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Robinson Meyer

Robinson Meyer is an associate editor at The Atlantic, where he covers technology.
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What's Happening With the Relief Effort in Puerto Rico?

October 4, 2017 What is happening in Puerto Rico? Since the storm made landfall on September 20, Hurricane Maria has wreaked havoc on the island, causing a level of widespread destruction and disorganization paralleled by few storms in American history. Almost two weeks after the storm abated, most of the island’s residents still...

What's Happening With the Relief Effort in Puerto Rico?

October 4, 2017 What is happening in Puerto Rico? Since the storm made landfall on September 20, Hurricane Maria has wreaked havoc on the island, causing a level of widespread destruction and disorganization paralleled by few storms in American history. Almost two weeks after the storm abated, most of the island’s residents still...

7 Questions About Twitter's Doubled Character Limit

September 27, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow On Tuesday evening, Twitter announced that it is experimenting with doubling the length of tweets, allowing users to post up to 280 characters per message. To start, the feature will only be available to a random set of users on the service. But if adopted by the platform as a...

Could Facebook Have Caught Its 'Jew Hater' Ad Targeting?

September 15, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Facebook lives and dies by its algorithms. They decide the order of posts in your News Feed, the ads you see when you open the app, and which which news topics are trending. Algorithms make its vast platform possible, and Facebook can often seem to trust them completely—or at least...

How the National Weather Service Prepares for the Worst

September 12, 2017 COLLEGE PARK, Md.—“I woke up Friday night with a dream that it had missed the peninsula,” said Bill Lapenta, the director of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction. We sat looking at a screen that showed Hurricane Irma’s long journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Another monitor showed a live satellite...

Hurricane Irma: 'We've Never Seen a Storm This Strong'

September 10, 2017 This story was updated at 12:14 p.m. Take it from the hurricane historian: There has never been a tropical cyclone quite like Irma. “You’ve had storms this strong,” said Phil Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University who specializes in the history of Atlantic tropical cyclones. “But the thing that...

To Soften a Hurricane's Blow, Don't Drain the Swamp

September 4, 2017 If a hurricane-addled storm surge is barreling toward your coastline, there aren’t many ways to stop it. There are no ocean-sized sump pumps. Giant, Squarepants-style coastal sponges don’t exist either. Except they kind of do. Wetlands and marshes—the water-permeated thickets of grass and muck that sit on the edge of...

Did Climate Change Intensify Hurricane Harvey?

August 28, 2017 Every so often, the worst-case scenario comes to pass. As of Sunday afternoon, the remnants of Hurricane Harvey seem likely to exceed the worst forecasts that preceded the storm. The entire Houston metropolitan region is flooding: Interstates are under feet of water, local authorities have asked boat owners to join...

What Kind of Monuments Does President Trump Value?

August 18, 2017 On Thursday morning, President Donald Trump announced his unequivocal support for preserving statues of Confederate generals and leaders, moving a step past his previous statements that the fate of the statues should be left to cities and states. In full, his tweets read: “Sad to see the history and culture...

Can the U.S. Government Seize an Anti-Trump Website's Visitor Logs?

August 15, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Suppose you were to click on this link: This one, right here. It will take you to the website of Disrupt J20, which organized some of the “direct action” protests on the day of President Donald Trump’s inauguration in Washington, D.C. The site contains general information about civil disobedience and...