CNET: Amazon to fund $10M to improve fairness in AI research. “Amazon is giving money to broaden AI acceptance. The e-commerce giant on Monday said it’s working with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to commit up to $10 million each in research grants over the next three years to help improve fairness in artificial intelligence.”
Chronicle of Higher Education: If History Is Any Guide, End of Federal Shutdown Won’t Bring Quick Relief for College Researchers. “Neal F. Lane didn’t mince words when he spoke at the 1996 American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting, in Baltimore. On the heels of a 21-day government shutdown, then the longest in U.S. history, the National Science Foundation’s director was reeling. Funds for many continuing grants had run out. He expected funding gaps for renewals and delays in funding new awards. New programs could be pushed back significantly — perhaps six months to a year — or canceled. The shutdown, he said, had ‘demoralized our work force and destroyed any efficient timetable for our already pressured work.'”
The Verge: How The Government Shutdown Could Harm The Future Of American Science. “Graduate students and early-career researchers are watching what the government has done to their colleagues at shuttered federal agencies like the National Science Foundation and the Department of the Interior, and they’re not liking what they’re seeing. For some, the ongoing threat of government shutdowns isn’t enough to change their career goals. But for others, it’s making them rethink whether a career in the federal government is really worth the frustration. ‘I don’t know if I want a job that could be used as a pawn to further someone’s agenda,’ says Kathleen Farley, a graduate student at Rutgers University-Newark.”
Nature: Scientists despair as US government shutdown drags on. “As the shutdown hits the two-week mark with no end in sight, its effects on science have begun to compound, leaving many government researchers weary, worried and demoralized. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has suspended reviews of grant proposals indefinitely, and is likely to delay panels scheduled to judge applications for postdoctoral fellowships in early January. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has taken widely used weather and climate databases offline. And at NASA, the shutdown threatens to disrupt preparations for upcoming spacecraft launches.”
National Science Foundation: NSF supports development of new nationwide data storage network. “The National Science Foundation (NSF) is announcing a $1.8 million grant for the initial development of a data storage network over the next two years. A collaborative team will combine their expertise, facilities and research challenges to develop the Open Storage Network (OSN). OSN will enable academic researchers across the nation to work with and share their data more efficiently than ever before.”
Quartz: Google’s true origin partly lies in CIA and NSA research grants for mass surveillance. “Two decades ago, the US intelligence community worked closely with Silicon Valley in an effort to track citizens in cyberspace. And Google is at the heart of that origin story. Some of the research that led to Google’s ambitious creation was funded and coordinated by a research group established by the intelligence community to find ways to track individuals and groups online.” I realize that headline is a bit bonkers, but the article is written by someone who identifies himself as a former employee of the National Science Foundation.
National Science Foundation: A fresh look at fresh water: Researchers create a 50,000-lake database. “To better understand the complex factors that threaten lake water quality, scientists need data on many lakes in various environmental settings. Unfortunately, much of the lake and geographic data needed for such studies is not easily accessible. The datasets exist in multiple formats in government, university and private databases – and sometimes in file drawers. Now, a new ‘geography of lake water quality,’ called LAGOS, is allowing scientists to understand lakes in ways that will better inform water policy and management. LAGOS, or the LAke multi- scaled GeOSpatial and temporal database, includes information on 50,000 lakes in 17 U.S. Northeastern and upper Midwestern states.”