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Deadline For Data.gov Arrives, and Delivers 81

Posted by kdawson
from the set-my-data-free dept.
inKubus writes "According to a story carried by AP, as part of President Barack Obama's 'Open Government Directive,' the 24 major departments and agencies that make up the executive branch of the federal government had until Friday to release at least three 'high-value' data sets. Over 300 new data sets have been released on data.gov. There's a lot of interesting stuff on there and more to come." One of the departments required to release data is the office of the US Trade Representative. Wouldn't it be nice if they posted the ACTA negotiating drafts?
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Deadline For Data.gov Arrives, and Delivers

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  • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Saturday January 23, 2010 @03:18PM (#30871550) Homepage

    Wouldn't it be nice if they posted the ACTA negotiating drafts

    Meanwhile, back in reality...

  • Will they mention this on C-Span?
    • Hey. I just want you to know...

      The Transportation Department will post ratings for 2,400 lines of tires for consumer safety based on tire tread wear, traction performance and temperature resistance. The Labor Department will release the names of 80,000 workplaces where injuries and illness have occurred over the past 10 years.

      How is this NOT valuable? Access to this information will change the world! We will FINALLY have government information on the tread wear of tires! SWEET! You can keep your musical re

    • by hduff (570443)

      I thought they sold to Michael Jackson? And agin re-sold? I just started hearing new covers of Beatles songs in otherwise unremarkable adverts.

      Anyway, just buy them back like you did my beloved TR3's. And please repatriate Benny Hill as well.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday January 23, 2010 @05:14PM (#30872566) Homepage Journal

      We gave the US the Beatles and all we got back was this lousy data.gov site.

      And the Beatles' music was based on American blues, pop, folk, R&B and rock'n'roll, so I'd say we're just getting back what was ours to begin with, albeit with poncy Brit accents and funny hairdos.

    • by epine (68316)

      Hey baby, how's your baby? Fair exchange, in my books.

      From Hans Rosling: Let my dataset change your mindset [ted.com]

      And it is my task, on behalf of the rest of the world, to convey a thank to the U.S. taxpayers, for Demographic Health Survey. Many are not aware of -- no this is not a joke. This is very serious. It is due to USA's continuous sponsoring during 25 years of the very good methodology for measuring child mortality that we have a grasp of what's happening in the world. And it is U.S. government at its best, without advocacy, providing facts, that it's useful for the society. And providing data free of charge, on the internet, for the world to use. Thank you very much.

      Quite in the opposite of the World Bank [who rock] it's just that we would like to upgrade our international agencies to deal with the world in a modern way, as we do. And when it comes to free data and transparency, United States of America is one of the best. And that doesn't come easy from the mouth of a Swedish public health professor.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23, 2010 @03:40PM (#30871792)

    When their bosses find out the information they have spent months hacking for is on data.gov.

    • It's more like: the data that we stole doesn't match up with the data.gov results - Obama's government falsified its data! The places where they lied will provide telling insight about their psychology, and will especially highlight what they feel is vulnerable and needs to be hidden. Now, our stolen data is twice as valuable! Good work comrade, here's an Audi A6 and the keys to an apartment on the outer ring road.
  • by KermodeBear (738243) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @03:40PM (#30871800) Homepage

    Wouldn't it be nice if they posted the ACTA negotiating drafts?

    Wouldn't it be nice if they televised the entire health care bill debates on C-SPAN as they said they were going to?

    Transparency my ass.

    • by wizardforce (1005805) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @03:47PM (#30871868) Journal

      Transparency my ass.

      Indeed. Although I can't really say that anyone really feels nostalgic for the "transparency" of the Bush administration either.

    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @03:55PM (#30871946)
      Republicans hide the truth, Democrats just flat out lie. It always amazes me to watch each new generation hit their 20s and think 1 party is going to fix all the evil of the other... only to find out 8 years later they had the same plan all along. Tax the fuck out of you and hold onto power. They have no other goal.
      • One difference (Score:5, Insightful)

        by copponex (13876) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @05:02PM (#30872492) Homepage

        Republicans tax poor people by eliminating social services and giving tax breaks to the people who don't need them. Democrats tax rich people to pay for social services for poor people.

        This was going alright - both parties have interests in the society, and there was a balance of power. Then the conservatives started losing ground, and had a miraculous conversion. Turns out there are 40 million Americans who will vote against their own interests at the drop of a hat, if you'll call yourself an evangelical. You may have to do a lot of embarrassing things - pretend you'll overturn Roe v. Wade, praise hopeless idiots like Pat Robertson, pretend that gay people are "evil", and so on. Corporations will give you the money to promote yourself this way, to defeat working class (or "union") money, in exchange for tax cuts at any cost, even during wars.

        All of this is perfectly illustrated by the last decade of John McCain. If his VP running mate hadn't been so shockingly stupid, he would have given Obama a run for his money.

        Sorry for the nuanced approach. I know it's terribly unpatriotic.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Sir_Lewk (967686)

          Democrats tax rich people to pay for social services for poor people.

          So so naive.

        • by bkeahl (1688280)
          Republicans tax poor people by eliminating social services? Since when is NOT gifting charity to the recipients suddenly a tax? By what right should the government gift them anything while forcing others to pay for it? You really call the decision to discontinue charity as a tax? "... giving tax breaks to the people who don't need them ..." - Spoken like a true Marxist. Need as defined by who? What the heck does need have to do with it? Just because someone manages to acquire, without committing a crim
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by copponex (13876)

            Republicans tax poor people by eliminating social services? Since when is NOT gifting charity to the recipients suddenly a tax? By what right should the government gift them anything while forcing others to pay for it? You really call the decision to discontinue charity as a tax?

            Social services are not gifts or charity. They are the shared benefits of civilization and infrastructure, and a recognition that the market does not have just solutions for every situation.

            Spoken like a true Marxist. Need as defined by who? What the heck does need have to do with it? Just because someone manages to acquire, without committing a crime, more than another person they should be forced to give it up? By what right should the government take from one person and give to another when no theft or other crime has been committed?

            The infrastructure and shared wealth of a society provides opportunity for success. Liberia is not home to any technology firms because it lacks the infrastructure to support one. Infrastructure is funded by public money. Therefore, if you want to continue to have a civilization, you should pay taxes. How much from whom

            • by bkeahl (1688280)
              I love how opposing government theft of private property becomes wanting old folks dying in the streets and a snipe against welfare recipients in the eyes of social liberals.

              My point is I'd rather charity be voluntary and delivered somewhere closer to the person needing it.

              Local communities are the best place, followed by the local government when desired, followed by the state when necessary, and the federal government when idiots like the governor of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans are too inco
      • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday January 23, 2010 @05:30PM (#30872692) Homepage Journal

        Republicans hide the truth, Democrats just flat out lie.

        They're only doing what their corporate masters pay them to do.

        Why do you think that every single lawmaker who's in office for more than 10 years leaves as a multi-millionaire? Certainly not on their congressional salaries.

        Until we take corporate money out of politics, neither party will be any good, and our real incomes will continue to fall as they have for the past 30 years, since Ronald Reagan took office.

        Transnational corporations love it when we spend more than we make. Then, we become more desperate to hang onto jobs no matter how bad the pay and working conditions, and thanks to easy credit, we continue to buy their goods and services. Admittedly, the whole system crashes and burns eventually, which we are seeing with the world economic crisis, but when it does, the corporations will have the resources to start over, and workers will be in an even worse position to negotiate fair wages and decent working conditions.

        I'm betting that if you asked Slashdotters if the working hours and conditions at their jobs are getting better or worse, you'd see that they are universally getting worse while their credit card balances are getting bigger. And it's not just big-screen plasma screen TVs that are going on those credit cards, but basic necessities like health care, education, food and shelter. This system lets us think our standard of living is getting better, while we only fall deeper and deeper into debt to our bosses.

        The citizens of america.com really do owe their souls to the company store. We should just change the name of our country to AmeriCo.

    • Wouldn't it be nice if they televised the entire health care bill debates on C-SPAN as they said they were going to?

      Yes, it would.

      And they would have, if the Republicans had ever shown one bit of being willing to debate. When a major political party's response is "no, just no, I don't care what we said we'd say yes to, we're saying no even if you take our 2004 platform and make it your health care reform", there really isn't any debate to broadcast.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        And they would have, if the Republicans had ever shown one bit of being willing to debate. When a major political party's response is "no, just no, I don't care what we said we'd say yes to, we're saying no even if you take our 2004 platform and make it your health care reform", there really isn't any debate to broadcast.

        If that's all it was, they'd have been delighted to televise the debate, since it would have made the Republicans look really bad.

        Personally, I believe they didn't televise the debate beca

        • by aynoknman (1071612) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @04:46PM (#30872376)

          After all, if the Health Care Bills were so wonderful, why would you need to bribe guys in your own Party to vote for them?

          Anyone who has lived in a jurisdiction with corrupt officials will tell you that bribery occurs not because whatever you are being bribed to do is a bad idea, but because you have the power to withhold whatever the briber wants. Bribery is about power not goodness or badness of the behaviour you are being bribed to do.

          • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @05:33PM (#30872722)

            Anyone who has lived in a jurisdiction with corrupt officials will tell you that bribery occurs not because whatever you are being bribed to do is a bad idea, but because you have the power to withhold whatever the briber wants. Bribery is about power not goodness or badness of the behaviour you are being bribed to do.

            Which makes the Democrats (the Party of the People) look even worse. You're not doing the work of "the People" when you require a bribe to do your job....

            Note that this is not meant to imply that the Republicans don't take bribes. Though I don't recall a case where a Republican majority leader had to bribe his own guys to get them to vote for the Party's bill.

            Doesn't mean it doesn't happen, just that I've never heard of it.

            • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

              by PCM2 (4486)

              Note that this is not meant to imply that the Republicans don't take bribes. Though I don't recall a case where a Republican majority leader had to bribe his own guys to get them to vote for the Party's bill.

              Doesn't mean it doesn't happen, just that I've never heard of it.

              I'd say your hearing is selective, to say the least.

              These so-called bribes are in fact better described as pork. I haven't heard of anyone buying the senator from Nebraska a new BMW. Instead, Nebraska gets exempted form certain Medicaid costs. The senator from Vermont isn't getting breast implants for his mistress, he's getting $10 billion in federal funds to build health clinics. (Cue the Republicans: "They're buying him off with money for abortions!!!!11") Montana, Utah, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wy

    • ... it's that any point of failure completely invalidates other successes.

      Be sure to tell your boss or clients, your SO, and your friends.

    • by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @05:16PM (#30872578)

      Obama made the promise, Congress is failing to uphold it. I don't see a problem here.

      What I do see a problem with is that I contacted my Congressguy McConnell to let him know that my Crohn's disease leaves me deciding to live a relatively normal life with huge debt, or a debilitating painful existence, and his discussions will affect my own personal future far more than it will affect his personal career, and I would appreciate being able to follow it.

      I got no response, from my rep, on the most important issue of the decade (to most Americans anyway - as bad as numbers seem, the financial meltdown, terrorism, and 9/11 combined don't impact a small percentage of those potentially affected by health care).

      • by pclminion (145572)

        Obama made the promise, Congress is failing to uphold it. I don't see a problem here.

        The problem is promising something that anyone with a basic understanding of how American government works knows he will be unable to deliver. Had he promised to work as hard as possible WITH the Congress to pass health care reform, that would have been one thing. Promising that it WILL happen is like promising that I'll be giving you my boss's salary. My boss has other plans.

      • I got no response, from my rep, on the most important issue of the decade

        And yet, I presume those are the people you want to put in charge of managing that issue? How is that better than the evil HMO? You're just a number to either one, if that.

      • by R2.0 (532027)

        "Obama made the promise, Congress is failing to uphold it. I don't see a problem here."

        While that is technically true, it's far too facile. Before one can claim that someone else is responsible for a broken promise, one must make at least SOME effort to fulfill it. Where Congress is concerned, he hasn't even tried.

        Publish text of bills pror to the vote? Sorry, it's too "urgent".

        Veto bills with earmarks? Sorry, "last year's business".

        Televise negotiations? Sorry, too "sensitive".

        Obama has let the Congre

      • by alexo (9335)

        Obama made the promise, Congress is failing to uphold it. I don't see a problem here.

        So, if I promise to reverse global warming, accept your donations (or votes or whatever) and rise to power, then mother nature / the environment / the industrialized world fails to uphold, it will be alright with you?

  • I checked several data sets. All appear to be already available. For example:

    Interactive Access To National Income and Product Accounts Tables

    ...

    Dataset Summary

    Agency: Department of Commerce

    Sub-Agency: Bureau of Economic Analysis

    Category: Income, Expenditures, Poverty, and Wealth

    Date Released: Continuously released since 1934

    ...

  • .... Seriously, what did they use, FrontPage 2007? The top part of the page is almost entirely images of text.

    That said, it works perfectly without JavaScript. They did something right.
  • But he's not a citizen! This site proves it definitely!

    http://bit.ly/2O6ut4 [bit.ly]

  • I see they've kept up with the latest in web design. When you go to search for geodata [data.gov], the search list is constrained to a tiny rectangle in the middle of the page. You have to scroll within that tiny rectangle. On my monitor, the page is about a foot tall, and I'm tediously scrolling in this inch-high box.

    I've learned to recognize state of the art web design when I see it. I bet it's even CSS compliant. They're not quite there yet. To be really great web design, it should be a Flash only site.

    (close

  • by cvd6262 (180823) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @04:57PM (#30872456)

    I've consulted with major research firms who use government data. Universally we find that the data haven't been verified and a little work shows massive inconsistencies therein. When recovery.org was showing jobs in zip codes that don't exist, etc., I wasn't surprise - it's par for the course.

    I'll reserve judgment, but making data available is one thing; collecting usable data is something entirely different.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There is also the matter of state and local government data. The feds are completely transparent by comparison. Even the things that are in the public record are difficult to obtain, expensive, poorly documented, and the data is a mess etc. The "cost of reproduction" is closer to what it would cost to be transcribed on parchment by monks than it is to the cost of making a CD/DVD or FTP. At the drop of a hat they will decide that something _isn't_ public record and then it goes from difficult to impossib

      • by OWJones (11633)

        Completely true.

        In 2005 the state of Virginia wanted me to fork over AT LEAST $3,000 (!) to get per-precinct turnout figures. Not per-precinct results; those were free at the State Board of Elections website. But if you wanted to know actually how many voters showed up at each precinct they said it would take 4-6 weeks and "reproduction costs" would be between $3,000 - $5,000 for them to send me a CD with the PDFs. They had per-county/city turnout results (also on the website). But apparently getting

        • by base3 (539820)
          I must be missing something here, but wouldn't the sum of the number of votes cast (available in the per-precinct results) give you the turnout?
          • There are usually multiple issues on the ballot, and you're not required to vote for everything, and it's possible that not every vote is counted. The log-book of people signing in is going to also be an independent count vs. the number of ballots, so probably he was interested in seeing if there was a discrepancy (uncounted votes/people choosing not to vote/etc).
      • by inKubus (199753)

        Yeah. The feds should lead a charge to get standards set up for the states. Not demand but facilitate. A good example would be education data. There's no offical schema for that. Yet we're talking about a one trillion a year expense for the governments (Federal, State, Local) (according to this [usgovernmentspending.com], anyway, which may not be correct).

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nemoest (69043)

      Because there is obviously a problem with making all these inaccurate data sets public as opposed to keeping them locked up.

      I think part of the point is with more transparency in Government it makes it easier for the public to be aware of and fix what is wrong.

  • I went to download 2005 Toxics Release Inventory data for the state of California [data.gov] and the only link was for a .csv. When I went to download it, up comes an .exe file. Why the binary executable?

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I went to download 2005 Toxics Release Inventory data for the state of California [data.gov] and the only link was for a .csv. When I went to download it, up comes an .exe file. Why the binary executable?

      The Government (a.k.a. Big Brother or THE ILLUMINATI) wants to infect your computer with uninvited wiretapping software, of course! And once the NWO buys control of Google, every time you visit a Google web site, your computer will send the collected data to Big Brother and the Vatican, so that they will know everything you do and can enforce their agenda for globalization upon you!!! DON'T BE FOOLED!!! ITS A TRAP!!!

      Or maybe they're just idiots? They probably spend more time playing WoW in their cubicle

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by c6gunner (950153)

      Chinese hackers.

    • A self extracting zip archive so you can extract these tiny documents. As long as you have windows.

I am a computer. I am dumber than any human and smarter than any administrator.

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