Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Gov't Knows Best? White House creates 'nudge squad' to shape behavior

The federal government is hiring what it calls a "Behavioral Insights Team" that will look for ways to subtly influence people's behavior, according to a document describing the program obtained by FoxNews.com. Critics warn there could be unintended consequences to such policies, while supporters say the team could make government and society more efficient. 
While the program is still in its early stages, the document shows the White House is already working on such projects with almost a dozen federal departments and agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture. 
"Behavioral sciences can be used to help design public policies that work better, cost less, and help people to achieve their goals," reads the government document describing the program, which goes on to call for applicants to apply for positions on the team.
The document was emailed by Maya Shankar, a White House senior adviser on social and behavioral sciences, to a university professor with the request that it be distributed to people interested in joining the team. The idea is that the team would "experiment" with various techniques, with the goal of tweaking behavior so people do everything from saving more for retirement to saving more in energy costs.

Read more at FoxNews.com: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/07/30/govt-knows-best-white-house-creates-nudge-squad-to-shape-behavior/

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

US shipment of F-16s to post-Morsi Egypt hits delay

Four F-16 fighter jets were scheduled to fly to Egypt on Tuesday morning as part of a U.S. military aid package worth more than $1 billion a year -- but the shipment has run into delays over apparent "political" issues. 
If the Obama administration is able to send the planes, it will mark the first known military aid to Egypt since millions of Egyptians protested the rule of Mohammed Morsi, leading the Egyptian military to remove him from power earlier this month. 
Supporters say that such aid is critical because it gives the U.S. influence over the Egyptian military. But critics say it is a waste of money, or worse -- a gift of weapons that could later be turned against American interests. 
The shipment has now been delayed at least 24 hours due to "political reasons," according to a source who works on the naval air base in Fort Worth, Texas, from where the planes were being sent. 
Officials at the U.S. Department of State, asked by FoxNews.com about the unexpected delay, explained that "we are reviewing our obligations and are consulting with Congress about the way forward." 
The statement refers to the legality of sending the planes to Egypt, which is questionable because of a 2012 law that forbids the president from sending military aid to any government that has come to power in a "military coup." 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/07/23/us-shipment-f-16s-to-post-morsi-egypt-hits-delay/?test=latestnews#ixzz2Zu4okLV9

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Friday, July 19, 2013

States battle surging seas -- despite uncertainty among climate scientists

Large parts of Florida may be underwater in the next few decades, and New York thinks $20 billion might save the city from the coming floodwaters of climate change, but some scientists disagree about whether there’s even a problem.
A new report in the prestigious journal Nature Geosciences concludes that water levels are set to rise by as much as 7 feet in the next thousand years. With similar concerns in mind, some lawmakers say now is the time to act.
“Climate change and rising sea levels is a serious concern for all Americans, but especially those who live in low-lying areas,” New York City Congressman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said in a statement to FoxNews.com.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/07/18/states-battle-surging-seas-despite-uncertainty-among-climate-scientists/#ixzz2ZPnCO5uT

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Exclusive: Regulations helped kill Google Reader, source says

Google plans to kill the popular Reader service today -- and government over-regulation played a big role, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The service, which allows users to see new posts from their favorite blogs and websites all on one page, has been around since 2005 and has millions of users, so the decision to end the program left many wondering: why kill it?
"You would think that it would take little effort to maintain the site, but compliance keeps the cost up," the source told FoxNews.com.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2013/07/01/regulations-helped-kill-google-reader-source-says/

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