|From Truthdig, 9 June 2017:
Although headlines about Russia and James Comey have dominated mainstream media for most of Trump’s presidency thus far, damage to democracy has been going on behind the scenes. Advocates of net neutrality are watching in horror as Ajit Pai, head of the Federal Communications Commission, works to destroy net neutrality and other consumer protection regulations.
“Most Americans are not able to get the information that they need to keep themselves safe.” So says Mark Lloyd [MLK Visiting Scholar 2002-04], the associate general counsel and chief diversity officer at the Federal Communications Commission in 2009-2012. Lloyd, also an author, a professor of communications at USC’s Annenberg School and an Emmy Award-winning journalist, sat down with Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer on his KCRW podcast “Scheer Intelligence” for a conversation on media consolidation and consumer protection.
This communications crisis started “before Trump,” Lloyd says. He explains how a lack of effective telecommunications affects health, finances and other crucial factors of Americans’ lives.
“In the U.S., our priorities are to make sure that people are making money in communications,” Lloyd continues, “and not making sure that people are safe with the communications services that they use.”
“So we’re not even talking about whether they’re being informed about trade with China or the war in Syria,” Scheer notes. “We’re talking about, actually, what they need for their well-being.”
The two go on to discuss the FCC, where Lloyd once worked as a lawyer. Lloyd explained that, while at the FCC, he tried to make communications services more accessible to all—but then the 2016 election happened.
He goes on to break down the current battle over net neutrality:
Lloyd also explains the constitutional origins of U.S. communications and delves into media consolidation in the U.S.
“There’s nothing radically new here,” Lloyd says of the Trump administration’s stance on net neutrality and consumer protections. “The big challenge is that we have an FCC that is not really even looking at the impact of media consolidation, on what it means to local communities.”
Read the full transcript for the interview here.
| Baratunde Cola wins the 2017 Waterman Award, awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF):
| From MIT News, 30 March 2017:
3Q: J. Phillip Thompson on revitalizing Central Brooklyn
Mostly common projects are about preschool crafts.
|Malika Jeffries-EL looks to one of the most abundant elements to solve one of the world’s most pressing problems. Boston University’s BU Research recently spoke to Prof. Jeffries-EL about a life in chemistry, her favorite element, and seeing her work in lights.
Her love affair began at science camp. Like many young scientists before her, she fell hard, smitten by the elegance and beauty of the periodic table. “Back then, I was like, ‘Oh my God, there are all these different atoms!’” she recalls. “You can mix them together and make all these different molecules! I could be all day with this.”
Today, Prof. Jeffries-EL is looking for new materials that could fill a pressing need for cheaper, simpler, flexible semiconductors. As the world grows ever hungrier for laptops, iPhones, solar cells, and lights, the race for next-generation semiconductors is on. She is betting on organic polymers—long molecules comprised mostly of carbon.
BU Research: What is a polymer, anyway?
Jeffries-EL: A polymer is what we call a macromolecule, with molecules being some of the smallest things that make up, well, everything.
Wait. But no, that’s not true, is it?
Well, okay, yeah, if you want to talk physics, you can break things into particles. But if we go chemistry-style into the periodic table, we have our atoms; and if you can bind atoms together in various fashions, you can make molecules. So H2O is a molecule. It’s composed of three atoms: two hydrogens and one oxygen. A polymer is the type of molecule you get if you string a bunch of smaller molecules together. If you think about a pearl necklace, a pearl would be your molecule but the necklace would be your polymer.
So why do we care about polymers?