FCC Dismantling Net Neutrality
It looks like net neutrality is headed for the ashbin of history. The FCC has unveiled plans that would roll back regulations passed in 2015 under the Obama administration. Many believe the move will effectively cede control of the Internet to a small group of telecom providers.
"Under the agency's proposal, providers of high-speed Internet services, such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T, would be able to block websites they do not like and charge Web companies for speedier delivery of their content," writes Brian Fung of the Washington Post.
Tech giants such as Google oppose the FCC's plan, saying the 2015 rules are "working well" and protecting consumers. If the FCC has its way, there will be repercussions for all of us in the IT industry, which depends on high-speed Internet access to a far greater degree than ever before.
Roadblock for AT&T, Time Warner Merger
The same week that the FCC ruled against net neutrality, the U.S. Justice Department sued to block the proposed merger of AT&T with Time Warner.
"If AT&T's bid for Time Warner were to go through, the merger would create a media and telecommunications behemoth. By itself, AT&T is one of the nation's largest internet and telephone providers. With its 2015 acquisition of DirecTV, the country's largest satellite company, it also became the largest television distributor in the United States," write Cecilia Kang and Michael J. de la Merced in the New York Times.
It's interesting that two different agencies within the same administration have taken starkly contradictory approaches to managing power shifts in the global cyber landscape. Only time will tell which approach was appropriate.
NASA Testing Most Powerful Rocket Ever
On a lighter note, NASA is getting ready to put together the most power rocket ever built. The rocket, officially called the Space Launch System, will be capable of sending human beings deeper into space than ever before.
"NASA is assembling most of the core stage of the rocket using a technique called friction stir welding: Cylinders of metal rotate between aluminum slabs, heating them to a butter like consistency. The metal sections then meld together without any cracks or contaminants. After sanding the joins by hand, technicians scan them for defects using ultrasound and X-rays," according to a special feature story in Wired magazine.