Government IT projects make headlines.
Scientists from Mexico, Canada and the University of Arizona tentatively agreed to work jointly on research and development for biotechnology, optics, border security and other areas. Proposals include establishing an agricultural biotechnology research center to help scientists collaborate on plant genetics research and on technology to help border trade move easily while ensuring border security. -- Arizona Daily Star
Police in Wilmington, Del., activated an automatic telephone calling system to tell people about crime trends or missing persons. The nonemergency system dials 12 phones per minute to deliver a prerecorded message. The reverse 911 system will be used to report crime trends, dispense crime-prevention tips, and issue alerts about registered sex offenders, lost children or missing Alzheimer's patients. -- www.delawareonline.com/The News Journal
The Georgia Department of Transportation began putting plasma screen monitors in business center lobbies in the state's urban areas, and in welcome centers along the state route system to update drivers on road conditions.
Argonne National Laboratory-West in Idaho is developing a radioisotope thermoelectric generator, or space battery, that can survive in a harsh space environment for decades. It may help NASA discover if water exists on Jupiter's moons. The space battery will be attached to a long-range exploration probe and should be launched by 2012. The battery will power the probe and protect its instruments from freezing in space. -- Pocatello Idaho State Journal
Researchers at New Mexico's Los Alamos National Laboratory are developing methods to cleanly burn diesel or gasoline fuel using plasma combustion. The technique applies electrical voltage to the gaseous-phase fuel stream prior to combustion, turning the fuel into plasma. The plasma unit refines the fuel, cutting long chains of hydrocarbons into smaller parts -- the smaller the parts, the better the burn -- allowing cheap fuels to combust like expensive ones.
Pennsylvania received $1 million from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration to map locations of underground mine voids. The state's Department of Environmental Protection will create an electronic database of abandoned mines, drawn from state and industry maps. -- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
T.F. Green Airport in Rhode Island will test technology that lets security officials track people and vehicles moving around the airport. The system will use a new radar to view moving vehicles -- and possibly people -- near the runways and tarmac, and will use advanced video cameras to track "rogue persons" as they move around the terminal. -- The Providence Journal
Virginia and Maryland will establish the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) to strengthen aerospace industries in both states. MARS will include NASA's Goddard Flight Center, the Wallops Flight Facility, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. The spaceport will launch small to medium-size satellites and flight experiments for government, academic and commercial entities.