Discussing current issues in engineering
The Governance Lab at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering has collaborated with the Federation of American Scientists and the State of New Jersey Office of Innovation to launch a free tool called “Ask a Scientist,” where users can find answers from science experts about the Coronavirus outbreak.
The tool was developed as a response to a wide spread of misinformation and unreliable tips on how to protect oneself from the virus. Answers include a range of commonly asked questions related to the virus, such as methods of prevention and steps you can take if you feel symptoms.
“We are getting all hands on deck and engaging a global volunteer network of scientists, journalists and other experts to lend their know-how to provide rapid and accurate information that will help slow the spread of this disease and mitigate its impact,” says Professor Beth Simon Noveck, director of The GovLab and Chief Innovation Officer for the State of New Jersey.
“Ask a Scientist” pulls its information from verified sources including the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Users also have the option to submit a new question if they can’t find an answer they want already listed on the website. The site attracts around 4,000 users a day and includes translations in Spanish, Portuguese, Farsi, and Malagasy to make international questions and answers possible. As of March 20th “Ask a Scientist” will also be live on Amazon—try saying “Alexa, ask a scientist” followed by a COVID-19 question to access the tool by voice!
Misinformation can spread as quickly as a pandemic, and it’s important to stay informed on the best ways to slow its reach across the globe. Crowdsourcing fact-checked information is one way scientists are contributing to serving the public during an unprecedented time when facts are more important than ever.
Those who travel through Harrisonburg’s busy Port Republic Road have likely noticed construction work happening at the northbound I-81 exit intersection this week.
Crews are doing infrastructure work needed for realignment and plan to be completed this summer. The project will ultimately align the I-81 northbound off-ramp with Forest Hill Road in order to make the intersection safer. The city deliberately planned the bulk of the work to take place during James Madison University’s spring break to avoid as much traffic as possible while many students travel for the week.
VDOT awarded Harrisonburg a Virginia Department of Transportation Smart Scale grant for this realignment, showing its value and the importance of keeping up to date with street improvements in the city. While construction work can be a pain to drivers who frequent Port Republic, this project’s purpose is to make a busy intersection more breathable in the long run and will ultimately improve drivers’ experience on Port.
Colman Engineering, PLC
A professional engineering firm located in Harrisonburg, VA