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TSA has ended its contract with controversial scanner maker Rapiscan

January 18, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Here's the latest in the long, strange, often frustrating saga of airport security scanners: The Transportation Security Administration has ended a contract with Rapiscan, the manufacturer of the controversial backscatter screener. The reason, per the TSA? It wasn't that the machines subjected consumers to objectionably high levels of radiation -- ...

Cannonballs, samurai swords, chastity belts: Items found at TSA checkpoints in 2012

January 14, 2013 The Transportation Safety Administration is not merely a government agency. It is also a kind of real-time library, tracking the human folly that plays out at some of the human folly-est places there are: airports. Now, the TSA has released information from a year's worth of checkpoint-monitoring ... and the ...

You Probably Write a Novel's Worth of Email Every Year

January 9, 2013 So we know that the average worker spends 13 hours a week -- 28 percent of office time -- on email. Which multiplies out to (eek) 650 hours a year. But what does that time investment look like as physical -- well, "physical" -- output? How does it amass as ...

The age of surgical censorship

January 8, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Iran, to put it mildly, has a tense relationship with the Internet -- some evidence of the acrimony being the many attempts the country has made to curtail its citizens' use of social media. In May, its supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a fatwa against anti-filtering tools that have ...

The future of cybersecurity could be sitting in an office in New Jersey

January 7, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Sans Institute was founded in 1989, and currently leads information-security training for military, government, and civilian officials -- sessions that tend to specialize, these days, in digital forensics and network penetration testing. For the past few years, SANS has been running computer simulation training games (the aptly named "NetWars") ...

For sale: NASA launchpad, gently used

January 7, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow On July 20, 2011, at 5:57 a.m. EDT, the space shuttle Atlantis made its final touchdown on the runway of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. NASA's storied shuttle program wasn't the only thing that came to its official end that day; the intervening year-and-a-half has also seen ...

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 ...