5 Must-Read Tech News Hits

Rounding up IT and advanced tech-related news in government and industry.

Is the Public Safety Assessment Algorithm a Disadvantage to Citizens?

When a prior jail term was left out of the formula in a predictive public safety assessment algorithm, the tool decided a 19-year-old accused of violating probation could safely be released rather than held in jail. Just days later, he robbed and murdered another man. Yet, as governments rely on mathematical formulas for criminal justice decisions, citizens don’t know how the algorithms work or how they are being used.

Contracts either prevent cities from releasing any information about the tool’s development and operation, or governments aren’t properly documenting how they use it. This leaves citizens, essentially, in the dark. Some activists, however, urge the government to reveal the code behind the algorithms. Wired

Complying with the Quality Payment Program Now Easier 

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 aims to ensure the quality of care provided is the key indicator upon which doctors are paid, rather than the number of procedures performed. An essential part of MACRA is complying with the Quality Payment Program, but the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid wanted to provide the information and tools clinicians’ needed to ensure complains in a user-centric way.

So, a team from Health and Human Services Digital Service jumped in to help get a new QPP website tool going. A product lead, designer, content writer and engineers unified disparate data sources into a single schema, layered an API to access the data, created an intuitive user interface, and tested the site and tool with clinicians and medical offices at CMS. USDS

BAE Systems Debuts Next-Gen Computer for Space

The aerospace and defense tech company’s new RAD5545 is a next-generation single-board hardened computer designed for space-based use. It’s faster and more efficient than its previous models, features “exponential” improvements and is hardened against ambient radiation (meaning it can handle challenging outer-space conditions).

Unlike other single-board computers for space, the RAD5545 can unlock new capabilities for future spacecraft, like encryption, running multiple operating systems at once, processing high-res images and autonomously operating the spacecraft. The hardening aspect will be a necessity for long-term missions to Mars. TechCrunch

GSA Uses 18F’s Federalist Platform, Recommends Other Agencies Do, Too

The General Services Administration’s Office of Government-wide Policy Federal Identity, Credential, and Access Management team launched its updated digital tools to replace its enterprise architecture and roadmap, and migrated them to interactive playbooks. The playbooks share important agency-developed ICAM info online, and were hosted, developed and published on GitHub during the transition.

However, OGP wanted a more collaborative platform for agencies. Working with 18F, it decided to use the Federalist platform for its dot-ov domain, compliance, scalability and low-cost, among other reasons. Three FICAM playbook sites are now live, with plans to continue migrating content. OGP recommends other agencies use it for hosting web content and transitioning guides into digital formats. GSA

Last Visible Total Solar Eclipse Will be in 600 Million Years

Did you know a total solar eclipse swept through the U.S. from coast to coast on Aug. 21? Well, if you weren’t one of the lucky viewers in the path of totality, your chance to see a total eclipse is not over, as the last one to be visible from Earth’s surface is predicted to be 600 million years from now (assuming life still exists on Earth by then, of course).

The moon is slowly moving away from the Earth at a rate of about 4 centimeters a year. This happens because the tidal forces the Earth and the moon exert on each other cause the natural satellite to gradually distance itself from us and slows down the Earth’s rotation. In other words, the moon will eventually drift so far from Earth, it won’t be able to cover up the full shape of the sun when it passes in front of it. Motherboard

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