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Gwynn Guilford

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The Western States Are Guzzling Water So Fast They Don’t Realize They’re Running Out

July 25, 2014 To residents of the southwestern United States, the rising incidence of drought in recent decades has made speedy showers and yellowing lawns facts of life. Little do they know that things are about to get worse still. A new study (pdf) shows the Colorado River Basin, the southwestern US’s only ...

Man Who May Be a Top Chinese Hacker Likes Grain Alcohol, Heineken

June 10, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow It turns out Chinese military hackers are way sneakier than anyone had realized. This is evident in a new report (registration required) by a security company called CrowdStrike. Throughout the last seven years, the People’s Liberation Army hackers have baited their targets—including foreign companies and governments involved in the space ...

The US Indictment of Five Chinese Army Officers Is Really About Redefining “Cyberspying”

May 20, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The US government has indicted five Chinese military officialsfor hacking Western companies and stealing their trade secrets—”the fruits of our labor,” in the words of assistant US attorney John Carlin. The lawsuit is unprecedented (pdf)—the first ever brought against individual members of a government for economic espionage via hacking. And, ...

China Is Setting up Covert Spy Networks in US and Australian Universities

April 22, 2014 The ever-rising droves of Chinese people studying abroad is generally considered an all-around win. It’s good for Chinese students, who get a coveted credential, as well as for host universities and local communities, which benefit from the spending boost. It’s also good, it turns out, for China’s Communist Party. The ...

Uncle Sam Is Helping Illegal Pot Producers Destroy California's Water Supply

February 13, 2014 Heavy rains in California in recent days have partly alleviated the drought that parched the state in January. The dry spell is merely exacerbating a long-developing problem in northern California, however: The huge volumes of water used to grow marijuana, as well as the noxious fertilizers and pesticides gushing into ...

Is Microsoft’s Bing Spreading the Chinese Government’s Censorship Around the World?

February 12, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Search for ”达赖喇嘛” (Dalai Lama) in China, and you should expect the results were cleansed by the government. More alarming: China’s censorship seems to extend well beyond its borders for users of Microsoft’s Bing search engine. “It would appear that no matter where you use Bing in the world, unfavorable ...

Australia and China Are Beating Amazon in the Commercial Drone Race

December 2, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow That Amazon is readying a fleet of drones to drop off packages to customers seems like yet another example of the company’s cutting edge. The project could go live as early as 2015, after the US approves laws for commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), but a slew of ...

Shutdown Could Hamper Inspections of Seafood Imports

October 7, 2013 This article has been corrected by Quartz. The text of the correction is below. It’s almost a week into the government shutdown and imported food Americans are eating is passing through with little of the inspection it’s normally given. Thanks to the shutdown, some food safety inspectors at the Food ...

Would You Report Chinese Corruption to an Anonymous Government Website?

September 13, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In an effort to rein in online extortion and restore control over whistleblowers, China’s government is cracking down on online “rumor-mongering” of the sort that disrupts the “social order.” On Thursday, to forward the latter goal, Cui Shaopeng, a senior Communist party discipline official, announced the launch of a new ...

China Could Become the First Country to Legalize Parcel Delivery by Drone

September 4, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In building drones that kill people, the US has a couple-decade head start on China. But when it comes to domestic uses, US businesses are hamstrung because the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) isn’t required to issue commercial drone rules until 2015. In the meantime, one of China’s biggest delivery companies ...