The best of the federal blogosphere

NASA on Droid
Jan. 18, 2011

Jason Townsend breaks all our hearts by revealing that Tang was not really invented to be a drink for astronauts. But he quickly tries to soothe the pain by assuring us that NASA has invented many other cool things and now has an Android app for people who want to know more about them.

"The NASA Spinoff App highlights the direct impact NASA innovations have made on the everyday lives of citizens," he writes. "Commercialization of NASA technology has contributed to products and services in the fields of health and medicine, transportation, public safety, consumer goods, environmental resources, and computer technology." Spinoffs are consumer technologies derived from NASA innovations.

The app provides easy access to NASA's latest technology news, a searchable database of NASA-derived innovations, a map of spinoff locations, a historical timeline and a database of NASA’s available licensing opportunities to inspire the spinoffs of the future.

Fish where the fish are
Jan. 18, 2011

Fish where the fish are, said Katelyn Sabochik, deputy director of online programs and e-mail at the White House. That means use communication channels you know people are already using in developing a social media strategy. On the blog, Jennie Anderson and Michele Clark highlighted Sabochik and others who spoke at a recent Federal HIV/AIDS Web Council meeting.

The overall topic was the use of mobile technology in disseminating health information, and the responses were illuminating.

Susannah Fox, associate director of digital strategy at the Pew Internet and American Life Project, reported that 80 percent of people seek health information online and an increasing number are using smart phones and other devices, rather than traditional computers, to do so.

Audie Atienza, senior health technology adviser at the Health and Human Services Department's Office of the Secretary, told the audience that mobile is a global phenomenon, with some nations well ahead of the United States in using the technology effectively as a pathway for information. He also described his three Cs for developing mobile health initiatives at the federal government: coordinate, collaborate and consolidate.

A million soldiers resting up
Army Live
. 12, 2011

The CentCom Rest and Recuperation Leave Program has counted 1 million travelers served, Army Live reports. The program's mission is to help soldiers make the most of R&R time so they can give their full attention to friends and family while they're off duty and return to combat fully refreshed.

“The fact the Army has reunited 1 million service members with their friends and families serves as a testament to the Army’s commitment to the overall well-being of our force and demonstrative of how important we feel it is to offer soldiers respite from battle,” said Lt. Col. David Homza, Army chief of R&R policy, in the blog post.

The program began in 2003. About 550 soldiers fly home for R&R each day, according to the post.

Remembering the forgotten war
Government Printing Office
. 14, 2011

With Chinese President Hu Jintao in Washington on a state visit this month to discuss issues of mutual interest, the Government Printing Office’s "Government Book Talk" blog reminds us of the complex history that China and the United States share, in particular a time when they clashed on a battlefield rather than in a commercial market.

The GPO blog recently highlighted two pamphlets about the role of U.S. signals intelligence during the Korean War, produced by the National Security Agency’s Center for Cryptologic History. One pamphlet describes how the Armed Forces Security Agency was not prepared to track North Korean communications in the run-up to the war because it had been focusing instead on the Soviet Union and China.

But the agency quickly recovered and ultimately provided detailed advance intelligence that helped U.S. forces prevail at Hill 395 and Pork Chop Hill before the 1953 armistice.

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.


  • Defense
    Soldiers from the Old Guard test the second iteration of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) capability set during an exercise at Fort Belvoir, VA in Fall 2019. Photo by Courtney Bacon

    IVAS and the future of defense acquisition

    The Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System has been in the works for years, but the potentially multibillion deal could mark a paradigm shift in how the Defense Department buys and leverages technology.

  • Cybersecurity
    Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lora Ratliff)

    Mayorkas announces cyber 'sprints' on ransomware, ICS, workforce

    The Homeland Security secretary announced a series of focused efforts to address issues around ransomware, critical infrastructure and the agency's workforce that will all be launched in the coming weeks.

Stay Connected