B>More Money for R&D
Science and technology investments will begin a long-term growth period this year, boosting spending beyond the $185 billion forecast for 1995, according to a report by Battelle.
However, funds are continuing their drift toward applied research, limiting the money going into basic research, said the report, prepared by Jules Duga, based in Columbus, Ohio. Industry will increase its reliance on cooperative research, often with other companies, but also with government and non-profit labs, said the report.
The forecast for 1995 includes $65.5 billion in government research, up 2.4 percent from last year, and $107.4 billion in industry research, up 3.6 percent from last year. The balance of the research money is spent by universities and other non-profit organizations.
However, the growth may be upset by continued budget cutting in Con-gress, Duga said. "I am not sure industry will be able to take up the slack."
Personalized Chemical Warfare
GRC International in Vienna, Va., and Orbital Sciences Corp., Dulles, Va., will jointly develop a hand-held device to detect chemical warfare attacks, such as those which killed and injured commuters on the Japanese subway recently.
Although the immediate demand is from military forces, the device's handy size will allow it to be used for commercial applications, such as air pollution monitoring and the detection of some types of explosives, according to a press release from GRC.
Infotech Spending Optimism
Almost 90 percent of the largest companies in the United States are expanding their investments in information technology, according to a survey conducted for Chicago-based A.T. Kearney Inc., by Louis Harris & Associates.
The survey of 778 of the world's largest companies with total sales of more than $1 trillion, showed that 75 percent believe they are getting good value from infotech. But half of the companies said that the technology has proved difficult to work with.
Semiconductors R Us
With $100 million in investment agreements to back it up, the Semiconductor Research Corp. and three U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories have begun efforts to improve the technology used to design and build powerful computer chips. The work will be done at the Center for Semiconductor Modeling and Simulation in Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico.
If Congress Fails, Try the Courts
The U.S. Telephone Association has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the ban on consortiums owning telephone and cable companies. The court is considering the issue following a decision by the Fourth Circuit Court in Richmond, Va., which allowed Bell Atlantic to operate in both industries. New legislation that would overturn the ban is working its way through Congress, but its fate is uncertain.
In an ironic twist, the administration is using an old standby, an 800-number, to educate the public on the information superhighway.
Internet sites have been operational for years, but many citizens do not have access to computers. Nor do they understand the role that computer technology will play in obtaining a job, according to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The phone line has been operating since late May and one of the most common questions is from people without computers asking if there is a public site in their neighborhood where they can use one for free. Call 1-800-NII-8818.
A Tucson computer consultant and World Wide Web designer, Steve Moyer, has consolidated and modified information from a number of pages at the House of Representatives Internet site to create a new home page that allows users to send E-mail to representatives who may not have actually made it online themselves. Users select the congressman they want to contact and enter a messages that is sent via the "comments" area. Users also are encouraged to send mail to "The Good Representatives," members who have set up their own E-mail addresses. Visit the Web site at http://www.primenet.com/solutions
"Information has been one of the pillars of our national strategy.... now it is the dominant feature."
-- Adm. Arthur Cebrowski, director of command, control and communications for the Joint Staff