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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.

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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Satisfy thirst and more at the Mid-Atlantic Brewsic Festival and Fire Truck Show

    When my wife married me many decades ago, she assumed I would outgrow my childhood fascination with fire engines. I haven’t; I won’t; and this weekend I will satisfy my inner child at the Mid-Atlantic Brewsic Festival and Fire Truck Show. I’m going Saturday for the fire trucks and the music.
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Captain a STEM crew this summer

Many good sailors believe sailing is an art. All great sailors know that sailing is about the science, math and engineering that go into designing, building and piloting a modern sailboat. That’s not news at the National Sailing Hall of Fame in Annapolis.
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See and feel what inspired Francis Scott Key

Every American knows the story of Francis Scott Key watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, then penning the Star Spangled Banner as dawn broke to reveal the Stars and Stripes still flying proudly over the fort. He watched the battle from a prime harbor seat: a British war ship on which he was detained.
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20 minutes to better boating

I take my boating safety seriously. For the past 20 years, I have signed up for Coast Guard Auxiliary safety inspection. My spring ritual assures I will be safe, legal and prepared should the Coast Guard or Natural Resources Police choose to stop me for a random on-water inspection.
    Every year I pass the formal inspection, but the inspector always makes multiple recommendations for improving my safety. This year I wanted to pass with no recommendations.
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Down-home cooking the way Mom used to make it

With your guidance, I’ve continued my search for the Best Breakfast on the Bay.
    Limited in time, money and calories, I tried the top three vote-getters. My winner: The Pennsylvania Dutch Market of Annapolis, also known as the Amish Market.
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3EYZ BBQ cooks up big money

Is Owings Mills a hometown team for us in Anne Arundel or Calvert ­County? With the 58 other competing teams from all over the Eastern United States, Owings Mills is the hometown favorite. That team, 3 EYZ BBQ took home the Grand Champion prize of $2,500 at the Parole Rotary Club’s Naptown barBAYq festival.
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Young artists needed to retell a grand old story

It’s a story every American knows. A citizen is held captive on an enemy warship attacking our homeland. The defenders are bombarded; everyone expects the defenses will be overwhelmed and the city overrun. But after a day and a night of battle, the shelling stops, dawn comes and the Stars and Stripes are still flying proudly over Fort McHenry. Baltimore is safe; Frances Scott Key pens a poem destined to become our national anthem.
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