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Jeb Bush Does Not Understand Productivity, But No One Really Does

July 10, 2015 Let’s be clear: Jeb Bush’s pronouncement that Americans need to work longer hours to help boost US productivity makes no sense at all, and not just because it’s politically tone-deaf. While often used as a fancier-sounding word for effectiveness or efficiency, productivity has a specific economic definition. It’s the amount...

Passwords Aren't the Problem. You Are.

June 17, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow When you start your first day at Quartz, you get peppered with passwords. There’s a password to log into your new Mac, which you are immediately prompted to change once you’re up-and-running. The new password allows you log into your email. Once there, you are invited to join our password...

Texas’ Cities Are Eating America

May 21, 2015 If you’re looking for US growth, look to the Lone Star state. Despite its cinematic reputation as a land of wide-open spaces—which it is—Texas’ cities are some of the fastest-growing large metropolitan areas in recent years, according to just released annual population data from the US Census. Where is the...

Obamacare Fixed U.S. Health Care Inflation

March 6, 2015 The cost of health care is rising at the slowest rate since President John F. Kennedy was in office. A key U.S. health care inflation gauge updated earlier this week shows medical care inflation rising 0.55 percent in January, compared to January 2014. This is the slowest rate since 1961,...

Let’s Admit It: Governments Never Really Pay Off Their Debts

February 9, 2015 Since the European debt crisis first flared in 2010, Greece has been held out as an example of the worst kind of profligate borrower. And it’s true Greece has a bad fiscal record. Government spending was large and inefficient, tax collections nearly nonexistent. Perhaps worst of all, government statisticians cooked...

Scientists Now Know How to Make Robots Less Creepy Looking

January 23, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow It melts your heart when puppies do it. And robots, too, apparently. Yes, the simple head tilt just might be the breakthrough gesture that makes humanoid robots less creepy to deal with. A paper published in Computers in Human Behavior shows that people are much more amenable to the presence...

Let Us Now Give Thanks for Oil Busts, a Great American Tradition

December 11, 2014 In recent years, America’s oil and gas sector has flared brightly against an otherwise gloomy economic backdrop. Since the end of the Great Recession, the number of jobs in oil and gas extraction—not counting related industries such as transportation—has jumped 35%, while total US jobs have risen only 7%. Unemployment...

This US Navy Ship Is Now Armed With a Drone-Killing Laser Beam

November 17, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The U.S. Navy now has a ship in the Persian gulf armed with a “laser gun.” That’s how the U.S. chief of naval operations described it, in passing, to a congressional hearing back in March. The Laser Weapons System, as it’s officially called, has been mounted on the USS Ponce,...

This US Navy Ship Is Now Armed With a Drone-Killing Laser Beam

November 16, 2014 The US Navy now has a ship in the Persian gulf armed with a “laser gun.” That’s how the US Chief of Naval Operations described it, in passing, to a Congressional hearing back in March. The Laser Weapons System, as it’s officially called, has been mounted on the USS Ponce,...

How the Dollar Went From a Simple Banknote to the World's Currency

November 13, 2014 It must be wonderful to be so desirable at age 100. Yes, it was in late 1914 that the U.S. Federal Reserve note, the official incarnation of the U.S. dollar, first shot from the U.S. Treasury’s Bureau of Printing and Engraving. There’s been little official fanfare. But the dollar itself...