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Seattle Science Fest “Open Science” panel coming soon

May 30th, 2013

The Seattle Science Festival running June 6 to June 16 will include a special panel discussion June 12 with Q&A, on your right to know what publicly-funded scientists are discovering, and how “open science” can be advanced. The free event is Tuesday June 12, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the West Seattle Branch of the Seattle Public Library, 2306 42nd Ave. SW, just north of Metropolitan Market. More below from panel host Michael Bradbury.

So much science is freely available online if you know where to look. There’s a treasure trove of open science available for journalists, bloggers and the public. Learn about open access journals and other online sources that don’t require subscriptions. Hear about how public data helps tell important regional health and science stories. Join us on June 12 as we listen to some of the stories that local science writers and science social media experts have covered and written in this general discussion of open science.

Sally James brings her years as a science and health writer to bear on open science. She will discuss how she uses social media to access open science papers. She will also talk about how citizen science projects and open science projects have become a staple and how they fit into science writer’s toolbox. She recently started her own blog, SeattleScienceWriter and is former president of the Northwest Science Writers Association. Recently she appeared on KUOW-FM’s Weekday, talking about current science news.

Matt Rosenberg will add to the panel discussion his perspectives covering the Open Science beat for his site Public Data Ferret, a project of the 501c3 he founded and directs, Public Eye Northwest. Matt will share lessons learned mining open access journals online for news of general interest, including that which ties directly into local, regional and state public policy issues.

Michael Bradbury will host the discussion. He is a journalist and the founder of REALscience, a Seattle-based online science news site. He is a longtime proponent of open science who believes that the public should have full access to all research that tax dollars make possible. He would also like to see a proliferation of citizen science projects that engage and encourage the public to help scientists gather and analyze data, further breaking down the barriers between the public and the scientific community.

Please RSVP to as space is limited. The session is suitable for teens and adults.

MORE: Directions.

User guide for King County crime data viz #1

August 15th, 2012

How to use this data visualization.

Timeline Operation

  • The slider located below the map determines which year is reflected in the map and both charts. The number of King County cities increases over the years. It takes a moment for each new year to appear.
  • To set the year, either drag the slider or use the arrows at the side.
  • Map Operation

  • Zoom in/out: Hover cursor over the map; a control panel will appear in the upper left corner. Use the “plus” sign to zoom in and reduce overlap between the bubbles representing the cities, the “minus” sign to zoom out.
  • Move map view: Click and hold until cursor becomes a fist, then drag to desired location.
  • Supporting information

  • Hover cursor over any bubble to view additional information.
  • $2.2 million in U.S. tax refunds due Washington residents

    December 5th, 2011

    The Internal Revenue Service announced today that 2,087 Washington state taxpayers are due a total of $2.2 million in refunds for their 2010 federal taxes, which could not be delivered because of wrong mailing addresses. If you think you may be in that group, you can use the IRS tool, Where’s My Refund? to check, and update your contact information so you can receive a refund owed. A telephone version of the service is at 1-800-829-1954. Read the rest of this entry »

    Seattle-based EarthCorps teaches stewardship to the world

    September 1st, 2011

    Editor’s note: Public Data Ferret’s “mother blog” site Social Capital Review periodically profiles noteworthy nonprofits or community initiatives with ties to our base coverage area of Western Washington.

    By Scott Patton

    You already know that Washington’s extensive trail network serves tens of thousands of annual users. But you may not know that it’s also a training ground for 15,000 volunteers a year from all over the globe, who learn outdoor stewardship from the local non-profit EarthCorps, headquartered off Sand Point Way in Northeast Seattle next to Magnuson Park.

    On a recent summer weekend, EarthCorps member and crew leader A.J. Velon was helping move rocks that weigh hundreds of pounds to build a turnpike on the Snoqualmie Lake Trail. The Snoqualmie Lake camp used by the crew is an eight mile hike from a fairly remote trail head. The crew of six included participants from Kazakhstan, Peru, and Fiji. The work starts everyday at 7:30 am and goes until 5:00 pm and consists of tasks ranging from repairing campsites, to repairing trails and building drainage structures. This goes on for 11 days. Read the rest of this entry »

    Puyallup construction company wins $35 million defense contract

    July 25th, 2011

    The U.S. Department of Defense announced recently that Puyallup, Wash. company Absher Construction has won a $35,275,888 contract from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Honolulu, to build an enlisted personnel housing facility at the U.S. Army’s Schofield Barracks in Oahu, Hawaii. The barracks are a 102-year-old installation and home to the Army’s 25th Infantry Division. The company will construct two five-story buildings, each with 100 dwelling units. Absher will work in conjunction with Tetra Tech, of Seattle, the project architect. Absher’s Web site says the total project cost is $74 million. This is not the first U.S. defense contract for Absher. The company has won several separate contracts of more than $40 million apiece to build barracks at Fort Lewis in Pierce County, Wash. and is currently working on a $71 million Bachelors Enlisted Quarters and Parking Facility at Naval Station Kitsap in Bremerton, Wash.

    The Department of Defense’s military contract announcements database reveals more. Read the rest of this entry »

    From skunk cabbage to salmon, learning about traditional tribal foods connects youth to a healthy forest

    June 23rd, 2011

    This guest article is authored by Kelly Sprute, Public Affairs Specialist, USDA – Forest Service, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Everett, Wash. office

    Eating skunk cabbage leaf salmon or stinging nettle soup doesn’t sound like an entrée at a local restaurant, but Pacific Northwest Native Americans have eaten these foods for centuries.

    “I liked the stinging nettle soup but the aftertaste numbed my tongue,” said Samantha James, Ferndale High student and Lummi member. “It felt like my tongue was asleep. I tried to talk but no one understood me,” she said. Samantha learned about nettles and other traditional native foods at the Northwest Indian College in Bellingham, Wash. She enjoyed the salmon wrapped in skunk cabbage, it was juicy and tender, but the leaf stunk.

    Samantha James comes across stinging nettles plant while using loppers to clear brush away from Boyd Creek Interpretive Trail/U.S. Forest Service

    Samantha’s interest in native foods and heritage led her to participate in the college’s Saturday Science Academy. High school students meet with college students every second Saturday of the month to learn about a science, from physics to astronomy. This month the academy took a trip to Boyd Creek Interpretive Trail on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest to help open the ADA accessible trail.

    Here Samantha and the students did trail maintenance: hacking away encroaching shrubs, brushing off winter debris from the boardwalk and cleaning moss-covered signs; but what they took away was more than sore muscles and blisters. They learned about a healthy forest ecosystem and made another connection to their tribal heritage and the land. Read the rest of this entry »

    Summer internships available at Public Data Ferret

    June 15th, 2011

    The online news and knowledge base site Public Data Ferret is offering three 2011 summer internship suitable for college undergraduate or graduate students who reside in Washington state and are majoring in any of the following subjects: digital media, journalism, political science, public affairs, or communications. If online government transparency is important to you, and you’d like to further develop your online portfolio of news work, using the written word, video or graphics, we’d welcome your letter (e-mail) of interest and work samples.

    The internships are: news-writing; video storytelling; and data visualization. Read the rest of this entry »

    “Open Government Key For Us All”

    March 21st, 2011

    “Matt Rosenberg, a creator of Public Eye Northwest, a nonprofit formed last year to boost digital literacy, build community news and promote best practices in government transparency, spoke about his organization and its website, Public Data Ferret….Citizens need to dig up more in the public realm because newspapers aren’t able to cover as much as they once did, he said, referring to the economic challenges confronting the news media. ‘The community has to step up and take more of a role,’ Rosenberg said.”