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Federal Budget Includes $7.9B for Space, Climate Change

Plus, the U.K. launches an emergency alert system, Walgreens turns to AI to improve targeted email campaigns and one fan of a 46-year-old calculator endeavors to outfit it for wireless charging.

Spaceship launching in a cloud of smoke
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$7.9 BILLION


In keeping with the Biden administration’s emphasis on scientific research since the new president took office in January, the federal budget proposal released May 28 included a request for nearly $8 billion for NASA. The funding would go toward addressing climate change on earth, as well as further exploration of the moon and other planets. Source: Ars Technica

46 YEARS


One man was such a fan of a 46-year-old Hewlett-Packard HP-25 calculator that he used a 3D printer to create a new battery case to hold a 900mAh lithium-polymer cell capable of wireless charging, replacing the device’s original nickel-cadmium batteries. The HP-25 is a programmable scientific calculator designed for engineering use, and its 10-digit LED display still accomplishes exactly what its user needs, despite the availability of faster, shinier — and likely shorter-lived — options. Source: Gizmodo

RED ALERT


The U.K. is finally joining the ranks of countries including the U.S., Canada and South Korea this year in launching an emergency alert system. The government will send text alerts to all residents’ mobile phones when there’s a national or local risk, such as severe flooding or fire, and mobile providers will share no personal information with authorities. Public testing of the system began in May and will expand nationwide later in 2021. Source: Engadget

30%


To help optimize its messaging about availability of COVID-19 vaccines, this spring Walgreens expanded its partnership with Phrasee, an AI-driven copywriting platform, to create targeted email campaigns. They used the tech to generate more engaging subject lines, simplify text and tone down some of the “fun” language that didn’t fly with customers early in the pandemic. The result? After putting Phrasee’s changes into action, Walgreens reported a 30 percent increase in email open rates. Source: Venture Beat
Lauren Harrison is the managing editor for Government Technology magazine. She has a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and more than 10 years’ experience in book and magazine publishing.
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