Category Archives: Science and Technology

Securing Anthrax (and Other Dangerous Pathogens)—the Risk of “Incomplete Inactivation”

In 2015, the Department of Defense discovered that one of its laboratories had inadvertently sent live anthrax to almost 200 other labs worldwide over 12 years. Labs routinely inactivate samples of dangerous pathogens so they can be shipped to other … Continue reading

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Connected People, Devices & Data | The Results of Our Data and Analytics Innovation Forum

New technology is all around—fitness trackers count your steps, navigation apps steer you right, and the internet is everywhere. These and other tech trends have resulted in massive volumes of data being generated, stored, and analyzed at unprecedented rates. What … Continue reading

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Where No Auditor Has Gone Before

It’s Star Trek’s 50th anniversary—it first took viewers “where no man has gone before” in 1966. Since then, the Enterprise and its sister ships have spent much of their time at warp speeds, saving planets and fending off hostile life … Continue reading

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Is Your Project’s Technology Up to the Job? Our New Draft Tech Readiness Assessment Guide Can Help Answer That

Technology can help solve some of the thorniest problems. But immature tech can create more problems than it solves. NASA, the Department of Defense, and others originally conceived of the idea of “technology readiness assessments” to determine technology maturity—whether the … Continue reading

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NASA’s Plans for Human Space Exploration (podcast)

In the 1960s, NASA had Projects Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo to get humans to the moon. Today, the agency has the Orion multipurpose crew capsule and the Space Launch System, which could potentially get humans to Mars. Listen to Cristina … Continue reading

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Eyes in the Sky | Could We Be Headed for Less Accurate Weather Forecasts?

Satellites are critical for timely forecasts and warnings of extreme weather events. But, as we’ve discussed before, some of these satellites are aging and should be replaced. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration oversees key weather satellites, and today we’re … Continue reading

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Examining Ocean Acidification on World Oceans Day

Increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and oceans are resulting in chemical changes known as “ocean acidification.” These changes may pose risks for some marine species and ecosystems, as well as for the coastal communities that rely on them … Continue reading

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Expanding Drinking Water Options

Providing clean and fresh water is one of the most essential municipal services. Recent reports about lead-contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan and ongoing drought in several parts of the nation, highlight the importance of ensuring the public has a … Continue reading

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Science and Technology at GAO

Readers of the WatchBlog know that GAO is more than financial audits. Our mission has grown over the years to include performance audits, bid protest adjudication, and other professional services for Congress. And the federal government has also changed. From … Continue reading

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Electromagnetic Risks to the Nation’s Electric Grid (podcast)

A world without electricity sounds like the setting of a summer blockbuster, but electromagnetic events could pose real risks to the national power grid. These risks can be the result of a man-made explosion high above the ground creating an … Continue reading

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