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Head of the Fish and Wildlife Service dies on ski trip

February 22, 2010 Sam D. Hamilton, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, died suddenly on Feb. 20 while skiing in Colorado the day after the agency's regional leadership meeting ended. The cause was an underlying heart problem. He was 54. Hamilton, a 30-year veteran of the agency, which conserves fish, wildlife...

Over the Moon @Nasa

February 19, 2010 FROM NEXTGOV arrow At 4:22 p.m. EST on Feb. 17, NASA tweeted: Shuttle Endeavour's crew awoke at 4:14pET to the song "Window on the World" by Jimmy Buffett. Endeavor was docked at the International Space Station, the international research facility being assembled in low earth orbit. Those who have been following NASA on...

Group claims repealing gay ban could hinder military readiness

February 19, 2010 Repealing the nearly 20-year-old policy banning openly gay men and women from serving in the armed forces would adversely affect the military's performance during wartime, according to some interest groups at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. Earlier this month, the Pentagon's top brass voiced support for a...

Crowd-Sourced Digitization Kicks Off

February 16, 2010 FROM NEXTGOV arrow An experiment in crowd-sourced digitization kicked off last week with the inaugural meeting of the International Amateur Scanning League. Carl Malamud, president of Public.Resource.Org, the nonprofit dedicated to the free and open access of public domain material, was delighted to announce that: David Ferriero, the U.S. Archivist, joined me in...

DARPA's Mad Science?

February 16, 2010 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Wired had a field day decrying Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's proposed project, BioDesign, as a "mad science" project to "rewrite the laws of evolution to the military's advantage, creating 'synthetic organisms' that can live forever -- or can be killed with the flick of a molecular switch." If that...

XML versions of online federal regulations lack signature of authenticity

February 10, 2010 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Government Printing Office, which last week posted the code of federal regulations online, still hasn't developed a method to assure users that the documents are authentic, and is not clear when it will find a solution, said the agency's chief information officer. GPO posted the regulations last month on...

GAO: Defense and VA are making progress on data-sharing

February 4, 2010 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments can exchange electronic health records but still have not created performance measures for data-sharing, government auditors recently reported. The 2008 Defense Authorization Act required the departments to accelerate the sharing of e-health records and to establish a joint interagency program office to oversee the...

DHS comes under fire for failure to track conference and travel costs

February 4, 2010 Homeland Security Department officials on Thursday acknowledged they lacked the means to know if the $110 million DHS spent on conferences and retreats between 2005 and 2007 was a good use of taxpayer money. Addressing the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Management, Investigations and Oversight, Carlton Mann, assistant inspector general...

HHS budget supports flu-fighting efforts

February 2, 2010 The Health and Human Services Department allocated $302 million of its $81.3 billion discretionary budget for fiscal 2011 to boost preparedness for an influenza pandemic such as the H1N1 outbreak. The money will be used to support virus detection, communications and research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,...

GSA official: Government transparency still faces hurdles

January 25, 2010 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Government transparency is a work in progress for federal agencies, a top official told a group of public and private sector executives in Washington last week. "This is about a series of steps we have to go through in order to do it well," said David McClure, associate administrator of...

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