IT/Web: October 2009 Archives

Facebook for scientists: Map your expertise, Indiana University

"Indiana University has received more than $1.8 million from the National Institutes of Health to collaborate on a $12.2 million, seven-university project designed to network researchers around the country. While the proposed new networking system will contain authentication mechanisms to protect sensitive data and intellectual property, it is being described as a Facebook for scientists."

NIH funds a Facebook for scientists, FCW

"The new system will federate information about faculty and staff from institutional repositories, listings of published articles from academic publishers, and information provided by researchers. Using Vivo, users can search the information and assemble it on a unique page."

Keith's note: Too bad NASA can't do this. Spacebook (internal NASA access only) doesn't really count since only NASA employees inside the firewall can see it - and other field centers have their own competing systems. Taxpayers are denied access. If this sort of information were out in the open, in an easy to use format, not only would NASA and NASA-funded personnel have easier access to what eaveryoen was doing, but so would the taxpaying public. Indeed, this might even lead to unexpected avenues of collaboration between NASA and the outside world.

I think every employee at NASA - from Charlie Bolden to maintenance workers - civil servants and contractors alike - should be required to have and maintain a Facebook Page. Nothing fancy - just who they are and what they do. Performance plan, job description, and recent publications etc. You can set these things up in an hour or less and tweak them when need be. If they want to make it fancier beyond that - great. No need to make it their personal page - they can do that elsewhere. I am talking about a professional page.

In addition to making NASA more open to various search engines, this might also serve to enlighten policy makers and the public as to what vast range of things NASA actually does, how real (and normal) the NASA family actually is, and that they are a part of the economy - and society - just like everyone else. Right now most of what NASA actually does is hidden behind a firewall in a black box with PAO as the only one with a key.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Launches Spacebook, NASA CIO Blog

NASA iPhone App now Available from App Store

"A NASA App for the iPhone and iPod touch is available free of charge at the App Store from Apple. The NASA application will deliver a wealth of information, videos, images and news updates about NASA missions to people's fingertips."

Keith's note: What I don't understand is why Mini-RF (the instrument on LRO that accused spy Stu Nozette is/was PI for) is on the main page but Hubble is not (unless you type in a search for it) and why Mars Express, an ESA mission, gets prime billing on a NASA app when NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter does not. And of course, top billing goes to "Constellation, NASA's Future" when nearly all of its hardware is still on the drawing board - except for Ares 1-X. Oh wait - I forgot - this is an ESMD app.

Also ... apps for Android and other phone OS platforms would be nice too.

GAO Report Warns of Vulnerabilities in NASA's Networks, House Science and Technology Committee

GAO: Information Security: NASA Needs to Remedy Vulnerabilities in Key Networks

"Although NASA has made important progress in implementing security controls and aspects of its information security program, it has not always implemented appropriate controls to sufficiently protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the information and systems supporting its mission directorates. Specifically, NASA did not consistently implement effective controls to prevent, limit, and detect unauthorized access to its networks and systems."

NASA network security torched, Network World
NASA IT Vulnerable After 1,120 Security Incidents, GovInfoSecurity.com

"After a rocky start and then a stellar 26-year performance, NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite - 1 (TDRS-1) is scheduled for decommissioning on October 28. Communications equipment that links TDRS-1 to the ground has failed and without this capability it can no longer relay science data and spacecraft telemetry to ground stations located at the White Sands Complex in Las Cruces, N.M., and on Guam." More information.


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