Check it out at Boing Boing.
If you have a few minutes more, head over to the Atlantic and see a fantastic video about the the history of the Jet Propulsion Lab and how its offices grew over time.
Sister Mary Scullion wrote an editorial voicing her opposition to the plan being decided today by US District Judge William H. Yohn Jr..
…as the ban on outdoor feeding has gone into effect, the reality is that the proposed service-enriched dining centers are not in place, and hungry people on the streets do not have appropriate alternatives. And we see no signs of progress in dealing with the underlying realities of hunger and homelessness.
So we are left with nothing but a prohibition on providing meals on the streets — an effective criminalization of charity, a violation of religious liberties for many church groups, and possibly the removal of a vital lifeline for many of those who are on the streets. This is not a step forward, but a lamentable step backward. It is only furthering the injustice and deepening the fracture of the human community.
Philly.com: Sister Mary Scullion: Philadelphia’s ban on outdoor feeding is a harmful distraction
Mark Headd recently posted a short overview (and screencast!) that demonstrates how you can build an application with open data and make it available with SMS.
NewsWorks: Benjamin Herold for The Notebook and WHYY: “Fixing Philadelphia’s broken pipeline to college”.
You can follow more of this report at The Philadephia Public School Notebook and take part in the comment thread there.
Emily Badger in The Atlantic recently wrote about “The Dawn of the Municipal Chief Innovation Officer”. Technically Philly had a conversation with Philadelphia’s Adel Ebeid, Philadelphia’s first Chief Innovation Officer, back in November last year:
“There’s this one side of the coin where people see just this disenchantment and negative view of government,” says Jay Nath, the Chief Innovation Officer for the city of San Francisco. “But there’s also this flip side where people actually believe that working with government, we can make a better solution and better improvements for our society.”
…There are, by our count, just two major cities in the U.S. that currently have someone sitting in this role, and they’ve both settled in within the past six months. Adel Ebeid stepped into the job in Philadelphia after working as the chief information officer for the state of New Jersey. Like Nath, he views his role largely as connecting city hall and all of its resources with a new generation of problem-solvers outside of it.
…The birth of the municipal chief innovation officer job is a response to these two trends: to fundamental changes in technology that are revolutionizing citizen engagement, and to a cultural movement that is turning the data-dense inner workings of city halls into public challenges that are actually kind of a kick to solve.
“There aren’t that many of us right now,” Ebeid says, “but I can tell you we’re certainly an early testbed for what will become mainstream by 2015.”
City of Philadelphia: Office of Innovation and Technology
Author of “Invent with Python”, Al Sweigart, makes the case for teaching programming skills while enabling children to accomplish something, like making a game, not as an end in and of itself, in “Nobody Wants to Learn How to Program”. I believe this is mostly true, and the sooner we approach K-12 CS education similarly the better.
“The digital divide isn’t just access, but also ability, and quality of information, and the common dignity of having equity of participation in our increasingly digital culture.”
I’m proud to say there has been a movement in Philadelphia on supporting the mission of libraries, and rethinking how they support their ultimate purpose, and that whenever funding has gotten seriously threatened, people have stood up.
For my part, I’m in talks with my local library to host an after school program teaching MIT’s Scratch. Following that I’d like to initiate a Code and Coffee meetup there and maybe encourage the Blogger Meetups that use to take place to consider local branch libraries as places to meet.
MarketWatch: “CyberCoders Reveals Houston Beats out San Jose and Silicon Valley as The Leading City for Technology Jobs in 2012. Philadelphia is #3!!!
A fantastic piece from Jonathan Stray on “algorithm designers to dedicated curators to, yes, traditional on-the-scene pro journalists, a great many people in different fields now have a part in shaping the digital public sphere”: “What should the digital public sphere do?”.