Friday, May 29, 2015

Sunlight Foundation Creating Database for Criminal Justice Data

The Sunlight Foundation, a national non-partisan, nonprofit organization committed to open government, has created an inventory of publicly and privately produced criminal justice data as the first step to creating a database. The inventory, Opening Criminal Justice Data, shows what data has been collected so far and provides an opportunity for people to submit their own data, statistics or a finished report. However, no information is given on the main page about how these submissions will be evaluated. Links to data and reports already submitted can be accessed by opening the Google spreadsheet. Most of the reports presently available are from official government agencies.

Audit of the Management of the International Space Station National Laboratory

The General Accounting Office (GA0) released a report covering the April 2014 to April 2015 management of the ISS (International Space Station) National Laboratory. The Highlights section of the report, International Space Station: Measurable Performance Targets and Documentation Needed to Better Assess Management of National Laboratory, explains the purpose of the audit and provides recommendations:
Why GAO Did This Study

The U.S. has spent almost $43 billion to develop, assemble, and operate the ISS over the past two decades. The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 required NASA to enter into a cooperative agreement with a not-for-profit entity to manage the ISS National Laboratory and in 2011 did so with CASIS. CASIS is charged with maximizing use of the ISS for scientific research by executing several required activities. Recently, questions have arisen about the progress being made to implement the required activities and the impact it has had on ISS’s return on the investment.

GAO was asked to report on the progress of CASIS’s management of the ISS National Laboratory. GAO assessed the extent to which (1) CASIS has implemented the required management activities, and (2) NASA and CASIS measure and assess CASIS’s performance. To perform this work, GAO reviewed the cooperative agreement between NASA and CASIS, CASIS’s annual program plans, and other documentation and interviewed ISS, CASIS, and NASA officials.

What GAO Recommends

GAO recommends NASA fully staff the ISS National Laboratory Advisory Committee; NASA and CASIS work together to develop measurable targets for CASIS’s metrics; and NASA begin documenting its annual review of CASIS’s performance. NASA partially concurred and CASIS did not concur with the first recommendation, but concurred with the other two. GAO continues to believe the first recommendation is valid, as discussed further in the report.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Massive National Recall of Takata Air Bags

According to a May 19, 2015 news release, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a national recall of certain types of driver and passenger side air bag inflators made by Takata. The recall, which started with those at highest risk due to age of vehicle and areas of high absolute humidity, is now nationwide with about 34 million vehicles involved. Even if your vehicle is not listed at present, the NHTSA advises you to keep checking the website as new entries continue to be added. The new website created to provide regular updates on the status of this and other recalls is