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After a rough January, the Thrift Investment Plan's funds were back in the black for February. In fact, all the retirement funds were up by more than .5%. We get a look at your retirement numbers with the TSP Board’s Kim Weaver.
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But up front: The government is pondering the Internet of Things
I have been spending a chunk of time finding the right guests for GovLoop’s DorobekINSIDER LIVE on March 19 during which we will be talking about the Internet of Things. And it has been fun because I’ve been learning a whole bunch.
If you don’t know, the Internet of Things -- IoT, as it is referred to sometimes (but not by me, I will note) -- is the concept that “things” will be interconnected giving us knowledge, power, information -- and making our lives better.
For example, in San Francisco, the “thing” that is connected are parking places. There is an application where drivers can find open parking places. Pretty cool. The city has sensors that can detect, in real time, which parking places are occupied and which are available. But even better, the data is used to adjust parking prices based on demand, essentially creating smarter pricing policies.
As part of my research, I also discovered a NIST project -- the SmartAmerica Challenge, which is being run by two presidential innovation fellows, Geoff Mulligan and Sokwoo Rhee. The SmartAmerica Challenge seeks to connect “devices and systems in diverse sectors like transportation, energy, manufacturing, and healthcare in fundamentally new ways.”
Our March 19 program is going to work to help define what the Internet of Things actually is -- an explainer, if you will. I’m then looking to get some early examples of what people are doing -- even early examples or even concepts. And then we are going to talk about the implications… what people need to be thinking about and planning for… what all of this means for government.
Pretty cool. I hope you’ll join us on March 19.
The SEVEN stories that impact your life
Defense One: Pentagon Leaders Struggle to Define Military’s Post-War Purpose - “What is shaping up is a vision of a post-war world in which persistent and spreading turmoil of all sizes and on all fronts is squarely the responsibility for the United States military, which by Hagel’s account will be prepared, willing and able to intervene at the commander-in-chief’s discretion.”
Politico: Canceled health plans get reprieve - “The Obama administration will allow some health plans that fall short of Obamacare coverage requirements to be offered for two more years, extending the coverage past the November elections and through President Barack Obama’s second term.”
IT World: Oregon withholds $25.6 million from Oracle over health exchange website woes: Oregon is holding back $25.6 million in payments from Oracle over work the vendor did on the state's troubled health care exchange website. Dubbed Cover Oregon, the Web site was built in connection with the Obama administration's health care policy overhaul. It was supposed to go live on Oct. 1 but its launch has been marred by a slew of bugs and it is not yet fully functional. This week, Cover Oregon said it had reached an agreement with Oracle laying out "an orderly transition of technology development services, and protects current and future Cover Oregon enrollees," according to a statement.
Federal Times: Water scarcity a growing issue for installations - “Maureen Sullivan, director of environment, safety and occupational health in the Defense Department, said the increasing scarcity of water supplies is a rapidly growing issue within DoD, one that was barely a ripple a few years ago.”
NextGov: NASA Is Budgeting for ‘Star Wars’ Engines - “The agency's fiscal 2015 budget, released Tuesday, includes $133 million for the early stages of its mission to send astronauts to land on, capture, and redirect an asteroid. Included in its goals for the year? ‘Advancing solar electric propulsion and capture systems.’”
The Washington Post: State Department employees union demands documents on embattled ambassador nominees - “The State Department employees union is demanding that the department turn over key documents on three embattled ambassadorial nominees — and all pending Obama administration nominees, both career Foreign Service and non-career folks — by Thursday evening or face a prompt lawsuit for the materials.”
GovExe: Fed Groups Offer Tepid Praise for Obama’s Budget - “Federal employee groups largely supported President Obama’s fiscal 2015 budget recommendation, though they once again criticized his proposed 1 percent pay raise to all civilian workers.”
DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder... yes, we’re trying to help you make your water-cooler time better too...
The New York Times: Big Data Picks Up the Pace: Announcements from SAP AG, GoodData Corp., Splunk Inc. and Tableau Software Inc. show how fast things are moving in the business of analyzing large amounts of data for companies, writes the NYT’s Quentin Hardy. “Big data and real-time processing are coming together,” said Amit Sinha, the director of database and technology marketing at SAP. “The rich business applications need to be delivered in a simple way.” He could have been speaking for all of the companies, since data inside companies is growing fast, big data capabilities are growing, and the product choices are increasing. That makes it hard to choose what to use, even as the urgency for action increases.
Related: The Wall Street Journal: Billy Beane Expects Big Things from MLB’s Big Data Play: Oakland A’s general manager, Billy Beane, is arguably the grandfather of Big Data, at least where baseball is concerned. As a pioneer in the use of analytics for advanced (arcane might be another word) statistics, he famously helped his small-market, low-budget team compete successfully against large market teams like the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers. Most clubs now employ his methodology, so he has had to discover yet more obscure data points and develop new algorithms to maintain his edge. “The idea that you can create a template that will work forever doesn’t happen in any business,” Mr. Beane told CIO Journal during a phone interview. “There’s some really, really bright people in this business. You can’t do the same thing the same way and be successful for a long period of time.” Major League Baseball is testing new technology combining clusters of cameras in ballparks with algorithms to provide teams, agents and fans with new ways of evaluating players. When a batter makes contact, the technologies gauge batted-ball speed, launch angle, distance and hang time, as well as the reaction of each fielder’s first-step, speed, acceleration and route to the ball, and each base runner’s speed and route. “Baseball is a game of inches, but we’re now in a situation where we’ll be able to tell you exactly how many inches,” said Joe Inzerillo, CTO of Major League Baseball’s tech company, Major League Baseball Advanced Media L.P. While every team will have access to the same data, “ultimately what you do with it is proprietary,” Mr. Beane said.
McKinsey Quarterly: The benefits—and limits—of decision models: Big data and models help overcome biases that cloud judgment, but many executive decisions also require bold action inspired by self-confidence. A guide to take charge in a clear-headed way.