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Alex Brown

Alex Brown Alex Brown is a Technology reporter for National Journal.
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Move to Authorize Force Against ISIS Unlikely in Lame Duck

November 13, 2014 Congress has been given its most explicit invitation yet from the White House to authorize the military strikes against Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq, but whether lawmakers will seize the opportunity to reclaim their war-making power is another matter. It seems almost certain that nothing will be done ...

How Astronauts Vote From Space

October 8, 2014 In November of 2007, Clayton Anderson participated the most ordinary of elections—voting on a handful of local ballot proposals for his Houston suburb. But Anderson cast his ballot in an extraordinary fashion. He was traveling at 17,000 miles per hour, floating in microgravity at more than 200 miles above Earth. ...

Everything You Need to Know About NASA's Space Taxi Announcement

September 16, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Three years from now, NASA astronauts will fly into space on capsules and rockets built by American companies, ending a hitchhiking partnership with Russia that started in 2011. NASA will announce the winner or winners of its space taxi competition this afternoon. Washington has become increasingly eager to end NASA's ...

Rep. Eshoo Calls for ‘Re-brand’ of Net Neutrality

August 21, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Rep. Anna Eshoo has a plan to save net neutrality: Call it something else. Americans, says the California Democrat, know what they want on the Internet, but the confusing terminology of the debate has left them confused about which plan matches their ideals. "The American people are left with a ...

Uber Snags Former Obama Campaign Guru

August 19, 2014 Former Obama administration adviser David Plouffe, who headed the president's 2008 campaign, is joining Uber to lead the company's policy and political efforts. Plouffe, who left the White House in early 2013, said in a Tuesday company announcementthat he "could not be more excited to join such a vibrant company ...

DOT Plan to Make Skies No-Call Zone Might Cost Fliers a Pretty Penny

August 7, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Passengers have publicly pined for a ban on in-flight cell-phone calls, and they may soon get their wish: The Transportation Department announced last week it plans to make the skies a no-call zone. But the airline industry is pushing back, with carriers saying they deserve the right to set their ...

Ready for Hologram: Could Virtual Campaigners Shake Up Elections?

August 1, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Will voters turn out to watch a hologram deliver a stump speech? Well, of course—who would turn down the chance to see something out of Star Trek? But once the initial novelty wears off, perhaps especially after the novelty wears off, some think the technology could become an essential part ...

'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 ...