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Adrienne LaFrance

Results 161-170 of 182

The First Computer Mouse was Patented in the 1960s

December 9, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow If it had been up to Douglas Engelbart, his invention would have been called the "X-Y position indicator for a display system.” That's how the man who designed the mouse described what he'd made in his 1967 patent filing. But "mouse" became early shorthand for the beige box with the...

The Power of Big Data: What Your Zip Code Says About You

October 14, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In the era of Big Data, your zip code is a window into what you can afford to buy, but it also reveals how you spend time—and, in essence, who you are. That's according to software company Esri, which mapped zip codes across the United States and linked them to...

Is There a Better Way to Measure Earthquakes?

August 26, 2014 Two hundred years ago, Missouri was rocked by an earthquake so severe it made the Mississippi River flow backward and set off church bells in Boston more than 1,000 miles away. These details help convey the staggering scale and reach of what was a remarkable geologic event. Today, along with...

Wait, Is That a Human on the Moon?

August 15, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In this age of big surveillance and miniature satellites, there is an idea that—once we are able to track everything around us—the magic and mystery of the universe will be replaced with data, knowledge, and understanding. Yet it often seems like the deeper we get into the world around us,...

What Good Is All This Tech Diversity Data, Anyway?

August 11, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow It has become a grand gesture in tech this summer for big companies to release demographic data about their workforces. It started back in May, when Google blogged about its lack of diversity, saying, "We’ve always been reluctant to publish numbers about the diversity of our workforce at Google. We...

Man-Made Earthquakes Are Changing the Seismic Landscape

August 8, 2014 This isn't just the stuff of comic-book villains: Real humans in the real world—actually, in Oklahoma, of all places—can cause earthquakes. Scientists have known about man-made earthquakes for decades. They've blame some reservoirs for seismic activity because reservoir water that trickles underground ends up lubricating faults that then slip—or, quake—as...

The Robots Are Coming, but Are They Really Taking Our Jobs?

August 6, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Here's what we can agree on: The robots are coming. They're coming to your house, to your doctor's office, to your car, and to your favorite coffee shop. By 2025, technologists believe artificial intelligence will permeate wide swaths of day-to-day life. And, obviously, these robots are going to take some...

Facebook Is Expanding the Way It Tracks You and Your Data

June 13, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow There'a a key nugget buried in this morning's New York Times story about how Facebook is going to give its users the ability to see why certain ads are targeted to them. Starting this week, the Times reports, "the company will tap data it already collects from people’s smartphones and...

NASA's Supersonic Parachute Is Running Out of Time

June 12, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow After scrapping five possible launches this month, NASA scientists have one more chance to send a supersonic parachute to the edge of space. The goal is to test flying-saucer-shaped decelerator technology that could eventually be used to help humans land on Mars. For now, though, the equipment hasn't even left...

The U.S. Army Says It Can Teleport Quantum Data Now, Too

June 11, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Quantum computing could revolutionize the way we interact with information. Such systems would process data faster and on larger scales than even the most super of supercomputers can handle today. But this technology would also dismantle the security systems that institutions like banks and governments use online, which means it...