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National Medal of Technology Nominations Requested

The U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration seeks nominations for the National Medal of Technology, America's equivalent of the Nobel Prize. The president of the United States, on behalf of the nation, presents the prestigious National Medal of Technology to individuals, teams of individuals, or companies who have improved the American economy and quality of life by their outstanding contributions through technology. Submissions are due May 23. For information, contact Mildred Porter, director, National Medal of Technology, Technology Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C. (phone: 202/482-5572).

Trade Information

The World Trade Organization has enhanced its Web site pages on market access. Market access for goods in the WTO refers to the conditions, tariff and non-tariff measures, agreed to by members for the entry of specific goods into their markets. Tariff commitments for goods are set out in each member’s schedules of concessions on goods. WTO members seek to continually improve market access through the regular WTO work program and through negotiations such as those launched at the Doha Ministerial Conference in November 2001. The enhanced pages make it easier to find updated information on these topics.


Experiments are needed for the 18th annual National Educators’ Workshop (NEW:Update). This year, NEW:Update will be a part of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s celebration of 100 years of flight. The workshop will emphasize experiments and demonstrations for use in classrooms and lab courses, improved methods for teaching technical content, and plenary sessions on emerging technology. Abstracts of papers, experiments, or demonstrations are due May 1. Contact: Jim Jacobs, School of Science and Technology, Norfolk State University, 700 Park Ave., Norfolk, VA 23504-8060 (phone: 757/823-8109).

Pentagon Building Performance Report

Analysis by a team of six of the nation’s prominent structural, fire protection and forensic engineers concluded that the 60-year-old Pentagon in Washington, D.C., possessed a resilient structural system that curtailed the damage done by the intentional crash of a hijacked plane on Sept. 11, 2001. Released by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), The Pentagon Building Performance Report showed that following the Sept. 11 crash, the structural system redistributed the weight of the building and its contents among the columns left standing, thereby limiting the collapse of floors above the point of impact. The team concluded that the Pentagon’s structural performance validates measures to reduce collapse resulting from unlikely events. These measures include continuity, redundancy in design and construction, and spirally steel-reinforced concrete columns that absorb energy from a lateral load.

Missile Defense Agency Web Site: Providing Tech Transfer Solutions

The Department of Defense’s Missile Defense Agency’s Web site provides access to information about “military technology with commercial potential.” The site features over 200 abstracts of MDA-funded technologies available for commercialization. Each abstract contains descriptions of the technology, its MDA applications, its potential civilian and other military applications, and the developer’s commercialization activities. Point-of-contact information is also included. The technologies described were originally developed for the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization; because of its technological advancement, they could also be used in a wide range of civilian applications, too. The MDA site was created by the National Technology Transfer Center – Washington Operations for MDA’s Technology Applications program.

The Joke’s On Us

In the September 2002 issue of SN, we ran a story in Global Notebook about Standards New Zealand’s development of a standard for the recognition, categorization, and treatment of hangovers, asserting “It’s Official — There Is Now a Standard for Everything.” Alas, the irresistible story was literally too good to be true. In their December 2002/January 2003 issue, the editorial staff of Standards explains, “unwary readers should take note that the article was based on a media release dated 1 April, i.e., April Fool’s day, and was indeed a hoax!” This being the March 2003 issue of SN, another potential headline for this item is “News Travels at Speed of Molasses in Standards Community.” //

Copyright 2003, ASTM