, which suggest that these techniques facilitate a beneficial repatterning process at the mental, emotional and physiological levels.
Population Action International;
Population growth is one of the driving forces behind the growth of greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, along with economic growth and technological change. Rapid population growth also hinders socioeconomic development and increases human vulnerability to the devastating impacts of climate change. Population Action International's new working paper "How Do Recent Population Trends Matter to Climate Change?" is the first in a three-part series that will deepen understanding of the relationships between population and climate change.