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The Wall Street Journal

A new paper co-authored by Prof. James Poterba finds that not all projects to enhance infrastructure are worth investing in, reports David Harrison for The Wall Street Journal. “If we are going to commit a significant amount of resources to new infrastructure projects or to maintain our existing infrastructure, bringing some discipline to the way we decide what we’re spending on is an important element of this,” says Poterba.

Issues in Science and Technology

Writing for Issues in Science and Technology, President L. Rafael Reif examines Vannevar Bush’s groundbreaking 1945 Science, the Endless Frontier report and considers how our needs today have changed. “To meet this moment, we need to ensure that our federally sponsored research addresses questions that will enhance our competitiveness now and in the future,” writes Reif. “Our current system has many strengths…but we must not allow these historical advantages to blind us to gaps that could become fatal weaknesses.”

Chronicle of Higher Education

Chris Jones PhD ’16, S.M. ’03, former assistant dean for graduate education at MIT, speaks with Oyin Adedoyin of The Chronicle of Higher Education about his inspiration for running for governor in Arkansas, his time as a student at MIT and his work as part of a team that doubled minority enrollment for MIT’s graduate programs.

Marketplace

President L. Rafael Reif speaks with Sabri Ben-Achour of Marketplace about the importance of the Senate passing a new bill that invests in research and development. “We are in a science and technology race for the future,” says Reif. “It is with science and technology that we address things like Covid and the biggest challenges the world has; the health of our economy, our security. That is key to all of the above.”

New York Times

Prof. Jonathan Gruber speaks with New York Times reporter David Leonhardt about the importance of the U.S. Senate passing a new bill that will increase funding for research and development, and establish a program aimed at making American innovation more geographically diverse. “We are too big a nation to have all of our innovation concentrated on the coasts,” Gruber said.

The Washington Post

Prof. Eric Lander will be sworn into his new post as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on a 500-year-old Jewish text, reports Jack Jenkins for The Washington Post. The question of what book to use for the swearing-in ceremony made him think of the choice as “a statement of what’s in my mind and what’s in my heart.”

The Hill

Prof. Ronald Prinn writes for The Hill about the urgent need for countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to help reduce global temperature increases. Lowering “transition risks toward net-zero-emissions economies will involve integration of both physical and transitional components, a process that requires new and improved models and frameworks,” writes Prinn. “The goal is to empower decision-makers in government and industry to lower the transition risks as an integral companion to mitigation strategies.”

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Elizabeth Segran writes that a new study by MIT Prof. Jackson Lu finds that mask wearing is more prevalent in communities in the U.S. with higher levels of collectivism. “It’s important to understand how culture fundamentally shapes how people respond not only to this pandemic, but to future crises as well,” says Lu.

U.S. News & World Report

A new study co-authored by MIT Prof. Jackson Lu finds that a community’s level of collectivism influences whether someone is willing to wear a mask, reports Cara Murez for U.S. News & World Report. “The role of collectivism could be studied in other crises, such as wildfires or hurricanes,” notes Murez, adding that the researchers “felt it would be important to study whether the pandemic itself has affected the sense of collectivism or individualism.”

New York Times

A new study co-authored by Professor Scott Stern finds that stimulus measures enacted during the pandemic may have contributed to a surge in start-ups in America, particularly in Black neighborhoods, reports Quoctrung Bui for The New York Times. “The idea that the pandemic has kind of restarted America’s start-up engine is a real thing,” says Stern. “Sometimes you need to turn off the car in order to turn it back on.”

New York Times

Writing for The New York Times, Prof. Amy Finkelstein makes the case that cash transfers can do more to help the poor than expanding health insurance. “Cash helps recipients directly, while health insurance would pay mainly for care that many uninsured people were already receiving at low or no cost,” writes Finkelstein.

The Tech

MIT has announced a new climate action plan aimed at helping the Institute tackle climate change, reports Kristina Chen for The Tech. The plan offers increased opportunities for student involvement and a new organizational structure. Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research, explains that MIT feels “that it’s our responsibility and duty to try to make a genuine difference, and to do that, we’re going to need the help of everyone in the community.” 

The Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe, senior lecturer Frederick Salvucci and research scientist James Aloisi underscore the importance of federal investment in infrastructure to help create a more equitable and sustainable transportation network in the future. “A federal infrastructure initiative that becomes more of the same won’t effectively respond to the urgent need to build back better, which means providing states and cities with the funding and programmatic support they need to provide the essential transportation services that make our economy work equitably,” they write.

The Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe, President L. Rafael Reif emphasizes the importance of finding affordable, equitable ways to bring the global economy to net-zero carbon by 2050. “If individuals and institutions in every part of the economy and society tackle the pieces of the problem within their reach and collaborate with each other,” writes Reif, “we have a real shot — an Earthshot — at preserving a habitable world.”

Bloomberg

Bloomberg reporter Benjamin Bain writes that Prof. Gary Gensler has been confirmed as the new head of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Bain writes that Gensler is “poised to confront everything from the fallout of the GameStop Corp. trading frenzy to the deluge of special purpose acquisition companies and the collapse of Archegos Capital Management.”