IT/Web: February 2010 Archives

Company Policy A-33, Basic 02/05/10


It has been the long standing policy of United Space Alliance (USA) and its subsidiaries to keep the public informed about company plans, programs, and accomplishments. With the evolution of social media tools and platforms, USA employees have access to participate directly in the free and open discussion of company, industry, and national issues. However, in doing so, employees must understand that their actions can have very real consequences for themselves, the company, and USA's customers.

Keith's note: You can watch the NASA Advisory Council's Subcommittee on Education and Public Outreach meeting today live via USTREAMTV here between 10 am and 4 pm EST.

After all the abuse I heap on the agency, I am glad to see that NASA is finally getting the message. Eventually, all NAC meetings - including all NAC subcommittee meetings - need to be made available to the public like this - live and interactive. Right now these meetings are only witnessed by one or two dozen people. The presentations often take a long time to get online - if ever. Transcripts or recordings are never posted. All that emerges are meeting summaries than can take months to produce - and when they do, are bland and devoid of any meaningful content. Hardly what anyone would call "transparent". Murky at best.

NASA Advisory Council Education and Public Outreach Subcommittee Meeting (17 Feb 2010)


"- Associate Administrator for Public Affairs Briefing.
- Discussion of Social Media Opportunities and Challenges.
- Associate Administrator for Education Briefing.
- Discussion of Opportunities and Challenges to Reach K-12 Students.
- Discussion of how to Organize the Committee Work Plan."

Keith's note: All of these NAC committee and subcommittee meetings are almost always held in a windowless conference room inside NASA HQ. If you can get to them then you can sit and listen - if you happen to read the Federal Register or NASA Watch and even know that they are happening. Otherwise, you are out of luck since NASA never records them for later viewing by taxpayers. Given the tremendous changes that have been proposed for the agency, employees and the public have a vested interest in these discussions - now more than at any time in recent years.

The NASA people who supported the Augustine Committee's activities set a new standard for how social media can be used to relay policy information to the public. Indeed, they often had things online before the media covering these events did. There is no reason why that standard of quality should not be applied to all public meetings concerning NASA policy.

Given that the Obama Administration is all about openness, transparency and all that good public participation stuff - and that this meeting is about "Education and Public Outreach" perhaps PAO AA Morrie Goodman (a scheduled speaker) can start with this subcommittee and provide a live webcast of this event on NASA's USTREAM.TV account. The webcast can be archived for later viewing.

It is very easy to do. All it takes is a laptop, a webcam, and an Internet connection. I have done these things on an EVDO modem live at Desert RATS from the middle of an Arizona desert, from the basement of Rayburn House Office Building, and from Everest Base Camp in Nepal at 17,500 feet over a satellite phone.

Photo: Keith addressing a session at a broadcasters convention in Atlanta in April 2009 via laptop webcam live over a BGAN satellite phone from a field outside the monastery in Tengboche, Nepal. Note the very, very dense fog - yaks lurked in the mist a few feet away. Larger image

Keith's note: Now that NASA has been directed by the White House to cancel Constellation, and with it, all of NASA's big time lunar ambitions, I wonder when they will start to yank things like this sad dancing Moon walker animation offline. Seriously - this is not an insignificant task since there is an immense amount of VSE-related material that NASA has put online since 2004 that will now need to be modified or deleted. In addition, many third party websites contain large amounts of this material as well. And when do you start? Now? When Congress gives up trying to stop this cancellation?

Imagine that there was an Internet in 1967 and you had to erase the Apollo program.



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