Science & Technology

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Blog Post - perspectives-on-public-purpose

Event Recap: Investing in Web3

| Dec. 01, 2022

On November 17th, the Technology and Public Purpose (TAPP) Project hosted its second panel Investing in Web3 as part of a three-part Perspectives in Web3 Virtual Series. It was an especially timely discussion given the series of events which have unfolded over the last few weeks surrounding the collapse of FTX, formerly the second largest centralized crypto exchange platform. Joining the conversation wereNick Ducoff of G20 Ventures,Lauren Stephanianof Pantera Capital, andBrandon Hoffmanof Sunset Ventures. This blog serves as an event recap and outlines some key takeaways from the event.

In this April 20, 2021, file photo, an alert from the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is photographed. Most Americans across party lines have serious concerns about cyber attacks on U.S. computer systems and view China and Russia as major threats.

(AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

Policy Brief - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Internet Superpowers

| November 2022

As inventions go, the Internet stacks up with the best of them: the lightbulb, automobile, maybe even fire. However, it’s time for policymakers to look carefully at how its swift transformation of society has affected freedom. Today’s disconcerting answer is that it breaks some essential tools for a civilized society, writes Steve Johnson. 

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Blog Post - perspectives-on-public-purpose

Combat Neurodegenerative Diseases Crisis with Technology and Public Policy

| Nov. 21, 2022

Neurodegenerative diseases (NDD) such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS represent a global health crisis affecting more than nine million people in the United States alone. NDDs are caused by progressive loss of central nervous system neurons - currently, there is no cure to reverse this loss. The only approved therapies are palliative or mildly reduce some symptoms. In this blog, the author introduces ways technology and public policy can improve the drug discover process to "cure the uncureable" - setting the stage for his larger research project this academic year.

Daniel Jacob

Doug Gavel

News - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

HPCA Co-Hosts Important COP-27 Side Event on Measuring Methane Emissions to Advance Global Climate Policy

    Author:
  • Doug Gavel
| Nov. 21, 2022

Significant technological advances in satellite technology and atmospheric measurements have greatly enhanced the understanding of methane concentrations and emissions. The dynamic ways in which those advancements are allowing researchers to monitor methane emissions down to the source level was the focus of discussion Thursday (November 17) at a COP-27 side event co-hosted by the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, the Enel Foundation, and the government of Mexico.

Book - W.W. Norton & Company

A Hacker's Mind: How the Powerful Bend Society's Rules, and How to Bend Them Back

| February 2022

A hack is any means of subverting a system’s rules in unintended ways. In A Hacker’s Mind, Bruce Schneier takes hacking out of the world of computing and uses it to analyze the systems that underpin our society: from tax laws to financial markets to democracy. He reveals an array of powerful actors whose hacks bend our economic, political, and legal systems to their advantage, at the expense of everyone else.

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Blog Post - perspectives-on-public-purpose

The Future of Urban Development: Applying Blockchain for Civic Participation

| Oct. 21, 2022

"One way to restore trust [in institutions like local government] is to empower citizens to play a greater role in shaping their cities through more direct participation in local city development and policymaking, as this would allow cities to better reflect the needs of their residents."

Throughout this blog, Technology and Public Purpose Fellow Helena Rong introduces the concept of participatory urban development and planning as an interesting model for democratic processes; highlights how DLTs such as blockchain and its associated concepts of "tokenization" could potentially contribute to building digital tools that elevate fundamental principles of democracy, such as public participation and ownership; and finally, outlines the goals and objectives of her fellowship project that will aim to dive into some of the key questions stated above.

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Announcement - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center’s Eric Rosenbach Named to Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board

| Oct. 20, 2022

The U.S. Department of State announced Tuesday, October 18 that Eric Rosenbach, Belfer Center Co-Director and former Pentagon Chief of Staff and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security, has been named to the Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board (ISAB).  

A person on the left bends to take pictures of a drone showcased on a platform on the right.

AP Photo/Joe Buglewicz

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Buying What Works: An Acquisitions Strategy for the Reality of Dual-Use Technologies

| October 2022

In this student research paper, Harvard Kennedy School student Coen Williams finds that  The Department of Defense should implement an “effects-driven” acquisitions system rather than “capabilities-based” to effectively acquire and utilize commercially developed capabilities. An effects-driven acquisitions system will increase the diversity of solutions, and by appropriating money to effects-driven portfolios, Congress can still maintain control of the purse while the Department of Defense can more effectively allocate its appropriated funds.

Researcher Dr. Ramachandran Prakasam pulls stem cells out of a nitrogen tank

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Journal Article - Nature Reviews Physics

Three Common Misconceptions About the Nature and Nurture of Research

Venkatesh Narayanamurti and Jeffrey Y. Tsao discuss lessons learned from the success of the great 20th- century industrial research labs and warn against three common misconceptions about what drives, and how one can stimulate, scientific and technological progress. They advocate for the value of learning and surprise, and for an irreverence for boundaries of all kind — between disciplines, science and technology, and the finding of new questions and new answers.