Investment trends

  • WaterWater sector ready for investment, technological innovation

    Investors looking for promising growth markets would do well to consider their water bill. Water’s artificially low price in most of the United States is one factor holding back innovative new water technologies, according to the report – but the time is right for change. Across the West, drought has left wide swaths of agricultural land brown, with massive wildfires raging through tinder-dry forests, residential wells tapped out and unemployed farm workers crowding food pantries. The drought is projected to cost the agricultural sector about $2.2 billion in 2014. The social and ecological damage is also profound. Technological innovation in the water sector could bring a raft of benefits ranging from the conservation of scarce water supplies to the expansion of water supplies through technologies that recycle or desalinate, for example.

  • Nuclear powerU.S. loses clean electricity as nuclear power plants keep closing

    Four nuclear power plants, sources of low-emissions electricity, have announced closings this year. The main reason: the increasing availability of cheap natural gas as a result of fracking. If plants continue to shut down instead of extending operations, the United States risks losing 60 percent of its clean electricity starting in 2030, according to a new report by the American Physical Society (APS). The APS calls on socially responsible investors to encourage utilities to consider carbon emissions in business decisions.

  • BusinessFinancial decision making, risk taking in the face of changing climate

    Maximizing returns on financial investments depends on accurately understanding and effectively accounting for weather and climate risks, according to a new study by the American Meteorological Society. An AMS report concludes that financial investments face a range of risks due to existing weather patterns and climate variability and climate change. Even small changes in weather can impact operations in critical economic sectors. At the same time, climate variability and change can either exacerbate existing risks or cause new sources of risk to emerge.

  • High-tech economyHigh tech more effective than tax climate in driving states' economic growth

    Race-to-the-top policies are generally defined as those involving investments in education, entrepreneurship, and infrastructure; race-to-the-bottom policies involve competition among the states for jobs by using lower taxes and industrial recruitment incentives; researchers find that states with more technology classes in school, higher domain name registrations, and more people online tended to economically outperform states with a lower emphasis on technology

  • Aviation securityMilestone: Trusted Traveler reaches million members

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said the agency’s Trusted Traveler Programs have reached one million members; Trusted Traveler Programs include Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST

  • Law enforcement technologyIdentifying the criminals among multiple DNA samples

    Providing certainty without a reasonable doubt is not possible when the DNA at a crime scene comes from multiple sources; this happens in about one in ten cases, meaning that important evidence for putting a criminal behind bars is lost; a new technique takes the uncertainty out of DNA samples, when more than one person’s DNA fingerprint is in the mix

  • Energy futuresOil will run dry before substitutes roll out: study

    At the current pace of research and development, global oil will run out ninety years before replacement technologies; the authors of the new study say the findings are a warning that current renewable-fuel targets are not ambitious enough to prevent harm to society, economic development and natural ecosystems

  • TrendAngel investors flee seed and start-up stage in first half of 2010

    Angel investors committed fewer dollars in more deals in the first half of 2010, with seed and start-up stage investing declining to its lowest level in several years, a trend that soon could impact new ventures and job creation; total investments in the first half of 2010 were $8.5 billion, a decrease of 6.5 percent over the first half of 2009

  • Aviation security / biometricsSix years later, U.S. pilot's licenses still not secure

    In 2004 Congress told the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to come up with a pilot’s license that included the pilot’s photo and could contain biometric information like fingerprints or iris scans; critics charge that today, the only pilots pictured on FAA licenses are flight pioneers Wilbur and Orville Wright, and the licenses lack biometric data

  • TSA looks for commercial software to manage Secure Flight

    Managing the long — very long — No Fly and Terror Watch lists is not a simple task; TSA is looking to purchase commercial software to help manage its Secure Flight program which checks the information airlines collect about passengers against DHS terrorist watch lists

  • Michigan's billion-dollar experiment in diversifying state's economy yields mixed results

    In 2006 Michigan embarked on a bold experiment to save its economy: making loans to fledgling companies, investing money in venture capital firms and awarding millions in grants to university professors and nonprofit groups; the project’s record is mixed, and some of the goals are yet to be achieved, but supporters say it is too early to judge the results

  • The boom (or is it a bubble?) in federal cybersecurity

    The Obama administration and Congress are allocating more funds to cybersecurity; much of that new spending, estimated at $6 to $7 billion annually just in unclassified work, is focused on the Washington region, as the federal government consolidates many of its cybersecurity-focused agencies in the area; some VCs warn of a cybersecurity bubble

  • TrendMarket for first responders, law enforcement robotics to see robust growth

    Market for first responders and law enforcement robotics reached $203.1 million in 2009; it is anticipated to reach $3.7 billion by 2016; market growth will come as border patrols and law enforcement agencies use robots to achieve broader security in a less expensive manner

  • Intellectual Ventures: A genuine path breaker or a patent troll?

    Intellectual Ventured has amassed 30,000 patents, spent more than $1 million on lobbying last year, and its executives have contributed more than $1 million to Democratic and Republican candidates and committees; the company says it wants to build a robust, efficient market for “invention capital”; critics charge that some of its practices are closer to that of a patent troll

  • TrendUtilities to bolster smart grid cybersecurity

    Annual spending on cybersecurity by electric utilities will triple by 2015, driven by investment in equipment protection and configuration management; between 2010 and 2015, Utility companies will invest more than $21 billion on cybersecurity