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Posts tagged: NASA

Global Event Hatches Backyard Poultry Software

A screen shot from the winning app.

A screen shot from the winning app.

Coming one day to a smartphone or tablet computer near you: An application that helps backyard poultry farmers protect their birds from disease. It might even help make them profitable, if you want.

That’s the plan after a team of Animal Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS) officials announced the winner of NASA’s 2013 International Space Apps Challenge. Billed as “the largest hackathon ever” to solving a range of problems in space – and here on Earth – the April event drew more than 9,000 people in 83 cities across 44 countries and all seven continents. Read more »

Native American Heritage Month Observance at USDA

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center employee Bahe Rock gives the blessing at USDA's Native American Heritage Month Observance in the Jefferson Auditorium at the USDA South Building in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center employee Bahe Rock gives the blessing at USDA's Native American Heritage Month Observance in the Jefferson Auditorium at the USDA South Building in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012.

I was honored last week to participate in the annual Native American Heritage Month observance at USDA’s Jefferson Auditorium.  A near-capacity crowd watched as the Vietnam Era Veterans Intertribal Association presented the colors. That gesture was especially fitting, given this year’s theme of “Serving with Honor, Pride and Devotion: Country, Land and People.”

Following the blessing, given by Bahe Rock of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources Arthur “Butch” Blazer, a member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, read a letter of support on behalf of Secretary Vilsack and noted that “When President Obama issued a proclamation designating November as Native American Heritage Month, it made me proud to be an American and a Native American.”  He spoke of the continuing efforts of the Secretary to promote diversity in hiring at USDA. Read more »

U.S. Forest Service Scientist Joins NASA Project for Mars Exploration

Photo of Mars courtesy NASA

Photo of Mars courtesy NASA

Accurately measuring atmospheric gas swirls as they interact with the atmosphere and the ground is a complicated process on this planet — let alone Mars. But this is exactly what U.S. Forest Service scientist Bill Massman will be doing for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program. Read more »

US Forest Service and NASA Team up on Climate Change Early Warning System for Forests

ForWarn maps normal forest conditions as blue and change from normal as shades that range from green to red. This map shows that the greater part of Texas and Oklahoma were experiencing severe forest stress in late September of 2011 from the effects of drought and wildfire.

ForWarn maps normal forest conditions as blue and change from normal as shades that range from green to red. This map shows that the greater part of Texas and Oklahoma were experiencing severe forest stress in late September of 2011 from the effects of drought and wildfire.

The Forest Service recently unveiled a product that helps natural resource managers rapidly detect, identify and respond to unexpected changes in the nation’s forests by using web-based tools.

The satellite-based monitoring and assessment tool aptly called ForWarn, recognizes and tracks potential forest disturbances caused by insects, diseases, wildfires, extreme weather, or other natural or human-caused events believed by many scientists to be caused in part by climate change. Read more »

A Blueprint for Savings at the Agricultural Research Service

On January 9, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack put forth USDA’s “Blueprint for Stronger Service” which focuses on streamlining operations and cutting costs throughout the Department.

The “Blueprint for Stronger Service” calls for USDA to close 259 domestic offices, facilities and laboratories, as well as taking business-related actions such as consolidating cell phone plans across the Department, standardizing civil rights training and purchase of cybersecurity products, and centralizing activities related to civil rights, human resources, procurement and property management. Read more »

At COP-17 in Durban, Agriculture is Playing a Starring Role

Ashley Allen, from USAID, moderated the USDA sponsored agriculture events.

Ashley Allen, from USAID, moderated the USDA sponsored agriculture events.

Each year, high level government officials from the world’s nations gather together under the banner of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to confront the growing challenge of climate change.   This year, the conference COP-17, so named because it is the 17th such conference to take place since the UNFCCC entered into force, is taking place in Durban, South Africa. Read more »