Roosevelt Institute | Cornell University

Center for Science and Technology Policy

Currently Merged with Environment Policy Center

Solar Radiation Management: a Geoengineering Band-aid for Earth

By Teresa Datta Published March 24, 2017

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Geoengineering researchers propose that releasing large quantities of radiation-reflecting chemical aerosols into the atmosphere can cool our environment and prevent irreversible climate damage. However, further research and political decisions must be made before this science-fiction proposition can become reality.


One Host One Home

By Kathy Lin Published March 24, 2017

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When Airbnb was first launched as a platform for individuals to rent out their homes and rooms over short-term periods, there was very little regulatory concern. However, as the company has grown in popularity, many city officials accuse Airbnb for contributing to the housing affordability crisis and inviting unwelcome commercial operators who may be converting housing to illegal hotels.


Machine Consciousness: Implementing a Non-Interventional Policy

By Justin Welfeld Published March 24, 2017

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Although many debate the viability of engineering consciousness, leading scientists corroborate the impending nature of such a technological singularity.


The Future of Autonomous Vehicles

By Kathy Lin Published February 24, 2017

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Dramatic advances in science and technology are leading us into an unknown future far beyond the scope of current regulations in place. The technology behind driverless cars are no longer a future fantasy but rather a present reality. However, despite this readily available new technology, these cars are still rare due to lags in regulation. While regulators have endorsed new rapid-developing technologies, they are now tasked with balancing the interests of companies such as Tesla, Google, and Uber, with the growing public concerns of safety and reliability.


Leaky Pipes: Upgrading America's Water System

By Justin Welfeld Published October 27, 2016

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For every person in the United States, 6,250 gallons of drinking water leaks through the cracks of America's crumbling water infrastructure. In order to meet growing demand for clean water, significant investments and repairs must be made.


Why Bad Internet Is So Expensive and What Can Be Done About It

By Aaron Berman Published October 27, 2016

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Internet in the US is more expensive and slower than almost any developed country. Why? Because of the lack of competition.


Pharmaceutical Industry Stands Back as Superbugs Globalize

By Justin Welfeld Published October 27, 2016

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As antibiotic-resistant superbugs surpass the reaches of current medical intervention, health organizations reevaluate not only the current role of antibiotics in our society, but also our capacity to synthesize effective antimicrobial agents. However, the wholesale use of antibiotics in agriculture, as well as the misalignment of financial incentives in the pharmaceutical industry hinder the fight against MDR (multiple drug resistant) bacteria.


The Rise of Medical Device Data

By Kathy Lin Published October 27, 2016

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Medical devices are finally marked with unique IDs thanks to a system newly created by the Food and Drug Administration. This new identification system easily lets providers know which patients have a particular implantable device. However, many hospitals don't have the inventory management software to adopt these new codes.


Should We Prioritize Chinese Censorship?

By Danielle Grossman Published October 27, 2016

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The United States government is failing to view censorship as a prevalent and urgent matter. China currently utilizes "The Great Firewall of China," run by a subsection of the Chinese government, to maintain security over the internet and block many websites, thus limiting free speech.


Unleashing the Power of Technology in Education

By Kathy Lin Published September 22, 2016

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Technology has had a tremendous impact on education, changing the way we deliver information, make decisions, and ensure student success. Through public-private partnerships like ConnectEd, the government can overcome limitations in ensuring equitable educational outcomes and transform the education system through technological innovation.


The Centralization of Medical Health Records Deserves Serious Consideration

By Agrippa Kellum Published September 22, 2016

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Centralizing medical records would allow us to detect relationships between health outcomes and patient characteristics. Harmful effects and interactions from pharmaceuticals would become clear, while the efficacy of treatments could be validated or even discovered by accident. How many Flint, Michigan scenarios are flying under the radar because existing medical data isn't being sufficiently utilized?


3D Printing's Imminent Multifaceted Market Disruption

By Anna Kambhampaty Published September 22, 2016

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3D printing is soon to revolutionize the medical, food, and fashion industries, to name just a few. To prepare for this manufacturing revolution, we must look at what industries will be hit and how they will be improved or hurt.


The Growing Importance of Technology in the Fashion Industry

By Kelly Xu Published September 22, 2016

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Many people associate the fashion industry with popular social media apps like Instagram and Snapchat. However, the impact of technology on the fashion industry is far more significant than one might expect.


Applications of Blockchain Technology in Education

By Kelly Xu Published April 3, 2016

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Most people are only familiar with blockchain technology through Bitcoin. However, can the core benefits of blockchain technology be extracted and successfully applied to other industries such as education?


The New News Feed

By Anna Kambhampaty Published April 3, 2016

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Instagram is changing its age-old news feed algorithm. Users will no longer be seeing posts in reverse chronological order as they always have been, but in an order in which posts they are expected to like or want to see more are displayed first. Who decides this? Well, Instagram's new, mysterious algorithm, of course. This new form of the news feed shows how everything, even our social interactions and likes and dislikes, are being digitized and more and more often algorithmically chosen.


UC Network Monitoring Sets Troubling Precedent

By Chad Stephenson Published April 3, 2016

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Earlier this year, the UC system quietly implemented a new network monitoring program that has quickly raised concerns among students and faculty. In the fight for cybersecurity, should students have a say in how their personal data is handled?


The Future of Television is Here: Why consumers are ditching cable

By Daniel Oudolsky Published April 3, 2016

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In this article, the author discusses the recent changes that have been sweeping the television industry, how such changes have changed the way consumers interact with television content, and how companies have responded to these changing circumstances.


The NSA: Maybe Not So Scary Afterall

By Agrippa Kellum Published April 3, 2016

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The Snowden debacle in 2013 has triggered much concern regarding the dangers of far-reaching surveillance programs. I argue that this surveillance can be evaded by concerned citizens and malevolent actors alike.


Not Made in the USA

By Kathy Lin Published April 3, 2016

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Innovation plays a vital role in the economic prosperity and productivity of the United States. Our society is driven by new ideas and new technologies... but where is this innovation stemming from? While the stereotype may be bright, tech savvy entrepreneurs in their 20's, a study released by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation reveals that the truth couldn't be more different. So who are these innovators really and what can policymakers do to empower these individuals and encourage new advancements?


Artificial Intelligence: All Systems are Go

By Nicholas Curcio Published April 3, 2016

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Technology is progressing at a historically unprecedented rate. We need to have a serious conversation about the long-term implications of having artificial intelligence that outperforms humans.


The Costs of Patient-Led Initiatives on Diabetes Care

By Andjela Cirko Published April 3, 2016

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Patients are taking more control over their diabetes care, creating new technologies and and even trying to make insulin at home. What does this mean for their privacy and the quality of their healthcare?


Seeing is Believing: The Oculus Rift and "The Ruture of Virtual Entertainment

By Daniel Oudolsky Published March 2, 2016

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In this piece, the author discusses the history of the Oculus Rift technology, what it is exactly and the implications of such technology on the way humans live and interact with each other.


How Global Warming Set the Stage for the Zika Outbreak

By Anna Kambhampaty Published March 2, 2016

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Zika is not a new virus. In fact, it has been around since the late 1940s. However, 2015's Zika outbreak has been the most widespread and severe thus far; the World Health Organization has even called the outbreak a Global Health Emergency, a label they've only had to give to three crises in the past. 2015 also happened to be the hottest year in historical record; it's fairly obvious that these two events are more than just mere coincidence.


Changing Role of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board

By Arielle Tannin Published March 2, 2016

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The job of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is, as its name implies, to advise the president on privacy and civil liberties implications of programs to combat terrorism. On February 12th, PCLOB Chairman David Medine appointed Steve Bellovin, a Columbia University Computer Science Professor, as the agency's first Technology Scholar. As a self-proclaimed privacy advocate, Bellovin's addition to the PCLOB may sway the direction of information policy in America


Apple Battles FBI over Smartphone Security

By Chad Stephenson Published March 2, 2016

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Apple has publicly expressed its intention to fight a mandate requiring the creation of software that would allow the FBI to access encrypted iPhone data. Is encryption a valuable tool in protecting privacy, or a technological obstacle exposing us to future terrorist attacks?


Wearable Tech: A Growing Fad, or Centuries in the Making?

By Alexander Maisel Published November 8, 2015

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When most people hear the term "wearable technology", they think of one of two things: Google Glass and Apple Watch. Wearable technology, however, encompasses a much larger spectrum of products. Many of these have been around for a while and, more importantly, many of the products provide us with the opportunity to observe insights into human behavior.


It's Time to Regulate Uber

By Chad Stephenson Published November 8, 2015

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As the ridesharing startup continues to expand, lawmakers across the world consider new rules for Uber. The company, armed with loyal customers and billions in venture capital, will do whatever it takes to combat new regulations. Lawmakers must act now to limit Uber's growing monopoly power.


What's in a Label?: The Benefits, Consequences, and Shortcomings of GMO Labels

By Anna Kambhampaty Published November 8, 2015

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Though the vast majority of Americans say they want GMO labeling to be a nationwide standard, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, a measure that would block states from requiring mandatory GMO labeling, is making passage from the House and onto the Senate. There is little evidence against the safety of GMOs, yet, at the same time, there is little evidence for it. The FDA neither supports nor opposes the use of GMOs in our food supply. Do consumers have a right to know what they are taking in? Are labels the answer to this problem?


Construction to Begin on Elon Musk's Hyperloop Test Track

By Marc Alessi Published November 8, 2015

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The future is here and Elon Musk has done it again. Recently the Chairman of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies announced that Musk's proposed hyperloop system would become a reality with the construction of a test track. While the construction will last 32 months, the end product could revolutionize travel and propel our modern civilization into a new age dominated by autonomous travel.


Crossing the Data Border

By Arielle Tannin Published November 8, 2015

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As the world becomes increasingly globally connected via technology, questions arise over how to preserve the rights of citizens in a given country. One such example of this tension is displayed by the European Union's decision on October 6th to strike down its fifteen-year-old safe harbor agreement with the United States.


To Infinity and Beyond: Mars, the new frontier of the 21st Century

By Daniel Oudolsky Published October 11, 2015

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Private Space Travel, space stations and asteroid mining stations- these concepts still sound very alien to us in 2015. For the most of the world population, space travel has always been seen as experience only afforded by the super-wealthy and bourgeois, paying exorbitant large amounts of sum for short trips on Russian rockets to the ISS. In response to this growing demand for private-sector travels to space tourism, a small but lucrative niche of firms have arisen to cater such needs


Ending the Plastic Crisis with the Use of Orange Peels

By Marc Alessi Published October 11, 2015

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Take your orange out of your backpack and step back and admire it in awe. There it is. The solution to our plastic crisis. Confused? Don't be. Researchers in the United Kingdom are working on a solution to make our high plastic use more sustainable and healthier for the environment. The answer lies within the extraction of a hydrocarbon found within orange peels. If we continue to advance extraction techniques, we may be able to one day make a sizeable amount of plastic from our orange peels, bringing to an end our reliance on crude oil for plastic.


Is Ad Blocking Destroying the Web as We Know It? Is That Even a Bad Thing?

By Alexander Maisel Published October 11, 2015

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Apple's decision to allow users to block ads in its Safari web browser for the iPhone reignited the war over ad-blocking.. Here, we examine how this war began and what is at stake in this feud, which has pitted Internet users against their favorite content creators from across the web.


Cyber Crime: Prosecuting Hackers on a Global Scale

By Arielle Tannin Published October 11, 2015

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Modern warfare is shifting from the physical realm into the digital. Over the past decade, digital weapons have been rapidly advancing and are now capable of disrupting secure databases all over the world. One of the reasons this is a particularly dangerous problem is the inability of governments to effectively prosecute this crime. This makes international cooperation even more essential to ensuring the safety of victims of hacking globally.


SySTEMic Undervaluation: Why Girls Face a Never-Ending Uphill Battle

By Elizabeth Zelko Published March 11, 2015

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As more and more technology companies in Silicon Valley and beyond seek to encourage and push for more women to enter STEM fields, many seem to ignore that for women, choosing STEM is only the very first in an endless series of hurdles they will likely face in their pursuit of acceptance in a male-dominated field and culture.


The Apple Car: Rumor or Reality?

By Marc Alessi Published March 11, 2015

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Macintosh, the iPhone, the iPod, and… the iCar? Reports rumor that Apple may be joining the automobile industry in style. And the best part: Apple has yet to deny these rumors. People have speculated that the new product could be run on an electric battery, connect easily with your smartphone, or even drive itself. Whatever the case may be, the rumor is enough to dream about a new era of the automobile industry, and with Apple's help, fast forwarding civilization into the future.


DARPA Robotics Challenge: The Future of Robotics is Almost Here

By Daniel Oudolsky Published March 11, 2015

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In this blog post, Daniel provides background information and analysis on the DARPA Robotics Challenge competition organized by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. What this Challenge seeks to accomplish is to promote innovation in human-supervised robotic technology for disaster-relief operations, but the potentialities of this scientific discoveries achieved by this operation will do much to spearhead the development and usage of robotics by humans in all fields.


Understanding - and Taking a Stand On - Net Neutrality

By Alexander Maisel Published March 11, 2015

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As politicians and regulators battle over the "openness" of the Internet, it is critical that the issue be decided carefully and swiftly, as it will determine the equity of the web for all consumers. Ultimately, net neutrality is an absolute necessity for assuring that Internet providers treat all users and web services equally and fairly.


Moore's Law and Genetics: How CRISPR is Revolutionizing the World

By Ryan Lee Published March 11, 2015

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This week in Science, a paper from researchers at University of California at San Diego describes a new application of the CRISPR/Cas9 technology in which a gene can be spread throughout an entire population of insects at a previously unimaginable rate. This technique, known as mutagenic chain reaction or gene drive, has enormous potential for applications in pest control or disease eradication, but it has also given some scientists pause for thought and cause for concern.


Open Internet, Constrained Market

By Arielle Tannin Published March 11, 2015

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As the Internet evolves into an increasingly integral part of our lives, it is important to consider if and how its usage should regulated. Anyone who is active on the Internet is concerned with having an open web and preserving the freedom of expression and activity that has pervaded the digital world. This desire is the motivation for the net neutrality bill passed on February 26th, 2015. Without Net Neutrality, cable and phone companies could take advantage of their vast resources by dividing the Internet into "fast and slow lanes." Internet service providers possessing this much power could enable them to slow down their competitors' traffic or block sites containing opinions with which they disagreed.


Two-Dimensional Graphene May Revolutionize Solar Power Technology

By Marc Alessi Published February 18, 2015

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The solar power industry may undergo a large scale revolution. It's already the fastest growing energy source, and now, with new advancements in technology, solar power could be twice as effective as pre-2015 energy technologies. If this new technology is pursued, a sudden shift in the way a civilization harnesses energy would occur, drastically reducing pollution levels from fossil fuel consumption and ending humanity's contribution to global climate change.


The White House Tackles Cybersecurity in a post-Sony Pictures World

By Elizabeth Zelko Published February 18, 2015

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In the wake of several high profile cyber attacks perpetrated over the last two years, including breaches at Target, Sony Pictures, JP Morgan Chase and, most recently, Anthem Blue Cross, the White House has been under fire to update cyber crime laws that are no longer equipped to deal with the broad range and level of sophistication of attacks commonly executed by criminals today.


Climate Change is Upon Us and it is Officially Time to Worry

By Ryan Lee Published February 18, 2015

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California is in the midst of what is possibly the worst drought in over 1,000 years, and that could just be the beginning of America's clime change woes. A new study by NASA's Earth Observatory predicts that the country is at risk for unprecedented "megadroughts" if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated. This is especially worrisome because of the political climate in D.C., making the need for action on the part of the people more urgent than ever.


Driverless Cars: Accelerating into the Future

By Daniel Oudolsky Published February 18, 2015

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Every decade, people wonder what will be the next technological leap of the decade, the scientific discovery that will serve as the catalyst that will change the way people live- making our lives easier. In the 1950's, this was television. In the 1990's, this was the advent of the Internet. In the 2000's, this was the conception of the smartphone. Now we're in the 2010's, and wondering- what's next? In fact, the answer is being implemented as we speak- driver-less, automated cars. In this piece, I will explore what this new scientific invention is, it's numerous benefits to humanity and it's subsequent drawbacks- considerations that we must consider as we drive into an exciting, unknowable future of potentialities.


Funding Innovation in the United States

By Jordan Roga Published November 9, 2014

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Innovation has been an extremely important asset for growth in the United States economy. Concerns have emerged that we may lose our scientific edge as science is funded less. The sequester may further result in less scientific funding. Low funding of basic research, in particular, which drives the industrial research that has come to dominate spending, may ultimately hinder our industrial growth. As other countries further their support of basic research, the possibility of the United States losing a technological edge has become more real. Despite a low likelihood of large scale funding changes in the near future, the impact of this possibility on United States economics has begun to catch the attention of United States legislators and the President of the United States. The economic benefits of basic research and scientific research in general should be considered in forming future budgets, if the United States expects to maintain exponential growth.


Fusion Energy: A New Hope?

By Daniel Oudolsky Published November 9, 2014

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In this piece, Daniel explores the potentialities and developments that have recently been discovered in the field of fusion energy. He also provides information on recent breakthroughs announced by Lockheed Martin, and analysis on the difficulties scientists face in actualizing the use of fusion energy.


The Future of an Urbanized World: Smart Cities

By Marc Alessi Published November 9, 2014

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The dawn of a new era is upon us. Technology is reshaping our lives in ways we would have never imagined before. And now, with the help of data analysis and state of the art sensors, technology has impacted the infrastructure of cities. Smart cities are now popping up around the world; some from scratch, others developing by renovating today's bustling cities. Soon, smart cities will become the norm, with technology leading the way.


Tanks, Armor, and Hello Kitty Backpacks: Re-evaluating Technologies to Counter School Shootings

By Elizabeth Zelko Published November 9, 2014

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As concern grows over the increase in scale of school shootings over the last 5 years, and the fight for gun control continues to gain little headway, many schools are searching for an alternate solution or tool to help stem the flow of violence. Some companies have stepped up to the plate, using the resources and technologies at their disposal, with varying degrees of effectiveness, to create their own brands of technological solutions.


A Round of Applause for Bangladesh Please, Where Science Trumps Sensationalism

By Ryan Lee Published November 9, 2014

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Genetic engineering in agriculture is a highly polarizing topic with significant political opposition around the world. At the same time, genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, hold enormous potential to benefit farmers and consumers, particularly in developing countries. The development of GMO brinjal (eggplant) had been stalled on the subcontinent for years by political opposition from environmental groups until about one year ago when Bangladesh approved the crop. The results from the first year of cultivation are in.


The Data Conundrum: the U.S. Government and Internet Privacy

By Elizabeth Zelko Published October 24, 2014

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Following the advent of Edward Snowden, the American public was acquainted with the exact extent of private Internet data collection by the U.S. government. As controversy rages on and the market for private data grows, the government will need to construct a definitive meaning for "Internet privacy."


Advancements in Weather Forecasting Pave the Way for more Renewable Energy

By Marc Alessi Published October 24, 2014

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Renewable energy sources were once inefficient and not nearly as cost-effective as energy coming from burning fossil-fuels. However, recent advancements in weather forecasting technology have allowed for the improved efficiency and production of renewable energy sources. This technology will continue to improve and help renewable energies expand in the coming years.


No Place to Go but Up

By Ryan Lee Published October 24, 2014

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As population continues to increase over the coming decades, global food demand is expected to rise to 170% of current levels. Clearing more land to facilitate agricultural expansion is undesirable and cannot alone meet the challenge posed. Therefore, a high-technology solution is necessary to win the fight against global hunger. One novel solution to consider is vertical farming, which could potentially give humans the ability to bring production of food closer to urban centers, as well as eliminate some of the risks and costs imposed by and on nature.


The New Space Race: Why Now More than Ever, America Needs to Reinvest in its Space Program.

By Daniel Oudolsky Published October 24, 2014

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The author argues that public reinvestment into NASA will not only lead to faster technological growth and keep the United State's technological preeminence, but produce positive economic blow back that will only strengthen the U.S. economy in the long term.