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Obama Scooped by Iranian President's Tweet

September 27, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow President Obama and the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani had a phone call on Friday. The discussion was, it seems, substantial: Among its topics was Iran's nuclear program. But the content of the conversation was only one thing that made the call a big deal; even more significant was the fact ...

Take a Digital Joyride Through the Large Hadron Collider

September 27, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Back in 1989, working from a computer at CERN, Tim Berners-Lee put into the place the ideas and the infrastructure that would become the World Wide Web. In 1990, he released a formal proposal to build a "hypertext project": a "web" of "hypertext documents" that would be accessible via "browsers." ...

Why Do We Go to Space, Anyway?

September 25, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The space program was forged from paranoia and fear. Our first rockets were weapons. Our first moves into the world beyond our own were motivated by competition. But when we finally got ourselves into space -- when we first traveled around our lonely planet, and took our first bounding leaps ...

49% of the Links Cited in Supreme Court Decisions Are Broken

September 24, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In March of 2001, Timothy Scott, the sheriff's deputy for Coweta County, Georgia, and Victor Harris engaged in a high-speed car chase. Scott had caught Harris, then 19 years old, speeding; Harris got scared and raced away. The two ended up driving -- one in flight, the other in pursuit ...

Facebook's Advice to the NSA

September 20, 2013 Last week, Facebook sued the government. "We are joining others in the industry," Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch wrote in a post on the company's website, "in petitioning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to require the government to permit companies to disclose more information about the volume and types of ...

Mark Zuckerberg's Advice to the NSA: Communicate

September 19, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Last week, Facebook sued the government. "We are joining others in the industry," Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch wrote in a post on the company's website, "in petitioning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to require the government to permit companies to disclose more information about the volume and types of ...

Why Voyager 1's Entrance Into Interstellar Space Is Such a Big Deal

September 12, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow This afternoon, NASA made a big announcement: Its Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched from Earth 36 years ago, has entered interstellar space. Nerds the world over -- your correspondent included -- proceeded to freak out. This is big. But why, you ask, does it matter that Voyager 1 is no longer, ...

Good News! The UFO Just Spotted From the Space Station Was Not Really a UFO

August 20, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow This morning, astronaut Chris Cassidy looked out the window of the International Space Station. He saw the usual thing -- the vast expanse of the visible cosmos, unimpeded by the Earth's blurring atmosphere -- and then he saw a thing that was less usual. A bright thing. A vaguely spherical ...

Good News, Future Colonists! Mars Meals May Feature Nutella

August 15, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow On the northern slope of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, on a barren lava field at 8,000 feat above sea level, six researchers have spent the last four months living in a dome. And, when venturing beyond the dome, wearing space suits. And, beyond that, sleeping. And eating. And ...

How a Cat Helped Pioneer New Postal Service Technology, Circa 1897

August 14, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Before people relied on a theoretical series of tubes for the exchange of interpersonal correspondence, they used tubes of a more literal variety. Starting in 1897 and lasting until 1953, the New York City Post office moved mail across the city using, in part, an intricate system of pneumatic tubes ...