What Does Open Government Mean at NASA?

Since their founding in 1958, NASA has been dedicated to doing a lot more than exploring and understanding space. Over the past 52 years, they’ve been responsible for some of the most significant advances in technology. Almost everything we do have been influenced in some way by discoveries made through NASA’s research. NASA has provided an incredible amount of information to the public over the past five decades including stunning images and information that has helped us (mankind) understand how our Universe works. So, what does Open Government mean at Nasa?

Keeping with the spirit of a more open government, NASA has moved forward with several initiatives aimed at promoting collaboration between the scientists of NASA and the public including NASA TV. With NASA TV, the public has live access to NASA and their missions around the clock. This video is also made available to documentarians and media outlets in order to enable them to relay detailed and accurate information to their audiences.

Another initiative by NASA is NASA Open Source Software Development. This program gives the public access to the programs and source code used at NASA. By doing so, they are breaking down the barrier of entry for the private sector to reach space through use of NASA’s investments. This also gives the public a chance to make improvements on the software which may help NASA achieve their goals with less of a burdon on the taxpayer for development.

NASA has also entered the world of cloud computing with their Nebula Cloud Computing Platform. This open-source tool is intended to provide a more cost-effective alternative to building additional giant data centers in order to store and exchange information with the public. Nebula is classified as an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform, though there are Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) systems planned for 2011.

NASA has even established a Participatory Exploration Office with the goal in mind of not only informing the public about NASA’s discoveries and data, but give the public a change to contribute to the process. By providing as much information as possible to the public, they are also enabling private citizens to contribute their input and ideas towards the betterment of the program.

Five Tips For a Better Political Blog

Political blogging is huge. In fact, it may very well be the largest and broadest genre of blogs currently on the web. One of the biggest challenges facing political bloggers today is not being taken seriously as a source of information. Standing out from the crowd is also difficult, especially for someone just starting out. Here are a few tips for a better political blog:

Decide if Your Blog is Impartial or Opinionated and Stick With It
Mainstream media outlets are constantly being judged by their perceived slant. Fox News is considered by many to be a conservative news source while CNN and MSNBC have a reputation for leaning in a more liberal direction. Whether or not this is true is a matter of perspective.

When you decide to start a political blog, you should quickly determine whether or not information found on your site will offer opinions or stick to pointed facts. This makes a big difference in whether your blog is news source or a commentary on current events. If half of your articles are opinionated, and the other half are not, then it will be hard for readers to judge your site’s usefulness to them. If you want to mix it up, make sure the opinionated articles are in a separate section aside from your unbiased news reports.

Cite Sources
In order for people to take you seriously, you need to cite sources of information used to form your articles. This doesn’t mean copy and paste content from other sites. It means when you quote a statistic or use specific information related to an event, tell your readers where you found the information. This will help you build your reader’s trust while proving your point.

Write Guest Posts
Connect with other bloggers in your field, especially if they share the majority of your political views. This can be done either socially through an exchange of praise on social networks or through writing guest posts for each other’s sites. By allowing another blogger to have a byline on your blog, you are in a sense creating a mutually beneficial environment where instead of competing against each other for an audience, you can each benefit from the other’s reach.

Be Consistent
Opinions change, especially in the world of politics. Consistency doesn’t mean opinions have to stay set in stone. It does mean that your level of quality, depth of research, and stream of content needs to maintain an even or increasing level. Walking away from a blog for a few days can cause you to lose a lot of your audience, especially if they have come to expect a certain amount of content from you over a period of time. If you want to take a vacation, write a few posts in advance and schedule them to come out periodically during your absence. You can also utilize the talents of a guest blogger to fill in for you.

Stay Active in Blogging Communities
Political blogging is a giant community, and one that comes with an immense amount of support in the form of social groups. For example, The PPL is a group based out of Charlotte, NC that intends to offer a place for independent media outlets to set up and cover the 2012 Democratic National Convention. They don’t care if you’re liberal, conservative, independent, libertarian, or a Jedi. Groups like these are an amazing resource that can help a small political blog cover larger events that typically only cater to mainstream media. Find out if there are any communities and/or groups in your area that work with political bloggers and see what they may have to offer.

Pop Goes the Pirillo! Popchips Vice President of Pop Culture Campaign

While you most often see me interfacing with the world from the control room of my own secret lair, you may not realize that I’m a pretty busy guy. That being said, since Popchips already has its President of Pop Culture (some guy named Ashton. He seems quite dignified and head of state-like), I feel that I could most certainly fulfill the duties of the Vice Presidency if so elected.


I can see some of you now (through my secret lair’s control room interface) asking: “What the heck is a Popchip?” A Popchip, gentle readers, is a non-fried, non-baked, but totally popped (like corn!) and seasoned sliver of potato that tastes crunchingly delicious without all of the fat, trans-fat, and cholesterol of a traditional chip. Sure, it’s not as healthy as, say, a carrot, but it’s a darned sight healthier than fried butter. Or Jersey Shore. (Hey! See? Pop culture! I can handle this.) There are Barbeque Popchips, Sour Cream & Onion Popchips, Cheddar Popchips, Sea Salt & Vinegar Popchips, Salt & Pepper Popchips, Parmesan Garlic Popchips, and, of course, Original Popchips. No sign of Tauntaun Jerky Popchips or LEGO Popchips or Bacon (Mmmm, bacon!) Popchips, but if I am elected to this highly prestigious position, I will do everything with my moderate amount of power to get these Popchips passed. On my honor, I will do my duty…

Well, I’ll talk it over with President Ashton, anyway. Probably over tea with P. Diddy (or Puff Daddy or Puffy Combs or Lumberjack Danny or whatever he’s calling himself these days) on a private jet to an elephant golfing match in Thailand or whatever it is that these executive types consider recreational. Whatever you’re looking from in a Popchips Pop Culture Vice President, I’ll make it so – but I need your votes! I’ll pander to pandas. I’ll cajole Cajuns. I’ll butter up bagel bakers. I’ll soft-soap swineherds. I’ll beguile bold billionaires. I’ll charm Channing… Carol Channing. I’ll sweet-talk Sweet Sweetback. I’ll enthrall entomologists. Please! I’m begging you! Help the geek who helps the geeks!

And being a geek, I understand chips (admittedly microchips, usually). But certainly, technology could be leveraged for this position, and I’ve started work on a mind control prototype to help plant the desire to eat Popchips subconsciously to all who might hear our message. But if that fails, there’s always hypnosis.

And I have a plan.

Vote for Chris Pirillo as your next Popchips Vice President of Pop Culture!

I’m Chris Pirillo, and I approve of the Empire Rebel Alliance.