Science & technology

Inside Nasa’s giant rocket factory

If you remember one fact from this story, make it this: America’s new rocket will be capable of carrying 12 fully grown elephants into orbit. Before anyone protests about a gross misappropriation of taxpayers’ money, not to mention the associated animal rights issues, this is a purely hypothetical scenario Nasa uses in an attempt to illustrate the sheer scale and power of its new launcher.

The White House’s $100M, H-1B Funded Tech Job Plan Comes Under Fire

Obama administration says there are 545,000 IT job openings, but experts question that number. The White House has established a $100 million program that endorses fast-track, boot camp IT training efforts and other four-year degree alternatives. But this plan is drawing criticism because of the underlying message it sends in the H-1B battle.

Why Apple Watch takes Apple into uncharted waters

The eagerly anticipated launch of Apple Watch on Monday saw Apple unveil its first new product category since 2010, when the tech giant unleashed the iPad. The jury, however, is still out on whether the smartwatch will be the latest in a long line of Apple successes.

President Obama Launches New TechHire Initiative

The TechHire initiative builds on work communities like Louisville, St. Louis, Philadelphia, New York City and the State of Delaware are doing to connect more Americans to well-paying technology jobs through a potent combination of new tools and training models. Twenty-one cities, states and rural regions across the country will participate in the TechHire launch, with the goal of building a training-to-job pipeline to fill more than 120,000 tech openings, according to the White House.

Game of drones: As U.S. dithers, rivals get a head start

Looser regulations outside the U.S. have created pockets of innovation attracting ideas, money and momentum, says Patrick Thevoz, co-founder and CEO of Swiss-based Flyability, which builds drones inside a spherical cage that allows them to bump through doors, tunnels and forests without losing balance.

CIA Creates Digital Innovation Directorate

As part of its biggest reorganization in its nearly seven-decade history, the Central Intelligence Agency is creating a Directorate of Digital Innovation that will use cyber technology to amass and analyze intelligence. CIA Director John Brennan, in a March 6 message to employees, said the new directorate would oversee the acceleration of digital and cyber integration across all of the agency's mission areas.

NASA Launches 2015 Space Apps Challenge to Spark Innovation

During this three-day code-a-thon, participants are asked to develop mobile applications, software, hardware, data visualization and platform solutions that could contribute to space exploration missions and help improve life on Earth. “These challenges provide opportunities for US and global citizen scientists, engineers, and students to interact and contribute  to space exploration through code development, data analytics innovation,  open source software and hardware,” said Deborah Diaz, agency chief technology officer at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

NASA Spacecraft Becomes First to Orbit a Dwarf Planet

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has become the first mission to achieve orbit around a dwarf planet. The spacecraft was approximately 38,000 miles (61,000 kilometers) from Ceres when it was captured by the dwarf planet’s gravity at about 4:39 a.m. PST (7:39 a.m. EST) Friday.

NASA Research Suggests Mars Once Had More Water than Earth’s Arctic Ocean

A primitive ocean on Mars held more water than Earth’s Arctic Ocean, according to NASA scientists who, using ground-based observatories, measured water signatures in the Red Planet’s atmosphere. Scientists have been searching for answers to why this vast water supply left the surface. Details of the observations and computations appear in Thursday’s edition of Science magazine.

Senators Resolve to Promote Internet of Things

Sponsoring the resolution were Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). "The United States is well positioned to lead the world in innovation policy," Fischer said in a statement. "Our Internet of Things resolution would commit our nation to a national strategy incentivizing the use of new technologies to maximize consumer opportunity and to facilitate economic growth."

Peer-to-Peer Wireless Is Increasing Competition Worldwide

In some markets—including large swaths of the U.S.—just one or two companies have the right to transmit over the most versatile bands of radio spectrum or to build cable connections using public rights of way. This means those companies can dictate the terms and price of the connection, and as a result, an Internet connection in most U.S. cities is costlier and slower than it would be in cities in comparable countries, reports the New American Foundation.

Car-to-Car Communication May Hit Roads Soon

The MIT Technology Review named V2V one of the biggest tech breakthroughs of 2015, predicting that it will become widely available as soon as next year. General Motors was the first major car company to commit, announcing in September that it would release a V2V-equipped Cadillac by 2017.

Here's one way to attract the best and brightest to the U.S. - and keep them here

One quarter of technology and engineering companies developed between 1995 and 2012 were founded or co-founded by foreign-born immigrants. Those developed between 2006 and 2012 employed an average of 21.37 people each. Foreign-born immigrants creating employment opportunities in the U.S. is not a novel concept. Between 1995 and 2006, the technology companies started by immigrants accounted for an impressive 10 percent of total job creation.

Obama sharply criticizes China's plans for new technology rules

In an interview with Reuters, Obama said he was concerned about Beijing's plans for a far-reaching counterterrorism law that would require technology firms to hand over encryption keys, the passcodes that help protect data, and install security "backdoors" in their systems to give Chinese authorities surveillance access.

Robots are hurting middle class workers, and education won’t solve the problem

Whether it is robots in manufacturing, automated check-out of retail establishments, e-shopping taking people out of distribution networks, information technology replacing what used to be done by low-level, white-collar managerial and clerical labor, the ability to take blood pressure and perform other medical tests with much less human labor input, automated call-center systems – it appears that technology is permitting very large-scale substitutions.

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