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Articles by Bob Melamud

Sign on for the DataBay Reclaim the Bay Innovation Challenge

     It’s the irony of our modern technological society. For most of history, we have craved more facts, more data. We had no problem putting these data to good use as fast as we gathered them.
     In the last couple of decades, that situation has reversed. We now have much more data than we can possibly use. This holds true for the Bay, where data ranges from water samples collected by citizens to reports from orbiting satellites. Just one example: We have water quality data for the entire Chesapeake. You can go online and find maps showing the daily water temperature and clarity.
    The challenge is figuring out how to use all this data for positive change.
    Can more brains help?
    Bring motivated people with the right set of skills and experience together for a weekend of intense collaboration to develop innovative ideas. That’s the plan behind the DataBay Reclaim the Bay Innovation Challenge.
    “We want to get environmental scientists collaborating with information technology people to foster new ideas,” explains Mike Powell, chief innovation officer for Gov. Martin O’Malley. “Most people are one or the other. This is an opportunity to get the best from both.”
    Similar plans have worked in other places on other problems. An event last year led to the creation of Baltimore Decoded, which provides citizens with user-friendly web access to all Baltimore city laws.
    The Reclaim the Bay Innovation Challenge runs from Friday, August 1 through Sunday, August 3 at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater. So far, some 50 IT pros and environmental scientists have signed on. There’s room for 50 more, including you.
    Bring a team or join one at the event. Together, you’ll generate ideas for using available data to restore the Bay and involve more people in that important work.
    On Sunday evening, teams will present their findings. Top-rated ideas win cash prizes and will be presented to O’Malley and a panel of entrepreneurs, investors and environmental scientists.
    Is this challenge for you? Learn more at: http://databay.splashthat.com.
    Curious about what types of Bay data are available? Answers at http://databay-data.splashthat.com.

Whole Foods French wine & cheese tasting raises palates to new levels

Sometimes procrastination is good, but not that often. It was not good when I realized the Anne Arundel Community College cooking class I was planning to take had passed me by. I’d had a good experience at last year’s class, and I was looking forward to Dumplings from Around the World, which would make me a master of pot stickers, ravioli, pierogi, tamales and several other dumpling delights.
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Al ­DeCesaris is running down the East Coast for Sturge-Weber syndrome

Millions of people dump ice water on their heads to raise money for ALS. Hundreds of thousands walk for breast cancer. Can one lone person hope to make a difference? Especially fighting a plight out of the limelight?
    Annapolis lawyer and St. Mary’s High School graduate Al DeCesaris knows he can.
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U.S. Powerboat Show back to its former glory

The United States Powerboat Show is back. Not that it went anywhere or skipped a year. It’s been an October happening at the Annapolis City waterfront for the last 42 years. For year 43, it returns with its former size and glory.
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Wooden boats require constant maintenance, and for the Mary Lois, it’s a family affair

Even a landlubber could tell this boat was different. Sitting on the hard at Herrington Harbour North this spring, it turned heads. It was old, it was wood — and something more. The lineage that defined that something more would stump even a sailing expert.
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Annapolis Maritime Museum fits big stuff in little package

Like the Little Engine that Could, the Annapolis Maritime Museum has to do everything its bigger counterparts do, just in a smaller package.
    Measured by how many people it touches each year, the little museum grows in stature, with 10,000 tourists visiting in a year plus 5,000 locals stopping by for visits and events and 3,000 students coming for education programs.
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Meet the other Bernie Fowler

Five years ago, you knew Bernie Fowler Jr. as the son of a famous father and, maybe, a Southern Maryland building contractor. Today, the Patuxent River champion’s son is recognized as the leader of Farming 4 Hunger. His inspiration, innovation and success have fought hunger with over two million pounds of fresh food for two years. This year, Farming 4 Hunger is well on its way to topping a million pounds of fresh vegetables — primarily corn, potatoes and green beans.
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Local artist Greg Harlin puts his stamp on the Battle of Baltimore

When we imagine the Battle of Baltimore, the bombardment of Fort McHenry and the penning of the Star Spangled Banner, we almost always see through the eyes of Francis Scott Key, miles away on the deck of a British warship. Annapolis artist Greg Harlin wanted to show another view.
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By paying Flush Tax, we’re all helping

Conowingo eels might just be one of the most important species in our waters

The only eel I have seen in the last 20 years was on sushi.
    That changed in a big way as I gazed at a tank teeming with the wriggling creatures.
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