After failing to predict the Arab Spring, intelligence officials are now exploring whether Big Data, the combing of billions of pieces of disparate electronic information, can help them identify hot spots before they explode. The intelligence community has always been in the business of forecasting the future. The question is whether tapping into publicly available data — Twitter and news feeds and blogs among other things — can help them do that faster and more precisely.
Roland Jahn, a former East German dissident, is now Germany's federal commissioner of the Stasi archives. His agency is painstakingly piecing together the shredded documents of the former East German secret police. Jahn is shown here in March 2011 at a former Stasi prison at Berlin-Hohenschoenhausen.
Credit John MacDougall / AFP/Getty Images
A worker in the former headquarters of the Stasi sorts hundreds of thousands of torn or shredded Stasi documents in January. Workers are sifting through thousands of bags, containing between 50,000 and 80,000 fragments each.
In the mid-1970s, a man approached singer Kenny Rogers after a performance in the lounge at the Las Vegas Hilton. The mysterious stranger simply said, "Hey, man, I really like your music." Rogers learned later that the fan at the dressing-room door had been Elvis Presley.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. The emirate of Dubai has created many wonders - a snowy ski hill in the desert, the world's tallest building. Its latest mega-project could be called a labor of love. The luxury hotel Taj Arabia will be a replica of the Taj Mahal, only four times the size. The 17th original in India was built by an emperor as a shrine to his beloved late wife. Dubai is pitching its faux Taj Mahal as a destination for weddings. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.