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AAS Electronic Notification Service - Announcement #64

AAS Electronic Notification Service - Announcement #64 02/99

[Mailed from aas.org at 3:05pm 9 FEB 99]

CONTENTS

  1. DATA SHARING SCARE
  2. DECADAL SURVEY HEA FROM SPACE PANEL REQUESTS COMMENTS
  3. RESULTS OF THE ELECTRONIC PETITION ON MT. HOPKINS
  4. AAS ELECTION BALLOTS DUE 13 FEB 1999
  5. ABSTRACTS FOR HEAD CHARLESTON MEETING DUE 10 FEB 1999
  6. REMINDER OF MINORITY SURVEY OF U.S. RESIDENT MEMBERS
  7. PRACTICE VIRUS PROTECTION
  8. KEYS AND GLASSES FOUND AT AUSTIN MEETING

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1. DATA SHARING SCARE

Buried in the Omnibus Budget bill passed last year was a requirement that the Office of Management and Budget rewrite Circular 110. Summarized, the change implies that after publication of research findings that are used by the Federal government in developing policy or rules, the research results and underlying data would be available under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to the public. FOIA requests must be made to the agency, who must then obtain the data from the researcher and may take a reasonable time to do so. Note that FOIA allows certain types of data such as personnel and medical files and similar files, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, to be exempted from release. Further, costs incurred in gathering data obtained strictly through a FOIA request may be charged to the FOIA filer.

Since the responsibilities for gathering the data lie strictly with the funding agency and only those data used to formulate Federal policy may be requested under FOIA, it is unlikely that this revision would affect astronomers. However, this legislation opens the door to a number of issues that affect the scientific community in negative ways.

Representative George Brown (D-CA) has put forward legislation that would basically strike the "revision" legislation from the Omnibus bill. This new bill, H.R. 88, is under consideration by Congress and individuals may send comments to their legislators if they wish.

It is likely that Brown's H.R. 88 bill will pass and the whole issue will disappear.

Until then, please send comments to the OMB Policy Analyst and to your legislators supporting H.R. 88 and asking OMB to carefully consider proprietary, privacy and harassment issues.

See the AAS policy Web page for a complete discussion.
http://www.aas.org/policy/OMB.html

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2. DECADAL SURVEY HEA FROM SPACE PANEL REQUESTS COMMENTS
Respond before 15 March 1999
By Roger Blandford, Chair

The High Energy Astrophysics from Space Panel of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee is charged with formulating its recommendations for research priorities in high energy astrophysics for the next decade and solicits input from the community to assist
it in its deliberations. Representatives of the two high energy missions currently in the NASA OSS Strategic Plan, namely CONSTELLATION-X and GLAST, have already made extensive presentations to the panel.

At its next meeting, to be held in conjunction with the AAS Centennial Meeting in Chicago on June 4th and 5th, the panel will hear reports from the chairs of the Gamma-Ray Astronomy Working Group (Chair Neil Gehrels; http://universe.gsfc.nasa.gov/grapwg.html) and the X-Ray
Astronomy Working Group (Chair Steve Murray). If you know of specific scientific opportunities that you believe will NOT be covered by these other presentations, then please send one paragraph summarizing your views to hea@nas.edu BEFORE March 15th. This paragraph will be circulated to the members of the panel and, if appropriate, you will be invited to make more extensive written and oral representations to the panel. (Please note that the Panel will NOT be reviewing or commenting upon individual Explorer-Class mission proposals, although the panel is interested in the science that they might address.)

Further information on the panel and access to its electronic forum can be obtained from the NAS website (www.nas.edu/bpa/projects/astrosurvey/hea/) and the AAS website (www.aas.org/decadal/), respectively.

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3. RESULTS OF THE ELECTRONIC PETITION ON MT. HOPKINS
By Mark Sykes

We won! I would like to thank the members of the DPS and AAS and other supporters who signed the electronic petition protesting development at the base of Mt. Hopkins.

More details will be published in the March AAS Newsletter.

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4. AAS ELECTION BALLOTS DUE 13 FEBRUARY 1999

Election ballots were mailed to all members in the December 1998 AAS Newsletter. Return your ballot to the Office of the Secretary by this Saturday, 13 February 1999.

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5. ABSTRACTS FOR HIGH ENERGY ASTROPHYSICS DIVISION CHARLESTON MEETING DUE 10 FEB 1999

Meeting information is available at:
http://www.eurekasci.com/

Abstract forms are available at:
http://www.aas.org/~abstract/abstracts.html

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6. REMINDER OF MINORITY SURVEY OF U.S. RESIDENT MEMBERS

The Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy is gathering data on minority Astronomers. If you are a U.S. resident you may complete the survey at: http://www.aas.org/forms/survey.html

Participation is voluntary and confidential.
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7. PRACTICE VIRUS PROTECTION

More and more members of the AAS and the general population have begun to use client based software packages when sending email. This allows you to attach documents instead of merely writing in ASCII text.

As a result, it is more common for there to be email that might include an attachment containing a computer virus. We would like to encourage all of our members to install and update virus protection software on their personal computers. The features that you should look for include:

*CD-ROM installation which avoids the virus attaching to an installation diskette;
*Built-in protection against malicious forms of ActiveX Code, Java applets, and Trojan horses;
*Automated or easy updating of virus definition over the Internet;
*Automatic scanning of files downloaded from the Internet or through email attachments; and
*Background detection of ALL file types.

If everyone practices safe computing, we are all at a lesser risk of data destruction!

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8. LOST AND FOUND IN AUSTIN, TEXAS

We still have two items that were left behind at the Austin Meeting -- keys and glasses. Are you sitting across the room from your computer screen in order to read this message? Have you been entering your house through the window? Perhaps we can help. Contact Diana Alexander (diana@aas.org) to claim these items.

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An AAS Electronic Announcement is mailed to all members around the 10th of each month. Included are important items that do
not fit into the schedule of the AAS Newsletter.

Items for possible inclusion in this announcement series should be sent to johnson@aas.org. Keep announcement short and refer
readers to sources of additional information.

Address corrections should be sent to address@aas.org.

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