NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has developed artificial intelligence technology that can keep firefighters safe when working in smoke and flames.

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Artificial Intelligence Protects First Responders, How Birth Control Is Stopping the Spread of Disease and More

Take a break from the regular news cycle and check out these NationSwell must-reads, which uncover solutions that are moving America forward.

This NASA-Developed A.I. Could Help Save Firefighters’ Lives, Smithsonian Magazine
Disorienting scenes where a single move can be deadly is a common experience for both space rovers and firefighters. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which built an artificial intelligence system for navigating unfamiliar landscapes, is sharing its technology with fire departments — warning first responders about hazards they might not notice in the smoke and flames.

Man v. Rat: Could the Long War Soon Be Over? The Guardian
A New York City subway rat carries a host of dangerous contagions, and its reproductive capacity — up to 15,000 offspring in a year — spread disease through city sewers and alleyways. A biotech startup in Flagstaff, Ariz., has developed a humane way to deal with Gotham’s infestation where rat poison has failed: birth control.

Generational Poverty: Trying to Solve Philly’s Most Enduring Problem, Philadelphia Magazine
Can Mattie McQueen, an unemployed 52-year-old raising three grandchildren in a largely unfurnished apartment, escape the destitution that’s dogged her ancestors since the postbellum years? One Philadelphia nonprofit is using what’s being called a “two- generation” model to assuage her financial stresses to make space for the children’s learning.


Chris Peak is a staff writer for NationSwell. He previously worked for Newsday, the San Francisco Public Press and the Point Reyes Light. Contact him at [email protected]