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Hack for Humanity June 4-6 in DC

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Hackathons are pretty much a dime a dozen these days. I just moved back to DC from the Bay Area, and I always say that what differentiates this area from Silicon Valley is the consistency with which you meet people who have a clear and specific purpose, mission, issue area or raison d'etre.

Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) is a joint effort between some of the biggest names in the tech community (NASA, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and the World Bank to be precise). RHoK's mission is to, "mobilize a world-wide community of technologists to solve real-world problems through technology". On June 4-6, right here in DC, RHoK's first global hackathon will kick off with a reception at the State Department and continue with a weekend of programming apps and utilities related to disaster response.

If you're excited and want to get a head start, check out tomorrow's panel at the Web 2.0 expo, which will give some more background and context about the international initiative.

The hacker community that has emerged around disaster response perfectly captures that impression I described of DC: as a place for people with passion and purpose, and it's why RHoK is not Just Another Hackathon. So please join us-- sign up to Hack for Humanity, and show the rest of the world what the DC hacker community stands for!

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Government Data Sets – Managing Expectations

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US Open Government plans were released today. As part of this process, federal agencies are beginning to release data sets publicly in ways they never have before. Some substantial and thought-provoking blog posts over the last few weeks have discussed how government can do open data well.

There are significant cultural and social sticking points that have yet to be addressed in releasing data openly. A discussion with a colleague from NASA last week confirmed how far away most agencies are from the luxury of considering the innovative ideas for data set management available to them. Here's why:

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