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Why the Internet makes it hard to procrastinate

December 21, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow This morning, the save-for-later service Pocket (formerly Read It Later) posted some highlights from a year's worth of user data. Among the stats: Users -- who now number at 7.4 million -- saved 240 million pieces of digital content over the year (compared to 170 million in the span between ...

Video: Boeing used 20,000 lbs of potatoes to test its in-flight Wi-Fi

December 21, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow How do you ensure an even distribution of Wi-Fi throughout an airplane's cabin as that cabin moves through the air at 35,000 feet and 500 mph? When engineers at Boeing attempted to test different Wi-Fi system designs, they needed to either stock the plane full of warm human bodies or ...

The trash we've left on the moon

December 20, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Earlier this week, two probes that had spent the past year orbiting the moon for NASA's GRAIL missionslammed into the lunar surface, destroying themselves and their communications connection to Earth. None of this was an accident: Crash-landings like this are a typical method of bringing unmanned lunar missions -- and ...

Video: An astronaut-guided tour of the most amazing house ever built

December 17, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow You no doubt have seen images taken from the International Space Station. You likely have seen images taken of the International Space Station, too. But do you know what the ISS looks like, wall to wall and "room" to "room"? Do you know what it would be like to call ...

Why Taking Breaks Will Help You Get More Work Done

December 14, 2012 The most elite musicians in the world don't necessarily spend more time practicing their craft than their less-accomplished peers. Instead, they spend more time practicing smartly. "They focus their energy in packets," ASAPScience notes in the video above. "Instead of diluting their energy over the entire day, they have periods ...

What big space data looked like in 1962

December 14, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Throughout most of human history, humans knew Venus as "the brightest star in the sky." Fifty years ago, however -- December 14, 1962 -- humanity got to know our neighbor planet in a wonderfully new way: up close and personal. On that day, NASA's Mariner 2 spacecraft sailed by Venus, ...

How the UN's 'game-changing' Internet treaty failed

December 14, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Did you know that, for the past two weeks, the future of the Internet has been at stake? Yes, it has. Those two weeks hosted the World Conference on International Telecommunications(also hosted, technically, by Dubai). And they hosted, as well, a fairly dramatic face-off -- often between blocs led by ...

The Pope has tweeted

December 12, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Earlier this month, the Vatican revealed the Pope's official Twitter account, @pontifex -- an attempt to engage with, among other people, some of the more than a billion Catholics around the world. Early this morning, that account began tweeting. This was the pope's first tweet, which doubled as a digital ...

The state of intellectual property around the world

December 12, 2012 Economies are slowing across the globe. But inventors across the globe apparently didn't get that memo. Patent filings and grants have exploded in the past few years -- fueled, in particular, by innovations coming out of, and into, China. And fueled, as well, by new fields -- computer technologies, communications ...

The year in tech, 2012

December 11, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Technology changes year to year, phone to phone, quarter to quarter. Here at The Atlantic, we like to focus on how those changes happen, the ideas that animate them, the people that execute them, the users who transform them. The last year saw massive change in this broad definition of ...