Thursday, May 27, 2010

National Moment of Remembrance (3 p.m. Monday)

On December 28, 2000 Congress passed Public Law 106-579 to establish a time for Americans to pause and remember military personnel who have died in service to our country. The National Moment of Remembrance occurs at 3 p.m. each Memorial Day.

Congress also established the White House Commission on Remembrance as an independent non-partisan government agency to coordinate honoring our fallen and their families. The Commission's website provides a message about the National Moment of Remembrance with taps playing in the background and includes links to names of the fallen by war from Vietnam to the present with World War I and II to be completed soon.  Information is also available about efforts by Operation Laughter to boost our troops' morale. Included in the morale-boosting efforts is Task Force Snoopy, a flat-Stanley-like movement which involves sending a stuffed animal version of the beloved cartoon character around the world with our military units.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Collegiate Inventors Competition Deadline June 25, 2010

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the Abbott Foundation are sponsoring the 19th Annual Invent Now Collegiate Inventors Competition. Graduate and undergraduate individuals and teams will be competing for nearly $80,000 in cash prizes. Entries are judged on "originality of the idea, process or technology, and their potential value and usefulness to society."

Entry forms and more information about the competition including descriptions of past winning inventions are available from the Collegiate Inventors Competition site. The entry deadline is June 25, 2010.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Audit of U.S. Government Agencies' Open Government Plans

To explore the success of President Obama's December 8, 2009 Open Government Directive, recently completed audits of U.S. Government agencies' open government plans. Receiving high marks were NASA for "inviting the public to collaborate in the development of technologies that are core to its mission" and Health and Human Services for planning to identify and publish high value data sets this year. The report also praises the Labor Department for making "significant amounts of information publicly accessible" and opening new platforms for potential internal and external collaboration, and the Department of Energy for improving on its Open Energy Information platform. However, the Department of Energy was also included in the group receiving the five lowest scores. Ranked from the best of the worst to the worst of the worst are the Department of Treasury, the Department of Defense, the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Justice.

Agencies have until the end of May to revise their plans. In early June will review the plans again to ascertain agencies' responses to the audits.

A full list showing how agencies' plans rank is available from The full audit results and links to agency evaluations are available from

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Resources

Paula Webb from the University of South Alabama has created an online bibliography of national and Alabama resources relating to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill incident. For information from Texas state agencies see: Deepwater Horizon Response hosts media briefings, fact sheets, graphs, and photographs to provide the latest updates about response efforts.