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Submission + - Canadian bureacracy can't answer simple question: What's this study with NASA? (

Saint Aardvark writes: "It seemed like a pretty simple question about a pretty cool topic: an Ottawa newspaper wanted to ask Canada's National Research Council about a joint study with NASA on tracking falling snow in Canada. Conventional radar can see where it's falling, but not the amount — so NASA, in collaboration with the NRC, Environment Canada and a few universities, arranged flights through falling snow to analyse readings with different instruments. But when they contacted the NRC to get the Canadian angle, "it took a small army of staffers— 11 of them by our count — to decide how to answer, and dozens of emails back and forth to circulate the Citizen’s request, discuss its motivation, develop their response, and “massage” its text." No interview was given: "I am not convinced we need an interview. A few lines are fine. Please let me see them first," says one civil servant in the NRC emails obtained by the newspaper under the Access to Information act. By the time the NRC finally sorted out a boring, technical response, the newspaper had already called up a NASA scientist and got all the info they asked for; it took about 15 minutes."

Submission + - launches (

Saint Aardvark writes: "Via Michael Geist comes the news that has launched. It offers a searchable interface to 16 years of Canada's official record of parliamentary debate and votes, information on bills before Parliament, the ability to be alerted when your member of Parliament speaks, and much more. OpenParliament is a grass-roots effort, not a government initiative. This is all the more remarkable considering that, while the Hansard has been online since '94, it has to be parsed using a "wobbly tower of rules". Natch, it's Free Software."

SCCS, the source motel! Programs check in and never check out! -- Ken Thompson