Posts by Nancy Scola

Question: Does Quora Do Politics? Answer:...

March 17, 2011

Nancy Scola

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Question: Does Quora Do Politics? Answer:...

March 17, 2011

Nancy Scola


Questions and answers, is there anything simpler in life? Perhaps not, but a humble Q&A platform called Quora is capturing the attention of technologists in a way that makes worth asking, what happens when their political counterparts start working with it?

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Boehner Tasks Team with Updating the House

March 16, 2011

Nancy Scola

When it comes to tech, it can still seem like the late '90s, perhaps early aughts in the U.S. House of Representatives. With that in mind, Speaker John Boehner announced today that he's assembling a "House Technology Operation Team" under the leadership of @JasonInTheHouse, that is, Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah. Boehner tapped Chaffetz for a role in House's transistion in January. Chaffetz's takeway: "I saw first-hand how badly Congress could use some updating."

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Obama's Boing Boing Habit

March 16, 2011

Nancy Scola

At last week's Gridiron Dinner, it seems, Barack Obama joked about his online reading practices "And while I know I have my share of critics out there, I don't focus on the negative stuff. I just don't pay much attention to it," said the president. "Most days I barely skim through the comment section of Huffington Post, Daily Kos, Firedoglake, The Daily Dish, BoingBoing.net." (via James Love)

Does anyone who actually reads Boing Boing call it that? The gist seems to be a joke about Obama's relationship with his ostensible political base, though in a straight reading, Obama's list is a strange mix of liberal, liberatarian, conservative. Still, you do have to wonder how helpful that sort of mention is in HuffPo's bid to position itself as utterly mainstream.

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How Google's Looking for Haley Barbour

March 16, 2011

Nancy Scola

Slate's Justin Elliot parses the severity of Haley Barbour's "Google problem."

(Still, a point in Barbour's column is that the first result for a straight name search on Barbour is governorbarbour.com, his official site. The same can't be said for Rick Santorum. As I mentioned yesterday, Barbour's site is unique creature in the world of gubernatorial domain names. Most follow the boring ol' domain-subdomain .gov convention, like governor.ohio.gov or state.nj.us/governor. Rare is it for a governor's site to riff off the current occupant's name, and joining Barbour in using a dot-com is only Florida's Rick Scott, with flgov.com. And there, the whole state uses .com.)

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Democrats Hiring for Redistricting Desk

March 16, 2011

Nancy Scola

One area where political data chops developed over the last few years will likely be shortly be called into greater service: redistricting. The DNC's tech department is in the market for a data-savvy person for its "Redistricting Desk." The Democrats have aimed at building out DC tech capacity that can be deployed as needed, and requested, in the states, and the main job here is supplying "our state parties and other groups with timely and insightful information regarding their local redistricting efforts."

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And the Award for Acceleration Goes to...

March 16, 2011

Nancy Scola

A sign, perhaps, of how government geekery is going mainstream geek? Legislative innovators PopVox won the prize for best social media and networking site in SXSW's "Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator" competition this week, reports Morning Tech. There's more than Austin glory at stake; the award's shininess has a history of attracting capital. I reviewed PopVox's ambitions back at launch in November.

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And the Award for Openness Goes to...

March 16, 2011

Nancy Scola

President Obama's getting a transparency award today, right at the moment he's getting a swell of press for being opaque. His administration's focus has been on revamping institutional systems, but the short-term effect on actual openness has been, arguably, negligible. Optimistically, it might be question of playing catch up. But shining light on it all highlights that gap between promise and practice.

Update: The White House announces that the transparency award moment has been postponed.

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DIY Radiation Mapping

March 16, 2011

Nancy Scola

Getting passed around today, unsurprisingly, is the National Radiation Map, "depicting environmental radiation levels across the USA, updated in real time every minute." They're looking for people to set up monitoring stations; Geiger counter sales have shot up, but here's how you'd hack together your own from parts.

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