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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 Next for the Keystone XL Pipeline

March 28, 2017 Because that which has never lived cannot really die, the Keystone XL—the grinding, symbolic climate-change fight of the Obama era—has returned. On Friday morning, President Trump formally approved the pipeline, completing a process that he began a few days into his presidency. In the United States, the pipeline as planned...

A Visual Search Engine for the Entire Planet

March 8, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow At this moment in history, there are more satellites photographing Earth from orbit than just about anyone knows what to do with. Planet, Inc., has more than 150 orbiting cameras, each the size of a shoebox. DigitalGlobe has five dump-truck-sized sensors. And more startups are planning to launch their own....

Congress and Trump Won't 'Terminate the EPA'

February 16, 2017 It could not look more grave, more straightforwardly destructive. Below a simple title—H. R. 861, A BILL TO TERMINATE THE EPA—runs the staggering text: Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, The Environmental Protection Agency shall terminate on...

Google Remakes Satellite Business, By Leaving It

February 7, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Last week, Google pushed one of the most interesting sectors in Silicon Valley toward maturity—and brought a milestone in cartography closer to reality. It accomplished all that, paradoxically, by getting out of the market. From a business standpoint, here’s the news: Google sold its in-house satellite business, known as Terra...

Who Abused Their Executive Power at Standing Rock?

February 1, 2017 Late on Tuesday evening, as President Donald Trump announced his pick for the Supreme Court, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signaled a shocking reversal: It will now allow the Dakota Access pipeline to go forward as planned. Specifically, at the direction of the acting secretary of the army, the...

How Will We Know Trump’s Inaugural Crowd Size?

January 20, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow On Friday, hundreds of thousands of people made their way to downtown Washington, D.C., to celebrate the inauguration of Donald Trump. The next day, thousands more will make the same journey for the Women’s March on Washington. In the days following both events, the press will report their total attendance....

Obama's Environmental Legacy, in Two Buttes

December 30, 2016 When historians go searching for the encapsulating symbol of President Obama’s environmental legacy—and all the idealism and ire that accompanied it—they need look no further than two buttes rising from the desert in southeastern Utah. On Wednesday, with a stroke of his pen, Obama created the Bears Ears National Monument....

Trump’s EPA Pick Is Skeptical of More Than Just Climate Change

December 8, 2016 Throughout the long campaign, and in the long month that has followed, President-elect Donald Trump sounded some odd notes about the environment. He rejected the scientific fact of climate change, calling it a hoax or a fraud. He repeatedly announced his intent to repeal all of the Obama administration’s environmental...

In a Decade, Oklahoma's Earthquakes Will Be Normal Again

December 1, 2016 Earlier this month, a disaster threatened the American economy—but no one much noticed it because of the presidential election. On the evening of Sunday, November 6, a 5.0-magnitude earthquake shook Cushing, Oklahoma. The trembling dislodged bricks, broke windows, and forced 40 people out of their homes. Some of the city’s...

How a Bunch of Hacked DVR Machines Took Down Twitter and Reddit

October 24, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow What began as a 2-hour morning outage spanned well into Friday afternoon as Twitter, Reddit, Spotify, Github and many other popular websites and services became effectively inaccessible for many American web users, especially those on the East Coast. The websites were not targeted individually. Instead, an unknown attacker deployed a...

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