Web forms: The new strategic tool; Classified for the 21st century; Car 54, where are you?

Web forms: The new strategic tool
In December 2005, the National Science Foundation asked for ideas about what it should put in its next strategic plan, and for the first time, NSF provided a Web form for people to submit their ideas. When the comment period ended Jan. 20, NSF officials said they had received about 200 responses from the science and engineering community.

Web forms proved worthwhile. NSF received a mere 30 responses in 2003 when it invited people to submit ideas via letter, e-mail or fax. “NSF plans to continue using the Web form in soliciting public comment on such documents,” agency spokeswoman Leslie Fink said.

Find a link to NSF’s strategic plan site on Download’s Data Call at

Classified for the 21st century
Put down that permanent marker. This is the Digital Age. Simply covering classified information doesn’t cut it anymore.

According to a National Security Agency report titled “Redacting with Confidence: How to Safely Publish Sanitized Reports Converted from Word or PDF,” digitally blacking out classified portions does not completely sanitize a document’s information.

NSA’s report gives step-by-step instructions on how to delete confidential information. Basically, copy, paste, delete, resave and send.

Find a link to the NSA report on Download’s Data Call at

Car 54, where are you?
If the Federal Highway Administration’s research goes well, cars could control traffic signals one day.

The agency is exploring the use of in-car wireless technologies to manage traffic flow as part of a multiyear initiative.

The agency envisions cars that could transmit alerts to traffic lights about vehicle location and speed, forcing the lights to adapt to traffic demands. For instance, during rush hour, cars would inform a traffic signal to alter the intervals between light changes, agency officials said. The signal would then shorten the time the light is red and prolong the time it’s green to process cars more quickly.

The idea is that by the time the car reaches the signal, the light would be green.

The system would be a two-way street — the roads would also communicate with cars.

Technologies built into the transportation infrastructure would send alerts, such as, “Please accelerate briskly. The traffic jam is ending.”

But a few speed bumps dot the road map. Federal officials have not determined a timeline for real-world deployment.

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