Links for October 19th

  • Frontline: The U.S. Immigration Detention Boom
    This map of the growth of immigrant detention facilities is a great—and alarming—illustration of the rise of these ever-larger, often private facilities.
  • Wikipedia: Northwest Angle
    Insufficient understanding of North American geography in the late 1700s resulted in the Treaty of Paris accidentally assigning a notch of land in Canada to the United States. These 600 square miles comprise the "Northwest Angle" in Minnesota, the northernmost point in the continental U.S. To get there, one must fly, drive through Canada, or take a boat across the Lake of the Woods. 152 people live there.
  • Search State and Federal Campaign Contribution Data
    All of your bulk downloads for government data in one place, courtesy of the Sunlight Foundation. There's even a 2.2GB download of all state and federal campaign contributions (ever?).

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

10 replies on “Links for October 19th”

  1. I watched Frontline last night and it reminded me of the saying “Right now, your government is doing things you think only other governments do.”

    Waldo, now that you are in your house with the higher elevation did you get a TV antenna and do away with Satellite TV?

  2. The Northwest Angle has always intrigued me. The photo of the border checkpoint is a particular favorite. Even though I was born not too far from the Angle, I’ve never been there. Someday!

  3. Waldo, now that you are in your house with the higher elevation did you get a TV antenna and do away with Satellite TV?

    We’ve still got a mountain between us and Carter’s Mountain, so I haven’t even tried. I just upgraded to an HDTV a few weeks ago, and I don’t pick up any channels on that. (That said, I’m not sure that those have built-in antennas, so maybe we should borrow an antenna?) I did ditch satellite, though—$60/month just wasn’t worth it, and I don’t think I can get a signal at the new house, since the mountain is too steep behind us, and blocks the signal. It’s all about streaming Netflix now! Which, really, I’m totally happy with. Recommended.

  4. Is your internet speed fast enough to handle HDTV? I’m literally within a stones throw of Carter’s mountain and I can only get some type of “extended reach” DSL. It is faster than dial up, but way slower than traditional DSL. So when I try to stream netflix on the HDTV, I get 10 mins of buffering for 5 mins of movie. Technology, can’t live with it, can’t live w/out it.

  5. I have a 3 Mbps DSL (though I’m thinking of taking it up to 5 or 10), and it does fine with 720p HDTV, which is the best that my Roku supports. Extended reach DSL is a bummer, HES—I’m not sure that there’s anything to do about that! Maybe you’d have better luck with a 3G WiFi station?

  6. Netflix movies in standard definition work fine, but HD video on a 3G modem is still not fast enough. I’ve only streamed one Netflix video in the 2 years I’ve had a 3G modem – The Parking Lot Movie.

    Waldo, have you used this site? If you have GPS coordinates the data should be reliable. You can use to find your coordinates. 50 to 100 feet of elevation make a big difference when it comes to reception.

    When you get your data look at the Pwr(dBm) column. From my experience, down to -60 dBm you might be able to use an indoor antenna, down to -100 dBm you will need an outdoor antenna.

  7. Thanks for the suggestion, but I’m just up the proverbial creek. The 3G isn’t that much faster for the extra bucks that I would spend, plus no company has unlimited data. Using Netflix would eat me alive with one of those. Eventually technology will catch up. From what I have heard from my DSL provider to effectively watch streaming in HD, you need in the 5 Mbps range or higher. I’m way under that.

  8. If you can sign up as a business, unlimited data via 3G is still available via nTelos. They do ask for your Tax ID number.

  9. D’oh. Right, of course 3G wouldn’t be any good for HDTV in any practical sense. I don’t know what I was thinking. :)

    Brian, I’d never heard of that site! It’s awfully clever. The site confirmed that I am totally out of luck. In theory, I could get three channels (two of which I have no interest in) with an antenna on my roof, but I’ve got a galvanized aluminum roof, and I’m not about to put a hole in it. :)

  10. From Wikipedia:
    A portion (70%)[1] of the Angle is held in trust by the Red Lake Indian Reservation (Ojibwa).

    70% is a large “portion”. And reading into the part about seceding from the U.S. to Canada and the tribe basically blocking it, if you’re a sovereign nation, what does it matter? I guess it would matter to what they could or couldn’t do in the U.S. versus Canada. That’s pretty interesting. I wish I understood it more. The cites in the Wiki aren’t very helpful.

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