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Spotify is Now Deciding What Music is Politically Acceptable for Listening

August 17, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Music is political. Musicians are political. This we knew. Turns out that music-streaming services, the digital platforms that are supposed to merely host all of our songs and albums, are as well. Following a week of tumult in American politics that began with a violent race-related protest in Charlottesville, Virginia,...

Microsoft Is Trying Desperately to Get Into Schools—But Google Has Already Won This Fight

May 8, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Microsoft recently and dramatically unveiled what it says it is “the complete solution to education.” The company’s bundled launch last week included an education-specific version of the Windows 10 operating system, a handful of new programs and applications to be distributed to schools as teaching materials, and a “buttery”, classroom-friendly...

New York Makes College Free For Those Who Can’t Afford It

April 10, 2017 Under a historic new budget written by governor Andrew Cuomo and approved by state lawmakers over the weekend, nearly one million families in the state of New York will now qualify for free tuition at the state’s public colleges, universities, and community colleges. The program—the first of its kind in...

The Complete Guide to Noise-Canceling in Open Offices and Other Hectic Spaces

January 6, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow “Noise is the most impertinent of all forms of interruption,” 19th-century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once declared. “It is not only an interruption; it is also a disruption of thought.” The millions of employees who work in open offices today might agree. Many arrive at work every morning resolving to...

For the Holidays This Year, Give Yourself the Gift of Solitude

December 21, 2016 Ponte Vecchio, for lack of a less hackneyed word, glittered. Florence’s most famous bridge shone with literal light—from the orange-yellow lampposts, the bright jewelers’ shops sitting atop its weathered stones—but also with an otherworldly quiet, a kind of blinding, frozen silence I hadn’t come across in a long time. It...

Connecticut's School System is So Bad, a Judge Has Declared the Whole Thing Unconstitutional

September 8, 2016 Connecticut got a weird shock this week. A judge, ruling on an 11-year-old lawsuit, declared the entire state’s public education system abysmal—enough so that it’s actually violating the US constitution. In his decision, superior court judge Thomas Moukawsher agreed with the original argument made by the nonprofit organization Connecticut Coalition...

Hillary Clinton Is Now Touting a Bernie-esque Plan for Free College

July 7, 2016 Up till now, Hillary Clinton has dismissed Bernie Sanders’ plan for tuition-free college as expensive and unnecessary, going as far to quip that she doesn’t “think taxpayers should be paying to send Donald Trump’s kids to college.” Now she’s making an almost 180-degree turn. Today, Clinton announced an expansion of...

These College Students Had No Idea Their Teaching Assistant Was a Robot

May 20, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Ashok Goel had run into a problem. As a computer science professor at Georgia Tech, he taught an online course on artificial intelligence, and its 300 students sent in thousands of questions via an online forum each semester. The sheer volume of messages overwhelmed Goel and his eight teaching assistants....

The Most Inspiring Parts of Obama's 22 Graduation Speeches

May 13, 2016 It’s its own tradition. Come spring every year, the sitting US president picks a handful of colleges and high schools to visit, dispensing wisdom and advice at their commencement ceremonies. Barack Obama has followed the trend faithfully in 2016. He spoke at Howard University last weekend, is heading to Rutgers...

Pope Francis Met With Bernie Sanders Out of 'Good Manners,' He Says

April 18, 2016 Bernie Sanders has often declared himself a big fan of Pope Francis, so it’s no surprise that he deemed his brief meeting with the pontiff at the Vatican this morning “extraordinary.” The candidate in the US Democratic presidential primary was briefly visiting the Vatican Saturday for a conference on social,...