NASA has announced that it is making a large collection of NASA climate and Earth science satellite data available to the public via the Amazon cloud.
- NASA Brings Earth Science 'Big Data' to the Cloud with Amazon Web Services, by Ruth Marlaire, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. RELEASE 13-307 (Nov. 12, 2013).
By using the cloud, research and application users worldwide gain access to an integrated Earth science computational and data management system they can use on their own.
The service encompasses selected NASA satellite and global change data sets -- including temperature, precipitation, and forest cover -- and data processing tools from the NASA Earth Exchange (NEX), a research platform of the NASA Advanced Supercomputer Facility at the agency's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.
- NASA NEX, Amazon.
Three NASA NEX datasets are now available, including climate projections and satellite images of Earth.
More information here.
Congress.gov will be the sole source for texts of pending and passed legislation, committee reports, congressional floor speeches and cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office beginning Nov. 19, the Library of Congress announced on Friday.
Government documents can contain the oddest things! The CIA declassified its U2 flight handbook in 2012. Graphic designer Jack Curry noticed something "delightful" about the manual: "little cartoons of an anthropomorphized U2 at the beginning of each section" and posted copies of them on his personal blog.
Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom around the world, has released its fourth report in a series of comprehensive studies of internet freedom around the globe. It covers developments in 60 countries that occurred between May 2012 and April 2013.
- Freedom on the Net 2013: Despite Pushback, Internet Freedom Deteriorates. (press release, interactive maps, etc.).
This edition's findings indicate that internet freedom worldwide is in decline, with 34 out of 60 countries assessed in the report experiencing a negative trajectory during the coverage period. Broad surveillance, new laws controlling web content, and growing arrests of social-media users drove this overall decline in internet freedom in the past year.
- Freedom On The Net 2013: A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media ("summary of findings" 45pp PDF) edited by Sanja Kelly Mai Truong Madeline Earp Laura Reed Adrian Shahbaz Ashley Greco-Stoner. (October 3, 2013).
- U.S. ranks fourth in Internet freedom as surveillance grows worldwide, By Colin Neagle, Network World (October 04, 2013).
Internet freedom has declined in the United States over the past year as a result of its surveillance policies, reflecting a trend that appears to have caught on worldwide, according to a recently released study.
The 2013 edition of the Secrecy Report from OpenTheGoverment.org is now available.
- Secrecy Report 2013 --The Tip of the Iceberg (announcement) OpenTheGoverment.org (October 1, 2013)
Today's release of the 2013 Secrecy Report, the 9th annual review and analysis of indicators of secrecy in the federal government by OpenTheGovernment.org, comes amid shocking revelations that cast doubt on the accuracy and the meaningfulness of the government's statistics about surveillance.... [T]he government's insistence on keeping interpretations of the law secret and a lack of oversight by Congress and the Judicial Branch helped set the stage for a surveillance program that is much broader than previously believed.
- Secrecy Report 2013: Indicators of Secrecy in the Federal Government. by Patrice McDermott, Amy Bennett, Abby Paulson, and Shannon Alexander, OpenTheGoverment.org. (2013)
As a result of the disclosures [by Edward Snowden through the Guardian and the Washington Post], the intelligence community has been forced to declassify and release documents that, until recently, they (and the FISA Court) averred could not and should not be declassified. The misdirection in which our government has engaged and the use of secret law are, for us, as disturbing as the activities they have hidden.
- The Must Read 2013 Secrecy Report is Out, by Nate Jones, Unredacted: The National Security Archive (October 7, 2013).
Update #2 10pm PST 10/2/13 : Our friends over at the Sunlight Foundation have an interesting post, "What Happens to .gov in a Shutdown?" They explained the .gov shutdown matrix:
...drawn on an agency-by-agency basis, and the specific determination is based on the importance of the function and how illegal ceasing to do it might be. But aside from some obvious ones--national parks would be closed; the CO2 scrubber on the International Space Station would stay plugged in--it'll be agency leadership that makes the determinations.
(and love the unix joke!)
UPDATE #1 3pm PST 10/2/13: Arstechnica, checked 56 .gov sites and found 10 that went dark. See "Shutdown of US government websites appears bafflingly arbitrary."
A bunch of federal websites will shut down with the government, By Andrea Peterson, Washington Post, Published: September 30 at 5:28 pm.
The Government Printing Office (GPO) announced today the launching of a new app and web publication that make analysis and interpretation of constitutional case law by Library experts accessible for free to anyone with a computer or mobile device. The information is from The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation, commonly known as the Constitution Annotated. The new app and improved web publication will make the nearly 3,000-page “Constitution Annotated” more accessible to more people and enable updates of new case analysis three or four times each year. The new Constitution Annotated app is available for the iOS platform and allows users to read the entire document; browse by section – such as by article of or amendment to the Constitution; view and navigate content from a table of cases and index; and search all text. The app can be downloaded for free from iTunes. A direct link is here: http://beta.congress.gov/constitution-annotated/. An Android version is under development.
The complete press release is attached below as a pdf.
David Rosenthal, in a post on his blog, gives a brief presentation on the principles behind the LOCKSS technology. In it, he explains some of the thought behind it (with useful links!). One of the key questions of digital preservation is "What are the causes of data loss?" David notes that most people would answer this question with the usual suspects: Media failure, Hardware failure, Software failure, Network failure, Obsolescence, Natural Disaster. But, David says, if you ask the people who run large data centers you get a different list:
The nongovernmental National Security Archive at The George Washington University has posted a compilation of over 125 documents to provide context and specifics about the about "The Snowden Affair."
- The Snowden Affair Web Resource Documents the Latest Firestorm over the National Security Agency. National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 436 (September 4, 2013) Edited by Jeffrey T. Richelson.
This "Web Resource" includes documents from the White House, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), and the National Security Agency (NSA), and more.