Top Tech and Science Stories from 2016

This post contains links to collections of the top science and technology stories for 2016.  It is far from complete.  I will write a follow-up post in January.

PopScience:

The 100 Greatest Innovations Of 2016
Secret Santas, take note
By Popular Science Staff December 8, 2016
Each year, Popular Science picks the 100 greatest new innovations in science and technology to feature in our Best Of What’s New issue. These are the breakthroughs that will shape the future—and some may even make great Christmas presents.

From MIT Tech Review:

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2016
Which of today’s emerging technologies have a chance at solving a big problem and opening up new opportunities? Here are our picks. The 10 on this list all had an impressive milestone in the past year or are on the verge of one. These are technologies you need to know about right now.

From Science News:

Top 10 science stories of 2016: Gravitational waves, Zika, Proxima b and more

From NY Times:

Science News That Stuck With Us in 2016
By  The New York Times
As the year ends, the Science desk of The New York Times asked its reporters to look back at the news they reported on that was the most memorable. These are their selections, with a focus on archaeology, biology, physics and space.

From Nature:

2016 in news: The science events that shaped the year
Climate accords, controversial assisted reproduction and the CRISPR patent battle are among the year’s top stories.

From IEEE Spectrum:

Special Report: 2016 Top Tech to Watch
Spectrum’s annual special report on this year’s most intriguing technologies

From PC World:

The top 10 tech stories of 2016: Post-PC, post-reality
It’s been a wild and weird year for tech: Here’s a look at the stories that rocked the world of IT and beyond

Sign the petition: Elect Presidents by national popular vote

On November 8, the American people spoke clearly, and chose Hillary Clinton for President.

As of this writing, Clinton leads the popular vote by roughly 700,000 votes, with millions of votes left to be counted. Further, her lead will likely continue to grow, with most of the remaining votes coming from blue states California, Oregon and Washington.

However, because Clinton’s support was geographically concentrated, Donald Trump will win the Electoral College and become President of the United States.

This comes only sixteen years after Al Gore won the popular vote but did not become President of the United States, in a similar affront to democracy.

It is long past time that we stopped using the Electoral College to choose our Presidents, and started using the national popular vote instead. Every vote should count equally. Every state should be a swing state.

Sign the petition: Elect Presidents by national popular vote.

There is a realistic path to making an end-run around the Electoral College in time for the 2020 election. This is because we don’t need a constitutional amendment to start electing presidents by national popular vote. We only need the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact:

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) is an agreement among several U.S. states and the District of Columbia to award all their respective electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the overall popular vote in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The compact is designed to ensure that the candidate who wins the most popular votes is elected president, and it will come into effect only when it will guarantee that outcome.[2][3] As of 2016, it has been joined by ten states and the District of Columbia; their 165 combined electoral votes amount to 30.7% of the total Electoral College vote, and 61.1% of the 270 votes needed for it to have legal force.

If states and territories totaling at least 270 electoral votes pass laws joining the National Popular Vote Compact, then the next presidential election will be determined by the winner of the national popular vote. We are already up to 165.

If we can make the issue of electing Presidents based on the national popular vote broadly adopted by elected Democrats, and if Democrats can do well at the state level in the 2018 midterm elections–which is realistic in the event of an unpopular President Trump–then in 2019 we can pass laws that would make the 2020 presidential election determined by the popular vote.

(Since you might be wondering, according to the compact, states do not change the way they determine their electoral votes until enough states join that the 270 electoral vote threshold is reached. So, for example, California will only start awarding its electoral votes to the national popular vote winner instead of the state popular vote winner once states equalling 270 electoral votes have decided to do the same.)

So this is something we can actually pull off. It starts by telling all elected Democrats that you have had enough of the Electoral College, and that whenever possible they must pass laws to have their states join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

Add your name: Choose our Presidents by national popular vote.

Keep fighting,
Chris Bowers
Executive Campaign Director, Daily Kos