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Chinese Government Unveils ‘Security Robot’ to Squelch Riots

May 4, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Commit a crime in the future in China—or heck, probably just have an “unlawful” gathering—and you might find yourself pursued by what looks like a giant salt shaker waving a cattle prod at your butt. The “AnBot,” which debuted to the world recently at a tech fair in Chongqing, is...

NOAA: The U.S. Hits a Never-Before-Seen Milestone for Warmth

April 13, 2016 Though you might not know it living in Caribou, Maine, things in the U.S. have been pipin’ hot. The mercury went above 100 in California last week, Texas has endured weeks of temperatures as much as 6 degrees above normal, and Alaska is likely to soon mark its warmest January-April...

The Recovery of California's Biggest Reservoir, as Seen by NASA

April 7, 2016 Last December, any swimmer attempting to blindly jump into Lake Shasta—the biggest reservoir in California—would tumble, Homer Simpson cliff-jump style, down a barren, bruising drop. Water levels in the lake had fallen to more than 100 feet below their historic averages but, thanks to recent rains, they’re doing remarkably better...

A Stupendous Government Satellite Animation of the Solar Eclipse

March 12, 2016 When the moon blotted out the sun this week, a plane full of “umbraphiles” was high in the air to bear witness. Here’s one of the views they captured fromAlaska Airlines Flight 870: Missed #Eclipse2016? We timed our flight #870 to see it from 35,000 feet: https://t.co/EcI37ckUFd #Totality pic.twitter.com/IlHObPKmMv —...

NOAA: The Mariana Trench, Seven Miles Below Sea Level, Is Abuzz With Noise

March 5, 2016 Plunge to the most abysmal reaches of the ocean, roughly seven miles down in the Mariana Trench’s Challenger Deep trough, and what do you hear? Groaning behemoths, seismic rumbles, and yes, even the noise of ships far above churning the waves. This surreal soundscape is now ours to trance out...

Is California's Drought About to Get Drenched?

March 2, 2016 Last week, the National Weather Service shared this graphic showing just how little rain San Francisco has gotten since October, compared with other El Niño years (look for the dark-blue line): (NWS San Francisco/Monterey) In the past, powerful El Niños have typically delivered about 22 inches of rain to the...

Mapping Hundreds of Power Disruptions and Cyberattacks Caused by... Squirrels

January 17, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow An electrified squirrel causing a black-out in your neighborhood is more than an unfortunate occurrence for all parties involved—it’s a regular event that happens much more often than you might think. Now, thanks to the work of an East Coast resident going by Cyber Squirrel, you can track the furry...

NASA Researchers: The Earth's Lakes Are Warming at a Disturbing Rate

December 17, 2015 You hear a lot about the problems posed by warming oceans: sea-level rise, habitat disruption, globe-spanning die-offs of coral. What you hear less of is how climate change is affecting the world’s lakes, though new researchsuggests we should start planning for this problem yesterday. Using satellite and ground data, researchers...

NOAA Maps the Warmest Days in America

September 9, 2015 America’s coasts are melting. California has posted weather warnings for temperatures as much as 20 degrees above average, and yesterday’s 97-degree heat in Manhattan demolished a 93-degree record that had stood since 1919. So with the sun turning cheeks the color of tomatoes and crotches into sweat swamps, it’s time...

NOAA Has Mapped a Desktop Model of Earth

September 8, 2015 For folks who got super-excited when Google Earth came out, here’s another 3-D model of the world with similarly awesome potential. It’s called the Science on a Sphere Explorer, and it lets you view tons of animated planetary data, from the age of the sea floor to the airborne migration...