Government 2.0

NARA photo contest attracts only 35 entries so far -- start clicking

Pssst! -- want better than 50-50 odds on winning a prestigious new federal photo contest?

The National Archives and Records Administration’s first online photo competition has gotten just 35 entries, with 20 winners to be selected.

As of today, that’s a 57 percent chance of winning for each entrant, which is an surprising opportunity considering that an award from NARA would look impressive on the resume of any photographer.

Of course, the odds would be reduced as more people enter the competition before the closing date on Jan. 21. The winning photos will be featured in a NARA postcard book.

The “History Happens Here” Augmented Reality Photo Contest that started last Dec. 13 showcases mash-up photos that use images from NARA’s historic archives. For example, in one entry, a historic image of the Washington Monument under construction is held up next to an image of the monument as it stands now. In another entry, a photograph of President John F. Kennedy and his family standing on the U.S. Capitol staircase is superimposed on a current photograph of the staircase.

Time is running out, and if I were a better photographer, I’d enter the contest myself. Get all the details about participating here.

Posted by Alice Lipowicz on Jan 13, 2011 at 7:25 PM0 comments

World Bank holds apps contest; NIH uses texts, Facebook for weight loss

Calling all software developers who want global exposure: The World Bank wants you to submit your original software application to its Apps for Development innovation competition this month.

Software developers are being encouraged to submit original applications for the Web, PCs, mobile devices or other widely used platforms. The applications should use World Bank datasets and deal with one or more of the goals of reducing world poverty and hunger and increasing health and education.

Indications of interest must be received by Jan. 10 and judging begins on Jan. 31. See details here.

In other social media news, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, is funding seven clinical trials starting this year that will use innovative technologies such as text messaging, social networks and Bluetooth-enabled weight scales to help young adult participants lose weight.

The studies are being funded with $36 million over five years, according to a recent news release.

For example, at the University of Tennessee, Memphis, researchers will use the iPod Touch, webinars, and podcasts to deliver behavioral weight loss help to young adults who are trying to quit smoking.

University of Pittsburgh researchers will use text message reminders to see if how effectively they can help with in a weight loss intervention. And Cornell University/University of Rochester, N.Y., will test Internet-based programs to promote the health of pregnant and postpartum women.

See all the clinical trials — and learn where to sign up — here.

Posted by Alice Lipowicz on Jan 04, 2011 at 7:25 PM0 comments

Sen. Coburn knocks paying to digitize the Grateful Dead, create wolf avatars

Digitizing the Grateful Dead archive, creating avatars of wolves for a zoo video game — those are a few of the technology-related projects that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) considers a waste of taxpayers' money.

Coburn takes aim at a number of IT-related projects in his new "Wastebook 2010” report, released today, which highlights what he described as $11.5 billion of wasteful government spending.

He cites the following figures and projects:

  • $615,000 spent digitizing the Grateful Dead band archive at the University of California at Santa Cruz. “This is one of the first efforts to preserve and share cultural and historical artifacts of the Baby Boom generation, a group that includes 76 million Americans,” the report notes, but that was not enough to keep it off the list.
  • The National Science Foundation's $600,000 grant to the Minnesota Zoo to create a video game named WolfQuest.
  • NSF's $250,000 in funding for a Stanford University study of how Americans use the Internet for dating.
  • The $60,000 the Government Printing Office spent on a “video game space mouse” to teach children the history of printing.

Posted by Alice Lipowicz on Dec 21, 2010 at 7:25 PM0 comments

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