News, Technology, The Daily Feed

What The Tweet DC: Up In The Air Edition

Photo courtesy of
‘From Capital Pride Parade’
courtesy of ‘spiggycat’

Happy Monday DC!

Or not so much. When taking a look at the local Twitter Trends for DC Monday popped up on the list, however a look at the tweets says nobody loves Mondays. However if you are Chris W, who has Monday off from work, then you love Mondays.

Here’s what else is trending on Twitter today:

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History, Interviews, Penn Quarter, Special Events, Technology, The Features

OXCART: CIA Innovation and a Cool Spy Plane

Photo courtesy of
‘Oxcart Belly’
courtesy of ‘MrGuilt’

In the late 1950s, during the heyday of aviation and the dawning of space flight, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) approached Lockheed to develop a new aircraft that could overfly the Soviet Union. The CIA’s current plane (at the time) was the U-2, which served admirably in its role as a high-flying reconnaissance plane but was still susceptible to being shot down by high-altitude Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAM). Such an incident did occur in 1960, when Gary Powers was shot down while conducting an overflight over the U.S.S.R.

The result was the A-12, code name OXCART, which ended up in a different role as the Vietnam war broke out. The CIA’s spy plane flew several black missions during the war before being phased out and replaced by the U.S. Air Force’s SR-71 Blackbird. On Thursday evening at the International Spy Museum, many aspects of the A-12 Oxcart program will be discussed by several experts, including CIA chief historian David Robarge, J-58 engine inventor Robert B. Abernethy, flight specialist Thornton D. Barnes, CIA officer S. Eugene Poteat, and pilot Kenneth Collins.

For a taste of the discussion, we managed to pin down CIA chief historian David Robarge for a few minutes to discuss the Oxcart and BLACK SHIELD programs. Continue reading

Crime & Punishment, Essential DC, Life in the Capital, Technology, The District, The Features

Protecting Your Bike

Photo courtesy of
‘Next time, lock up the entire bike’
courtesy of ‘billaday’

I love bike riding. And I love bike riding around DC. It’s truly a fantastic mode of transportation, whether you’re headed to work or play. Since moving to DC in 2006, with my Cannondale in tow, I’ve noticed a significant increase in the amount of bike traffic. I’d most likely attribute this rise to 1) increased Metro fares, 2) the addition of numerous bike lanes and bike racks, in part spearheaded by the WABA, and 3) the increase in popularity of road biking. Sadly, the increase of bike riding has also meant a parallel increase in DC bike theft, and if you’ve ever had your bike stolen, like me, you know how much of a personal affront it is and how irreplaceable your perfectly fitted and outfitted bike was. So, in an effort to prevent further bike theft and the ensuing anguish, I asked Mike Christian of Revolution Cycles for some tips and advice on how to better secure our bikes.

Continue reading

Technology, The Daily Feed

Win Gov 2.0 Passes!

Photo courtesy of
‘Tim O’Reilly’
courtesy of ‘Center for American Progress’

One of the great things I love about DC is that it’s an intersection of theory and practice; it’s a place where people take technologies and policy ideas and work them into rules and laws and systems. The Gov 2.0 Expo is taking place here this week, and it’s focused on just that process. This is a conference where those confluences are at their most visible, when technologists like Tim O’Reilly (no relation to Bill, promise) and others get to influence the direction of technology adoption.

DC is a Tech Town, in addition to being a Gov Town, and this week we get to see a bit of the mixing of the two. In fact, we’re so hyped up that we want to give away two conference badges to this week’s conference that runs Tuesday to Thursday. We’re pretty excited about the whole thing, so that’s not all we’re doing. Here’s how it’s going to work:

If you leave a comment, we’ll email you a code for a free Expo Hall pass, and that will also enter you to win one of the two conference badges as well. If you’d rather just register for this awesome event at 25% off, just use the code “lovedc” when you register for Gov 2.0.

Adventures, All Politics is Local, Essential DC, Fun & Games, History, Life in the Capital, Technology, The Daily Feed, The Great Outdoors, We Green DC

“Smart” Buoy Deployed

Photo courtesy of
‘Buoy Red ’6′ took a pounding’
courtesy of ‘Tony DeFilippo’

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) deployed a “smart” buoy just south of the Wilson Bridge on Friday, May 4.  The new device will provide scientists and local area boaters/educators with real-time information about the Chesapeake Bay.

The buoy is part of the the CBIBS (Chesapeake Bay Interpretative Buoy System) program and will collect weather, oceanographic and water-quality observations along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.  The program hopes to not only provide relevant data for restoration efforts, but also provide insights about the waterways’ history and encourage stewardship and protection of the Chesapeake Bay.

All of the eight buoys’ measurements, along with historical information, can be accessed at www.buoybay.org (www.buoybay.org/m for mobile devices) and by phone at 877-BUOY-BAY (877-286-9229).

Technology, The Daily Feed, We Green DC, WTF?!

Turn Old Jeans Into Insulation for Habitat

Photo courtesy of
‘levis rivet bw’
courtesy of ‘christaki’

Our friend Erin from Unclutterer pointed out this excellent campaign from MoCo Professional Organizer Scott Roewer to collect a bunch of blue jeans. Got a pair of well-loved, but in need of retirement blue jeans? Donate them to Scott, who will turn them into awesome insulation for a Habitat for Humanity house. He’s already collected over 300 pairs, but he needs to get to 500 in order to have enough insulation for a single Habitat home.

If you can help, leave Scott a comment with your contact information and he’ll direct you to how to send him your jeans! Me, I’ve got two pairs that can probably go off to be insulation…Scott, drop me a comment here?

All Politics is Local, Entertainment, Technology, The Daily Feed, WTF?!

A Little Busey With Your Barack

Photo courtesy of
‘busey’
courtesy of ‘spectabillis’

Thankfully, it’s not that often that Gary Busey and DC cross paths. However, the geniuses at http://barackandgary.tumblr.com/ have a lot of time on their hands and have photoshopped shots from the official White House Flickr stream with Busey’s head.  My personal favorite is the photo of Busey with Clinton, Gates and Obama. Classic. Not sure what the purpose of this project is, but it was a great way to start hump day.

Downtown, Essential DC, Life in the Capital, Special Events, Technology, The Daily Feed, The District, We Green DC

Flowers for Phones, April 13-14

Photo courtesy of
‘ting’
courtesy of ‘Kevin H.’

Next Tuesday and Wednesday, from 11-2pm drop off your used cell phones at either Farragut Square Park or Triangle Park and you’ll get a free potted flower to take home and a chance to win one of many cool prizes.  Collected phones will be recycled as part of the Golden Triangle’s Clean, Green & Golden week to make the District’s central business district look better than ever.

In addition to receiving some flower power, cell phone donors will be automatically entered awesome prizes from Eye Street Massage Therapy, Public Bar, Green & Blue, Taberna del Alabardero, etc. Show up at noon on Tuesday and hang with Ward 2 DC Councilman Jack Evans and possibly snag one of four $50 gift certificate for BLT Steak.

Make sure your phone has been deactivated from service, there aren’t security or privacy concerns. All makes and models of mobile phones, pagers, and PDAs are accepted—along with batteries, chargers, and other accessories. For more details on what can be recycled visit Earthworks, the Golden Triangle BID’s partner responsible for recycling the phones. Continue reading

Adventures, Entertainment, Fun & Games, History, Technology, The Daily Feed, The Great Outdoors, The Hill, The Mall

DC Podcast Tours Led By Middle Schoolers

Photo courtesy of
‘Ksenya 06′
courtesy of ‘yospyn’

WOW!  Alexandria’s Sandburg Middle School has developed ten awesome DC podcast tours that offer fabulous insights into our city’s neighborhoods, monuments, museums and local shops/restaurants.  Each podcast is accompanied by a informational guide that includes the closest metro stop, address, entrance fees and relevant website. How useful! The tours and voice overs are all performed by Sandburg students, and can be easily downloaded to your ipod or mp3 player. What a stellar find and what a stellar way for students and DCers to learn about our nation’s capital.

Essential DC, Food and Drink, Fun & Games, Technology, The Daily Feed

Ben’s Chilli Bowl, There’s An App For That … On The Way

Photo courtesy of
‘Just what I wanted’

Can I get an iPhone App with my half-smoke? Pretty soon you can.

Son of the late Ben of Ben’s Chili Bowl, Nizam Ali, is looking for you tech-savvy DC residents to develop the latest in Chilli eating technology.

The Washington Examiner reports that Ali hopes that the contest designed for people who know and love Ben’s will encourage them to share their good ideas for what the app should be.

Final contest rules and guidelines aren’t set in stone, but the date is – April 5.

If you want to be the one to create an iPhone app for a 50-year-old business, get to thinking! Opportunity is a-knockin’.

Scribblings, Special Events, Technology, The Features

Scribblings: Shane Harris

Photo courtesy of
‘Watch The Watcher’
courtesy of ‘kevinspencer’

Tomorrow at noon, the International Spy Museum is having a lunchtime discussion with journalist Shane Harris on his new book, The Watchers: The Rise of America’s Surveillance State. In his new book, Harris tracks the government’s elusive quest to build a computer system that can sift huge amounts of electronic data for signs of terrorist activity. First proposed by national security adviser John Poindexter in 1983, reopened after the 9/11 attacks in a program called Total Information Awareness (TIA), and publicly banned by Congress in 2003, TIA was recreated as a classified program at the National Security Agency and is now a cornerstone of the Obama administration’s national security policy. Drawing on unprecedented access to the people who pioneered this high-tech spycraft, Harris contends that despite billions of dollars spent on this digital quest since the Reagan era, the government still can’t discern future threats in the vast data cloud, but can now spy on its citizens with an ease that was impossible and illegal just a few years ago.

A quick interview with the author after the jump. Continue reading

Foggy Bottom, Technology, The Daily Feed, The District

You Abuse It, You Lose It

Photo courtesy of
‘In classroom #1′
courtesy of ‘poplinre’

The GW Hatchet reports that some professors have banned laptops, iPhones and Blackberries because students were using them for non-class related purposes (i.e. Facebook, AIM, email and even gaming).

Now having gone to highschool and college when laptops and smartphones were just becoming mainstream, I didn’t have that type of technological distraction. Instead, we had to rely on old fashioned doodling, note passing and daydreaming. The most technically advanced we got was playing “Drug Wars” on our TI-83 calculators in trig class. I was always so bummed when I got mugged riding the subway in Shaolin.

Point is kids have and will always find ways to distract themselves from learning about Joseph Proust’s theory on atomic theory or Emily Dickinson’s poetic themes of love, nature and death.  Unfortunately, laptops and cellphones take this distraction to a whole new level.

Yes, laptops can be uber useful for note taking, organizing and on the spot research, but their powers seem to be used more for evil than for good. Like Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker “With great power comes great responsibility” and if you’re not going to be responsible with how, when and for what you use your power, then you shouldn’t be allowed to have it in the classroom.

Essential DC, Fun & Games, Life in the Capital, Technology, The Daily Feed

Office Fridge Lockdown

Photo courtesy of
‘Postit on the shared office fridge’
courtesy of ‘Kai Hendry’

Yesterday’s Thrillist email featured an item I have a feeling many DC office workers need. The Fridge Locker Personal Food Security System keeps your lunch, yogurts, apples, etc. under lock and key and prevents that office fridge raider from making away with that leftover slice of pizza you’d been dreaming about during that 11am meeting.

The most ridiculous item I ever had stolen out of an office fridge was a half eaten scoop of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream with the spoon in it. Gross!

I’m sure there are plenty of good fridge raider stories out there. Let’s hear them.

Crime & Punishment, Talkin' Transit, Technology, The Features

Talkin’ Transit: They’re Watching You

Photo courtesy of
‘Do You Slow for Speed Cameras?’
courtesy of ‘Wayan Vota’

On Thursday, Big Brother is allowed to catch you speeding in Maryland. But will he really be watching?

The use of automated speed cameras becomes legal in Maryland tomorrow, but according to WaPo, few communities are jumping up to embrace it. Currently Gaithersburg, Chevy Chase Village, Takoma Park and Rockville employ the electronic devices – have been since 2006, since they went through the steps to use them. But some counties in the state have indicated they don’t plan on taking advantage of the new law.

The Maryland speed camera law was passed this past April. According to the law, before cameras can be used in other Maryland jurisdictions, the county or town council must hold a public hearing and give its approval. If the cameras are on federal or state highways, the approval of the State Highway Administration is required. Baltimore County has already authorized their use and several Prince George’s municipalities have started the process. (That would be Riverdale Heights, Berwyn Heights, New Carrollton, Bowie, District Heights and Cheverly, if you’re keeping track.)

Howard and Anne Arundel counties have no immediate plans but are taking initial steps to set aside money for possible programs. Continue reading

Business and Money, Technology, The Daily Feed

MSNBC buys EveryBlock

Picture 3.png

There are a couple of really amazing tools for combining local news, events, crime reports, real estate listings and photos all into a single geo-aware environment, but of them, EveryBlock is probably about the best of them. MSNBC.com announced this morning that they have purchased EveryBlock, for plans unknown. Congrats to former Washington Post Online guy Adrian Holovaty for the sale!

Technology, The Daily Feed, WTF?!

I, For One, Welcome Our New Robot Rap Battle Overlords.

How often do you see a robot challenge a Redskin? Especially one that looks like it really couldn’t take a hit? But, there we are. Via the Redskins Blog, Clicky the Robot has challenged Chris Cooley to a rap battle, apparently because Cooley thought Clicky was Gumby.

Now, Personally? I’d say if you’re a minor-league figure in internet safety, and Cooley called you anything at all? That’s a plus. But Gumby? Gumby’s a hero, man, an out and out cultural cult icon. Take the compliment for what it is and go with it. Hopefully, he’ll respond on his blog, and keep his pants on this time.

Technology, The Daily Feed

The Post & The Nats Want Your Tweets

Photo courtesy of
‘here’s a question for you two…’
courtesy of ‘philliefan99′

The Post’s Nationals Journal and the Nationals are trying to put together a Twitter Mashup for Tweets at Nats Park. So, if you go to any of the games this weekend, they could use your help getting things tested out. If you see something Tweetworthy, like a great catch in your section, or maybe the tastiest half-smoke in the concessions, tweet about it with #natswp and a hashtag with your section number (#319, or #125 if you’re spending the beaucoup bucks) and they will be doing some magic with it.

Technology, The Daily Feed, WTF?!

DC Jobs Program Employee Fired for Being A Jackass on Twitter

Photo courtesy of
‘TwitterFailWhaleScreenshot_2′
courtesy of ‘MikeBlogs’

One of the first rules about having a Twitter account is that, if your messages are public, you have to assume that everyone you know can and will read your tweets. So, that means if you’re talking about work, or end up saying something like, “In americas ghetto anacostia… If i get scared i will just yell chinese carry out! They will not shoot me.” while working for the DC Jobs program? That means you’re going to get fired.

Congratulations, David Le, that, coupled with a few of the other tweets from the article makes me glad the city fired you.

Entertainment, Essential DC, Food and Drink, Fun & Games, Technology, The Daily Feed

Washingtonian Cheap Eats ON A MAP! Whee!

Photo courtesy of
‘U.S. Air Force Memorial & the Pentagon’
courtesy of ‘william couch’

A few weeks ago, I enthusiastically waxed poetic about the merits of the DC Beer Map. So when reader and tweeter emvii sent me the Washingtonian Cheap Eats 2009 on a Google map, it was right up my alley.

So here is the deal about this glorious map: It is a  map of the 100 Best Cheap Eats in DC, identified by Washingtonian Magazine, tasted and rated by the mysterious unidentified map builders the wonderful peeps over at the DC baking blog Pete Bakes, and then sorted and color coded into green (good), yellow (fine) and red (don’t).

YAY! I LOVE IT! Whoever did this, Pete Bakes,  let me tell you, you made my day yesterday. I talked about this to at least 10 people. I love it when food and technology combine in map form. Brilliant. Good on you!

Life in the Capital, People, Technology, The Daily Feed

Time Warner – You’ve Got No Mail!

not such a happy family anymore?

not such a happy family anymore?

Fresh off the presses today, it seems that a number of employees now at Time Warner/AOL can shorten that to just “AOL”. The board of directors authorized the divestiture of AOL from the company and, as expected for many months (if not years), AOL is left to fend for itself. As a friend of a number of AOL employees, both past and present, I’m sure there’s even more speculation as to what’s going to happen to one of NoVa’s largest employers.