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National Science Board sets priorities for the National Science Foundation (Credit: NSF)

National Science Board Touts Merits of Merit Review And Looks To The Future

A former patent clerk named Albert Einstein sketched notes on the theory of relativity in 1905. More than a century later, the long-standing theory was validated when the Laser Interferometer Gravitation-Wave Observatory detected gravitational waves originating from the collision of two black holes. This research was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), which makes possible scientific discovery from space observations to human genetics to volcanic influence on sea level.

Summer in Washington, D.C. (Credit: Tyrol5 / wikimedia)

July Progress On Capitol Hill

The first two weeks of July were especially busy on Capitol Hill as lawmakers made a final legislative push before they left for recess. Appropriations bills were high on their agenda since Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 expires at the end September, and the Senate and House are now on a seven-week hiatus until September 6.

The North American Regional Report of the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO6) (Credit: UN Environmental Programme)

U.N. Global Environmental Outlook Report: Time to Address Climate Change

This week, a panel discussed the state of North America’s environment based on the sixth Global Environmental Outlook (GEO6) North American regional report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The report is one of six regional reports that form a comprehensive overview of environmental health based on input from 1,203 scientists, 160 governments, hundreds of scientific institutions, United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders.

Appropriations season continues. (Credit: Pexels)

Defense Appropriations Stalled By Partisanship

The final effort to pass the Senate’s Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2017, S. 3000, fell short, effectively putting an end to this year’s efforts to pass individual appropriations bills. Surprisingly, the partisan split on whether or not to approve the bill, which funds defense agencies, including Navy research and development, was less about the bill itself (spending allocations were under the agreed-upon limit, and the bill passed unanimously out of committee) and wholly about distrust between parties.

The beach at Kanapou Bay collects debris from throughout the Pacific Ocean. (Credit: NOAA Photo Library / Flickr)

Quest To Quench Ocean Trash Problem

The Oceans Caucus Foundation, with support from a number of organizations, hosted a Congressional briefing to discuss ongoing issues associated with marine debris and how to solve this global problem.

Crewmembers of the Los Angeles-class submarine USS Annapolis (SSN 760) man the bridge watch after breaking through the ice during Ice Exercise (ICEX 2009) in the Arctic Ocean. (Credit: U.S. Navy, Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tiffini M. Jones)

Navy Sees Future Gaps In Subs

At a hearing in front of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, the discussion centered not only the need to build more submarines but on the technological advances that will be required.

Representative Sam Farr (CA-20) supports ocean research and new fisheries technology (Credit: Wikimedia)

Exciting New Fisheries Technology

Representative Sam Farr (CA-20) opened the Marine Technology Society and the House Oceans Caucus Congressional briefing this week by noting his attempts over 28 years in Congress “trying to develop as much interest in the ocean as there is in space.”

The U.S. Coast Guard Polar Sea around McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, on Mar. 15, 2007 has now been decommissioned. (Credit: Kevin J. Neff/U.S. Coast Guard )

Coast Guard Actions In The Arctic

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, held a hearing on the Coast Guard’s implementation capabilities in the Arctic to outline the state of play in the region.