AUTHOR ARCHIVES

Alexis Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Technology channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. The New York Observer calls Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti. He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press). Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.
Results 11-20 of 89

Computers See Your Face as a Child. Will They Recognize You as an Adult?

May 13, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow This story began with a simple question: if a facial recognition system processes a lot of pictures of a child, will it recognize that person when he or she grows up? If I were to upload all my childhood photos to Facebook (or some future Facebook), could a biometric identification...

The Hacker Who Worked on a Navy Nuclear Aircraft Carrier

May 9, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Nicholas Knight and his hacker crew, Digi7al, were a lot like other hacking crews. According to a Federal indictment filed this week, they broke into computers, took information, posted it, and boasted about their exploits. But there is a key difference: Nicholas Knight was employed by the Navy on the...

CAPTCHAs Are Becoming Security Theater

April 17, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow CAPTCHAs are a time-worn way for humans to tell computers that we are human. They are those little boxes filled with distorted text that we've been told humans can decipher, but computers—the bad guys' computers—cannot. So, Watson-be-damned, we enter the letters and gain access to whatever is behind the veil,...

In Defense of Google Flu Trends

March 27, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In 2008, Google released an experiment called Flu Trends, which attempted to predict the prevalence of the flu from searches that users made for about 40 flu-related queries. Based on the data up to that point in time, Flu Trends worked really well. The Centers for Disease Control, which had...

The 3D Future of Your Smartphone Camera

March 14, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A matte black robotic camera the size of a 1980s lunchbox sits atop a tripod. On its face, there are three 2D cameras and three 3D sensors. There's a handle on one end sprouting from the left side of the device. Its handler hits a button on an iPad app,...

Man vs. Sea: The Quest for the Perfect Armor Is Nearly Complete

March 6, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A search for a photo of a miniature submarine took me to a government website, and as I browsed the tiny thumbnails, I saw something better than a tiny sub in the water. I found a picture of a man standing on the bottom of the ocean. And I've been...

Why Drugs Need Horseshoe Crab Blood for FDA Approval

February 26, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The thing about the blood that everyone notices first: It's blue, baby blue. The marvelous thing about horseshoe crab blood, though, isn't the color. It's a chemical found only in the amoebocytes of its blood cells that can detect mere traces of bacterial presence and trap them in inescapable clots....

This GIF Shows What Might Be Water Flowing on Mars

February 10, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow NASA scientists have long chanted a mantra about Mars: follow the water, follow the water. So, we sent a lander to the northern latitudes looking for extant ice. More recently, the Mars Curiosity rover has been exploring planetary features that seem created by long-ago water flows, at least if Martian...

Snipers Coordinated an Attack on the Power Grid, but Why?

February 5, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Last April, unknown attackers shot up 17 transformers at a California substation in what the then-chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Jon Wellinghoff called "the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred" in this country. Though news reports about the incident at the...

Introducing (1978!) Cellular Phone Service

February 5, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow AT&T's archives of the Bell Labs research and media provides a neverending stream of fascinating tidbits about the development of modern mobile communications. Recently, archivist Robin Edgerton discovered a 1978 film called "Advanced Mobile Phone Service (AMPS)" that is the earliest she's found that describes cellular telephone operation. The honeycomb-like...

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