Duke Digest — June 6, 2014

In this issue:

  • Event Happening Monday: Big Data to Big Insights Panel Discussion
  • POLICY ANALYSIS: Duke Researchers Break Down EPA’s Proposed Guidelines for CO2 Emissions
  • Item Corrected: Duke Professor Part of Team Named Finalist for $9.5 Million Grant from CMMI
  • Duke Thanks Rep. Price (NC) for Strong Support of Social Science Research
  • Federally-Funded Duke Engineers Develop App for Autism Dectection
  • OPINION: Public is ‘Prudent, not Isolationist’ says Duke Professor
  • Duke Research Finds Emerging Technologies Make it Easier to Protect Threatened Species
  • Subscribe to Duke’s Politics and Policy Network Listserv
  • Registration Reminder for Duke Law D.C. Summer Institute on Law and Policy

 

EVENT HAPPENING MONDAY: BIG DATA TO BIG INSIGHTS PANEL DISCUSSION
The Information Initiative at Duke (iiD) is a place where multidisciplinary teams come together to make sense of “big data” – sources of information characterized by massive size, tremendous variety and rapid change – and make that data matter.  Duke faculty and student efforts to harness massive data sets to help address challenges ranging from the precise detection of explosives to early diagnosis of autism to the identification of counterfeit art.

Monday’s panel discussion, to be held in the Congressional Visitor Center, will highlight the intersection of big data, mathematics and fine art, work that has evolved from federally-funded research initiatives. It will be moderated by Robert Calderbank, the director of the iiD, and feature professors of mathematics and electrical and computer engineering and the chief conservator for the North Carolina Museum of Art. Space is limited so be sure to RSVP here.

POLICY ANALYSIS: DUKE RESEARCHERS BREAK DOWN EPA’S PROPOSED GUIDELINES FOR CO2 EMISSIONS
The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions recently released a policy providing an overview of the EPA-proposed guidelines for the control of carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel–fired power plants. These guidelines fall under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act are expected to reduce total power sector carbon emissions 30% from 2005 levels by 2030 through the setting of individual emissions targets for each state. States can choose from a range of emissions reduction strategies to develop their preferred approach for achieving their targets.

Read More:
The EPA’s Proposed Guidelines for Regulating Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Existing Power Plants (nicholasinstitute.duke.edu)

ITEM CORRECTED: DUKE PROFESSOR PART OF TEAM NAMED FINALIST FOR $9.5 MILLION GRANT FROM CMMI 
Don Taylor, associate professor of public policy at the Sanford School of Public Policy, is the lead investigator on a proposal to ” work to measure both the quality and financial outcomes of the project, and develop new financing models for how the Medicare program pays for the care of beneficiaries with advanced, life limiting illness.” Taylor discusses the project more in a recent post on his blog. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center will announce the awardees later this summer. The project is a collaboration between Duke University and Four Seasons Compassion for Life.

DUKE THANKS REP. PRICE (NC) FOR STRONG SUPPORT OF SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH
During the consideration of the FY 15 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill, an amendment was offered targeting the Social, Behavioral and Economic (SBE) Sciences directorate at NSF.  The amendment was yet another attempt to question the value of federally-funded social science research.  Rep. David Price (NC), who remains a member of the faculty at Duke, took to the floor of the House to offer a powerful defense for these programs.

A link to the full statement is below, but one particularly strong fact from Mr. Price’s speech is this: nearly a quarter of NSF-funded Nobel Prize winners in science since 1951 have been recipients of SBE program grants.

Read More:
Rep. David Price Offers Strong Defense of Social Science Research (governmentrelations.duke.edu)

FEDERALLY-FUNDED DUKE ENGINEERS DEVELOP APP FOR AUSTISM DETECTION
Researchers at Duke University have developed software that tracks and records infants’ activity during videotaped autism screening tests. Their results show that the program is as good at spotting behavioral markers of autism as experts giving the test themselves, and better than non-expert medical clinicians and students in training. According to Jordan Hashemi, a graduate student in computer and electrical engineering and his adviser, Guillermo Sapiro, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke, because the program is non-invasive, it could be useful immediately in homes and clinics. The team is working on further developments and the efforts are part of the Information Initiative at Duke, which connects researchers from disparate fields to experts in computer programming to help analyze large data sets and are funded through grants from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Read More:
Screening for Autism: There’s an App for That (pratt.duke.edu)

OPINION: PUBLIC IS ‘PRUDENT, NOT ISOLATIONIST’ SAYS DUKE PROFESSOR
Writing for The Hill, professor of political science and public policy Bruce Jentleson discusses the recent “hue and cry” over the “American public turning isolationist.” He argues, “The public is not seeking to retreat from the world. It is not going through a mood swing, as some scholars and commentators portray it, as if there were a societal biorhythm periodically shifting between internationalism and isolationism. It is being prudent about what commitments it will support and what role the U.S. should play.

Read more:
The prudent, not isolationist public (The Hill)

DUKE RESEARCH FINDS EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES MAKE IT EASIER TO PROTECT THREATENED SPECIES
Human actions have pushed extinction rates to 1,000 times faster than the natural rate, but a new Duke University-led study finds that emerging technologies could give scientists and policymakers a more efficient way to identify the species at greatest risk and take steps to protect them before it’s too late. “Online databases, smartphone apps, crowd-sourcing and new hardware devices are making it easier to collect data on species,” said Stuart L. Pimm, Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Ecology at Duke. “When combined with data on land-use change and the species observations of millions of amateur citizen scientists, technology is increasingly allowing scientists and policymakers to more closely monitor the planet’s biodiversity and threats to it.”

Read More:
New Technologies Making It Easier to Protect Threatened Species (nicholas.duke.edu)

 

SUBSCRIBE TO DUKE’S POLITICS AND POLICY NETWORK LISTSERV
The Duke Politics and Policy Network (DPPN) is an affinity group for Duke alums who self-identify as being part of the politics and policy world.  Do you work on the Hill, in the Administration, at an agency, at a lobbying firm, with a regulatory body, in a media or PR firm, at an advocacy group or think tank, for a political party, or at any other entity that falls under the politics and policy umbrella?  This group is for you. Subscribe here.

REGISTRATION REMINDER FOR DUKE LAW D.C. SUMMER INSTITUTE ON LAW AND POLICY
Course offerings in the Duke Law D.C. Summer Institute on Law and Policywill focus on topics important to current and aspiring practitioners in fields that require mastery of constitutional, statutory, and regulatory law and policymaking. The two sessions for the 2014 program are July 7-17, 2014, and July 21-July 31, 2014.  Each course is designed to offer undergraduates, recent graduates, and graduate students an accessible introduction to the pertinent legal and policy subject matter. Students who are potentially interested in attending law school are especially encouraged to enroll.