recommended reading

author archives

Results 1-10 of 109

Why Does Fracking (Sometimes) Trigger Earthquakes?

September 26, 2016 At 3 a.m. on the morning of May 17, 2012, the town of Timpson, Texas, was awoken by the largest earthquake ever measured in the eastern half of the state. The 4.8-magnitude tremor shattered glass cabinets and knocked deer heads off the wall. “One respondent reported his fireplace came down...

Apple Just Reinvented Its Biggest App

September 16, 2016 This week, Apple released the weirdest, most idiosyncratic product I can remember from the company in the past decade: the new iMessage for iOS 10. iMessage is the company’s default texting app—if you’ve ever texted on the iPhone, you’ve used it. Where the previous version of the app let you...

from govexec

Why the EPA Doesn't Regulate Ocean Acidification

September 13, 2016 Imagine that a recently discovered pollutant prevented trees from forming leaves. Every April, buds would spring from the branches, and kids on their way to school would point to the tiny shoots of green and pink. But as the leaves fleshed out further and began to photosynthesize, an invisible vapor...

Why a Major Earthquake in the Pacific Northwest Looks Even Likelier

August 12, 2016 For about the last 30 million years, a small tectonic plate named Juan de Fuca has been sliding under the far vaster North American plate into the Earth’s mantle. Today, this mostly happens without anyone’s notice—even though it causes minor, near-undetectable earthquakes about every 300 days—but sometimes the pressure pent...

The Startup That Watches Corn Grow, From Orbit

August 11, 2016 The continental United States, from sea to shining sea and across all those purple mountains, stretches some 3.1 million square miles. About 4 percent of that land, some 150,000 square miles, is devoted to growing just one kind of amber grain: maize. Corn is the dominant American crop, produced in...

Uber Takes to the Skies

July 19, 2016 As any 911 dispatcher or Pokémon Go player can tell you, the modern megalopolis consists of at least two layers. First, there’s the physical stuff that makes up the city. This is the asphalt, the fire hydrants, the refrigerators, the pick-up trucks, the trees arranged in neat rows. When you...

from govexec

The Library of Congress Gets a History-Making New Leader

July 14, 2016 The United States of America has a new librarian-in-chief. Carla Hayden, a former Chicago children’s librarian who rose to preside over the American Library Association and oversee Baltimore’s enormous free library system, was confirmed by the Senate Wednesday to lead the Library of Congress, the nation’s largest library and its...

Google's Satellite Map Gets 700-Trillion-Pixel Makeover

June 28, 2016 More than 1 billion people use Google Maps every month, making it possibly the most popular atlas ever created. On Monday, it gets a makeover, and its many users will see something different when they examine the planet’s forests, fields, seas and cities. Google has added 700 trillion pixels of...

The New App That Could Revolutionize How the Postal Service Delivers Mail

June 22, 2016 There is a city in central Florida where two homes have adjoining backyards. One of the houses sits on Anna Catherine Drive; the other faces Summer Rain Drive. You could scramble under a hedge and get from one property to the other in seconds. If you wanted to make the...

Navy Is Making a New GPS for Drone Submarines

June 15, 2016 To prepare for the possibility that it will one day deploy swarms of uncrewed drone submarines, the U.S. Navy is developing a system that will allow the global positioning system to function deep below the ocean’s surface. If successful, the technology could start to appear as soon as the 2020s....