White House Climate Data Initiative

Workshop with thought leaders in data-driven innovation community.

Workshop with thought leaders in data-driven innovation community.

Yesterday I had the privilege to take part in the White House Climate Data Initiative Launch event — which culminates months of collaboration with the White House, NASA, GSA, and other federal agencies to create the new climate.data.gov website. NASA is leading the curation of federal data sets and tools that will reside on the site for use by citizens, communities, municipalities, organizations, industry, and scientists and technologists to gather insights and make informed decisions about climate resilience. We’ve only just begun the collection of datasets and tools, but this site offers a data watering hole for users to engage and act. The site also features four climate-related International Space Apps Challenges that global solvers can gather together to address April 12-13 at nearly 100 locations around the globe.

Find a local Space Apps event.

Find a local Space Apps event.

Bina Venkataraman and Brian Forde of the White House organized the Climate Data Initiative events. I participated in one of the two workshops preceding the press event. Leaders from citizen organizations, city government, federal and state agencies, and data innovators shared cutting edge tools, and discussed climate-related challenges facing cities, business, and the public. Coastal hazards from sea-level rise is a rallying point to gather data-driven insights and tools to equip decision-makers — who come in many shapes and sizes, from home owners to business owners to city/state/federal leaders.

We heard from Denice Ross, Director of Enterprise Information at the City of New Orleans who discussed the challenge of brittle data supply chains and the pathological complexity of decision-making at the local level. Innovation is a far reach, but optimization is the more reasonable goal for local government. She called for mobile damage assessment tools that can operate in disconnect mode — not only for disaster environments, but for poverty-stricken areas where cell or wifi connections aren’t an option. Sara Wu, Climate Planning and Policy Manager in the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability for the City of Philadelphia, discussed their need for insights into extreme heat/precipitation to plan for at-risk communities, along with life cycle costs for real estate planning. Their city is working to create a one-stop climate data shop, but implementation of innovative data assessment tools may be more aspirational that realistic. Katherine Greig, Senior Policy Advisor for New York City’s Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, discussed their need for hyper-local data — such as the depth of basements and height of ground level floors. They are looking for resilience in design standards and consistent planning models. Garrett Fitzgerald, Strategic Partnerships Advisor for the Urban Sustainability Directors Network in DC discussed the lack of data use in decision-making, and the need for concrete examples of creative use cases.

The workshop featured existing tools and data, including the new Google Earth Engine tool; ESRI, geo-spatial data and map-based resilience tools; InaSAFE, a plug-in open street map tool to simulate disaster effects, Microsoft’s FetchClimate tool, NOAA’s earth data, and more.

Microsoft's FetchClimate Tool

Microsoft’s FetchClimate Tool

Google Earth Engine

Esri Geo-spatial tools

Esri Geo-spatial tools

Thanks Second Muse for designing the workshop. You guys are awesome, as always!! Now the real work begins. We need to figure out how to set free all available data and tools (and create new ones) to equip our decision-makers to make decisions for the future — in the face of certain uncertainty.

White House Climate Data Initiative

Here’s what we have at stake: our very own blue marble. The only human-friendly planet we’ve found…so far.

Earth: image by Expedition 34 Space Station astronauts

Earth: image by Expedition 34 Space Station astronauts

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Filed under data, environment, federal government, innovation, International Space Apps, NASA

St. Paddy’s Day: Green Space!

Even though the DC region is covered in white, here are a few “green” space images to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Enjoy!

Space Station Expedition 37: French Polynesia

Space Station Expedition 37: French Polynesia

Earth's surface from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica. Credit: NASA/Robert Schwarz

Earth’s surface from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica. Credit: NASA/Robert Schwarz

Space Station Expedition 34: Northern Lights

Space Station Expedition 34: Northern Lights

Space Station Expedition 37: Aurora Australis

Space Station Expedition 37: Aurora Australis

Expedition 38: Night view inside Space Station

Expedition 38: Night view inside Space Station

Hubble image of supernova.

Hubble image of supernova

Hubble Reveals the Ring Nebula's True Shape

Hubble Reveals the Ring Nebula’s True Shape

Planetary Nebula MyCn18: An Hourglass Pattern Around a Dying Star

Planetary Nebula MyCn18: An Hourglass Pattern Around a Dying Star

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Filed under Earth, International Space Station, NASA, space

Thoughts on Collaborative Innovation

Here are the charts I presented at the American Leaders 2014 Open Innovation Conference in Baltimore.

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Filed under collaboration, innovation, International Space Apps, NASA

Christmas Bells

Bells

Earlier today, I heard the Casting Crowns version today of the song, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” from their Peace on Earth Album. Fascinated by the origins of songs, I was intrigued (and moved) to learn that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow originally wrote the words for “Christmas Bells” on Christmas Day in 1863. His son was severely injured in the Civil War the month before, not long after the loss of his wife in a fire. Here are the words he wrote:

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,

and wild and sweet
The words repeat

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along
The unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,

A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,

And with the sound
The carols drowned

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,

And made forlorn
The households born

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;

“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

These words, written 150 years ago, form the basis of songs we sing even today. Yes, we still live in the midst of war and pain and hate. But, as Longfellow concluded in his poem: God is not dead, nor does He sleep; right will prevail.

Luke 2: 13-15 (NIV)

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

Merry Christmas to you all!

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Space Station: Wonder ABOVE World

December 6, 1998 — fifteen years ago — humanity started construction on our human outpost, the International Space Station. Fifteen countries put aside cultural and political differences to join forces to create humanity’s greatest engineering feat. We built each section of Station in orbit. Pretty amazing, don’t you think? And when we plugged everything in (so to speak), it worked! Not at all like my experience with stringing Christmas lights.

To celebrate the 15th anniversary, here are a few pics of Station through the years — from infancy to maturity. Enjoy.

Space Station 2011

Space Station 2011

Space Station 2010

Space Station 2010

Space Station 2010

Space Station 2010

Space Station 2010 (Shadow of Space Shuttle Endeavour)

Space Station 2010 (Shadow of Space Shuttle Endeavour)

Space Station 2009

Space Station 2009

Space Station 2009 (Can you find Endeavour's shadow?)

Space Station 2009 (Can you find Endeavour’s shadow?)

Space Station 2009

Space Station 2009

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Space Station 2007

Space Station 2007

Space Station 2007. Can you see Endeavour’s shadow?

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Space Station 2007

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Space Station 2002

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Space Station 2001

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Space Station 1998

Space Station 1998

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INaction Heroes for Girls?

beth beck:

I can’t stop playing this new GoldieBlox video featuring toys for girls. All I can say is: it’s ABOUT TIME!!

The goal of GoldieBlox is to build games that inspire future female engineers. Here’s what their website states:

“At GoldieBlox, our goal is to get girls building. We’re here to help level the playing field in every sense of the phrase. By tapping into girls’ strong verbal skills, our story + construction set bolsters confidence in spatial skills while giving young inventors the tools they need to build and create amazing things.

In a world where men largely outnumber women in science, technology, engineering and math…and girls lose interest in these subjects as early as age 8, GoldieBlox is determined to change the equation. Construction toys develop an early interest in these subjects, but for over a hundred years, they’ve been considered “boys’ toys”. By designing a construction toy from the female perspective, we aim to disrupt the pink aisle and inspire the future generation of female engineers.

We believe there are a million girls out there who are engineers. They just might not know it yet. We think GoldieBlox can show them the way.”

All you who are looking for gifts for girls this holiday season, look no further!

Originally posted on Bethbeck's Blog:

In the mid-1990s, I accompanied a small team from NASA to the New York City Toy Fair to explore ways to shape NASA’s brand through product licensing. The delegation included NASA’s current Deputy, Lori Garver, who was the head of NASA’s Policy and Plans at that time. (The old Code Z, Land of Misfit Toys…for those of you around NASA at that time.)

On the trip, Lori posed this question:

“Why doesn’t NASA have more female executives?”

We’ll get back to that question later.

We met with brand management and licencing experts, and toured the toy fair. My first time at this event, I was surprised to discover the toys were separated by gender: toys for girls on one side, toys for boys on the other.

Toys for Girls: Wall-to-wall dolls. Barbie dolls. Big dolls. Little dolls. Doll accessories. Our host was quick to point out the new features for…

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Space Apps Winners @ MAVEN Launch

The prize for the winning International Space Apps team: MAVEN launch from Cape Canaveral tomorrow, weather permitting.

L-1 MAVEN launch

Here’s a quick update about the six winning apps, which represent wide ranging solutions to challenges on Earth and in space.

The Best Mission Concept, Popeye on Mars, offers a reusable greenhouse for Mars, comprised of a fully equipped aeroponic system to grow spinach over a 45-day mission.
SpaceApps13BestMissionConceptPopeyeonMars

The winner of the Best Use of Hardware, ISS Base Station, created a mechanical arm that points to Space Station in the sky as the vehicle and crew pass overhead.

SpaceApps13BestUseHardwareISSBaseStation1

SpaceApps13BestUseHardwareISSBaseStation

The winner of the Best Use of Data, Sol, created the first-ever interplanetary weather app to provide users information about weather on Earth and Mars.

SpaceApps2013BestUseOfDataSol

The Most Inspiring App, T-10, saves time for astronauts by using the location of Station and real-time weather data to alert astronauts when conditions are good to snap photos of designated locations on Earth. Astronauts can indicate when they will look out the cupola down on Earth so T-10 app users can wave back at the crew. The T-10 Apps team received “Astro-monials” from Station crew about the need for T-10 on Space Station.

SpaceApps13MostInspiringT-10

SpaceApps13MostInspiringT-10Hadfield

The Galactic Impact award winner, NASA Greener Cities Project, crowdsources microclimate data through low-cost sensors, network connectivity, and urban gardens to aggregate atmospheric measurements across cities. The data is displayed in real-time for officials to monitor air quality in communities and provide researchers insight into global climate.

SpaceApps13GalacticImpactGreenerCity

The People’s Choice award went to ChicksBook which provides how-to info on raising chickens and managing a backyard farm.

SpaceApps13PeoplesChoiceChicksBook
SSpaceApps13PeoplesChoiceChicksBook1

I’m so thrilled to have the opportunity to meet the teams and hear the stories of what inspired them to create their space apps. We’re in the planning stages for the 2014 International Space Apps Challenge. Keep an eye on the website for more details.

Here’s hoping tomorrow’s MAVEN launch goes as scheduled. The forecast is 60% change of favorable weather.

Mars or BUST!!

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