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How Facebook Could Tilt the 2016 Election

April 18, 2016 It’s November 6, 2016. The world is not in good shape. After years of historic lows, oil prices have rebounded—in fact, they have rebounded too well. Gas is now fast approaching $4 per gallon. High energy costs have kicked the Chinese economy into a depression, and the United States begins...

This Very Common Cellphone Surveillance Still Doesn't Require a Warrant

April 15, 2016 The government does not need a warrant to access the location data created on an ordinary, often minute-to-minute basis by cellphones and logged with cell providers, the Sixth Circuit for the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday. The ruling adds to a growing consensus among federal appeals courts that law...

As Library Funding Wanes So Does Their Usage

April 14, 2016 A curious phenomenon is gripping public libraries in the United States. On the one hand, Americans still adore their libraries. According to a new Pew Research study, 76 percent of Americans say that libraries well serve the needs of their community. And since 78 percent of Americans say they’ve been...

How Should the US Fund Research and Development?

April 11, 2016 A&Q is a special series that inverts the classic Q&A, taking some of the most frequently posed solutions to pressing matters of policy and exploring their complexity. In the summer of 2012, despite the controversy over the solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, a presidential candidate came out swinging for government funding...

How Many Elephants of Fuel did a Saturn V Burn Per Second?

March 26, 2016 It has not flown for more than 40 years, but the Saturn V remains the tallest and heaviest rocket ever operated. It is one of the most commanding vehicles ever made, as it’s still the only form of transportation that allowed human beings to leave low Earth orbit. Last week,...

Apple's New Twist: A Smaller iPhone

March 22, 2016 On Monday afternoon, from its headquarters in California, Apple did something it has never done before: It announced a new iPhone with a smaller screen than the last model. The phone, which it dubbed the iPhone SE, has the same innards as the iPhone 6S, the jumbo device that the...

from govexec

Obama Administration Abandons Plans to Drill in the Atlantic Ocean

March 16, 2016 In the early months of 2015, Peg Howell heard whisperings of news that disturbed her: Energy companies wanted to open up the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, off the southeastern coast, to oil and gas drilling. The details came in pieces. First, she saw a local legislator editorialize on the...

A New 50-Trillion-Pixel Image of Earth, Every Day

March 9, 2016 MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.—It’s not just that Terra Bella Avenue would be an unremarkable street in Silicon Valley. It would be an unremarkable street anywhere in suburban America. The gray-brick low rises could sit at an intersection in Edison, New Jersey, or Skokie, Illinois, real-estate attorneys or school-district administrators shuffling in...

Facebook Is Making a Map of Everyone in the World

February 24, 2016 Americans inhabit an intricately mapped world. Type “Burger King” into an online box, and Google will cough up a dozen nearby options, each keyed to a precise latitude and longitude. But throughout much of the world, local knowledge stays local. While countries might conduct censuses, the data doesn’t go much...

from govexec

The Supreme Court Didn't Block These White House Climate Initiatives

February 18, 2016 The Obama administration’s signature climate policy—the Clean Power Plan, meant to prevent millions of tons of carbon-dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere—was temporarily blocked last week by the Supreme Court. The block is unprecedented, and it casts doubt on the ability of any president to mitigate climate change without help...