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EU

EU Launches World's Largest Civilian Robotics Program; 240,000 New Jobs Expected 171

Hallie Siegel writes: "The European Commission and 180 companies and research organizations (under the umbrella of euRobotics) have launched the world's largest civilian research and innovation program in robotics. Covering manufacturing, agriculture, health, transport, civil security and households, the initiative – called SPARC – is the E.U.'s industrial policy effort to strengthen Europe's position in the global robotics market (€60 billion a year by 2020). This initiative is expected to create over 240,000 jobs in Europe, and increase Europe's share of the global market to 42% (a boost of €4 billion per year). The European Commission will invest €700 million and euRobotics will invest €2.1 billion."
Power

Is It Time For the US Government To Back Fusion At NIF Over ITER? 308

ananyo writes "Laser beams at the National Ignition Facility have fired a record 1.875 megajoule shot into its target chamber, surpassing their design specification. The achievement is a milepost on the way to ignition — the 'break-even' point at which the facility will finally be able to release more energy than goes into the laser shot by imploding a target pellet of hydrogen isotopes. NIF's managers think the end of their two-year campaign for break-even energy is in sight and say they should achieve ignition before the end of 2012. However, with scientists at NIF saying that a $4 billion pilot plant could be putting hundreds of megawatts into the grid by the early 2020s, some question whether the Department of Energy is backing the wrong horse with ITER — a $21-billion international fusion experiment under construction at St-Paul-lez-Durance, France. Is it time for the DoE to switch priorities and back NIF's proposals?" Perhaps a better idea, given the potential benefits of fusion research, would be for the DoE to throw their weight behind multiple projects, rather than sacrificing some to support others.
Handhelds

Why Amazon Can't Manufacture a Kindle In the US 598

theodp writes "Ever wonder why all those job listings for Amazon subsidiary Lab126 — the internal group behind the Kindle and, by all accounts, an upcoming Android tablet — have travel requirements? Over at Forbes, Steve Denning explains why Amazon can't make a Kindle in the U.S., and why that really does matter. 'The idea that there is a lot of outsourcing going on is hardly news', writes Denning. 'The idea that it is irreversible and destructive of the economy's ability to grow is less well known. Even so, it's not exactly new news: the HBR article that I cite is two years old. What is really new news is that (1) these fairly obvious truths haven't yet dawned on economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, CEOs, accountants, politicians, among others and (2) the way to manage in a radically different way to deal with these issues is now more fully articulated than it has been before.' Denning concludes his trilogy-of-management-terror by noting that the decline is also occurring in software."
Earth

US Pumps $175M Into Advanced Auto Fuel Research 200

coondoggie writes "In the wake of new fuel efficiency standards, the Energy Department this week spotted 40 new research projects $175 million to develop everything from light-weight building materials to electronics and advanced fuel. Last month, the U.S. set new fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, saying they must hit 54.5 miles per gallon by Model Year 2025. The projects awarded contracts should address some of the issues involved in making cars and trucks more fuel efficient. At least that's the idea."
The Almighty Buck

The Cost Of Broadband In Every Rural Home 381

dave562 writes "In an analysis of the effectiveness of the the 2009 stimulus program (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 or ARRA), one of the programs that was investigated was the project to bring broadband access to rural America. Some real interesting numbers popped out. Quoting the article: 'Eisenach and Caves looked at three areas that received stimulus funds, in the form of loans and direct grants, to expand broadband access in Southwestern Montana, Northwestern Kansas, and Northeastern Minnesota. The median household income in these areas is between $40,100 and $50,900. The median home prices are between $94,400 and $189,000.' So how much did it cost per unserved household to get them broadband access? A whopping $349,234, or many multiples of household income, and significantly more than the cost of a home itself.'"
Power

US Funding Five Game-Changing Energy Projects 529

coondoggie writes "Taking aim at developing some progressive energy technologies the US Department of Energy said it will write a $130 million check to develop five areas, including plants engineered to replace oil, thermal power storage, rare earth alternatives and what it calls the energy equivalent of an Internet router."
Transportation

Obama Calling For $53B For High Speed Rail 1026

Antisyzygy writes "President Obama is calling for $53B to be appropriated for the construction of high-speed rail in the United States over the next 6 years. Assuming Congress approves this plan, the funding would be spent on developing and/or improving trains that travel at approximately 250 miles/hour, as well as spent on connecting existing rail lines to new developed high speed lines."
Power

US Offers $30M For High-Risk Biofuel Research 183

coondoggie writes "This one sounds a bit like really wishful thinking. The US Department of Energy today announced $30 million for research projects that would develop advanced biofuels that could replace gasoline or diesel without requiring special upgrades or changes to the vehicle or fueling infrastructure. The $30 million would be spent over the next four years to support as many as five 'traditionally high-risk biofuels projects,' such as converting biomass into biofuels and bioproducts to be eventually used for hydrocarbon fuels and chemicals."
The Almighty Buck

Obama Awards Nearly $2 Billion For Solar Power 514

crimeandpunishment writes "President Obama says it's time to heat up solar power, and he's willing to spend a big chunk of federal money to do it. Saturday the president announced the government is giving nearly $2 billion to companies that are building new solar plants in Arizona, Colorado, and Indiana. The president says this will create thousands of jobs and increase our use of renewable energy."
Networking

New US Broadband Projects Get $795 Million In Funding 174

snydeq writes "The Obama administration has announced nearly $795 million in grants and loans to 66 new broadband projects across the nation. The subsidies — to be doled out by the US NTIA and the US Rural Utilities Service — will bring broadband service to 685,000 businesses, 900 health-care facilities, and 2,400 schools, according to officials. The NTIA will award $404 million to 29 projects, and the grants will finance 6,000 miles of new fiber-optic lines. Most of the money will finance middle-mile broadband network projects. The RUS will award $390.9 million, with $163 million in loans and the rest in grants. Most of the RUS money is focused on last-mile broadband projects."
Transportation

California Requests Stimulus Funding For Bullet Train 567

marquinhocb writes "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger requested $4.7 billion in federal stimulus money Friday to help build an 800-mile bullet train system from San Diego to San Francisco. 'We're traveling on our trains at the same speed as 100 years ago,' the governor said. 'That is inexcusable. America must catch up.' Planners said the train would be able to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco in two hours and 40 minutes, traveling at speeds of more than 200 miles per hour. About time! There comes a point when 'let's add another lane' is no longer a viable option!"
United States

Obama Says 3% of GDP Should Fund Science Research And Development 753

tritonman writes "Obama wants to set a goal that the US spend 3% of its GDP on scientific research and development. 'I believe it is not in our character, American character, to follow — but to lead. And it is time for us to lead once again. I am here today to set this goal: we will devote more than 3 percent of our GDP to research and development,' Obama said in a speech at the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences."
Security

3-D Light System May Revolutionize Fingerprinting 71

coondoggie writes "The US Department of Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate recently awarded almost $420,000 to a Kentucky company to further develop a contactless finger print/biometric system. The goal is a machine that can snap 10 fingerprints in high resolution in less than 10 seconds, without human intervention. This goal is beginning to look feasible. FlashScan3D is working with the University of Kentucky's Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments, and has developed a technique called 'structured light illumination' (WIPO patent description), where a pattern of dots or stripes is projected onto a curved or irregular surface."

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