Monday, December 19, 2011
ORNL in the News

ORNL's Mason: 'It's not enough to just make the pitch and get the funding'

(Knoxville News Sentinel) I talked this afternoon with Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thom Mason for a year-ender piece that will probably appear in the print version of the News Sentinel sometime before 2012 arrives. I started off by asking some questions about some of the criticisms (relatively soft, at that) in the Department of Energy's FY 2011 evaluation of the lab management....12/16

ORNL's Report Card for 2011

(Knoxville News Sentinel) The Department of Energy today released the Fiscal Year 2011 report cards for the Science labs, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory...12/16

MERCURY

(Utility Products) Dave Huizenga, DOE's assistant secretary for environmental management, visited Oak Ridge in October and specifically asked to see some of the mercury problem sites...The third priority is getting rid of the uranium-233 stockpile that's stored in a World War II-era building at Oak Ridge National Laboratory...n.d.

DOE

Climategate Bombshell: Did U.S. Gov't Help Hide Climate Data?

(Fox News) Are your tax dollars helping hide global warming data from the public? Internal emails leaked as part of “Climategate 2.0” indicate the answer may be "Yes."...12/15

Industry to Tap National Labs in DOE Initiative to Cut Red Tape

(U.S. DOE) DOE announced on December 8 a new pilot initiative to reduce hurdles that prevent innovative companies from working with the DOE's national laboratories...12/14

East Tennessee

Madeline Rogero sworn in as mayor of Knoxville

(WBIR) Madeline Rogero became Knoxville's first female mayor Saturday morning, during an inauguration ceremony in the Jacob Building at Chilhowee Park. Rogero is the 68th mayor to take office in the city, following interim-mayor Daniel Brown who filled the vacancy left by former Knoxville mayor and now Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam...12/17

National

House Passes Spending Bill, Averting Shutdown

(New York Times) The House passed a $1 trillion spending package on Friday to avert a government shutdown while negotiations continued to try to reach a separate year-end agreement on a payroll tax break and an extension of unemployment benefits...12/16

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il Is Dead

(Wall Street Journal) Kim Jong Il, the dictator who used fear and isolation to maintain power in North Korea and his nuclear weapons to menace his neighbors and threaten the U.S., has died, North Korean state television reported early Monday...12/19

ConvoysIraq celebrates U.S. exit, worries for future

(CBS News) Even as Iraqis celebrated the departure of the last American troops Sunday, the dangers left behind after nearly nine years of war were on full display. Politicians feuded along the country's potentially explosive sectarian lines and the drumbeat of deadly violence went on...12/18

energy & science policy

Inside Energy Extra

12/16 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]

  • DOE science lab managers grade well
  • OCS wind developers fear meddling
  • US ties strings to Shell Chukchi plan
  • SEC probe of Chinese solar firms sought

science & technology

Endangered Orangutans Offer a New Evolutionary Model for Early Humans

(Science Daily) Nathaniel Dominy, associate professor of anthropology, has been studying the dietary habits of these apes: what food they eat and how they digest it. "We are interested in how orangutans cope with food-limited environments because it may give us a glimpse into what early human ancestors were facing," Dominy explains...12/13

Google CarGoogle wins patent for driverless car technology

(PhysOrg) The application is titled "Transitioning a Mixed-mode Vehicle to Autonomous Mode." The patent presents a method listing numerous "embodiments" suggested, for a vehicle that switches from being driven by a human to moving, stopping, and parking autonomously...12/19

Detecting the 'Heartbeat' of Smallest Black Hole Candidate

(Science Daily) An international team of astronomers has identified a candidate for the smallest-known black hole using data from NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE). The evidence comes from a specific type of X-ray pattern, nicknamed a "heartbeat" because of its resemblance to an electrocardiogram...12/15

Other Stories

Christopher HitchensChristopher Hitchens dead at 62

(Washington Post) Christopher Hitchens, a sharp-witted provocateur who used his formidable learning, biting wit and muscular prose style to skewer what he considered high-placed hypocrites, craven lackeys of the right and left, “Islamic fascists” and religious faith of any kind, died Dec. 15 at a hospital in Houston. He was 62...12/16

Vaclav HavelVaclav Havel, dissident playwright and former Czech president, dies

(Washington Post) Vaclav Havel, a Czech writer who was imprisoned by his country’s communist rulers, only to become a symbol of freedom and his nation’s first president in the post-communist era, died Dec. 18 at his weekend home in the northern Czech Republic. He was 75...12/18

Out There

Exoplanet"Dry-Roasted, Irradiated Exoplanet, Anyone?"

(Discovery News) Imagine the worst the sun could throw at Earth. Say, a record-breaking bubble of highly charged particles called a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). Should one of these be hurled at our planet, a worst-case scenario would be some dead satellites (yep, that means no cable TV), magnificent auroral displays and possible widespread power outages...