My slides are up, as is demonstration code, from "HTTP Can Do That?!", my talk at Open Source Bridge last month. I am pleased to report that something like a hundred people crowded into the room to view that talk and that I've received lots of positive feedback about it. Thanks for help in preparing that talk, or inspiring it, to Leonard Richardson, Greg Hendershott, Zack Weinberg, the Recurse Center, Clay Hallock, Paul Tagliamonte, Julia Evans, Allison Kaptur, Amy Hanlon, and Katie Silverio.
Video is not yet up. Once the video recording is available, I'll probably get it transcribed and posted on the OSBridge session notes wiki page.
I've also taken this opportunity to update my talks and presentations page -- for instance, I've belatedly posted some rough facilitator's notes that I made when leading an Ada Initiative-created impostor syndrome training at AdaCamp Bangalore last year.
See minutes online for a more detailed record of the discussions.
The IG has been talking about the abstract concept of a package. Tzviya Siegman presented a draft document outlining requirements for a portable document. The group discussed the distinction between the package as an offline state, functioning as an extension of the browser cache, and a truly portable publication that exists without a network and is persistent. The group will clarify the document to distinguish these issues and add comments about maintaining identifiers.
Peter Krautzberger reports that the STEM task force is cleaning up the data from their survey and slicing it in interesting ways. They have created a spreadsheet that will contribute the TF’s note.
Math and the role attribute
Peter Krautzberger, MathJax manager, discussed concerns about the ARIA role “math” that he encountered in conversations with AT vendors. The role is primarily useful for content that is MathML (uses the
<math> tag). However, most browsers do not support MathML. Role=”math” is more valuable for polyfills and converters, but the role conveys very little information. It would be helpful if ARIA exposed some of the underlying of MathML to AT. The IG will pass Peter’s discoveries on to PF.
DPUB IG Charter Renewal
If you have not already voted to renew the DPUB Charter, please do!
Only a few hours after I wrote Representative Don Young asking him to accept the Iran Deal, I received his latest Washington Update e-mail, which quoted from his July 14 2015 press release on the Iran Deal. He’s against it. I’m not too surprised. But what does surprise me is that he acknowledges the Iran Deal will make it harder for Iran to get a bomb (bolding mine):
As the Administration prepares to roll out its dog and pony show in support of this deal, the fact remains that this agreement, if properly enforced, will only delay Iran’s longstanding pursuit of a nuclear weapon, while providing billions of dollars in sanctions relief that support radicalism in the region.
So, by Representative Young’s own admission, this deal will delay any Iranian nuclear weapon. But he doesn’t want to do that. His press release is silent on what he wants to do instead after the deal is disproved.
So what are the options? A better deal is out of the question. This deal was months late and represents the maximum Iran is willing to offer. This offer has already been accepted by the European Union and the UN Security Council. They want to give the deal a chance to work. They’re not going to want to try dragging Iran back to the table to make more concessions. Russia and China will veto any effort at new global sanctions on Iran.
So, if a new deal isn’t in the cards, what then?
1) We do nothing at all, which in Don Young’s view brings Iran closer to a nuclear weapon than accepting the Iran Deal.
2) We take military action. Now Representative Young may want us to believe that a few weeks of air strikes are all we need to erase Iran’s nuclear capability. But that’s not realistic. Proponents of air power have promised to bring nations into compliance since the German Air Force promised Hitler that Britain could be eliminated from World War II by air power alone. It didn’t work then. It didn’t work to neutralize the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. It’s not making much of a dent in ISIS in either Iraq or Syria. I’ve lost count of how often Israel has bombed Gaza without getting Hamas to stop flinging unguided missiles at it. Bombing isn’t going to erase all of Iran’s nuclear sites or eliminate the means to start over.
So we’d need a regime changing ground force. TEN YEARS of occupying Iraq failed to bring us the government we wanted. Why does anyone think we could do better in Iran – a larger country whose citizens are proud of their nuclear power program?
So Don Young doesn’t like the Iran Deal and implies that he’ll vote against it. If he does, he’ll be voting to either do nothing at all or take our country into another pointless “preventive war” that will fracture the region further and send more of our servicemembers home as cripples or in body bags. No thanks. Take the deal.
Filed under: current events, politics Tagged: iran
Please participate in the upcoming public meeting to discuss the development of the third US Open Government National Action Plan. We need your suggestions to help strengthen open government.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
2:00 – 4:00 PM
National Archives and Records Administration
700 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
William G. McGowan Theater
Washington, DC 20408
Register to attend.
Please use the Special Events entrance at the corner of 7th and Constitution Ave for this event. The event will also be live-streamed on Whitehouse.gov/live.
The Public Meeting will include presenters from the Open Government Partnership, the White House, the National Archives, and other Federal agencies, as well as representatives from civil society stakeholders. Contribute your suggestions in person or online through email at email@example.com, on Twitter @OpenGov, and on Hackpad with your suggestions.
The United States will publish the third Open Government National Action Plan (NAP) later this year as part of our commitment to the Open Government Partnership. The NAP will include new and expanded open government commitments that will be fulfilled in the next two years. In the first and second US NAPs, previous commitments related to our work at NARA have included:
- Modernize management of government records
- Establish a FOIA modernization advisory committee
- Transform the security classification system
- Pilot technological tools to analyze classified Presidential records
- Implement monitoring and tracking of declassification reviews
- Implement the controlled unclassified information (CUI) program
- Increased crowdsourcing and citizen science programs
Please keep in mind the following principles as you think of your suggestions for the US open government commitments. NAP commitments should be:
- Ambitious: pushing government beyond current practice by strengthening transparency, accountability, and public participation
- Relevant: advancing one of the four open government principles of (1) transparency, (2) accountability, (3) participation, and/or (4) technology and innovation
- Specific: describing the problem to be solved and expected outcomes
- Measurable: allowing independent observers to gauge whether the commitment has been complete
Please join us on Wednesday July 29, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. for our next Army Reference Roundtable. The session will be held in Room G-25 at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. Learn from the experts who work with records of the Old Army from the Revolutionary War to the beginning of the 20th Century! Come learn about the following:
- Records relating to women in the Army, and search paths/finding aids available for researching women
- Field records of military hospitals and how to properly use the hospital index
- Carded Medical Records and Medical Officers’ Files
- Regimental book records
- Other topics to be determined
- Meet our wonderful summer interns!
The session is free and open to the public. We hope to see you there!
Today’s post comes from Joseph Scanlon, NARA’s FOIA Officer
July 4, 2015 was the 49th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the law that embodies the Federal Government’s commitment to public accountability through transparency.
On July 10, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Information Policy announced the launch of a new pilot program at seven agencies designed to test the feasibility of posting online FOIA responses so that they are available not just to the individual requester, but to the general public as well.
NARA is participating in the pilot for FOIA requests for the operational records that NARA creates as a federal agency, which are managed by NARA’s Office of General Counsel. FOIA requests for NARA’s archival records from federal agencies and at Presidential Libraries, as well as the records controlled by NARA’s National Personnel Records Center are not included in this pilot project. For privacy reasons, NARA will not post online any FOIA responses to requests in which individuals seek access to information about themselves. NARA has posted some records on FOIAonline in response to certain FOIA requests, and now plans to begin posting all FOIA releases for operational records in August 2015.
The Justice Department already encourages agencies to publish FOIA responses online when agencies receive three or more requests for information. Expansion of that policy to include the publishing of FOIA responses after just one request raises potential implementation challenges and questions.
To determine the viability of implementing such a policy for all Federal agencies subject to FOIA, the pilots will seek to answer many important questions, including, but not limited to:
- Costs associated with such a policy
- Effects on staff time required to process requests
- Effects on interactions with government stakeholders
- Exceptions to such a policy, such as for personal privacy
For privacy reasons, participating agencies will not post online responses to first-party requests in which individuals seek access to information about themselves.
In addition to NARA, the pilots will take place at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, as well as within components of the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice.
The results of this six-month pilot program will be made available to the public, and the Administration intends to be transparent about the pilots and their implementation by participating agencies. The Administration invites the public’s feedback as this proposed policy shift is explored. Comments and suggestions for overcoming implementation challenges should be sent to the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Information Policy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about NARA’s implementation of FOIA, how to submit a FOIA request, and to browse NARA’s Electronic Reading Room, please visit: http://www.archives.gov/foia/ and FOIAonline, at https://foiaonline.regulations.gov.
Most of you never got to know Frances Whitney. Here's her obituary, which, like all obituaries, is incomplete. She was so sharp and no-guff, so constitutionally opposed to quitting. Work is love made visible, as the saying goes, and she put so much love into her extended family and her community. Her testimony "On Being a Single Parent" starts: "Sister Lewis asked me to talk about being a successful single parent tonight and I've been quite flummoxed by her request, firstly because I don't feel particularly successful." But she survived the death of her husband and successfully fought illness and money struggles long enough to raise three children and see them all graduate from college, and she enjoyed teaching, gardening, reading, cooking, traveling, writing, filmgoing, and her church (Latter-Day Saints) till the very end.
Frances died of AIDS.
Dr. Amin said he presented my case at a conference for infectious disease specialists in San Francisco in December and the doctors there couldn't believe I'm still alive. But I still am. Viral load through the roof, and only one T-Cell, but I got out of bed this morning! (January 8, 2004)
I met her in the spring of 2001, just before she started blogging. This week I went back and started rereading her blog. I can appreciate it differently now -- for instance, right now, I'm going through a dead friend's correspondence to archive it, just as Frances did in 2003. And then there's stuff I'd forgotten, like how she vexed the home health service by consistently leaving her house.
The home health service thinks I should live my life lying around in bed at home, ready for their beck and call. I keep TRYING to educate them otherwise.....
It turns out the nurse was looking for me all morning, and they ended up calling Kim Cornett (my emergency contact), and Kim called Jill and Sara [because they have a key] so the Langleys could come over and see if I was dead in my bed with the cats eating me. I have told and told and told the agency that I work until noon. They don't believe it. (June 28, 2004)
Frances was mordant, liberal, angry about inequality. I reflect on her loves and woes that I also see in her son; she loved history and good fiction, well-made things, geology and paleontology, seeing the impact of her work, quiet contentment; she detested incompetence, waste, missed opportunities, boredom. She tried not to indulge in self-pity or Pollyannaism about the slings and arrows that had come her way. She was sensible, and she wanted us to be sensible too.
I should have driven to Utah today to attend Melea's funeral tomorrow. I'm still really sad about this. But my body has been doing that thing where my temperature shoots up and down, and I'm usually running a fever. Also the stomach has been acting up more than usual. Therefore, I thought if I made that drive it would be to MY funeral....
I should be in Utah. But like many things I would have liked to do in life, the HIV virus wins again. Don't anyone catch HIV. You WON'T win. The virus is always triumphant. (June 3, 2005)
Here is the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webpage about how you can prevent getting HIV. One recent advance: PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, a daily pill you take that "has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk by up to 92%" when taken consistently. I only heard about PrEP this month, and I thought I was pretty up-to-date on sexual health news. So maybe you didn't know about it either; take a look.
Frances died in 2006. I miss her. She was great.
For several years we have discussed the possibility of an Innovation Hub as a place dedicated to incubating, accelerating, and promoting innovative projects that staff could work on with the public. We envisioned students working with our volunteers to learn about handwritten documents and to try transcribing them for our catalog. We talked about holding scanathons and hackathons with local chapters of coders and hosting Wikipedian meetings throughout the year.
The Innovation Hub is open. Located on the first floor of the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., the Hub has two sections: a meeting area, and a citizen scanning room where researchers can scan our records with state-of-the-art equipment at no cost as long as they also contribute a copy of their digital scans for our online catalog.
The Hub is already buzzing with activity. Our first week, we hosted the Primarily Teaching group of educators, who scanned almost 100 records, equaling 432 pages, on Chinese immigration to be included in our online DocsTeach system, the online tool for teaching with documents from the National Archives, and our Catalog. We have planned transcription parties as well as hosting Wikipedian meetings as well.
Here is our very first scan coming from the Hub: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/20014029 (the Civil War Compiled Military Service Record of William E. Strong, which even has his picture at the end).
Perhaps you would like to transcribe it? It’s easy to log in and start transcribing.
I wrote about Canonical's Ubuntu IP policy here, but primarily in terms of its broader impact, but I mentioned a few specific cases. People seem to have picked up on the case of container images (especially Docker ones), so here's an unambiguous statement:
If you generate a container image that is not a 100% unmodified version of Ubuntu (ie, you have not removed or added anything), Canonical insist that you must ask them for permission to distribute it. The only alternative is to rebuild every binary package you wish to ship, removing all trademarks in the process. As I mentioned in my original post, the IP policy does not merely require you to remove trademarks that would cause infringement, it requires you to remove all trademarks - a strict reading would require you to remove every instance of the word "ubuntu" from the packages.
If you want to contact Canonical to request permission, you can do so here. Or you could just derive from Debian instead.
 Other than ones whose license explicitly grants permission to redistribute binaries and which do not permit any additional restrictions to be imposed upon the license grants - so any GPLed material is fine
I made half a dozen dumplings before I started to wilt in the kitchen heat, so I packed the rest of my mix up. This morning, I decided I did not have the energy to make dumplings but I still had to do something with my leftovers, so... I fried patties of my dumpling filling and made it into a sandwich.
It was a good sandwich.
Ultimate Terrible Fusion Cuisine Idea: the Dumpling Burger!