Tag Archive: technology

#SciencePolicyFriday: New Jersey Science Policy Roundup

SciPoliFri_Box.gifThis week’s column is a collection of interesting articles from across various science and technology policy spectrums, from state-wide energy system changes to environmental sustainability designs and more! Stay informed and let us know what topics you’d like us to cover in our next few columns.  Perhaps you’d like to hear about autonomous vehicles, bio pharmaceuticals, climate change adaptation along the Jersey Shore? Let us know and have a great weekend! 

Thanks to my science and environment intern Arcadia Lee for research and drafting this article. Thank you to NJ Spotlight and NJ.com for their continued coverage of these important issues to the state of New Jersey. Cross-posted at www.DanBenson.com

NJ Energy Policy

Critics of Energy Master Plan Make Opinions Heard at Public Hearing – NJ Spotlight

The NJ Board of Public Utilities hosts the first of three public hearings on the Energy Master Plan

Bill Could Mean More Money to Small Businesses, Residents with Solar Panels – NJ Spotlight

“Christie signs law that increases cap on net metering, letting New Jersey residents earn more for electricity their solar panels produce.”

Power-Grid Operator PJM Hands Off High-Speed Transmission Project – NJ Spotlight

PJM moves to strengthen the reliability of southern NJ’s energy system with a project assigned to PSE&G, Pepco Holdings, Inc. and LS Power.

Power-Grid Operator Pledges to Work Closely With Natural-Gas Sector – NJ Spotlight

“PJM agreement seeks to ensure reliability as coal-fired plants are phased out and more gas-fired units are built.”

More on Tech Policy and Environmental Policy below.

TONIGHT on HBO: High-tech police surveillance in Camden – it’s watching you

High-up observation posts with cameras. Thermal-imaging equipment. Police watching you, maybe even when you think you’re alone in your own home. These are the new police techniques of the new Camden County Police. HBO’s Vice, the news documentary series produced by Bill Maher, looks at the new realities of living in Camden, New Jersey.

Here’s a preview. The show’s on HBO tonight 11pm:

Open Government isn’t just a talking point

Alex is the 24-year-old mayor (they call it Village President) of South Orange, one of the youngest mayors in the country. Last month, he was a presenter at PDF12, the Personal Democracy Forum, on the internet’s new political power. You can see that here. – promoted by Rosi


Everyone supports 'Open Government.' And it seems, these days, that most elected officials enjoy talking about how they support open government and transparency. But how many of us are really doing everything we can to do so?

Here are a couple of easy ways we are helping to bridge the gap between citizen and government in South Orange that I hope can serve as perhaps a starting point for others looking to do the same – as well as for citizens who want to push their local officials to embrace the benefits of new technology.

But before I get started, it's important to note that these ideas (and plenty more) for the most part save taxpayer money and make government more transparent at the same time. Using the right technological platforms, you don't need to sacrifice lots of money to be more transparent, and no longer do governments have to sacrifice transparency to save money.

Open Budget data. In South Orange this year, for the first time (and one of the only municipalities to even do so), we released our $32m municipal budget in a downloadable, editable Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, which allows the data to not only be understood and manipulated by anyone, but, being in a standard format, can be tied into other software or applications. We kept the formulas embedded in the spreadsheet so people could manipulate the numbers and see the impact on the total budget as well as each household. I joked at our 2012 State Of The Village that it allows someone to play Village administrator for a day, and it's really true.


Dueling Visions for Science

promoted by Rosi

I wrote this for Science; and it was published a few days ago. I thought my friends in the Blue Jersey community might be interested in this issue too.

– Rush Holt

A clash is under way in Washington, DC, between two starkly different visions for the U.S. government’s role in research and development (R&D). The outcome of this debate will shape the nation’s scientific landscape for years to come.

The first vision is a grim and pessimistic "No, we can’t" view. Its proponents insist that the federal government can play no substantive role in advancing science or technology. The argument is that the government has been ineffective, that "investment" is a code word for wasteful spending, and that the only way forward is for the government to lower its sights, stop making new investments, and scale back spending. This view is encapsulated in the recently enacted Budget Control Act of 2011, which demands $2.4 trillion in federal spending cuts. Considering that, as a share of the U.S. economy, the government’s support for R&D has fallen by nearly two-thirds since the 1960s, I have little doubt that R&D will bear more than its share of these latest cuts.

Google and Youtube launch “2010 Campaign toolkit”

I love this idea as Google announced yesterday the launch of a 2010 Campaign Toolkit and an upgraded Google Campaign Toolkit

The toolkits aim to provide political candidates with the resources to successfully use both YouTube and other Google products to engage constituents and citizens. On YouTube, campaigns will have access to features like a Politician channel (which allows campaigns to brand their channel and upload longer videos), Google Moderator, and analytics tool YouTube Insight. The toolkit also includes paid advertising campaigns, such as in-stream ads and Promoted Video. The Google toolkit shows how products in the Google Apps family like Docs and Gmail, can keep staff and volunteers connected.

They’re calling it You Choose 2010 and have both free and paid services. Here’s what google has to say about it:

We hope campaigns in both national and local contests will use these toolkits to engage and inform voters on important issues in 2010. As access to information online is increasingly important in elections, we’re pleased to continue developing useful tools for voters and candidates.

Hopefully campaigns and candidates will take advantage of these tools. Video can convey a powerful message that print sometimes is unable to. The really smart campaigns will pick up a small video camera or find a volunteer to really take advantage of the tools Google is putting at their fingertips.

Sires tweets census assistance

The Hill picks up that Congressman Albio Sires is using twitter to answer questions and deal with problems his constituents are having with the census:

Jeff Caldwell tweeted at the lawmaker Monday:

@Rep_Albio_Sires We haven’t received any forms at 351 8th Street in Hoboken!

Sires responded:

Call Census at 866-872-6868 or my D.C. office for assistance! RT @jeffreycaldwell: We haven’t received any forms!

Kudos to the Congressman. I always like when members of Congress are responsive to their constituents and certainly am a fan of using technology to engage. Just another way to make sure you provide constituent service. Take the survey below the fold and tell us if you would use twitter to follow and contact your member of Congress.

GOP members of Congress are using twitter much more, but are they using it well?

One thing I enjoy reading and writing about is how government and candidates for office are using technology. A story in the NY Times says that Republicans in the House are kicking some serious Democrat donkey butt:

It may have been sort of a counterintuitive thought at one time, but it’s become pretty well-established that Republicans on Capitol Hill have embraced Twitter more than Democrats.

But just how much congressional Republicans are out-Tweeting the Democrats may be a bit of a surprise. According to a new study from the public relations firm Fleishman-Hillard, House Republicans have pecked away on Twitter more than five times more frequently than their Democratic counterparts – sending out 29,162 tweets all told through Jan. 3, compared to 5,503 for Democrats.

In New Jersey, @Rep_Albio_Sires and @FrankPallone are our lone members on twitter in the House.  @SenatorMenendez uses twitter from our Senate delegation, but the GOP clearly has more members utilizing the medium to communicate:

The study also found that about two-thirds of Congress’ 132 active Tweeters are Republicans.

But what type of communicating they are doing offers the caveat to these numbers:

Many congressional Twitter users don’t follow others or reTweet items, Mr. Senak said in an interview. “It can be more like one-way communication, which is not really what Twitter was designed for,” he said. Mr. Senak, who writes a blog about the F.D.A., said curiosity about how lawmakers were discussing health care was a major reason he started the Twitter study.

If they’re not utilizing the medium to create a dialogue, they’re not getting the complete potential. See Cory Booker for an example of how you can harness the power of social media. But on top of that, it’s troubling that our leaders aren’t embracing new opportunities to interact with their consituents. I know it’s hard to convey public policy in 140 characters, but if you use more words no one listens, are you better off passing up the opportunity at a captive audience? If you are on twitter, even though your member of Congress may not be, you can find and follow us @BlueJersey

Poking Lobo

From the Gloucester County Times:

In your face. Seeking to establish an ongoing dialogue with tech-savvy constituents, U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo now has a Facebook page.

LoBiondo has asked all South Jersey residents to add him as a “friend” on the social-networking Web site.

The goal, he said, is to update these people as to important issues.

“As different technologies and methods evolve, it is pertinent that I examine and employ what would work effectively and efficiently to be as accessible as possible in as many ways as possible,” said LoBiondo, R-2nd Dist., of Ventnor.

Be sure to “poke” him next time you’re on Facebook.

So will you be rushing to friend Frank?

NJ GOP all a Twitter

Give them credit.  The New Jersey Republicans are trying to hop on the tech bandwagon:

  • Chris Christie can be found @christiefornj and last night he was at PNC for the Rudy event.
  • Tom Wilson is following me on twitter @goptom and he was so happy that Ch. Steele picked CAGOP Chair Ron Nehring to lead Sate Chairman’s group. Ron’s a conservative and an idea’s guy. Great pick. (I’d be concerned about Chairman Steele myself.)
  • Some of the tweets from Steve Lonegan @Lonegan are pretty good.  He uses the medium to help his campaign organize and spread their message.  
  • GOP Strategist Rick Shaftan @Shaftan isn’t happy with the party and thinks the GOP “Tax Cut” proposal is pathetic and a sign that the GOP has adopted the “permanent minority” mindset of the Bob Michel years.

    Michael Illions of Conservatives with Attitude can be found @illions and he was spreading word of the Call for Michael Steele’s resignation from NC Natl Committewwoman, Dr. Ada Fisher. Man did I call this one on this guy!

  • Assemblyman Kevin O’toole may want to attend the “bi-partisan” committee meetings this week, because @senatenj the NJ Senate Republicans have his release saying Corzine Needs Oversight When Spending Stimulus Money.
  • The NJGOP @njgop is obsessed with Jon Corzine. Every tweet talks about him, but then again they haven’t had anything since Jan 21.
  • It’s great, because you get a real time reaction from the opposition. You can follow Blue Jersey on twitter @bluejersey.  I’ll have more on the NJ Democrats using twitter next time.  

    Engaging your supporters through technology

    I’m a big fan of campaigns embracing new technologies to help perform traditional campaign functions. In today’s campaign world, it’s about more than just putting up a website.   A contest for an ad is nothing new, but getting notified of a blogad contest by email through the Adler campaign’s facebook group is certainly a concept that can be successfully replicated…

    Do you ever see ads on websites, and think that you would do a better job at designing them? If so, enter the contest to design the first BlogAd for the Adler for Congress team!

    To me, this is a great idea.  As a campaign, you engage your supporters, support the netroots and encourage people to focus on how they can better elect the candidate to office without making the reader suffer through a press release to do it.  It doesn’t just have to be this idea with this platform. Campaigns can capitalize on other social networking platforms to reinforce the general campaign message in front of a different potential audience.  

    It’s important to note that while technology will not replace traditional campaign tactics such as door knocking and phone calls, it certainly can assist and enhance those efforts.  Technology can amplify the campaigns message across many mediums before numerous audiences.  It’s another tool at your disposal to help get the job done.

    In the recent diaries, you can see a video blog diary by candidate Tom Wyka utilizing the youtube platform so that people who are lazy like me and don’t want to read a complete message all of the time can click play to watch a video of him giving a clear explanation of money in politics.

    The Stender for Congress campaign has a facebook group.

    The Andrews for senate campaign has capitalized on the skills of Jay Lassiter and a handy dandy youtube account to incorporate videoblogging giving us a behind the scenes look at a campaign for Senate along with having a facebook group.  I’ve gotten emails about their latest videos and last week I got a message through the facebook group inviting supporters to the filming of a TV commercial.  The Lautenberg re-election campaign also utilizes a facebook page allowing people to join and show their support.

    The Shulman and Abate campaigns in NJ-5 are utilizing their You Tube accounts to post ads.  Shulman went on the air with his 1st TV ad which is also loaded on their Youtube page and the Abate campaign was able to post an ad from their Youtube page in the same thread.

    Many candidates have attempted to engage the netroots through posts here on BlueJersey and other national blogs.  We thank them for that and encourage them to come back frequently to continue the conversation.  BlueJersey is also engaging people with technology, so feel free to follow us on Twittter and join our myspace or facebook groups.

    I hope more campaigns will follow the lead of these candidates and Blue Jersey by continuing to engage technology as a tool to help enhance the great work they are already doing.