Growing sea acid may start dissolving shells of crabs, snails, other animals in 15 years

noaaParts of the Arctic Ocean are becoming so acidic that crabs and other shelled life may no longer be able to live in them by the end of the next decade and a half, with part of the Pacific Ocean following. This finding, reported in the journal Oceanography, isn't alarming only to environmentalists who care about sea life: such an ecological disaster
would also be an economic catastrophe for the United States, because the health of these waters and of the animals we harvest from them is crucial to our fishing industry. Almost 60% of the US fishing harvest comes from Alaska.

Scientists from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the University of Alaska, and the Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution made this calculation after studying the acid build-up during research expeditions aboard the United States Coast Guard cutter Healy. They studied two regions of the Arctic Ocean, the Chukchi Sea between Alaska and Russia, and the Beaufort Sea, to the west of Canada's Arctic Islands. The scientific team, led by Dr Jeremy Mathis and Dr Jessica Cross, concluded that the same fate seemed to be in store for the Bering Sea -- part of the Pacific -- by 2044.

Read more at the NOAA.

Top math, science teachers honored ... but STEM Corps struggle goes on

Julie Harp James ShaferThe White House has announced the 108 winners of the 2015 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The award recognizes extraordinary K-12 teachers like throughout America. Maryland's honorees are Julie Harp, of Easton High School, and James Schafer, of Montgomery Blair High School, while the the District of Columbia's are Aris Pangilinan, of Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, and Florentia Spires, of Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science. Each laureate is being invited to Washington,DC, for a ceremony to receive the award plus a $10 000 check from the National Science Foundation.

At the same time, President Obama's proposed STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Master Teacher Corps still remains unachieved after three years. In July 2012 the Obama Administration announced the planned creation of a national (STEM) Master Teacher Corps which would include some of the US's best STEM educators, with a four-year timeline to create a corps of 10 000 Master Teachers who would make a multi-year commitment to the Corps for which they'd receive up to $20 000 over their base salary. It's a great idea, but legislative efforts to make a reality have yet to make their way through Congress. Will they ever?

Read more about the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching here, and about the Master Teacher Corps here, here, and here.

Feds' innovation leadership failing to inspire staff, study finds

Stars and StripesMost US Government staff don't feel their leaders support creativity and innovation, according to a joint study by a Washington, DC-based non-profit, the Partnership for Public Service, the Deloitte auditing and business control firm, and a management consultancy, the Hay Group. Noting that "the federal government’s reputation as an innovative employer is important in recruiting the next generation of government workers", the analysts say a Government-wide survey "suggests that much more needs to be done to foster innovation at many federal organizations." According to their report, just 32.7% of federal staff see their workplaces as rewarding creative, innovative workers, and government leaders should see the survey results as "a wake-up call". The analysts started surveying perceptions of federal workplace receptivity to innovativeness in 2010 and found that these declined over a four-year period. The job and workplace satisfaction of federal staff generally also declined over this same period. High respect for senior federal leaders was reported by only some 47% of federal staff.

The best staff perceptions of innovativeness were found in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the State Department, the Commerce Department, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Air Force, and the Federal Trade Commission. Read more here.

Science editor Marcia McNutt tapped to head NAS

McNuttThe National Academy of Sciences Council has endorsed Dr Marcia Kemper McNutt to succeed NAS president Ralph J Cicerone when his term ends in Mid-2016. A geophysicist, Dr McNutt is currently editor-in-chief of Science, the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Assuming that NAS members ratify her appointment when it is put to the vote at the end of this year, she will become the first woman president of the Academy, which was established under Abraham Lincoln to advise the American people and government on science. Dr McNutt was selected as proposed new president by a nominating Committee chaired by Professor Barbara A Schaal, the NAS's previous vice president. Prof Schaal, of Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, was the first woman to be elected NAS vice president. The current vice president is Prof Diane E Griffin, of Johns Hopkins University.

Read more here.


Greece's agony: A call to entrepreneurial action

By Aris Melissaratos
This article can also be seen in the Hellenic News of America here

International dramas are seldom what they seem to be at the time they unfold. Fast-changing news reports generally focus on politicians performing for the cameras. This theater of geopolitics makes for absorbing television and gripping headlines but often masks deeper realities. So it is with the Greek debt crisis, which contains much food for thought for everyone concerned with the nature of national prosperity.

While it's true that the road to Greece's problems was paved with fiscal mistakes by multiple parties, there's a good deal more to the story than fiscal mismanagement. Economic well-being doesn't depend only on sound accounting. It's also shaped by political agendas and psychological climates which influence national and regional productivity strategies. Although money must of course be managed wisely, countries and regions need not only skilled wealth managers to prosper, but creative wealth generators whose innovative ideas are encouraged and nurtured by civic leaders with the political will to create new eras of prosperity by challenging the status quo even if this means upsetting entrenched power groups.

These truths, explained in a book I've co-authored, INNOVATION, were demonstrated to me by a long career at Westinghouse, one of America's biggest and most creative technology corporations. I then saw them reaffirmed during my tenure as Maryland's Business and Economic Development Secretary and my years as director of Johns Hopkins University's intellectual capital commercialization. These environments showed me repeatedly that while there are often overlaps between managing wealth and creating it, the two tasks are qualitatively different.

As economist Aristos Doxiadis has observed, Greece's economic development has been handicapped by over-regulation, bureaucracy, the protection of power groups, and an unwillingess to transcend a small-business mentality. These obstacles have been exacerbated by a lack of political will, and a political culture devoted to squabbling rather than bold initiatives. Instead of a determined national mission to chart a new era of prosperity for the country, there has been a sense of entitlement and an expectation that prosperity and economic health must somehow appear on demand without cultivation. In short, Greece has been crippled by a lack of entrepreneurial action, an aversion to innovation, and an apparent inertia which has tragically prevented this land of historically majestic creative imagination from thinking big about its 21st-century future.

Continue reading here.

New book by Schimpff calls for revolution in US
patient-doctor relationships

Cover Meaningful improvement of the US healthcare system requires Americans to heal the broken relationship between physicians and their individual patients, reconnecting patients with primary care doctors who have become less and less available to them as a result of crowded practice schedules and administrative barriers. So says Dr Stephen C Schimpff, former head of the University of Maryland Medical Center. Dr Schimpff, professor of medicine and public policy in the University of Maryland system and a research associate of the ArMel Center for Technology & Public Policy, analyzes the doctor-patient breakdown at the root of America's healthcare meltdown in his new book Fixing The Primary Care Crisis: Reclaiming the Patient-Doctor Relationship and Returning Healthcare Decisions to You and Your Doctor. ArMel Center innovation scholar N.J. Slabbert calls Dr Schimpff's book "a milestone in America's healthcare reform thinking which every US presidential candidate should read".

Dr Schimpff argues that while there will be a cost to fix the healthcare system, solutions are achievable and will be both successful and economically bearable if the correct steps are taken to change the way in which the medical system requires and allows primary care physicians to work. His book is introduced by economist and lawyer Anirban Basu, CEO of Sage Consulting, who asks: "How is it possible for a nation that is the world’s wealthiest and most powerful, with reams of data on hand and with an abundance of MBAs to analyze them, to produce arguably the advanced world’s most inefficient healthcare system?"

In his answer, Dr Schimpff subjects the US healthcare infrastructure to a penetratingly critical analysis, but he doesn't only criticize and uncover weaknesses: he also spotlights positive steps and puts forward concrete suggestions for progress. A substantial portion of the book identifies innovators -- including physicians, insurers, employers and healthcare organizations -- whose ideas have made important advances and must be built upon to achieve more progress. Dr Schimpff seeks to transform primary care by convincing Americans that each one of us needs a primary care physician who can give us give the time we need."This usually means a doctor who has agreed to a smaller patient panel and fewer patient visits per day." How this is to be achieved is spelled out in a carefully researched book that Dr Schimpff has written in non-technical language aimed at the general public, whom he urges to take up the cause of healthcare reform instead of leaving it exclusively to politicians and bureaucrats.

Read more here.

Gemstone named year's top life science enterprise

Davis Headshot

George Davis, Gemstone CEO

Gemstone Biotherapeutics, a company led by Aris Institute member George Davis, has won the Best Life Sciences Company award in the 2015 Maryland Incubator Company honors. The award recognizes life sciences companies working with Maryland business incubator programs.Gemstone's incubator support came from a Johns Hopkins University program, FastForward East, part of the JHU Technology Ventures initiative, helping to develop a new technology for the treatment of acute and chronic wounds including burn trauma. To undertake this research and development Gemstone entered into a licence agreement with JHU which enabled it to use intellectual property generated by JHU inventor Dr Sharon Gerecht, an expert on tissue regeneration. Dr Gerecht is a bioengineering graduate of the Israel Institute of Technology and has conducted advanced research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Read more here.

The Aris Institute was founded and is chaired by engineer, investor and business leader Aris Melissaratos, Dean of the Brown School of Business and Leadership at Stevenson University. The Institute is affiliated with the ArMel Scientifics Center for Technology and Public Policy, but the two are legally separate entities. They also have different missions.

Our sister organization, the ArMel Center, is a think tank or research entity, while the Aris Institute has a social networking mission, bringing the energies of diverse thought leaders together to explore and facilitate cooperative initiatives. Whereas the ArMel Center is focused on national (US) and global issues, the Aris Institute combines a national and global perspective with a special interest in Maryland and the national capital region, which is our home. We promote progressive ideas and actions related to knowledge growth and economic, infrastructural and cultural developments in and around this region. We’re not linked to any political party. We believe good ideas come from many sources.

Our website’s NEWS page circulates interesting news items in all these areas of interest, while on our PEOPLE page you can see a list of our current members. Our PUBLICATIONS page features publications produced by members of our Institute and our affiliate, the Armel Scientifics Center, and publications which reference the work of our innovation community. If you’d like to join our Institute, go here. It’s free.

We hope you enjoy our website.  If you’d like to contact us, please e-mail us via our CONTACT page, which also contains the terms and conditions applying to use of our site. Thanks for visiting us!