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Alex Brown

Alex Brown Alex Brown is a Technology reporter for National Journal.
Results 1-10 of 55

'Let Me Google That for You'—Now a Congressional Bill

July 24, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A little-known branch of the Commerce Department faces elimination, thanks to advances in technology and a snarkily named bill from Sens. Tom Coburn and Claire McCaskill. The National Technical Information Service compiles federal reports, serving as a clearinghouse for the government's scientific, technical, and business documents. The NTIS then sells ...

One Congressman’s Crusade to Save the World From Killer Robots

July 18, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow If a robot soldier commits a war crime, who is held accountable? You can't punish a collection of parts and coding algorithms. But can you blame a human commander, who gave a legal order only to see the robot carry it out incorrectly? And what about the defense manufacturers, which ...

Here's How NASA Thinks We'll Find Aliens

July 16, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow When earthlings finally discover their alien neighbors, it probably won't be aboard a warp-speed spaceship or via intergalactic Morse code. The more likely—and decidedly less sexy—scenario, scientists said at a Monday NASA panel, is a giant space-based telescope finding a planet with gases in the atmosphere that indicate life. "We ...

Amazon Wants Early Permission to Launch its Delivery Drones

July 11, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Amazon says its much-hyped delivery drones are ready to hit the skies, and the company's asking the FAA for permission to begin testing outdoors with flights near Seattle. But it's still too soon to expect the flying robots to replace delivery trucks for a while. At present, all commercial drone ...

NASA Astronauts Lose World Cup Bet–and Their Hair

June 27, 2014 A pair of NASA astronauts on board the International Space Station parted with their hair Thursday after coming up on the losing end of a World Cup bet. Americans Steve Swanson and Reid Wiseman, confident after a strong early "Group of Death" showing from their team, agreed to get their ...

Safer Roads or Stronger Wi-Fi?

June 20, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Talking cars will one day be mandatory, but in the meantime, some think they're holding back the airwaves for much-needed Wi-Fi. As Internet access grows, more and more frequency is needed to support Wi-Fi devices. Some of that frequency—the 5.9 GHz band—has been set aside for talking cars. Vehicle-to-vehicle communication, ...

Why Elon Musk Is Suing the U.S. Air Force

June 5, 2014 Elon Musk says he can save American taxpayers billions of dollars, but he'll have to win a lawsuit against the U.S. Air Force to do it. The tech billionaire-turned-rocket entrepreneur is suing the Air Force over the way it awards private contracts to launch the Pentagon's satellites. There's big money ...

Why Elon Musk Is Suing the U.S. Air Force

June 5, 2014 Elon Musk says he can save American taxpayers billions of dollars, but he'll have to win a lawsuit against the U.S. Air Force to do it. The tech billionaire turned rocket entrepreneur is suing the Air Force over the way it awards private contracts to launch the Pentagon's satellites. There's ...

Hollywood Producers Want to Use Drones to Film Their Movies

June 3, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Hollywood filmmakers may be among the first to get approval to use commercial drones, the Federal Aviation Administration announced Monday, noting that seven production companies are requesting permission to film with unmanned aircraft. The companies put in requests through the Motion Picture Association of America, seeking exemptions to the FAA's ...

NASA Has a New Plan to Save Its Zombie Spaceship

May 22, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow NASA has a plan to save a satellite long given up for dead: Let the private sector take care of it. The agency's groundbreaking ISEE-3 satellite is nearing Earth for the first time in 30 years, and while its instruments still appear to work, the communications equipment used to control ...