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Christopher Mims

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Why Bitcoin 'Millionaires' Could Accidentally Become Tax Felons

April 10, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow If you’re an American who bought bitcoins at around $80 less than a month ago and sold them today for around $237, congratulations! You may be on your way to accidentally committing tax fraud. That’s because you’ll run afoul of authorities if you don’t report what you made on bitcoin ...

The Biggest Cyberattack in the History of the Internet is Happening Right Now

March 28, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow At this very moment, the largest cyber attack ever declared is emanating from a decommissioned, nuclear-war proof NATO bunker with five foot-thick concrete walls and a reputation for harboring spammers and cybercriminals. It’s all part of a dustup between CyberBunker—so named for the building just outside Kloetinge, in the Netherlands, ...

How the Internet Is Making Us Poor

March 27, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Everyone knows the story of how robots replaced humans on the factory floor. But in the broader sweep of automation versus labor, a trend with far greater significance for the middle class—in rich countries, at any rate—has been relatively overlooked: the replacement of knowledge workers with software. One reason for ...

By the End of This Year, China Will Have as Many Android Users as the U.S. Has People

March 25, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow More than 300 million Chinese will have Android smartphones by the end of this year, according to China-focused Android app store Wandoujia. That’s a growth rate of 34% since 2012, when the country had 224 million Android users. While it’s hard to imagine that growth can continue at this pace, ...

How Making Microchips 3D Could Unleash an Age of “Cognitive Computing”

March 21, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow When it comes to the never-ending struggle to innovate in microchips, Hector Ruiz is a veteran. He was for 10 years the CEO of AMD—the David to Intel’s Goliath in the battle for marketshare of the chips that powered a generation of PCs. He’s just written a not-at-all-subtle book about ...

The Future of Twitter Is Robots Tweeting at Each Other

March 21, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Twitter is full of weird stuff none of us ever notice because it mostly just looks like spam or nonsense. But if you look closely, as some have, you’ll find spies using Twitter to communicate with each other in code, environmental sensorsbroadcasting useful data, a toaster with 2,000 followers and ...

'Brainpainting' Offers Hope for Interacting with Computers by Thought Alone

March 6, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Amplifiers for the human brain, designed to allow people with paralysis to interact with the world, aren’t the most easily understood technology. So g.tec, the company that makes them, has come up with the following creative marketing strategy: Convince us that we’ll soon be interacting with computers through thought alone. ...

Syrian Electronic Army’s Twitter Hacking Campaign Racks Up Another Victory

March 1, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow If you want a view into the governments arrayed on either side of Syria’s civil war, the Syrian Electronic Army’s hacking of the Qatar Foundation’s Facebook andTwitter accounts is a good place to start. From the hacked Qatar Foundation Twitter account. Pro-Assad hackers—that is, hackers who support the current regime ...

31 Percent of Kenya’s GDP is Spent Through Mobile Phones

February 28, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Pundits like to talk about how developing countries can “leapfrog” rich countries by skipping certain stages of development—for example, by going straight to an economy based on renewable energy without first passing through a phase of messy fossil-fuel based industrialization—but it rarely happens. M-Pesa, the system of mobile payments first ...

'Bring Your Own Bandwidth' Means a Future of Ultra-Cheap Calls

February 20, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Republic Wireless—”the mobile network that runs on freedom”—will sell people in the US unlimited voice, texting and data for $20 a month, full stop. Those kind of prices might be common in, say, India (albeit at much slower speeds) but they’re unheard of in the US, outside of carriers that ...