Business – Beacon News News of the Net Wed, 27 May 2015 00:16:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 NASA Selects Small Business Research And Tech Projects Wed, 08 Dec 2010 22:50:44 +0000

SBIR front cover

WASHINGTON — NASA is negotiating contracts with 350 small businesses that had the best proposals to address critical research and technology needs for agency programs and projects. The proposals are part of NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research Program, known as SBIR, and the Small Business Technology Transfer program, known as STTR.

“The SBIR and STTR programs help facilitate innovative research and technology development among America’s most creative small businesses,” said Bobby Braun, NASA chief technologist at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington. “These Phase 1 awards will serve as seed funds for transformative research and technology projects that have the potential to mature new products and services of great benefit to NASA and the nation.”

The SBIR program selected 450 proposals for negotiation of Phase 1 contracts with a total value of approximately $45 million. The STTR program chose 45 proposals for negotiation of Phase 1 contracts with a total value of approximately $4.5 million. The SBIR contracts will be awarded to 309 small, high technology firms in 37 states. The STTR contracts will be awarded to 41 small high technology firms in 16 states. As part of the STTR program, the firms will partner with 41 universities or research institutions in 22 states. For a complete list of selected companies, visit:
Innovative research areas among these selected proposals include:
– Analytical and experimental methodologies for reliably predicting the effects of aeroelasticity and its impact on aircraft performance, flight dynamics, and safety of flight;
– Advanced photovoltaic systems to enable low cost, low mass, high reliability and efficient power generation systems for a wide variety of deep space exploration missions;
– Innovative technologies for accurate measurements of atmospheric parameters and surface topography of the Earth, Mars, the moon and other planetary bodies;
– Technologies that provide innovative ways to leverage existing International Space Station facilities for new scientific payloads and on orbit analysis to enhance capabilities and reduce sample return requirements.

The programs address specific technology gaps in NASA missions while striving to complement other agency research investments. Program results have benefited numerous NASA efforts, including air traffic control systems, Earth observing spacecraft, the space shuttle and International Space Station, and robotic explorers.

The highly competitive SBIR/STTR program is a three-phase award system. It provides qualified small businesses with opportunities to propose unique ideas that meet specific research and development needs of the federal government.

Phase I is a feasibility study to evaluate the scientific and technical merit of an idea. Awards are typically for six months for the SBIR contracts and twelve months for the STTR contracts, in amounts up to $100,000. Firms successfully completing a Phase I are eligible to submit a Phase II proposal expanding on the results of the developments in Phase I, providing awards for as long as two years in amounts up to $750,000. Phase III is for the commercialization of the results of Phase II and requires the use of private sector or non-SBIR federal funding.

NASA received 1,876 Phase I proposals. The winners were selected based on technical merit and feasibility, experience, qualifications and facilities, effectiveness of the work plan and commercial potential and feasibility.

NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., manages the SBIR and STTR programs for NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist. NASA collaborates with U.S. industry to develop pioneering technologies, infuse them into agency missions and transition them into commercially available products and services. NASA’s 10 field centers manage individual projects.

For more information about NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist, visit:

NASA And High Tech Partners Host Random Hacks Of Kindness Wed, 08 Dec 2010 04:50:51 +0000 WASHINGTON — NASA joined with Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and the World Bank Dec. 3-4 to bring together computer experts looking for new approaches to disaster relief challenges.

The third Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) event included more than 1,500 software developers, students and disaster risk experts for a “hackathon” at 20 locations around the world. The locations included New York, Toronto, Buenos Aires, Tel Aviv, Nairobi and Bangalore, India.

NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver joined U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to deliver introductory remarks at the RHoK event in New York. Google Vice President of Research Alfred Spector and RHoK co-founder Patrick Svenburg, director of government platform strategy at Microsoft, also attended.

“The RHoK hackathons provide a forum for innovators to come up with real-world solutions that can make a huge difference in people’s lives,” Garver said. “NASA’s commitment to building on its data and opening it up to other users allows us to expand the tools available for disaster response.”

At a RHoK event in Chicago, a group of hackers worked to create an application that will access mapping data from the Rapid Response Database in NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer project. The team found the publicly available land imagery after visiting NASA’s Open Government website, then worked to create a better interface to select and review the imagery. Response teams could use this tool to more quickly identify areas that may be affected by disasters, such as flooding and forest fires.

The first RHoK event was held in Mountain View, Calif., in November 2009. The event resulted in applications that were used after the devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Chile to help identify survivors and help rescuers find them. The second RHoK hackathon took place simultaneously in six countries in June.

For more details about RHoK events, visit:
For information about NASA’s Open Government Initiative, visit:
For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

NASA #1 In Index Of Effectiveness Of Social Media And Web Use Tue, 23 Nov 2010 21:15:23 +0000 Moon seen through the treesWASHINGTON — By a wide margin, NASA placed first in a study released Tuesday that ranks 100 public sector organizations in the effectiveness of their websites, digital outreach, social media use and mobile sites. The L2 Digital IQ Index for the Public Sector was conducted by New York University Professor Scott Galloway, Doug Guthrie, dean of the George Washington University School of Business, and a team of experts from L2, a think tank for digital innovation.

The study reports NASA “is in its own stratosphere” and the clear leader in digital use, noting the agency’s innovation on nearly every platform. The 26 point spread between NASA and the next closest organization is the largest seen in any of L2’s Digital IQ Index studies to date. Studies in the past year and a half have looked at more than 500 private and public sector organizations, including luxury, beauty, automobile, pharmaceutical and retail industries.

“NASA’s goal is to communicate the important work of thousands in our nation’s space and aeronautics missions as broadly as possible, and we employ numerous tools to do that,” said David Weaver, associate administrator for Communications at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We’re pleased to be recognized for our efforts and look forward to expanding our outreach.”

The report highlights NASA’s use of Tweetup events, its recent partnerships with Gowalla and Foursquare, and the agency’s social media aggregator site, the Buzzroom.

“NASA has been an innovator and a true leader when it comes to using social media and other digital tools to communicate about its important work,” said Doug Guthrie, dean of the George Washington University School of Business in Washington.

To find all the ways you can connect and collaborate with NASA, visit:
To view the rankings and key findings, visit:

The GAP Unlawfully Fired Employee With Disability, EEOC Charges Sun, 21 Nov 2010 18:49:01 +0000

Outside a GAP storeManager With Kidney Disease Terminated Despite Excellent Performance, Suit Alleges

DETROIT – Global clothing retailer The Gap violated federal law by firing an employee at its Howell, Mich., store because of his disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

The EEOC’s lawsuit (EEOC v. The Gap, Inc.,Case No.2:10CV14559) filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, alleges that Wayne Cook worked successfully for The Gap as a store manager for nearly three years. In December 2007, Cook took leave to address problems caused by his glomerolonephritis, a kidney disorder. In January 2008, he provided his supervisor with a detailed description of his medical conditions and the problems he was experiencing. In February, Cook returned to work and was fired on the spot, the EEOC said, allegedly for having tolerated the violation of a work rule prior to taking a leave of absence.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from terminating employees because of such medical conditions. The agency seeks to recover monetary compensation for Cook in the form of back pay and compensatory damages for emotional distress, as well as punitive damages. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.

“Mr. Cook was a well-regarded manager, but The Gap chose to terminate him based upon unjustified concerns surrounding his medical condition,” said EEOC Indianapolis Regional Attorney Laurie Young, whose jurisdiction includes Michigan. “The EEOC will pursue vigorously violations of the ADA, including cases like this one, when employers terminate employees based upon fears and stereotypes about their physical condition.”

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing the nation’s laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

Justice Department Announces Settlement of Litigation with AMC Entertainment Inc. Sun, 21 Nov 2010 18:44:47 +0000

People in wheelchairsWASHINGTON – The Justice Department has announced a settlement agreement with AMC Entertainment Inc. to resolve a lawsuit filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The suit challenged, among other things, the design of stadium-style movie theaters that fail to provide persons who use wheelchairs with comparable lines of sight to those of other moviegoers. AMC is the second largest movie theater chain in the country with about 5,300 screens.

“Going to the movies is an archetypal American leisure activity,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. “We are pleased that AMC is taking steps to provide persons who use wheelchairs with access to the enhanced viewing experience of stadium-style theaters.”

Today’s settlement agreement will improve the movie-going experience for people who use wheelchairs and their companions at AMC stadium-style theaters nationwide. All stadium-style theaters opened by AMC after entry of the decree will be constructed in accordance with design requirements that place accessible seating near the middle of the auditorium. During the course of the lawsuit, AMC, with the approval of the Department of Justice, made changes to its stadium theater design template that provided full accessibility to its newly constructed theaters. Additionally, at nearly 250 existing stadium-style theaters across the country, AMC has agreed to make sure that a specified percentage of auditoriums provide wheelchair spaces and companion seating in the stadium section. AMC also will move wheelchair seating from the front row to locations further back from the screen and otherwise ensure that movie patrons who use wheelchairs enjoy an unobstructed view of the screen. Additionally, stadium-style theaters acquired by AMC during the five-year term of the order also will be required to provide enhanced lines of sight and improved accessibility for patrons who use wheelchairs.

Stadium-style theaters offer superior lines of sight and a superlative movie-going experience. However, in early stadium theater designs, accessible seating was often located at or near the very front of the auditoriums. Today’s agreement will afford movie patrons who use wheelchairs and their companions the opportunity to enjoy the same product as other moviegoers.

The Justice Department filed suit to enforce the ADA in January 1999 in federal court in Los Angeles. The suit was based upon private complaints filed with the Justice Department and its own investigation. Today’s settlement agreement has been submitted to the federal district court in the Central District of California and is subject to the review and approval by Judge S. James Otero.

People interested in finding out more about the ADA can call the Justice Department’s toll-free Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383  (TDD), or access the ADA homepage at: .

Capgemini Positioned As European CRM Service Providers Sat, 20 Nov 2010 07:22:40 +0000 Capgemini Office building

Capgemini Office building

Capgemini, one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, today announced that it has been positioned by Gartner, Inc in the leaders quadrant for customer relationship management (CRM) service providers in Europe in the latest “Magic Quadrant for CRM Service Providers, Europe” report .

Capgemini has been positioned based on “ability to execute” and “completeness of vision.” According to the report, “when the two sets of criteria are evaluated together, the resulting analysis provides a view of how well the provider performs a spectrum of services, compared with its peers, and how well it is positioned for the future. Gartner considers client feedback to be one of the most critical measures of a service provider’s success.”

Patrick James, Vice President and Global Head of CRM for Capgemini, said: “We believe our strong positioning by Gartner is testament to our dedication to providing quality consulting and technology solutions for our European clients that anticipate and evolve with market trends. The CRM environment is developing rapidly, with major changes taking place in customer buying patterns particularly with the growth of online. Our focus is on identifying these market challenges and opportunities to strengthen business-to-customer relationships so that enterprises can increase loyalty and retention and improve their bottom line.”

Capgemini is a recognised leader in CRM services, and has the developed and implemented CRM solutions across multiple industries – including the public sector, banking and insurance, telecommunications, manufacturing and retail – and geographies for more than a decade. Its CRM services combine innovative technology and extensive experience with strong project execution and rapid delivery of business benefits.

Gartner Inc.: “Magic Quadrant for CRM Service Providers, Europe,” Matt Goldman, Ed Thompson, 28 September 2010

About the Magic Quadrant

The Magic Quadrant is copyrighted 2010 by Gartner, Inc. and is reused with permission. The Magic Quadrant is a graphical representation of a marketplace at and for a specific time period. It depicts Gartner’s analysis of how certain vendors measure against criteria for that marketplace, as defined by Gartner. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in the Magic Quadrant, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors placed in the “Leaders” quadrant. The Magic Quadrant is intended solely as a research tool, and is not meant to be a specific guide to action. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

About Capgemini

Capgemini, one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, enables its clients to transform and perform through technologies. Capgemini provides its clients with insights and capabilities that boost their freedom to achieve superior results through a unique way of working, the Collaborative Business ExperienceTM. The Group relies on its global delivery model called Rightshore®, which aims to get the right balance of the best talent from multiple locations, working as one team to create and deliver the optimum solution for clients. Present in more than 35 countries, Capgemini reported 2009 global revenues of EUR 8.4 billion and employs over 100,000 people worldwide. More information is available at

Rightshore® is a trademark belonging to Capgemini

Ingram Content Group expands global presence Sat, 20 Nov 2010 04:13:25 +0000 stack of booksNASHVILLE, TN – Ingram Content Group Inc. has announced it will expand its presence in the Asia-Pacific market by establishing a full-scale Lightning Source print-on-demand book manufacturing operation in Australia.

“The expansion of our Lightning Source global print solution into Australia is a significant step in the ongoing mission of Ingram Content Group to help content reach its destination swiftly and efficiently to retailers and readers worldwide,” said David “Skip” Prichard, President and CEO, Ingram Content Group. “This expansion of Ingram’s global presence, from the United Kingdom to France and now Australia, provides publishers with expanded market reach and sales opportunities, as well as makes thousands of books available quickly and affordably to booksellers and their customers.”

Mr. Prichard continued, “Our Lightning Source operation in Australia will build on our already solid relationships as a leading retail and library supplier in this market. We now look forward to offering our customers an in-market print-on-demand model and introducing the benefits and flexibility that virtual inventory affords.”

Locating a print-on-demand book manufacturing facility in Australia gives publishers options to reduce or remove the need to warehouse local inventory and reduces transportation and potential stock write-off costs. For publishers that currently take advantage of book manufacturing and distribution from Lightning Source, adding expanded distribution to this new market will be seamless and straightforward.

Publishers can take advantage of a virtual inventory model through print-on-demand to dramatically increase the number of titles on hand in the region and drive additional sales, a benefit not only for the publisher but also for the entire supply chain. Publishers located in Australia can drive additional sales through the US and UK Lightning Source retail channels.

The Lightning Source plant in Australia will be Ingram Content Group’s fifth networked book manufacturing facility. Lightning Source North American facilities include its headquarters in La Vergne, Tennessee, and a plant in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Lightning Source international locations include a large-scale operation in Milton Keynes, UK, central to London that serves the European region and a facility in Maurepas, France, a joint-venture with Hachette Book Group.

The new operation in Australia will manufacture both paperback and hardcover black and white interior books. With a digital library of over 4.4 million books, Lightning Source has printed and delivered over 99 million books on behalf of publishers around the world.

Ingram Content Group’s Lightning Source facility in Australia is expected to begin operation in June 2011.

Ingram Content Group Inc. provides a broad range of physical and digital services to the book industry. Ingram’s operating units are Ingram Book Company, Lightning Source Inc., Ingram Digital, Vital Source Technologies, Inc., Ingram Periodicals Inc., Ingram International Inc., Ingram Library Services Inc., Spring Arbor Distributors Inc., Ingram Publisher Services Inc., Tennessee Book Company LLC, and Coutts Information Services. For more information, visit

FDA Warning Letters issued to four makers of caffeinated alcoholic beverages Wed, 17 Nov 2010 19:23:15 +0000

Unsafe alcoholic malt beverages

Unsafe alcoholic malt beverages

These beverages present a public health concern

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today warned four companies that the caffeine added to their malt alcoholic beverages is an “unsafe food additive” and said that further action, including seizure of their products, is possible under federal law.

The companies receiving Warning Letters and their products are:

• Charge Beverages Corp.: Core High Gravity HG, Core High Gravity HG Orange, and Lemon Lime Core Spiked
• New Century Brewing Co., LLC: Moonshot
• Phusion Projects, LLC (doing business as Drink Four Brewing Co.): Four Loko
• United Brands Company Inc.: Joose and Max

FDA’s action follows a scientific review by the Agency.  FDA examined the published peer-reviewed literature on the co-consumption of caffeine and alcohol, consulted with experts in the fields of toxicology, neuropharmacology, emergency medicine, and epidemiology, and reviewed information provided by product manufacturers.  FDA also performed its own independent laboratory analysis of these products.

“FDA does not find support for the claim that the addition of caffeine to these  alcoholic beverages is ‘generally recognized as safe,’ which is the legal standard,” said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Principal Deputy Commissioner.  “To the contrary, there is evidence that the combinations of caffeine and alcohol in these products pose a public health concern.”

Experts have raised concerns that caffeine can mask some of the sensory cues individuals might normally rely on to determine their level of intoxication.  The FDA said peer-reviewed studies suggest that the consumption of beverages containing added caffeine and alcohol is associated with risky behaviors that may lead to hazardous and life-threatening situations.

The agency said the products named in the Warning Letters are being marketed in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FFDCA). Each Warning Letter requests that the recipient inform the FDA in writing within 15 days of the specific steps that will be taken to remedy the violation and prevent its recurrence. If a company does not believe its products are in violation of the FFDCA, it may present its reasoning and any supporting information as well.

If the FDA believes that the violation continues to exist, the agency may pursue an enforcement action that could include seizure of the products or an injunction to prevent the firm from continuing to produce the product until the violation has been corrected.

FDA’s action today follows a November 2009 request to manufacturers to provide information on the safety of adding caffeine to their products.

FDA is aware that on November 16, Phusion Projects, LLC, the maker of Four Loko, announced its intention to remove caffeine and other stimulants from its drinks.  FDA views this announcement as a positive step. FDA has not yet heard officially from the company about this announcement, including how quickly it will remove present product from circulation and how quickly it will reformulate its product.  FDA intends to work with Phusion Projects, LLC and the other manufacturers to assure their products meet safety standards.

SADA Systems named as one of the first Ingram Micro Cloud Services Network members Tue, 16 Nov 2010 21:59:34 +0000

Sada Systems Logo

Sada Systems Logo

Los Angeles, CA – Nov 8, 2010 (PRN): SADA Systems, Inc., a leading IT services and cloud computing solutions provider, today announced its status as one of the first members of the Ingram Micro Cloud Services Network (

In addition to providing traditional IT services for the past decade, SADA Systems has been delivering cloud computing solutions to companies and organizations worldwide since 2007. SADA’s inclusion in the Cloud Services Network allows resellers and solution providers to connect and partner with an experienced cloud provider to learn more about the technology and discover ways that SADA can help leverage the cloud to accelerate business initiatives.

“Ingram Micro is really responding to forces in the market and demand for cloud expertise. A lot of VARs don’t have in-house expertise and are looking to connect with someone because they see this opportunity but can’t capitalize on it” said Tony Safoian, president and CEO of SADA Systems, a North Hollywood, Calif.-based cloud provider and member of the Ingram Micro Cloud Services Network. “We hope to establish some relationships with VARs who don’t see cloud fitting into their strategy in terms of capacity development for some time”

A survey conducted last summer by Ingram Micro revealed that 80% of VARs plan to include cloud services in their future business plan. However, many VARs lack the insight and resources to incorporate the cloud which led to the development of the Ingram Micro Cloud Services Network (IMCSN). As a seasoned Ingram Micro Services Network (IMSN) member for over a decade, SADA Systems was ushered in as one of the first cloud computing partners to join the world’s largest technology distributor and leading technology sales company’s new venture. SADA Systems is a Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365 (formerly BPOS and Live@edu) partner and has deployed cloud computing solutions to organizations such as Virgin America, Lieberman Research Worldwide, Northwestern University and more.

If you or your organization wishes to learn more about the Ingram Micro Cloud Services Network (IMSN) and SADA’s services, contact a representative at

About Cloud Computing Services Provider SADA Systems, Inc.
SADA Systems, Inc. (SADA) is a privately held information technology consulting, outsourcing, and development firm founded in 2000. SADA works with its primary client base to develop innovative information technology solutions to business problems. SADA started as a Google partner for its search technology, and is proud to be one of the world’s first 10 Google partners for Apps (, having participated in the Google Apps official launch campaign in February of 2007. SADA is not only a Google partner but one of Microsoft’s first cloud services partners. Specializing in integration & migration services for Microsoft Office 365 (, formerly BPOS and Live@edu. SADA has been a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner since 2003 specializing in infrastructure and information worker competencies and is proud to be a Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Partner.

SADA has a demonstrated track record and competency in the implementation and customization of Google Apps and Microsoft cloud and providing related consulting services. SADA designs, delivers, deploys and supports a holistic and cutting-edge suite of best-of-breed technologies, allowing organizations to leverage information technology to achieve the highest levels of effectiveness, efficiency, and collaboration.

Liz Lovely Recalls Chocolate Tue, 16 Nov 2010 21:29:29 +0000

Chocolate candies

Photo by Martin L

November 13, 2010 – Liz Lovely, Inc. of Waitsfield, VT, a dairy free bakery, is recalling cookie products containing chocolate or chocolate chips with undeclared dairy present in the chocolate which was purchased from a third-party chocolate manufacturer.

Liz Lovely cookie products are distributed nationwide in retail stores and through mail orders. People who have allergies to milk run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these undeclared dairy affected products.

This voluntary recall includes the following products:

Product Packaging UPC Affected Lot#’s
Cowboy Cookies 6oz. Plastic Bag With 2 Cookies 893410000018 00497, 00504, 00515
Cowgirl Cookies 893410000056 00493, 00503, 00512
Peanut Butter Classics 893410000025 00496, 00507
Gluten Free Chocolate Fudge 893410001008 00499, 00415, 00514
Gluten Free Triple Choc. Mint 893410001122 00506
Gluten Free Chocolate Chip 893410001015 00509
Lovely Oh’s 8oz. Plastic Clamshell Container 893410002111 00501, 00513
Mint Lovely Oh’s 893410002159 00501, 00513
Peanut Butter Lovely Oh’s 893410002289 00501, 00513
Organic Pretzels 893410002081 00501, 00513

Lot number for the 6oz. plastic bags is stamped on each 12-unit case box, but is not printed on each package. Lot number for the 8oz. containers is printed on a sticker affixed to each unit, along with a best-by date.

The recall was initiated after one allergic reaction to dairy was reported. Production of the product will resume on November 24, 2010 with 100% dairy free chocolate and updated product packaging. In the meantime, all Liz Lovely, Inc. products without chocolate or chocolate chips remain 100% dairy free.

Consumers who purchased any of the above products shipped between October 4, 2010 and November 15, 2010 are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company 8am to 5pm EST at 802-496-6390 or visit for more information.