The ​Government Is Failing More Frequently, And Here's Why

The Veterans Affairs scandal. The Obamacare website launch. The response to Hurricane Katrina. Government seems to be getting more and more incompetent — and now, new data supports that perception. In the past three decades, the average number of epic fails has grown from 1.6 to 3.0 per year. What's going on here? » 7/21/14 6:40am Monday 6:40am

Can Embassies Be Secure Without Looking Like Scary Bunkers?

Over the last 15 years, every embassy that the U.S. has built around the world looks like a fortress—an eyesore in cities and a not-so-friendly message to foreigners. So, architects who are building our new London embassy hope to prove that aesthetics and security can co-exist. It's an idea that's sparked some… » 6/27/14 5:00pm 6/27/14 5:00pm

Russia Severs Space-Science Ties With U.S. In A Curt Breakup Tweet

Yesterday, Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin told reporters that Russia would decline America's request to work together on keeping the ISS operational through 2024, potentially dooming humanity's orbital outpost. Following his press conference, Rogozin reiterated his country's position over Twitter in more… » 5/14/14 2:10pm 5/14/14 2:10pm

Why You Should Care About The Plan To Break Up California

California is the most populous state in the US, a fact some believe makes it ungovernable. The Six Californias Initiative would seek to make things more manageable by dividing the state into six parts. But what effect might this division have? How would each new state compare, demographically, to the other now-55… » 3/20/14 11:00am 3/20/14 11:00am

How does political tension affect astronauts aboard the ISS?

Tension between the U.S. and Russia on account of the current political situation in the Ukraine has raised questions about the cooperation of Russian and American astronauts aboard the International Space Station – questions NASA chief Charlie Bolden addressed in a news conference held yesterday. » 3/05/14 11:40am 3/05/14 11:40am

When should scientists talk politics, and when should they shut up?

Scientists who study the environment often find themselves stuck. They see problems with how humans are affecting the planet, and they want to advocate for changing the way we are doing things. At the same time, they aren't political experts. How can they offer informed opinions, without falling prey to propagandizing? » 1/21/14 11:40am 1/21/14 11:40am

Soft Paternalism, or the Future of Authority and Obedience

As humans, we're always making bad choices. At the same time, we really hate to be told what to do — even if what we're being told is a good idea. This conundrum could be solved with a futuristic concept called "soft paternalism." Here's how public and private institutions could nudge us in the right direction —… » 12/13/13 1:16pm 12/13/13 1:16pm

Mexico may amend its constitution so that it can drill for more oil

Mexico sits atop some positively massive quantities of shale oil and gas, but, unlike America, has not pursued these lucrative subterranean reserves. Why? According to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, doing so is against the country's constitution; so he's asking the government to change it. » 11/12/13 2:20pm 11/12/13 2:20pm