National Science Foundation Gives Tens of Millions to Fight COVID ‘Disinformation,’ Populism

Government efforts to squelch purported misinformation and disinformation on the most contested subjects in American politics don’t stop with Cabinet-level agencies.

The National Science Foundation has awarded at least $39 million in grants and contracts in fiscal years 2021 and 2022 for projects that target misinformation or disinformation, frequently pertaining to COVID-19 and elections.

Read More

Math Professor Convicted of Hiding China Ties to Get Taxpayer Funding

A federal grand jury found a professor at a public university guilty on espionage charges Wednesday, according to court records.

The jury found Mingqing Xiao, a math professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC), guilty on four counts related to filing false tax statements, according to records from The Southern District of Illinois United States District Court.

Read More

University of Kansas Researcher Convicted of Secretly Working for China

On Thursday, a researcher with the University of Kansas was convicted of covering up illegal work he was doing on behalf of China while living in the United States.

According to ABC News, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson is still weighing a motion to have the case against Feng Tao of Lawrence, Kansas dismissed. Robinson asked Tao’s lawyers to submit in writing their arguments for dismissal. Until then, the trial will proceed accordingly.

Read More

Democratic Senate Bill Allocates $5 Million for ‘Chief Diversity Officer’ at National Science Foundation

Black scientist with safety goggles and mask on

A Senate bill that ostensibly focuses on strengthening American competition with China includes a provision between the lines that would designate $5 million for funding of a new “chief diversity officer” position at the National Science Foundation (NSF), according to the Washington Free Beacon.

The bill is the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which is supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans. The bill aims to address the ongoing economic rivalry and supply chain crisis between the United States and China, by increasing domestic manufacturing and tightening supply lines in the United States.

According to the bill, the duties of the NSF’s new “chief diversity officer” would include “establishing a strategic plan for diverse participation” in the foundation’s various programs, as well as collecting information on the demographics of the NSF’s staff and patent applicants, in order to know which demographics to hire to offset alleged “inequity.” The bill would direct states to close such “equity gaps” by giving subgrants to students in computer science education classes who face “systemic barriers.”

Read More

Federal Government Pays University $750k to Create Tool That Warns Journalists Against Publishing ‘Polarizing’ Content

The National Science Foundation (NSF) provided a $750,000 grant to Temple University researchers for developing a product that tracks local journalism cycles, which is part of their new “Trust & Authenticity in Communication Systems” initiative.

The “America’s Fourth Estate at Risk: A System for Mapping the (Local) Journalism Life Cycle to Rebuild the Nation’s News Trust” project aims to create a data-based tool that informs journalists when publishing content might result in “negative unintended outcomes” like “the triggering of uncivil, polarizing discourse, audience misinterpretation, the production of misinformation, and the perpetuation of false narratives.”

Read More

Federal Grant Gives College Nearly $500K to Increase ‘Racial/Ethnic and Gender Diversity in STEM’

Alverno College in Wisconsin recieved a $499,983 grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to increase “racial/ethnic and gender diversity in STEM.”

According to the NSF grant abstract, the money will be used to “directly engage” 400 students at the college who are currently enrolled in STEM courses and focus on connecting women and minority students to their “professional and social communities.”

Read More

Another Professor Indicted for Receiving Secret Support from China

A professor at Southern Illinois University received an indictment for concealing his support from the Chinese government.

According to a United States Department of Justice press release, Mingqing Xiao — who teaches mathematics at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale — “fraudulently obtained $151,099 in federal grant money from the National Science Foundation (NSF) by concealing support he was receiving from the Chinese government and a Chinese university.”

Accordingly, he was charged with two counts of wire fraud and one count of making a false statement. He faces the possibility of twenty-year sentences for each of the former, as well as a five-year sentence for the latter. All three charges are punishable by fines of up to $250,000 each.

Read More

U.S. Attorney’s Office Drops Charges Against Visiting Chinese Scientist Accused of Trade Secret Theft

The Charlottesville U.S. Attorney’s office dropped all charges of trade secret theft and computer intrusion against visiting Chinese scientist Haizhou Hu. The prosecution determined that some of the trade secrets were within Hu’s authorized access while at University of Virginia (UVA).
Hu has ties to the Chinese military. The researcher works for the Chinese Key Laboratory for Fluid Dynamics at China’s Beihang University, which the Chinese government and military both fund.

Read More

Tennessee State University Gets $1 Million in Taxpayer Money to Study Climate Change

  A Tennessee State University agriculture professor will use nearly $1 million of taxpayer money to study how local crops adapt to climate change, according to a university press release. The federally-funded National Science Foundation recently bestowed the money on Jianwei Li, the press release went on to say. The…

Read More

Commentary: Hubris, Betrayal, Technology, and the Fall of the Elites

by Robin Burk   In ancient Greek tragedy, the hero rises to fame only to be undone by hubris, the fatal flaw of overweening arrogance. But to understand the events that continue to unfold around the 2016 presidential election, it’s helpful to look farther east. A generation before Sophocles chronicled…

Read More

Commentary: Is Diversity an Enemy of Excellence?

by John Staddon   The National Science Foundation (NSF) was created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science….” Following a 2012 recommendation, NSF now has an Office of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I). NSF was just following the crowd, for almost every academic and research institution now has a…

Read More

Federal Taxpayers Sent Two Tennessee Officials to China

Federal taxpayers paid to send two Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation officials to China recently. The two employees who made the trip were TDEC’s Deputy of Engineering Services George Garden and Assistant Commissioner Dr. Kendra Abkowitz, said TDEC spokesman Eric Ward. Ward did not say when, exactly, they went.…

Read More