Blog | Zach Everson

Muckrock notices what I’ve been working on recently

From Muckrock’s “FOIAing the Trump Administration: The difficult task of tracking how Trump is profiting from the presidency“:

An ongoing project by independent journalist Zach Everson shows how diligent effort can produce the granular information needed to make specific requests related to Trump’s profits. Everson combs social media for noteworthy visits to Trump International Hotel in DC and compiles them into a Twitter thread. So far, he has identified 86 instances of federal government employees visiting the hotel and filed FOIA requests to see if they used government funds.

Fodor’s 2017 Washington, D.C. guide book released yesterday; Where to Eat chapter updated by me

Fodor's Washington, D.C.: with Mount Vernon, Alexandria & AnnapolisNever mind Hillary’s memoir, yesterday’s top book release was Fodor’s 2017 Washington, D.C. guide book (you want to eat crap?). I updated its Where to Eat section. Buy it now at fine book stores or Amazon. Thanks!

For this project, I

  • determined 150 restaurants worthy of inclusion
  • wrote reviews for restaurants new to the guide
  • updated reviews of restaurants that’d been in the previous versions and verified their accuracy
  • determined the top 15 percent of restaurants worthy of the Fodor’s Choice honor
  • wrote and revised the introduction to the chapter and descriptions of each neighborhood

‘Condé Nast Traveler’ publishes my article on new Smithsonian National Museum of American History exhibits

Two thoughts from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s new series of exhibits, “The Nation We Build Together,” which I just wrote about for Condé Nast Traveler

  • The issues America’s grappling with now—women’s equality, voting rights, religions tolerance—are part of a long-term push towards liberty for all that’s achieved a lot.
  • 300 years later, I can’t believe we’re still dealing with this shit.

Anyway, read the article.

Derby Home Rental LLC has another banner year advertising Louisville, Kentucky homes for short-term Derby weekend rentals

Derby Home Rental advertises Louisville, Kentucky area houses for rent during Derby weekend.Derby Home Rental LLC—my small business that advertises Louisville, Kentucky, Derby weekend short-term house rentals at (did you note all the keywords crammed in there?)—just had another banner year.

Seventy homes advertised (a record), 33 of which rented (just two homes fewer than the previous high). Derby 2018 likely would have been a record too if it weren’t the meddling politicians. In August 2016, Louisville Metro Council passed an unfortunate regulation regarding short-term rentals, which required homeowners in one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods for Derby-weekend rentals—Old Louisville—to pay a one-time fee of $1,000 to register a home for a rental. As a result, far fewer homes in that desirable neighborhood advertised.

The Louisville Metro Council had considered a Derby-time exemption for short-term rental regulations. I strongly supported that legislation, contacting every council member to explain why it was a good idea. And while it sounded like it’d pass, it got voted down. Hopefully Louisville Metro Council members will reconsider.

Anyway, if you’re interested in renting a home for Derby weekend 2018—or you’re a Louisville, Kentucky, area resident interested in renting out your house—please visit You also can keep tabs on the homes advertising on the site by following Derby Home Rental on Facebook, FlipboardGoogle+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter or subscribing to our email alerts. And, because links, we’re on CrunchBase and About.Me too.


Donate your spare computing power for science—it’s easy

Rosetta@home's screensaver

Rosetta@home’s screensaver

I first read about donating your computer’s spare processing power for research in The Economist in 2007. I meant to set it up but never got around to it. Now, with all of Trump’s proposed cuts to the government’s science budget, I finally got the motivation (thanks?). Last week I installed BOINC (it took all of five minutes). Please consider doing so too.

As The Economist explains:

WAY back in 1999, a badge of geek pride was to run a new screensaver program called SETI@home. This used spare processing capacity on ordinary PCs to sift through radio-telescope data for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence. The bad news is that so far, not a peep has been heard from any little green men. The good news is that SETI@home is still going strong, with over 3m contributors, and is being joined by a rapidly growing legion of other volunteer computing projects supporting worthy scientific causes.

The choice is bewildering. Your PC can help design drugs against AIDS, model the future climate of the planet, search for new prime numbers or simulate micro-devices for handling satellite propellant, to cite just a few examples. Part of the boom in volunteer computing is due to an open-source platform for running such projects, called BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing), launched in 2002 by David Anderson, the director of SETI@home. Today over 40 BOINC projects are in operation, with 15 in the life sciences alone. IBM, which runs a philanthropic initiative called World Community Grid and has signed up over 800,000 volunteer computers, is switching all the humanitarian projects that it supports to run on BOINC. These include Help Conquer Cancer, Discovering Dengue Drugs and AfricanClimate@home, which the computer giant runs on behalf of university research groups that need lots of computer power for their research.

I configured BOINC on my MacBook Pro to run Rosetta@home, which is “determining three-dimensional shapes of proteins in research that may ultimately lead to finding cures for some major human diseases. By running the Rosetta program on your computer while you don’t need it you will help us speed up and extend our research in ways we couldn’t possibly attempt without your help. You will also be helping our efforts at designing new proteins to fight diseases such as HIV, Malaria, Cancer, and Alzheimer’s.”

It only runs when your computer’s not busy and it displays a nifty screensaver too.

Screenshot: Courtesy Emw2012/Wikipedia

‘Oh, God save the human cannonball’: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus makes its last DC stop

That feeling when you forget to smuggle in snacks to the circus and end up paying $24 for popcorn and cotton candy. But hey, the hat was included!

That feeling when you forget to smuggle in snacks to the circus and end up paying $24 for popcorn and cotton candy. But hey, the hat was included!

Saturday my daughters and I saw one of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus final DC shows (after 146 years, it’s closing May 21). Some observations:

  • Apparently the way to get people to attend the circus is to announce the circus is closing.
  • Comparisons of the Trump administration to a circus are off base. Guessing a bunch of the entertainers will lose their jobs next month, but not a single one neglected to perform his or her act before walking out of the ring.
  • The animal tamer lay down with a lion sprawled across him and I suspect his thoughts were similar to mine when one of my kids lies down atop me: content but a bit nervous.
  • Yes, in case you’re wondering, the ring master did acknowledge that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus was ending its run, but not until the end of the show.
  • If fans at the final performance rush the rings to pillage circus items as souvenirs—like New Yorkers did to Yankee Stadium in 1973 when it was about to be shuttered for two years of renovations—I’m totally interested in buying the metal cage the motorbikes zoom around in. Only I’d put myself in it and just hamster-ball it around DC.

Thanks to my mom and dad—whose SBIR proposal consultant website you should totally check out—for the circus tickets!

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