One of the cornerstones of democracy in our state has a name guaranteed to drop your eyelids to half-mast. The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act needs a new title. Desperately. It is the law that forces bureaucrats to show us what they're doing by making the vast majority of their records open to everyone. It also makes them protect the privacy of personal information that you hand over to the government, and it requires them to show you all the records they have collected about you.
Somewhere in my files, I have a handout from a long-ago planetarium program I went to as a kid. It's a form to fill out when you spot an unidentified flying object. I also have a 1956 book on my shelf titled, "They Knew Too Much about Flying Saucers," about how prominent UFO researchers were being silenced by mysterious men in black suits. I once attended a UFO convention in Connecticut, where visitors were greeted by a menacing plastic statue of a towering, gray-skinned extraterrestrial.
Dan Moulton has raised chinchillas, those cute little Andean furballs, in southern Minnesota for more than 50 years. Moulton is licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and sells the chinchillas as pets, breeding stock and research animals. He used to sell them for pelts, but no longer. The USDA license means he has regular visits from inspectors with the department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
Today’s Full Disclosure column is my last. In a few weeks I will move into a new position at @StarTribune editing the team that covers Minneapolis and St. Paul. Thank you for all your help exposing #secrecy over the years
Muck Rack makes it simple to find people, tweets, or articles that mention any name, keyword, company, hashtag etc. We've compiled this guide to help you make the most of your search.
Selecting a term
Start searching tweets, articles from media outlets, articles mentioned in tweets, journalists'
names, titles and bios with some suggested searches:
Companies or Topics (e.g. iPhone, Microsoft)
Phrases (e.g. "cloud computing") — use quotes to keep the terms together
Twitter handles (e.g. @username) — returns those who have mentioned or replied to
Names (e.g. "David Pogue")
Hashtags (e.g. #sxsw, #london2012)
Bio details (e.g. vegan, Olympics, father)
Muck Rack's Advanced Search allows for many boolean operators.
Find results that mention multiple specified terms, use AND or
+. For example, ensure each result contains both Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg by
searching Musk AND Zuckerberg or Musk + Zuckerberg.
Use the operators OR or , to broaden your search when you'd like either of
multiple terms to appear in results. (This is the default behavior of our search when no operators
are used). For example, results will contain either cake or cookie by searching cake OR cookie or cake,cookie
Use NOT or - to subtract results from your search. For
example, searching Disney will yield results about the Walt Disney Company as well as Walt Disney
World Resort. To exclude mentions of Disney World, search for Disney -World or Disney
When using one of these operators with a phrase, enclose it in quotation marks. For example, you can
find results about smartphones excluding Apple's iPhone 4S by searching smartphone -"iPhone
Exact case matching or punctuation
If you're searching for a brand name or keyword that relies on specific punctuation marks or capitalization, you can
find results that match your exact query by adding matchcase: before the keyword you're searching for, like matchcase:E*TRADE .
Use parentheses to separate multiple
boolean phrases. For example, to find journalists talking about having fun in Disney World or
Disneyland, search for ("disney world" OR disneyland) AND fun.
An asterisk can be used to search for any variation of a root word truncated by the asterisk. For example, searching for admin* will return results for administrator, administration, administer, administered, etc.
A near operator is an AND operator where you can control the distance between the words. You can vary the distance the near operation uses by adding a forward slash and number (between 0-99) such as strawberries NEAR/10 "whipped cream", which means the strawberries must exist within 10 words of "whipped cream".