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The U. S. Department of Energy has been at the center of many of the greatest achievements in science and engineering in this century. DOE spends billions of dollars funding projects - and plans to keep on spending at this rate. But, documentation shows that DOE's construction and environmental remediation projects take much longer and cost 50% more than comparable projects undertaken by other federal agencies, calling into question DOE's procedures and project management. What are the root causes for these problems?
Coal mine disasters in the United States are relatively rare events; many of the roughly 50,000 miners underground will never have to evacuate a mine in an emergency during their careers. However, for those that do, the consequences have the potential to be devastating. U.S. mine safety practices have received increased attention in recent years because of the highly publicized coal mine disasters in 2006 and 2010. Investigations have centered on understanding both how to prevent or mitigate emergencies and what capabilities are needed by miners to self-escape to a place of safety successfully. This report focuses on the latter - the preparations for self-escape. In the wake of 2006 disasters, the U.S. Congress passed the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006 (MINER Act), which was designed to strengthen existing mine safety regulations and set forth new measures aimed at improving accident preparedness and emergency response in underground coal mines. Since that time, the efforts of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) have contributed to safety improvements in the mining industry. However, the Upper Big Branch mine explosion in 2010 served as a reminder to remain ever vigilant on improving the prevention of mine disasters and preparations to help miners survive in the event of emergencies. This study was set in the context of human-systems integration (HSI), a systems approach that examines the interaction of people, tasks, and equipment and technology in the pursuit of a goal. It recognizes this interaction occurs within, and is influenced by, the broader environmental context. A key premise of human-systems integration is that much important information is lost when the various tasks within a system are considered individually or in isolation rather than in interaction with the whole system. Improving Self-Escape from Underground Coal Mines, the task of self-escape is part of the mine safety system.
The state of America's schools is a major concern of policymakers, educators, and parents, and new programs and ideas are constantly proposed to improve it. Yet few of these programs and ideas are based on strong research about students and teachers--about learning and teaching. Even when there is solid knowledge, the task of importing it into more than one million classrooms is daunting.Improving Student Learning responds by proposing an ambitious and extraordinary plan: a strategic education research program that would focus on four key questions: How can advances in research on learning be incorporated into educational practice?How can student motivation to achieve in school be increased?How can schools become organizations capable of continuous improvement?How can the use of research knowledge be increased in schools? This book is the springboard for a year-long discussion among educators, researchers, policy makers, and the potential funders-federal, state, and private-of the proposed strategic education research program. The committee offers suggestions for designing, organizing, and managing an effective strategic education research program by building a structure of interrelated networks. The book highlights such issues as how teachers can help students overcome their conceptions about how the world works, the effect of expectations on school performance, and the particular challenges of teaching children from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds.In the midst of a cacophony of voices about America's schools, this book offers a serious, long-range proposal for meeting the challenges of educating the nation's children.
The surface transportation system is vital to our nation's economy, defense, and quality of life. Because threats against the system have hitherto been perceived as minor, little attention has been paid to its security. But the world is changing, as highlighted by dramatic incidents such as the terrorist chemical attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995. As a consequence, security concerns are now attracting more attention--appropriately so, for the threat is real, and responding to it is hard. Although the surface transportation system is remarkably resilient, it is also open and decentralized, making a security response challenging. Research and development can contribute to that response in important ways. Some important themes emerge from analysis of this strategy. First, a dual-use approach, in which security objectives are furthered at the same time as other transportation goals, can encourage the implementation of security technologies and processes. Second, modeling could be used more to develop a better understanding of the scope of the security problem. Third, DOT can play an important role in developing and disseminating information about best practices that use existing technologies and processes, including low-technology alternatives. Finally, security should be considered as part of a broader picture, not a wholly new and different problem but one that is similar and closely connected to the transportation community's previous experience in responding to accidents, natural disasters, and hazardous materials.
The material that sustains the nuclear reactions that produce energy can also be used to make nuclear weapons--and therefore, the development of nuclear energy is one of multiple pathways to proliferation for a non-nuclear weapon state. There is a tension between the development of future nuclear fuel cycles and managing the risk of proliferation as the number of existing and future nuclear energy systems expands throughout the world. As the Department of Energy (DOE) and other parts of the government make decisions about future nuclear fuel cycles, DOE would like to improve proliferation assessments to better inform those decisions. Improving the Assessment of the Proliferation Risk of Nuclear Fuel Cycles considers how the current methods of quantification of proliferation risk are being used and implemented, how other approaches to risk assessment can contribute to improving the utility of assessments for policy and decision makers. The study also seeks to understand the extent to which technical analysis of proliferation risk could be improved for policy makers through research and development.
For the past decade, the U.S. Marine Corps and its sister services have been engaged in what has been termed "hybrid warfare," which ranges from active combat to civilian support. Hybrid warfare typically occurs in environments where all modes of war are employed, such as conventional weapons, irregular tactics, terrorism, disruptive technologies, and criminality to destabilize an existing order. In August 2010, the National Research Council established the Committee on Improving the Decision Making Abilities of Small Unit Leaders to produce Improving the Decision Making Abilities of Small Unit Leaders. This report examines the operational environment, existing abilities, and gap to include data, technology, skill sets, training, and measures of effectiveness for small unit leaders in conducting enhanced company operations (ECOs) in hybrid engagement, complex environments. Improving the Decision Making Abilities of Small Unit Leaders also determines how to understand the decision making calculus and indicators of adversaries. Improving the Decision Making Abilities of Small Unit Leaders recommends operational and technical approaches for improving the decision making abilities of small unit leaders, including any acquisition and experimentation efforts that can be undertaken by the Marine Corps and/or by other stakeholders aimed specifically at improving the decision making of small unit leaders. This report recommends ways to ease the burden on small unit leaders and to better prepare the small unit leader for success. Improving the Decision Making Abilities of Small Unit Leaders also indentifies a responsible organization to ensure that training and education programs are properly developed, staffed, operated, evaluated, and expanded.
Information on Improving the Design of the Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System
Young adults are at a significant and pivotal time of life. They may seek higher education, launch their work lives, develop personal relationships and healthy habits, and pursue other endeavors that help set them on healthy and productive pathways. However, the transition to adulthood also can be a time of increased vulnerability and risk. Young adults may be unemployed and homeless, lack access to health care, suffer from mental health issues or other chronic health conditions, or engage in binge drinking, illicit drug use, or driving under the influence. Young adults are moving out of the services and systems that supported them as children and adolescents, but adult services and systems--for example, the adult health care system, the labor market, and the justice system--may not be well suited to supporting their needs. Improving the Health, Safety, and Well-Being of Young Adults is the summary of a workshop hosted by the Board on Children, Youth, and Families of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Research Council (NRC) in May, 2013. More than 250 researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and young adults presented and discussed research on the development, health, safety, and well-being of young adults. This report focuses on the developmental characteristics and attributes of this age group and its placement in the life course; how well young adults function across relevant sectors, including, for example, health and mental health, education, labor, justice, military, and foster care; and how the various sectors that intersect with young adults influence their health and well-being. Improving the Health, Safety, and Well-Being of Young Adults provides an overview of existing research and identifies research gaps and issues that deserve more intensive study. It also is meant to start a conversation aimed at a larger IOM/NRC effort to guide research, practices, and policies affecting young adults.
In the past several years, some energy technologies that inject or extract fluid from the Earth, such as oil and gas development and geothermal energy development, have been found or suspected to cause seismic events, drawing heightened public attention. Although only a very small fraction of injection and extraction activities among the hundreds of thousands of energy development sites in the United States have induced seismicity at levels noticeable to the public, understanding the potential for inducing felt seismic events and for limiting their occurrence and impacts is desirable for state and federal agencies, industry, and the public at large. To better understand, limit, and respond to induced seismic events, work is needed to build robust prediction models, to assess potential hazards, and to help relevant agencies coordinate to address them. Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies identifies gaps in knowledge and research needed to advance the understanding of induced seismicity; identify gaps in induced seismic hazard assessment methodologies and the research to close those gaps; and assess options for steps toward best practices with regard to energy development and induced seismicity potential.
During the past decade and a half, the National Research Council, through its Committee on National Statistics, has carried out a number of studies on the application of statistical methods to improve the testing and development of defense systems. These studies were intended to provide advice to the Department of Defense (DOD), which sponsored these studies. The previous studies have been concerned with the role of statistical methods in testing and evaluation, reliability practices, software methods, combining information, and evolutionary acquisition. Industrial Methods for the Effective Testing and Development of Defense Systems is the latest in a series of studies, and unlike earlier studies, this report identifies current engineering practices that have proved successful in industrial applications for system development and testing. This report explores how developmental and operational testing, modeling and simulation, and related techniques can improve the development and performance of defense systems, particularly techniques that have been shown to be effective in industrial applications and are likely to be useful in defense system development. In addition to the broad issues, the report identifies three specific topics for its focus: finding failure modes earlier, technology maturity, and use of all relevant information for operational assessments.
The National Academies Press (NAP)--publisher for the National Academies--publishes more than 200 books a year offering the most authoritative views, definitive information, and groundbreaking recommendations on a wide range of topics in science, engineering, and health. Our books are unique in that they are authored by the nation's leading experts in every scientific field.
How should the war on drugs be fought? Everyone seems to agree that the United States ought to use a combination of several different approaches to combat the destructive effects of illegal drug use. Yet there is a remarkable paucity of data and research information that policy makers require if they are to create a useful, realistic policy package-details about drug use, drug market economics, and perhaps most importantly the impact of drug enforcement activities.Informing America's Policy on Illegal Drugs recommends ways to close these gaps in our understanding-by obtaining the necessary data on drug prices and consumption (quantity in addition to frequency); upgrading federal management of drug statistics; and improving our evaluation of prevention, interdiction, enforcement, and treatment efforts.The committee reviews what we do and do not know about illegal drugs and how data are assembled and used by federal agencies. The book explores the data and research information needed to support strong drug policy analysis, describes the best methods to use, explains how to avoid misleading conclusions, and outlines strategies for increasing access to data. Informing America's Policy on Illegal Drugs also discusses how researchers can incorporate randomization into studies of drug treatment and how state and local agencies can compare alternative approaches to drug enforcement.Charting a course toward a better-informed illegal drugs policy, this book will be important to federal and state policy makers, regulators, researchers, program administrators, enforcement officials, journalists, and advocates concerned about illegal drug use.
A report on the Integrated Design of Alternative Technologies for Bulk-Only Chemical Agent Disposal Facilities
The EPA commissioned The National Academies to provide advice on the vexing question of whether and, if so, under what circumstances EPA should accept and consider intentional human dosing studies conducted by companies or other sources outside the agency (so-called third parties) to gather evidence relating to the risks of a chemical or the conditions under which exposure to it could be judged safe. This report recommends that such studies be conducted and used for regulatory purposes only if all of several strict conditions are met, including the following: The study is necessary and scientifically valid, meaning that it addresses an important regulatory question that can’t be answered with animal studies or nondosing human studies;The societal benefits of the study outweigh any anticipated risks to participants. At no time, even when benefits beyond improved regulation exist, can a human dosing study be justified that is anticipated to cause lasting harm to study participants; andAll recognized ethical standards and procedures for protecting the interests of study participants are observed.In addition, EPA should establish a Human Studies Review Board (HSRB) to evaluate all human dosing studies – both at the beginning and upon completion of the experiments – if they are carried out with the intent of affecting the agency's policy-making.
In 1996, Congress enacted directing the Department of Defense to assess and demonstrate technology alternatives to incineration for destruction of the chemical weapons stored at Pueblo Chemical and Blue Grass Army Depots. Since then, the National Research Council (NRC) has been carrying out evaluations of candidate technologies including reviews of engineering design studies and demonstration testing. Most recently, the NRC was asked by the Army to evaluate designs for pilot plants at Pueblo and Blue Grass. These pilot plants would use chemical neutralization for destroying the chemical agent and the energetics in the munitions stockpiles of these two depots. This report provides the interim assessment of the Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) to permit adjustment of any significant problems as soon as possible. The report presents an analysis of the issues about the current PCAPP design and a series of findings and recommendations about ways to reduce concerns with involve the public more heavily in the process.
The scientific and technological progress in inertial confinement fusion has been substantial during the past decade. However, many of the technologies needed for an integrated inertial fusion energy system are still at an early stage of technological maturity. For all approaches to inertial fusion energy there remain critical scientific and engineering challenges. In this interim report of the study An Assessment of the Prospects for Inertial Fusion Energy, the Committee on the Prospects for Inertial Confinement Fusion Energy Systems outlines their preliminary conclusions and recommendations of the feasibility of inertial fusion energy. The committee also describes its anticipated next steps as it prepares its final report.
Science at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is intrinsically global, and from early in its history, the USGS has successfully carried out international projects that serve U.S. national interests and benefit the USGS domestic mission. Opportunities abound for the USGS to strategically pursue international science in the next 5-10 years that bears on growing worldwide problems having direct impact on the United States--climate and ecosystem changes, natural disasters, the spread of invasive species, and diminishing natural resources, to name a few. Taking a more coherent, proactive agency approach to international science--and building support for international projects currently in progress-would help the USGS participate in international science activities more effectively.
What most of us know as "the Internet" is actually a set of largely autonomous, loosely coordinated communication networks. As the influence of the Internet continues to grow, understanding its real nature is imperative to acting on a wide range of policy issues.This timely new book explains basic design choices that underlie the Internet's success, identifies key trends in the evolution of the Internet, evaluates current and prospective technical, operational, and management challenges, and explores the resulting implications for decision makers. The committee-composed of distinguished leaders from both the corporate and academic community-makes recommendations aimed at policy makers, industry, and researchers, going on to discuss a variety of issues: How the Internet's constituent parts are interlinked, and how economic and technical factors make maintaining the Internet's seamless appearance complicated. How the Internet faces scaling challenges as it grows to meet the demands of users in the future. Tensions inherent between open innovation on the Internet and the ability of innovators to capture the commercial value of their breakthroughs. Regulatory issues posed by the Internet's entry into other sectors, such as telephony.
Investigating the Influence of Standards: A Framework for Research in Mathematics, Science, and Technology Educationby National Research Council
Since 1989, with the publication of Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for Mathematics by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, standards have been at the forefront of the education reform movement in the United States. The mathematics standards, which were revised in 2000, have been joined by standards in many subjects, including the National Research Council's National Science Education Standards published in 1996 and the Standards for Technical Literacy issued by the International Technology Education Association in 2000. There is no doubt that standards have begun to influence the education system. The question remains, however, what the nature of that influence is and, most importantly, whether standards truly improve student learning. To answer those questions, one must begin to examine the ways in which components of the system have been influenced by the standards.Investigating the Influence of Standards provides a framework to guide the design, conduct, and interpretation of research regarding the influences of nationally promulgated standards in mathematics, science, and technology education on student learning. Researchers and consumers of research such as teachers, teacher educators, and administrators will find the framework useful as they work toward developing an understanding of the influence of standards.
Issues In The Integration Of Research And Operational Satellite Systems For Climate Research: I. Science And Designby Space Studies Board National Research Council
A report on the Issues In The Integration Of Research And Operational Satellite Systems For Climate Research
Even though youth crime rates have fallen since the mid-1990s, public fear and political rhetoric over the issue have heightened. The Columbine shootings and other sensational incidents add to the furor. Often overlooked are the underlying problems of child poverty, social disadvantage, and the pitfalls inherent to adolescent decisionmaking that contribute to youth crime. From a policy standpoint, adolescent offenders are caught in the crossfire between nurturance of youth and punishment of criminals, between rehabilitation and "get tough" pronouncements. In the midst of this emotional debate, the National Research Council's Panel on Juvenile Crime steps forward with an authoritative review of the best available data and analysis. Juvenile Crime, Juvenile Justice presents recommendations for addressing the many aspects of America's youth crime problem.This timely release discusses patterns and trends in crimes by children and adolescents--trends revealed by arrest data, victim reports, and other sources; youth crime within general crime; and race and sex disparities. The book explores desistance--the probability that delinquency or criminal activities decrease with age--and evaluates different approaches to predicting future crime rates.Why do young people turn to delinquency? Juvenile Crime, Juvenile Justice presents what we know and what we urgently need to find out about contributing factors, ranging from prenatal care, differences in temperament, and family influences to the role of peer relationships, the impact of the school policies toward delinquency, and the broader influences of the neighborhood and community. Equally important, this book examines a range of solutions: Prevention and intervention efforts directed to individuals, peer groups, and families, as well as day care-, school- and community-based initiatives. Intervention within the juvenile justice system. Role of the police. Processing and detention of youth offenders. Transferring youths to the adult judicial system. Residential placement of juveniles.The book includes background on the American juvenile court system, useful comparisons with the juvenile justice systems of other nations, and other important information for assessing this problem.
Education is a hot topic. From the stage of presidential debates to tonight's dinner table, it is an issue that most Americans are deeply concerned about. While there are many strategies for improving the educational process, we need a way to find out what works and what doesn't work as well. Educational assessment seeks to determine just how well students are learning and is an integral part of our quest for improved education. The nation is pinning greater expectations on educational assessment than ever before. We look to these assessment tools when documenting whether students and institutions are truly meeting education goals. But we must stop and ask a crucial question: What kind of assessment is most effective? At a time when traditional testing is subject to increasing criticism, research suggests that new, exciting approaches to assessment may be on the horizon. Advances in the sciences of how people learn and how to measure such learning offer the hope of developing new kinds of assessments-assessments that help students succeed in school by making as clear as possible the nature of their accomplishments and the progress of their learning. Knowing What Students Know essentially explains how expanding knowledge in the scientific fields of human learning and educational measurement can form the foundations of an improved approach to assessment. These advances suggest ways that the targets of assessment-what students know and how well they know it-as well as the methods used to make inferences about student learning can be made more valid and instructionally useful. Principles for designing and using these new kinds of assessments are presented, and examples are used to illustrate the principles. Implications for policy, practice, and research are also explored. With the promise of a productive research-based approach to assessment of student learning, Knowing What Students Know will be important to education administrators, assessment designers, teachers and teacher educators, and education advocates.
In 1972 NASA launched the Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ETRS), now known as Landsat 1, and on February 11, 2013 launched Landsat 8. Currently the United States has collected 40 continuous years of satellite records of land remote sensing data from satellites similar to these. Even though this data is valuable to improving many different aspects of the country such as agriculture, homeland security, and disaster mitigation; the availability of this data for planning our nation\'s future is at risk. Thus, the Department of the Interior\'s (DOI\'s) U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) requested that the National Research Council\'s (NRC\'s) Committee on Implementation of a Sustained Land Imaging Program review the needs and opportunities necessary for the development of a national space-based operational land imaging capability. The committee was specifically tasked with several objectives including identifying stakeholders and their data needs and providing recommendations to facilitate the transition from NASA\'s research-based series of satellites to a sustained USGS land imaging program. Landsat and Beyond: Sustaining and Enhancing the Nation's Land Imaging Program is the result of the committee\'s investigation. This investigation included meetings with stakeholders such as the DOI, NASA, NOAA, and commercial data providers. The report includes the committee\'s recommendations, information about different aspects of the program, and a section dedicated to future opportunities.
Digital information and networks challenge the core practices of libraries, archives, and all organizations with intensive information management needs in many respects-not only in terms of accommodating digital information and technology, but also through the need to develop new economic and organizational models for managing information. LC21: A Digital Strategy for the Library of Congress discusses these challenges and provides recommendations for moving forward at the Library of Congress, the world's largest library. Topics covered in LC21 include digital collections, digital preservation, digital cataloging (metadata), strategic planning, human resources, and general management and budgetary issues. The book identifies and elaborates upon a clear theme for the Library of Congress that is applicable more generally: the digital age calls for much more collaboration and cooperation than in the past. LC21 demonstrates that information-intensive organizations will have to change in fundamental ways to survive and prosper in the digital age.
The National Research Council (NRC) has been conducting decadal surveys in the Earth and space sciences since 1964, and released the latest five surveys in the past 5 years, four of which were only completed in the past 3 years. Lessons Learned in Decadal Planning in Space Science is the summary of a workshop held in response to unforseen challenges that arose in the implementation of the recommendations of the decadal surveys. This report takes a closer look at the decadal survey process and how to improve this essential tool for strategic planning in the Earth and space sciences. Workshop moderators, panelists, and participants lifted up the hood on the decadal survey process and scrutinized every element of the decadal surveys to determine what lessons can be gleaned from recent experiences and applied to the design and execution of future decadal surveys.
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