Posts tagged open gov

Chris Sopher, Media Innovation Project Manager at the Knight Foundation, discusses the current Open Gov challenge. Two days left to get your application in.

I caught up with Chris at SXSW. The Knight Foundation booth was right next door to ours. -- Peter

IMPERIAL CENTER, CORUSCANT – The overwhelming military superiority of the Galactic Empire has been confirmed once again by the recent announcement by the President of the United States that his nation would not attempt to build a Death Star, despite the bellicose demands of the people of his tiny, aggressive planet. “It is doubtless that such a technological terror in the hands of so primitive a world would be used to upset the peace and sanctity of the citizens of the Galactic Empire,“ said Governor Wilhuff Tarkin of the Outer Rim Territories. “Such destructive power can only be wielded to protect and defend by so enlightened a leader as Emperor Palpatine.”

Representatives on behalf of the nation-state leader from the unimaginatively named planet refused to acknowledge the obvious cowardice of their choice, preferring instead to attribute the decision to fiscal responsibility. “The costs of construction they cited were ridiculously overestimated, though I suppose we must keep in mind that this miniscule planet does not have our massive means of production,” added Admiral Conan Motti of the Imperial Starfleet.

The Galactic Empire Public Relations team responds to the White House’s refusal to build a Death Star. Star Wars Blog, Planet Earth Abandons Death Star Project In Face Of Superior Galactic Imperial Power.

Fighting words, no?

The White House responds to the Death Star Petition
In response to a petition at We the People, Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, writes:



Even though the United States doesn’t have anything that can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, we’ve got two spacecraft leaving the Solar System and we’re building a probe that will fly to the exterior layers of the Sun. We are discovering hundreds of new planets in other star systems and building a much more powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope that will see back to the early days of the universe.



Besides, he adds, “The Administration does not support blowing up planets.”
Well played. Very well played.

The White House responds to the Death Star Petition

In response to a petition at We the People, Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, writes:

Even though the United States doesn’t have anything that can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, we’ve got two spacecraft leaving the Solar System and we’re building a probe that will fly to the exterior layers of the Sun. We are discovering hundreds of new planets in other star systems and building a much more powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope that will see back to the early days of the universe.

Besides, he adds, “The Administration does not support blowing up planets.”

Well played. Very well played.

motherjones:

sunfoundation:

The News Without Transparency

Giving you a glimpse of the news in a world without public access to government information.


Well in other news, the Senate wants the make the government less transparent.

FJP: Read through to see what data sources are used for different types of stories. Nicely done, Sun Foundation. 

motherjones:

sunfoundation:

The News Without Transparency

Giving you a glimpse of the news in a world without public access to government information.

Well in other news, the Senate wants the make the government less transparent.

FJP: Read through to see what data sources are used for different types of stories. Nicely done, Sun Foundation. 

The UK's Fukushima PR Play

Tip of the day: don’t do that.

Via the Guardian:

British government officials approached nuclear companies to draw up a co-ordinated public relations strategy to play down the Fukushima nuclear accident just two days after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and before the extent of the radiation leak was known.

Internal emails seen by the Guardian show how the business and energy departments worked closely behind the scenes with the multinational companies EDF Energy, Areva and Westinghouse to try to ensure the accident did not derail their plans for a new generation of nuclear stations in the UK.

"This has the potential to set the nuclear industry back globally," wrote one official at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), whose name has been redacted. “We need to ensure the anti-nuclear chaps and chapesses do not gain ground on this. We need to occupy the territory and hold it. We really need to show the safety of nuclear.”

Iceland Crowdsourcing its Constitution

Via the Guardian:

Iceland’s existing constitution dates back to when it gained independence from Denmark in 1944. It simply took the Danish constitution and made a few minor adjustments, such as substituting the word “president” for “king”.

In creating the new document, the council has been posting draft clauses on its website every week since the project launched in April. The public can comment underneath or join a discussion on the council’s Facebook page.

The council also has a Twitter account, a YouTube page where interviews with its members are regularly posted, and a Flickr account containing pictures of the 25 members at work, all intended to maximise interaction with citizens.

Meetings of the council are open to the public and streamed live on to the website and Facebook page. The latter has more than 1,300 likes in a country of 320,000 people.

Data + APIs = Sexy

Two things I find sexy: data, and APIs to get at that data.

Actually, there’s a third thing I find sexy: open government and organizations that increase government transparency.

For those counting, that might bring sexy up to four depending on your arithmetic.

So this is what I think: the Sunlight Foundation is a sexy organization. And the sultry group running Sunlight Labs gets data wonks and Open Gov advocates hot and bothered. 

Here’s what they ostensibly look like.

sunlight labs geeks

And here’s what they’ve recently done:

  • Created the Real Time Congress API that gives developers real-time access to everything going on in Congress from bills to videos to votes and documents.
  • Updated the Open States Project that’s doing very much the same thing on the state level.

This latter work might slip under the radar but is very important.

As Tom Lee writes on the Sunlight Labs Blog:

State legislatures are where vital decisions are made about civil rights, transportation, education, taxes, land use, gun regulation, and a host of other issues. Far too often, these issues don’t get the attention they deserve. It’s a simple question of scale: there are a lot more resources available at the federal level for both lawmakers and journalists. That means state governance both requires more transparency and tends to get less of it. We think technology can help make the situation better — that’s what Open States is all about.

Now it’s up to the rest of us to create great applications around this Open Gov treasure trove.

We’re looking forward to all sorts of new sexy. As a certain captain of a certain Starship Enterprise frequently said, “Make it so.”

And, by the way, they’re hiring.