Exhibit 12B in Not Thinking it Through: Itemizing Those Donation Texts

Those of you who texted in your donations to various charities in light of the recent earthquake in Haiti may have a surprise when you get your next bills.  If the example of this Wired writer is any indication, the $5 or $10 (or whatever amount) may not be listed on your cell phone as a distinct line item.  So if you see a boost on your bill, think whether or not you made these donations, and calculate accordingly.

I’m kind of surprised it wasn’t easier to add a separate line to the bills, and I’m particularly surprised that organizations used to charitable donations didn’t push this given the need for receipts for tax purposes.  Perhaps they did, and the problem rests with the cell phone services.  Either way, I’m happy loads of money was raised, but hopefully things can be adjusted for the next big disaster.


The January PCAST Meeting

The January 7 meeting of the President’s Council of Advisers for Science and Technology continued the trend of the previous two – at least where major data dumps were concerned.  In a twist from the previous two meetings, this meeting took place on just one day.  It did seem, however, that the PCAST members had a longer day than the public attendees, starting at 8 a.m. and meeting long after the last public speaker finished in the late afternoon.  The public sessions are available as an archived webcast at the PCAST meetings page.

In the morning the Council heard from Kristina Johnson, Under Secretary of Energy.  Her presentation, while discussing energy and emission reduction goals at the Department, focused on questions of the balance of research investment and finding top talent for the field.  While she was clear that the percentage of energy generated from non-carbon sources must be dramatically increased (and the carbon intensity of other sources decreased), she also said it wasn’t clear what form of energy sources would or could dominate come 2050. The most achievable change that can take place between now and 2050 is improvements in energy efficiency, but it won’t be enough to reach the desired emissions targets for later in the century.

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