The best of the federal blogosphere
- By Michael Hardy
- Feb 15, 2012
Yes we scan
Archivist of the United States
Think tanks are adding to the National Archives' effort to move documents online, wrote U.S. Archivist David Ferriero in his blog.
Yes We Scan, a project of the Center for American Progress and Public.Resource.Org, is an effort to promote the digitization of government information. Ferriero noted that in September 2011, the White House launched We the People, an online petition site where anyone can post ideas for the administration. Yes We Scan is an outgrowth of one of those ideas, he wrote.
“There are many questions to be answered: What should the National Archives’ priorities be?” he wrote. “Do we focus on preserving deteriorating paper records, still bound with red ribbons from two centuries ago? Do we make digital copies of Vietnam Era film footage? Should we focus on preserving those older paper records while citizens volunteer to digitize more recent, and better preserved, records?”
Defending cupcake collection
The Transportation Security Administration touched off another round of derision when news broke that its agents had confiscated a cupcake at an airport security checkpoint.
TSA's “Blogger Bob” Burns quickly posted an entry to explain. The cupcake in question was not fresh from the bakery. It was a “cupcake in a jar” — a jar with cake and icing mushed up inside. Erring on the side of caution, the TSA screener ruled that the item fell under the rules prohibiting liquids and gels above a certain amount and confiscated it.
Burns pointed out that the substance in the jar might not have actually been cake icing and reminded his readers of two recent bomb plots that involved explosives in gel form.
“What the two plots above and intelligence gathered from all over the world tell us is that unless Wile E. Coyote is involved, the days of the three sticks of dynamite with a giant alarm clock strapped to them are long gone,” he wrote. “Terrorists have moved to novel explosives disguised as common, everyday items. … Do you think an explosive would be concealed in an ominous item that would draw attention or something as simple as a cute cupcake jar?"
King goes green
In January, the Environmental Protection Agency encouraged readers of its "Greenversations" blog to have a green Martin Luther King Day. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson penned the entry, quoting King's exhortation that “everybody can be great…because anybody can serve.”
Jackson listed neighborhood cleanups and urban greening efforts as the kinds of projects she had in mind, but she didn't limit the options to coordinated community efforts. “There are countless ways to be part of a Green MLK Day,” she wrote. “Start using biodegradable and environmentally friendly cleaning products. Learn about composting and give it a shot in your own backyard. Pick up litter at a local park or field.”
At the blog of the National Air and Space Museum, Peter Jakab takes advantage of an opportunity to tweak his boss, museum director John Dailey.
Jakab, associate director and curator of early flight at the museum, got an invitation from a fellow aficionado of World War I aircraft — one with the wherewithal to own two dozen vintage airplanes — to fly in a Sopwith 1½ Strutter with the original Gnome rotary engine.
Before going into detail about the plane and the flight, Jakab made a point of saying how privileged he felt. “I’m still giddy over having flown a rotary engine-powered airplane, and everyone at the museum is jealous, including our director, Gen. Dailey, one of the most experienced pilots I know,” Jakab wrote.
Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.