Archive | Ideas, Humanities, & Education

U.S. Tech Innovation Competition Announced

WASHINGTON, May 3 (UPI) — The U.S. Department of Commerce has announced a $12 million innovation competition designed to drive technology commercialization and entrepreneurship.

The Commerce Department Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and its Economic Development Administration said the “i6 Challenge” will be held in partnership with the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

Officials said up to $1 million will be awarded to each of six U.S. teams with the most innovative ideas. The NIH and NSF will award up to $6 million in additional funding to Small Business Innovation Research grantees associated with winning teams.

“This initiative promotes the priorities of the Obama administration by driving innovation and entrepreneurship and cultivating strong public-private partnerships,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “The i6 Challenge is an exciting opportunity to highlight some of the nation’s best minds that are helping to move ideas from the lab into the marketplace.”

The deadline for entrepreneurs, investors, universities, foundations and non-profit organizations to submit applications is July 15.

More information is available at

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Posted in Entrepreneurship, Ideas, Humanities, & Education, Other0 Comments

Hope for ADHD, Meta-cognitive Therapy

NEW YORK, April 1 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say meta-cognitive therapy may help adults with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Researchers at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center looked at treating ADHD adults with meta-cognitive therapy vs. treating them with supportive therapy.

Meta-cognitive therapy involves teaching skills and strategies that help reduce depressed and anxious thoughts/ideas and help enhance time management and other organizational abilities. Supportive therapy involves giving psychotherapy in a group setting, the researchers said.

The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, randomly assigned 88 adults rigorously diagnosed with ADHD to receive 12 weeks of either meta-cognitive therapy, or supportive psychotherapy. The two groups used equivalent ADHD medication.

Members of the group given meta-cognitive therapy showed greater improvement in ADHD symptoms — including self-ratings and observer ratings of ADHD — than those receiving supportive therapy, the researchers said.

“This is the first time we have demonstrated efficacy of a non-medication treatment for adult ADHD in a study that compared the active treatment against a control group that was equivalent in therapist time, attention, and support,” study researcher Mary Solanto said in a statement.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Study Documents U.S. Industrial Water Use

PITTSBURGH, April 1 (UPI) — In the first study of its kind in 30 years, scientists say they have documented industry’s use of water resources in the United States.

Carnegie Mellon University Professor Chris Hendrickson and colleagues said industry, including agriculture, has long been recognized as the biggest consumer of water in the United States. However, estimates of water consumption on an industry-by-industry basis are incomplete and outdated, with the last figures from the U.S. Census Bureau dating to 1982.

The scientists said they estimated water use among more than 400 industrial sectors and discovered most water use occurs indirectly as a result of processing, such as packaging and shipping food crops to the supermarket, rather than direct use, such as watering crops.

Among the findings for consumer products: It takes 200 gallons of water to make $1 worth of dog or cat food, 270 gallons to place $1 worth of sugar on store shelves and 140 gallons of water to make $1 worth of milk.

“The study gives a way to look at how we might use water more efficiently and allows us to hone in on the sectors that use the most water so we can start generating ideas and technologies for better management,” the scientists said.

The research is published in the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Consumer Products, Consumption, Ideas, Humanities, & Education, Other0 Comments

2010 Energy Prize Competition Begins

HOUSTON, March 17 (UPI) — The ConocoPhillips Co. and Pennsylvania State University say they have opened the 2010 ConocoPhillips Energy Prize competition.

Officials said the competition awards up to $300,000 in recognition of original and viable solutions that can help improve the way the United States develops and uses energy.

The competition’s three areas are new energy source development, energy efficiency improvements and innovations that fight climate change.

Officials said the competition is open to U.S. residents 18 years of age or older at the time of entry. Entrants must submit a comprehensive proposal before May 22.

An expert panel of judges will select up to five finalists to present their submissions in October. Entries will be judged on the basis of creativity, scalability, commercial viability and sustainability.

“Securing the nation’s energy future will require innovative ideas that maximize existing resources, create sustainable and diverse energy supplies, and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Stephen Brand, ConocoPhillips senior vice president for technology.

ConocoPhillips and Penn State awarded the 2009 prize to a team that created a hydrokinetic machine that converts the movement of water from river and ocean currents into electric energy regardless of tidal current strength.

More information is available at

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Energy & Fuels, Energy Efficiency, Ideas, Humanities, & Education, Tidal0 Comments

ESA Updates Its Eduspace Web Site

PARIS, March 4 (UPI) — The European Space Agency says it has updated its 12-year-old Eduspace Web site that’s designed for Europe’s secondary students and teachers.

“Since its introduction in 1998, (Eduspace) has provided an invaluable educational resource by making available catalogues of Earth imagery and a sophisticated image processing software package called LEOWorks, which enables satellite imagery to be manipulated and analyzed on school computers,” the ESA said.

“The new version of Eduspace is easier to navigate and use,” the space agency said. “The cornerstones of the Web site are the case studies. They provide teachers and students with examples of in-depth studies of a selected area, within a particular theme. The background information and varied exercises are intended to provide a valuable source of ideas about how to introduce Earth observation from space into the classroom.”

Eduspace is currently available in eight languages: English, French, German, Danish, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese, ESA officials said, noting other language versions are planned.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Range of Strategies Eyed at 'Carp Summit'

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 (UPI) — A range of strategies to keep Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan were discussed at a Washington “carp summit” Wednesday, participants say.

U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., said some of the strategies discussed at the meeting, co-hosted by Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., included air-bubble, acoustic and electrical barriers as well as temporarily closing locks on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, through which environmentalists fear the voracious invasive species may infest the Great Lakes.

“Several ideas and bipartisan solutions were discussed to prevent the Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes,” Hoekstra said. “There is no single arrow in the quiver. Solutions will need to be based upon managerial, chemical, engineering and structural components.”

Hoekstra said wider application of fish poisoning, harvesting techniques, monitoring improvements and eco-separation were also discussed.

Another summit co-host, Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill., told the Joliet Herald News she “came away from the meeting with a good feeling.”

The gathering was attended by several U.S. senators and House representatives along with officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Biggert told the newspaper it was important not to close the canal, saying 7 million tons of cargo passed through its locks in 2008 and contending a lawsuit filed by the state of Michigan seeking its closure is self-defeating.

“I think all of the states need to look at the numbers and see how many businesses rely on shipments that use the waterways from here to Louisiana and back,” Biggert said. “Closing the waterways would … have a negative impact on the economy of other states.”

Durbin and Biggert have worked together for years to secure funding for containment projects, the lawmakers said.

Last fall, DNA from Asian carp, which have relentlessly made their way north along waterways in recent years since escaping fish farms in the South, was found during regular canal water testing, Durbin said. Genetic material also has been found in the Calumet River near Wilmette, Ill., and in Lake Michigan.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Ecosystems, Engineering, Fish, Ideas, Humanities, & Education0 Comments

South Korea's Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rise to 620 Million Tons in 2007

SEOUL, Dec. 29 (UPI) — South Korea’s carbon dioxide emissions increased 2.9 percent — totaling 620 million tons — in 2007, the government announced Monday, Xinhua reports.

That represents the highest growth rate since 2002 and is nearly three times faster than the growth rate in 2006. It is also a 103-percent increase from 1990 greenhouse gas emission totals.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, South Korea’s emissions are the fastest growing of all industrialized states.

Seoul attributes the sharp rise to increases in fossil fuel output because of a fall in nuclear power generation as well as energy consumption in the country’s steel and petrochemical sectors.

Yet South Korea regards carbon dioxide reduction not as a burden but a “business model,” the country’s climate-change ambassador, Rae-Kwon Chung, told Der Spiegel during the Copenhagen climate-change conference.

Rae-Kwon, who has been active in climate negotiations since they began internationally in 1991, is sometimes referred to as the “godfather” of the green growth movement, which contends that countries can boost wealth by reducing emissions.

In an interview with The Los Angeles Times during the Copenhagen talks, Rae-Kwon said world leaders need to capture the “opportunity” of renewable energy technology. To do so, he said, they need to rethink some fundamentals of daily life: tax structures, transportation patterns and, most importantly, to accept that cheaper energy is better for economic growth.

“They’re walking the walk” in South Korea, Jake Schmidt, international climate policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, who has worked closely with Chung on climate issues, told the Times. Schmidt said Chung “has had a very big impact in how South Korea views their role” on emission limits, domestically and internationally.

Recent announcements may confirm Schmidt’s observations.

Last week South Korea said it plans to officially register by the end of January its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from the projected emission level in 2020 compared with 2005.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak announced Dec. 17 that $10 million would be used to establish a Global Green Growth Institute, bringing economists and top researchers together to develop new ideas.

And South Korea said Monday it would launch a carbon emissions trading scheme aimed at reducing the country’s emissions 1 percent to 2 percent of 2005 to 2007 averages, reports Xinhua.

The Korea Stock Exchange would serve as a platform for the three-year pilot program, starting as early as late 2010, said the Ministry of Environment. A total of 641 organizations will participate, including South Korea’s 14 local governments and 446 public organizations.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Air Pollutants, Air Quality Standards & Emissions, Air, Atmosphere, & Weather, Consumption, Energy, Ideas, Humanities, & Education, Organizations, Science, Space, & Technology, Transportation, Walking0 Comments

Environmentalists Blast U.S. over Climate Deal

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 18 (UPI) — Environmentalists lashed out Friday at the agreement on climate change announced at the international conference on global warming in Copenhagen.

Erich Pica, president of the Friends of the Earth, called the deal a “sham” that amounted to a repackaging of old ideas supported by industrialized nations.

Pica said so-called rich countries were refusing to either commit to adequate emission-reduction goals or help bankroll efforts by poorer nations to cope with coming changes that they had no role in creating.

“The blame for the failure to achieve a real deal lies squarely on the rich countries whose pollution has caused the climate crisis — especially the United States.” Pica said in a written statement, which also called on the mobilization of citizens to push for “true solutions.”

With the future of all humans on this planet at stake, rich countries must muster far more political will than they exhibited here,” he said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Ideas, Humanities, & Education, International Relations & Treaties0 Comments

Time Running out for Key Climate Deal

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 15 (UPI) — Time is running out for an ambitious climate protection deal because of a gridlock between rich and poor nations at a crucial U.N. summit in Denmark.

The second week of negotiations is in full swing in Copenhagen, with weekend demonstrations and Monday negotiations turning ugly. A day after police clashed with protesters on the icy streets of Copenhagen, representatives from 123 developing countries walked out on negotiations Monday, prompting a five-hour suspension of the talks. Poor nations said they fear that developed economies are trying to water down their emissions reduction commitments by burying the existing global warming treaty, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

This delayed the negotiations.

“Ministers have to be extremely busy and focused over the next 48 hours if we want to make this summit a success,” Connie Hedegaard, the Danish minister presiding over the summit, said Tuesday.

Danish and U.N. negotiators worked all night to bring the gridlocked parties together. Poor nations returned to the negotiations table only after they were promised separate talks on a continuation of Kyoto. However, developing countries remained suspicious Tuesday, observers said.

The row comes as time for a binding deal is running out: On Tuesday, the first heads of states arrived before the summit’s much-awaited climax later this week, when more than 110 world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, converge on the packed Bella Center to “seal the deal” by late Friday.

But until that happens, several issues have to be resolved — a big one is who should pay how much, and when, in climate change mitigation money to poor countries.

While members of the European Union and other countries pledged to hand short-term cash to poor nations hit hard by climate change, nothing much has been achieved on long-term aid, Hedegaard said.

Developing nations have asked for as much as $200 billion per year and disagree with rich nations on how to manage the funds.

“We need to come up with some innovative ideas,” to raise that money, she said. In an upbeat message, a senior Chinese official told the BBC that China would not need a “single dollar” of that money.

But the clock is ticking louder as time for a strong agreement is running out.

Hedegaard Monday and Tuesday urged environment ministers to take over from lower-level negotiators and resolve some of the toughest differences before the high-level segment starts Wednesday.

“We actually managed to get ministers down to work,” she said, adding they had done so “until deep into the night.”

The real negotiations take off over the next 48 hours, when Hedegaard will summon ministers again and again in informal negotiations.

“There’s a lot of work still ahead … and the parties’ positions are pretty far apart,” Todd Stern, U.S. special envoy for climate change, said Tuesday.

More than 100 world leaders are expected in Denmark this week to try to broker a climate-protection deal to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which runs out in 2012.

Officials hope the deal will include binding carbon dioxide emissions reduction commitments from the world’s major emitters — including the United States, India and China — as well as dozens of billions of dollars in financial aid to poor nations.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Global Warming & Climate Change, Ideas, Humanities, & Education, Other0 Comments

Utah Wildlife Officials Need to Remove 50 Million Pounds of Carp

PROVO, Utah, Nov. 27 (UPI) — Utah wildlife officials said they are open to ideas for disposing of 50 million pounds of carp slated for removal from a lake.

Chris Keleher, recovery programs assistant director for the Utah Department of Natural Resources, said the department is planning to remove about 50 million pounds of carp from Utah Lake, near Provo, during the next six years to allow the population of June sucker, a native fish on the federal endangered list, to recover, The New York Times reported Friday.

He said officials are seeking destinations for the removed fish, which will account for about 75 percent of the current carp population in the lake.

“We’re looking pretty much at a spectrum of uses that could go anywhere from land-filling, which we really don’t want to do, all the way up to human consumption,” Keleher said. “The most promising idea right now is liquid fertilizer.”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Animals, Consumption, Fish, Ideas, Humanities, & Education0 Comments

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