Thursday, March 26, 2015

Planting your spring garden? Consider climate’s ‘new normal’

"Among the most important factors determining which plants can survive where is how cold the winter is. If you’re planting a garden this spring, this set of maps can help you see how planting zones across the country have shifted ever so subtly over the past few decades in response to warming climate.

Click titles below maps to switch map view.The maps at right show average minimum winter temperatures across the contiguous United States divided into 10-degree planting zones for the most recent U.S. Climate Normals (1981-2010), the old Normals (1971-2000), and how the margins of the planting zones shifted between the two time periods as a result of warmer winter minimum temperatures. In these areas, warmer nights are allowing plant species to shift their range northward..."Gardening and climate control

(U) The FBI: Protecting the Homeland in the 21st Century

"(U) The FBI’s Response to the 9/11 Commission’s Recommendations
 (U) Overarching Recommendation: (U) “A specialized and integrated national security workforce should be established at the FBI consisting of agents, analysts, linguists, and surveillance specialists who are recruited, trained, rewarded, and retained to ensure the development of an institutional culture imbued with a deep expertise in intelligence and national security.”
(U) Review Commission Finding: The Bureau has established comprehensive structures, programs, and policies to build an end-to-end intelligence architecture for intelligence requirements, collection, analysis, production, and dissemination. It has assigned analysts, including reports officers, and human intelligence (HUMINT) collectors to the field. It has introduced a well-conceived, entity-wide threat prioritization process. Intelligence support has been prioritized, though it requires faster progress and deeper execution. Its detailees to other agencies, including the NCTC and the National Intelligence Council (NIC), have had a positive impact. Fundamentally, however, the Review Commission’s report highlights a significant gap between the articulated principles of the Bureau’s intelligence programs and their effectiveness in practice. The Bureau needs to accelerate its pursuit of its stated goals for intelligence as a matter of increased urgency.."
FBI and homeland secuirty

New Census Bureau Population Estimates Reveal Metro Areas and Counties that Propelled Growth in Florida and the Nation

"Florida was home to the nation's fastest growing metro area from 2013 to 2014, according to new U.S. Census Bureau metropolitan statistical area, micropolitan statistical area and county population estimates released today.
The Villages, located to the west of the Orlando metro area, grew by 5.4 percent between July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014, to reach a population of about 114,000. State population estimates released in December revealed that Florida had become the nation's third most populous state. Today's estimates show Florida's growth to reach this milestone was propelled by numerous metro areas and counties within the state.
Florida contained seven of the nation's top 50 numerically gaining metro areas between July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014, and these areas accounted for more than three-quarters of the state's population gain over the period:
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach (with a one-year gain of about 66,000).
  • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (about 50,000).
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (about 41,000).
  • Jacksonville (about 23,000).
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers (about 18,000).
  • North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton (about 16,000).
  • Lakeland-Winter Haven (about 11,000)..."
    Population estimates 2014

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Poison Proof Your Home

"Accidental poisoning by common household items kill more people than car accidents each year. Products we use everyday such as medicines, household cleaning solutions, children’s art supplies, makeup and other personal items can be toxic if used incorrectly.
Learn about the dangers and who’s most at risk, how to poison-proof your home, and what you can do if you experience an emergency. Contact the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222 and use this emergency checklist as a guide for what information to give the poison expert on the phone. Keep the Poison Help Line number handy or save it on your cell phone..."
Poison and homes

Computer Malware and E-mail Hack Attacks: What to Do Fast

"You may know the experience: Your e-mail account starts behaving oddly, or your computer is slowing down and acting up. You may have been hacked, or gotten a virus. Would you know how to address an e-mail hack, secure your device, and protect your identity?
Watch these two short videos which go over the critical first steps you can take to minimize the damage and get back in control.
Want more information? Visit for information on:

Cybersecurity and Information Sharing: Legal Challenges and Solutions

"Over the course of the last year, a host of cyberattacks has been perpetrated on a number of high profile American companies. The high profile cyberattacks of 2014 and early 2015 appear to be indicative of a broader trend: the frequency and ferocity of cyberattacks are increasing, posing grave threats to the national interests of the United States. While considerable debate exists with regard to the best strategies for protecting America’s various cyber-systems and promoting cybersecurity, one point of general agreement amongst cyber-analysts is the perceived need for enhanced and timely exchange of cyber-threat intelligence both within the private sector and between the private sector and the government. Nonetheless, there are many reasons why entities may opt to not participate in a cyber-information sharing scheme, including the potential liability that could result from sharing internal cyber-threat information with other private companies or the government. More broadly, the legal issues surrounding cybersecurity information sharing— whether it be with regard to sharing between two private companies or the dissemination of cyber-intelligence within the federal government—are complex and have few certain resolutions. In this vein, this report examines the various legal issues that arise with respect to the sharing of cybersecurity intelligence, with a special focus on two distinct concepts: (1) sharing of cyberinformation within the government’s possession and (2) sharing of cyber-information within the possession of the private sector..."
Cybersecurity and information sharing

Monday, March 23, 2015

Climate Change: how do we know

"The Earth's climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives..."
Climate Change (NASA)

Calling all Instagrammers, Viners, Facebook fans, and Tweeters to the White House Easter Egg Roll Social

"On Monday, April 6, 2015 President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will host the 137thannual White House Easter Egg Roll, a historic White House South Lawn celebration featuring games, sports and fitness zones, cooking demonstrations, live music, and of course the White House Easter classics like the egg roll and egg hunt. 
We want you to apply to come join us for a day of social media  and Easter festivities at the White House Easter Egg Roll Social. This year’s Egg Roll theme is #GimmeFive, in support of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative encouraging children to lead heathy, active lives. Selected pWe warticipants will be invited to join the Easter Egg Roll event on the South Lawn on April 6th. All applicants must have children ages 5-13..."
White House Easter Roll at Whitehouse

26th Amendments

"Passed by Congress March 23, 1971, and ratified July 1, 1971, the 26th amendment granted the right to vote to American citizens aged eighteen or older..."
Read more at the Charters of Freedom...
26th Amendment

Partnerships to Prevent Youth Violence

"Youth violence is a significant public health problem that causes considerable harm to young people, families, and communities. Learn about CDC's work leveraging partnerships across jurisdictions through the STRYVE Action Council, a multi-sector group of organizations with the common objective of mobilizing and sustaining actions that prevent youth violence before it starts.."
Youth Violence

Saturday, March 21, 2015

In Graco case, NHTSA uses enforcement authority to boost child safety

Photo of Graco child safety seat
"When parents buckle their children into car seats they need to trust that their seat will protect as promised. That’s why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) fights to keep car seats and other products with safety-related defects off our nation's roads.
Today, we’ve acted again to fine a company that failed to report a safety-related defect to NHTSA as required by law. And we’re doing so in a way that doesn’t just punish bad behavior, but also makes American children safer.
Early last year, NHTSA learned that millions of Graco car seats were made with a seat buckle that could become difficult or nearly impossible to unlatch. In an emergency, a stuck seat buckle could lead to a life threatening situation. NHTSA investigated the issue and forced a recall of more than 6.1 million affected Graco seats..."
Graco safety seats

Lt. Henry O. Flipper's Quest for Justice: "As honorable a record in the Army as any officer in it

Lt. Henry O. Flipper
Born into slavery in Thomasville, Georgia, on March 21, 1856, Henry Ossian Flipper was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1873. Over the next four years he overcame harassment, isolation, and insults to become West Point's first African American graduate and the first African American commissioned officer in the regular U.S. Army. Flipper was stationed first at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, later served at Forts Elliott, Quitman, and Davis, Texas. He served as a signal officer and quartermaster, fought Apaches, installed telegraph lines, and supervised the building of roads. At Fort Sill, the young lieutenant directed the construction of a drainage system that helped prevent the spread of malaria. Still known as "Flipper's Ditch," the ditch is commemorated by a bronze marker at Fort Sill and the fort is listed as a National Historic Landmark..."
Henry O. Flipper

Interior Department Releases Final Rule to Support Safe, Responsible Hydraulic Fracturing Activities on Public and Tribal Lands

"Following a robust and transparent public process that included more than 1.5 million public comments, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today released final standards that will support safe and responsible hydraulic fracturing on public and American Indian lands. The commonsense standards will improve safety and help protect groundwater by updating requirements for well-bore integrity, wastewater disposal and public disclosure of chemicals.

There are more than 100,000 oil and gas wells on federally managed lands.  Of wells currently being drilled, over 90 percent use hydraulic fracturing. The rule applies only to development on public and tribal lands and includes a process so that states and tribes may request variances from provisions for which they have an equal or more protective regulation in place. This will avoid duplication while enabling the development of more protective standards by state and tribal governments.  Today’s final rule is a major step in the Department of the Interior’s agenda to support a balanced, prosperous energy future.  Other reforms will also include important measures to target where oil and gas leasing occurs and protect sensitive areas that are too special to drill..."
Hydraulic fracturing

Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

"The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened interest in, and concerns about, the region’s future. The United States, by virtue of Alaska, is an Arctic country and has substantial interests in the region. On January 21, 2015, President Obama issued an executive order for enhancing coordination of national efforts in the Arctic. The United States will assume the chairmanship of the Arctic Council in April 2015 and will serve in that capacity for two years.
Record low extents of Arctic sea ice over the past decade have focused scientific and policy attention on links to global climate change and projected ice-free seasons in the Arctic within decades. These changes have potential consequences for weather in the United States, access to mineral and biological resources in the Arctic, the economies and cultures of peoples in the region, and national security..."
Changes in the Arctic

U.S. Manufacturing in International Perspective

"This report is designed to inform the debate over the health of U.S. manufacturing through a series of charts and tables that depict the position of the United States relative to other countries according to various metrics. Understanding which trends in manufacturing reflect factors that may be unique to the United States and which are related to broader changes in technology or consumer preferences may be helpful in formulating policies intended to aid firms or workers engaged in manufacturing activity. This report does not describe or discuss specific policy options..."
International Manufacturing