Despite this era’s amazing advances in data storage and data mining, the accumulated records of our federal bureaucracy are largely — and perhaps unsurprisingly — languishing in the early 20th century. Paperwork and filing cabinets still comprise the bulk of government records.
The U.S. government is putting together proposed new Internet regulations that could have more widespread implications for your privacy than anything Mark Zuckerberg ever did to your Facebook news feed.
With 85 percent of the nation's office buildings in private hands and a spaghetti snarl of local and state building codes, no federal mandate can make all of America's buildings disaster-proof. But architects and engineers are creating a new generation of "smart" offices that not only keep intruders out but protect occupants from chemical and biological attacks.
Sensors wirelessly connect to control boxes that isolate affected areas and begin pumping clean air into the building.
This fall, more than a third of new cars must, by federal mandate, be able to sense the difference between an adult occupant, a child and an empty seat. Airbags would then only inflate as much as needed. Weight and tension sensors under seats and in seatbelts are the first step, but Siemens, TRW and Motorola are developing lasers, 3-D cameras and electrical fields that can determine occupants' position as well as their size.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.