On March 6, FAS President Dr. Charles Ferguson gave a presentation on “The Physics (and Politics) of Nuclear Disarmament” at the physics colloquium of the University of Illinois. This event was, in part, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the course Physics 280: Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear War, and Arms Control taught for 30 years by [...]
The Federation of American Scientists has just released its latest tool to improve energy efficiency, sustainability, healthfulness, and safety in the affordable housing market. In cooperation with six Habitat for Humanity affiliates from all over the U.S. and experts at the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), and Lawrence Berkeley National [...]
BARDA, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), recently awarded four contracts for the research and development of innovative platform technologies in medical countermeasure development.
Contracts were awarded to the following organizations to continue development: the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) in Seattle, VaxDesign Corp. in Orlando and Pfenex Inc. in San Diego. A collective total of $24.6 million is allotted for initial phases and up to $53.6 million over three years.
Our complete coverage of the BIO 2010 Biosecurity Conference in Chicago can be found in the FAS Biosecurity Blog archives at: http://fas.org/blog/bio/tag/bio2010
Several recurring themes emerged in the presentations by the world’s experts in fields like public health, national security, food defense, biological weapons, and new advances in research. Here is our analysis of some of the themes observed at the conference.
The 2010 Biosecurity convention concluded with a round table discussion of the dual use risks associated with novel technologies, such as synthetic biology and nanotechnology.
Personnel reliability refers to programs intended to reduce the “insider threat”; the prospect that researchers who are permitted to work on hazardous biological agents might misuse that access. This has been a major topic in biosecurity since the 2001 Anthrax attacks, which have been attributed to a researcher at Fort Detrick. They were also the focus of a 2008 NSABB report, which did not recommend that a formal personnel reliability program be instituted for research. This panel sought to evaluate whether these measures are sufficient.
The final biosecurity panel of the day was an extended Q&A session with a panel of seven participants from the US government and industry. The panel discussed countermeasures to biological threats, and offered an interesting contrast between where the two sides agreed and differed on the issues.
With energy and environmental problems growing more daunting, the need for intelligent solutions is becoming more and more significant. Every two years, a diverse gang of engineers, architects, technicians and true believers gather at the Asilomar Conference Center for the American Council for an Energy-Efficiency Economy’ Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. I recently [...]