How Cutting-Edge Technology & Science Are Powering The Future TPM Idealab

It's Earth Day, which means government agencies are shooting off press releases touting their efforts to conserve energy through various green initiatives. But sorry, other government flacks -- the Central Intelligence Agency's method of reducing its carbon footprint takes the cake.

Turns out the CIA saves energy by shredding and burning classified documents.

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This is a map of everywhere I've been for the last months. Everywhere. I didn't carry around a tracking device. The FBI isn't sending goons in unmarked vans to track me. All I did was use an iPhone. And if you have an iPhone, you're being tracked right now, too.


It turns out that your iPhone is keeping a record of everywhere you've been since June. This data is stored on your phone (or iPad) and computer, easily available to anyone who gets their hands on it. Why? Apple won't say. We're creeped out.

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The president famous for his BlackBerry adoration is apparently not impressed with the Oval Office's landlines. In an unscripted moment caught on tape by CBS, President Barack Obama last week asked of his White House: where are the "cool phones"?

"You know the Oval Office always thought I was going to have like real cool phones and stuff," Obama said at a fundraiser in Chicago last week. "You know, we can't get our phones to work!  I'm like 'come on guys, I'm the President of the United States.'  Where's the fancy buttons and stuff, and the big screen comes up? It doesn't happen."

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Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Vents Program at Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and Oregon State University didn't feel the massive earthquake that struck off Japan on March 11. But they did hear it.

An underwater microphone located near the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, 900 miles from the quake epicenter, captured the sound of the disaster on tape, and a portion of the recording has now been put up on YouTube.

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In an attempt to give Americans more control over how their personal information is collected and used on the Internet, Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and John McCain (R-AZ), introduced a bill to protect consumers' online privacy on Tuesday.

The Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011 would create a framework for how companies can collect, store and distribute personal information, and would require companies to employ security measures to protect that information. Companies would also need to tell individuals how and why they are collecting information, make it easier to opt-out, and in some cases, make the default for sharing sensitive data opt-in.

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A University College London research study suggests that liberal and conservative political views might be connected to differences in the structure of the brain. According to an article by Cognitive neuroscientist Ryota Kanai and colleagues, published in Current Biology, political conservatives may have a larger right amygdala, and liberals a larger anterior cingulate cortex. This increased brain activity, says Kanai and crew, may show liberals as more apt at juggling conflicting information and more open to new experiences, and conservatives better able to identify and assess risk but more anxious of the uncertain.

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In the near future, retweets could actually be matters of national security.

According to a draft Homeland Security Department plan obtained by The Associated Press, the U.S. government will soon replace the old - and much maligned - five color-coded terror alert system. The new system will have only two warning levels -- elevated and imminent -- and "will be relayed to the public only under certain circumstances for limited periods of time." Among the changes: threats will sometimes be relayed using Facebook and Twitter.

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The White House Office of Management and Budget said Monday that it "strongly opposes" efforts by the House of Representatives to invalidate net neutrality rules, and threatened to veto any bill that would do so.

"If the President is presented with a Resolution of Disapproval that would not safeguard the free and open Internet, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the Resolution," the OMB said in a statement.

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