Highlights from the federal blogosphere

In Defense of Military Spouses
U.S. Army
May 7, 2010

After an Army Facebook fan questioned the conventional wisdom that being a military spouse is one of the hardest jobs in the military, "Army Live" blogger Ashley McCall asked military spouse Sheryl Nix to put the matter to rest.

Nix recalls the stories of friends who are military spouses, including one in Washington, D.C., whose husband is on his third deployment in five years. “She’s amazing and is teaching their two small children about faith, honor and laughter,” Nix writes.

She is particularly impressed with how military spouses make an extra effort to support one another, such as a group of spouses at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, who have organized a monthly cooking club.

As McCall sees it, the conventional wisdom about military spouses cannot be questioned. “You can never really express the gratitude you feel for what they endure, what they sacrifice and the strength they display on one given day,” she writes. “But we can try!”

New Weapon in the AIDS Battle: The Widget
April 27, 2010

In the never-ending public health campaign to fight the spread of AIDS, the New York State Department of Health's AIDS Institute has a novel way of sharing potentially life-saving information.

The institute created the Clinical Education Initiative Widget, a small software program that emergency room and primary care providers can download and install on their clinic desktop computers. The widget has been installed on more than 500 computers throughout the state.

Once activated, the widget automatically pulls regularly updated information to the caregiver’s computer. It includes post-exposure prophylaxis and Hepatitis B and C guidelines, consent forms in multiple languages, and video podcasts with specific instructions on what to do about occupational and nonoccupational HIV exposures.

The initial version of the widget required a multistep installation process, but the institute has since simplified it to increase the installation success rate.

Keeping Drunk Drivers Off the Roads
Transportation Department
May 12, 2010

Researchers in the auto industry and government are hard at work on a technology that could help keep people from driving while intoxicated, reports the Transportation Department’s "Fast Lane" blogger.

The goal of the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety is to develop a system for checking the blood alcohol level of drivers when they get behind the wheel and preventing them from starting the cars if their alcohol level exceeds legal limits.

The researchers certainly don’t lack motivation. “It is estimated that nearly 9,000 lives could be saved [annually] by a system that prevents driving by those over the generous legal limit for alcohol,” the blogger writes.

NASA Hosts Tweetup to Mark Atlantis Launch
May 12, 2010

Blogger Sean Herron says NASA has made it a practice to organize an occasional Tweetup at different sites around the country by inviting as many as 150 people who follow the agency on Twitter to participate. The latest gathering was held earlier this month in Cocoa Beach, Fla., in advance of the launch of the space shuttle Atlantis.

Here is a sample of what participants had to say:

WinObs: My first shuttle flight, I sang the Itsy-Bitsy Spider while on my back for two hours waiting through launch window — Janice Voss

Tammyn4As: Love it! Voss looking back at Earth, "Everybody important to me is down there, and they’re all stuck in traffic!"

kurtismarsh: OK, is laying on two oxygen bottles for hours worth the ride into space? I guess so.

comtnclimr: What a great question. One participant asked what Astronaut Voss dreamed about. Dreamed she was left on Shuttle after landing.

kellyhickman9: Astro Janet Voss had a dream on orbit that she slept through re-entry and everyone left without her, leaving her locked in.

LizStrand: A Greyhound bus would fit in the payload bay of the space shuttles. Wow. I knew it was big, but that’s really big!

LanceUlanoff: NASA Fun Fact: Prior to a shuttle landing, NASA fires cannons to clear the birds off the landing strip.

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