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"Smart Cities" are designed to scale up "The Internet of Things" to better manage local transportation, energy, healthcare, water delivery and waste disposal. Can Big Data really improve the quality of life for residents and their neighbors?

Today's Talking Point: a historic moment in the privatization of space travel and exploration. 

Photo: Street lamps in Amsterdam have been upgraded to allow municipal councils to dim the lights based on pedestrian usage (Massimo Catarinella)

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney
Christine Detz
Gideon Brower

Effort to Free Ramadi from ISIS Underway 6 MIN, 30 SEC

Iraqi soldiers, police officers and Sunni tribesmen have reportedly battled their way to the center of Ramadi, a major city that's been under the control of the Islamic State. Kristina Wong reports on military affairs for The Hill.

Guests:
Kristina Wong, The Hill (@kristina_wong)

The Pros and Cons of "Smart Cities" 34 MIN, 59 SEC

Big tech companies including IBM and Cisco invented the idea of "smart cities" using Big Data to systematize public services and improve the quality of life. Complex networks of sensors and cameras would monitor everything from traffic congestion, crime and disease to temperatures and the weather. That's a hard sell to local officials with limited budgets — and it's raised concerns about the invasion of privacy and other abuses. But "The Internet of Things" offers limitless opportunities, and they're not going away. Neither are "smart cities." We get a progress report.

Guests:
Joshua New, Center for Data Innovation (@josh_a_new)
Constantine Kontokosta, New York University (@NYU_CUSP)
Aaron Renn, Manhattan Institute (@urbanophile)
Antoni Vives, City Transformation Agency

More:
European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC)
Horizon 2020
New on why countries need national strategies for The Internet of Things

SpaceX Launches and Lands Falcon 9 Rocket 8 MIN, 34 SEC

Last June, Elon Musk and Space X suffered a major loss when a Falcon 9 rocket exploded just after launch. Yesterday, it was a very different story.

Workers at the Space X Factory in Southern California cheered as they watched something that NASA's never even attempted. After a Falcon 9 rocket was launched into space, the massive first stage was slowed down… its course was reversed, and it was landed vertically at the launch site in Florida. Phil Plait says his heart was pounding. He's an astronomer who writes the "Bad Astronomy" blog for Slate.


Long-exposure photo of the launch, re-entry and landing burns of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, December 21, 2015.
Courtesy SpaceX

Guests:
Phil Plait, Slate (@badastronomer)

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