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Caitlin Fairchild

Web Producer Caitlin Fairchild joined Government Executive in summer 2011 as an editorial fellow, after graduating from the College of William & Mary, where she spent four years writing for the student newspaper, The Flat Hat. In March 2012, she was hired full time as a web producer. She has completed internships at Washingtonian Magazine and at the public affairs office of Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas.
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Video: Why Closing Apps Won't Help Save Smartphone Battery Life

December 15, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow During times when you're stuck without a charger and your smartphone's battery is quickly draining, you might think closing out of all your apps is the way to make that battery last a little bit longer. That won't really help, however. When you leave an app, the smartphone pauses it...

Video: How Amazon Gets Your Order to You

December 14, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow As Christmas looms nearer, orders are pouring into Amazon.com with the hope they'll arrive by the Dec. 25 deadline. How does Amazon get all those orders fulfilled and delivered? Robots and a little elbow grease. At the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Tracy, California, Kiva robots roam the floor carrying stacked...

Video: Are Self-Driving Cars Really Safer?

December 11, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow It's no secret that automobiles can be deadly: In 2014 alone, 33,000 people died in road accidents in the United States. With these grim statistics, it's no surprise one of the biggest selling points of a driverless car is the dramatic reduction in car accidents. But self-driving cars' big promise...

Video: How Do You Build a Death Star? A NASA Engineer Explains

December 10, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In 2012, the public used the White House's petition tool We the People to ask the government to build a Death Star. Though the White House said no to the request, it hasn't stopped nerds everywhere from dreaming of a real-life version of the massive battle station. So is it...

Video: Car Crash Testing Goes Virtual

December 9, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Ensuring the safety of automobiles is risky work -- especially for the crash test dummies. With most vehicles -- and vehicle parts designed digitally -- automakers today have developed a new way of testing what works and what doesn't in their cars: virtual crash testing. All the data making up...

Which 'Star Wars' Droid Would Be Helpful on a NASA Space Mission?

December 8, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Both in our own solar system as well as in a galaxy far, far away, robots play an important part in space exploration. But which of the famous droids from the "Star Wars" franchise -- R2-D2, C-3PO or newcomer BB-8 -- would actually be the most useful during real missions?...

Video: Need to Speed up Your Wi-Fi? Here's How

December 7, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A strong Wi-Fi signal is important whether you're teleworking or just Netflix binging. But without an optimized router, you're stuck buffering, and won't get through your to-do and to-watch lists. Placement of the router is key. For best results, users should make sure to place the router out in the...

Video: Honey, I Shrunk the Satellites!

December 4, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow When it comes to satellites, bigger isn't always better. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory often builds very large satellites, but researchers at JPL also engineer CubeSats, which are very small spacecraft, with the smallest measuring in centimeters. NASA has launched hundreds of these teeny-tiny satellites into low-earth orbit over the past...

These 9 Innovations Changed the Future and They All Came From One Place

December 3, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Founded several decades ago, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab has had far-reaching effects. The lab's work is featured in the smartphone likely sitting right next to you. In the late '60s and early '70s, researchers at MIT began experimenting with the idea of touch computing. "How does a...

NASA Celebrates 20 Years of Heliophysics

December 2, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow While NASA's main focus seems to be researching the rest of the galaxy, the space agency has occasionally turned its attention to our own star. In partnership with the European Space Agency, NASA launched the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO, in December 1995. The spacecraft revolutionized the field of...