Month: August 2011

A cheap and effective way to do community outreach is to piggyback or partner with existing events. NASA did this in a subtle and effective way earlier this month at an annual event for LEGO enthusiasts. “BrickFair” drew over 17 thousand people in a August weekend to a conference center near Dulles airport. (more…)

As Tropical Storm Irene was passing up the East Coast, and tens of millions of Americans successfully prepared for the storm, FoxNews ran an op-ed piece, featured on their home page on 27-August, from the  Competitive Enterprise Institute. The CEI’s mission is “limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty.” Original is here. Aside from misleading criticisms, this essay overlooks that all private weather services use NWS data. Data from satellites and buoys, which requires massive supercomputers to process, and sophisticated expertise to analyze. (more…)

Wikipedia, the free, online encyclopedia that “anyone can edit,” is a useful way to deliver scientific and cultural knowledge to the public. Wikipedia is the 5th most visited web site, with 400450 million unique visitors per month.

It’s not “merely a larger audience, but a different audience,” says Sara Snyder, webmaster for the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art, who has recently started to use Wikipedia more. She says, “Our main website is geared towards an academic-minded or university-level student, researcher, curator, or professional art historian. Yet we have information and collections that may inform or appeal to a broader set of folks, such as younger students and art enthusiasts.  Wikipedia is a platform for trying to start serving those researchers too, without overhauling the current way we do business or our existing website.” (more…)