Saturday, May 31, 2014

Veterans Health Administration - Interim Report - Review of Patient Wait Times, Scheduling Practices, and Alleged Patient Deaths at the Phoenix Health Care System

"This interim report provides an overview of our ongoing review at the Phoenix Health Care
System (HCS), identifies the allegations we have substantiated to date, and provides recommendations that VA should implement immediately. Allegations at the Phoenix HCS
include gross mismanagement of VA resources and criminal misconduct by VA senior hospital
leadership, creating systemic patient safety issues and possible wrongful deaths. While our work
is not complete, we have substantiated that significant delays in access to care negatively
impacted the quality of care at this medical facility..."
VA and patient

Conditionof Education: 2014

"The Congress has mandated that the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) produce an annual Condition of Education report to help inform policymakers about the progress of education in the United States. This year’s report presents 42 indicators on important topics and trends in U.S. education. These indicators focus on population characteristics, participation in education, elementary and secondary education, and postsecondary education. This year’s Condition shows that about 90 percent of young adults ages 25 to 29 had a high school diploma or its equivalent in 2013, and that 34 percent had a bachelor’s or higher degree..."
Condition Education

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Education scams

"If you're ever tempted by an e-mail or ad claiming you can "earn a degree based on life experience," don't fall for it. Any company that offers degrees for a flat fee and requires little course work is a diploma mill. If your school is not recognized as an accredited institution by the Secretary of Education, you may not be able to receive financial aid and employers won't recognize it. You can check on a school's accreditation by contacting the Department of Education or search the Council for Higher Education Accreditation's database..."
Education scams

Humans Gave Up Our Strength to Support Our Big Heads

"Humans are sort of the runts of the animal kingdom, combatively speaking—we've got soft underbellies, frail nails, dull teeth and lackluster night vision. We're slow, we're weak, we're not particularly good climbers, swimmers, or gliders, and we've got these big round heads perched atop easily snappable necks. So what do we have? A good throwing arm, fancy thumbs, strong communication and, yes, those big round heads..."
Strength vs Brains

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Remembering and Celebrating life of Maya Angelou

A tribute to Maya Angelou from the Whitehouse.gov blog.
Maya Angelou

100+ Years of Tracking Nutrients Available in the U.S. Food Supply

"The Nutrients Content of the U.S. Food Supply is a historical data series beginning with 1909, on  the amounts of nutrients available in the food supply for consumption (not nutrients consumed), on a per capita per day basis, as well as percentage contributions of nutrients by major food groups.  The series provides  data for food calories and calorie-yielding nutrients which are protein, carbohydrate, and fat (total, saturated, monosaturated, polyunsaturated, and individual fatty acids); cholesterol; dietary fiber; 10 vitamins; and 9 minerals..."
Nutrients data

2014 Consumer Action Handbook

Find consumer information from federal agencies in the latest edition of the Consumer Action handbook.
Consumer Action Handbook

Company Settles FTC Charges that Head Lice Prevention Claims Were Deceptive

"The Federal Trade Commission has charged personal care company Lornamead, Inc. with deceiving consumers with exaggerated claims that its “Lice Shield” shampoo, stick, and spray products  will prevent or reduce the risk of getting head lice. Under an agreed-upon settlement, Lornamead will pay $500,000, and is prohibited from making further deceptive lice-prevention claims..."
Head lice prevention

Preteen vaccines

"While your preteens and teens are thinking about all the fun things they'll be doing this summer, you're probably thinking about keeping them healthy and safe. When you're planning trips to get new swimsuits and sunscreen, make an appointment for vaccinations before the back-to-school rush begins at the doctor's office. Vaccines can help our kids stay healthy, and most states require certain vaccinations before school starts again in the fall..."
Preteen vaccines

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What You Should Know About Your Federal Student Loan Servicer

"A loan servicer handles the billing and other services on your federal student loans. The U.S. Department of Education assigns your loan to a servicer, and the servicer will assist you with repayment and any questions you may have about your federal student loan..."
Student loans

USDA Launches New Resources at ChooseMyPlate.gov to Help Cost-Conscious Consumers Make Healthier Food Choices

"Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture unveiled Healthy Eating on a Budget – the newest addition to ChooseMyPlate.gov. Consumers continue to want more information about how to make better eating decisions with limited resources. To meet this need, the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) developed the new resource to include easy-to-use and insightful information about planning meals, shopping smart in the grocery store, and preparing foods that save money and time in the kitchen..."
Choose My Plate

Another Death Reported in a Nap Nanny Infant Recliner

"We’ve received a tragic sixth report of a baby dying in a Nap Nanny infant recliner.
baby's head stuck in nap nanny.
Our Safe to Sleep experts urges all parents and caregivers who own a Nap Nanny or Nap Nanny Chill recliner to stop using it immediately.  We do not want any other family to suffer the loss of their child or experience serious injury to their child.
Help us save other babies—spread the word.
Since 2010, safety problems with the Nap Nanny have been explained in recalls, a safety blog, and a legal settlement against the now out-of-business firm. CPSC is again warning parents to stop using these infant recliners because deaths occurred in two ways:
  1. The baby partly falls or hangs over the side of a Nap Nanny and gets trapped between the product and crib bumpers;
  2. The baby suffocates on the inside of the Nap Nanny..."
    Nap nanny infant recliner

Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers

"HEAT ILLNESS CAN BE DEADLY. Every year, thousands of workers become sick from exposure to heat, and some even die. Heat illnesses and deaths are preventable. Employers are responsible for providing workplaces that are safe from excessive heat.

Heat illness and outdoors

Ten Things to Know about Valley Fever

"Valley fever is a fungal respiratory disease that can be devastating. Learning about valley fever can help you and your doctor recognize the symptoms early.

Valley fever, also called coccidioidomycosis, is an infection caused by the fungus Coccidioides. People can get valley fever by breathing in the microscopic fungal spores from the air, although most people who breathe in the spores don’t get sick.

The disease can be difficult to diagnose, especially if you are unaware of it..."
Valley fever

Americans Are Walking More to Improve Their Health

"Improve your health by increasing your physical activity. Start with walking more as part of your daily routine.
Most everyone knows that physical activity is important for good health, but not enough actually do it. Obstacles abound, not the least of which is limited time. Fitting regular physical activity into your daily schedule may seem difficult at first, but the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans are more flexible than ever, giving you the freedom to reach your physical activity goals through different kinds of activities. It's easier than you think!.."

Walking counts

Consumer Expenditure Survey

"The Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) program consists of two surveys, the Quarterly Interview Survey and the Diary Survey, that provide information on the buying habits of American consumers, including data on their expenditures, income, and consumer unit (families and single consumers) characteristics. The survey data are collected for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The CE is important because it is the only Federal survey to provide information on the complete range of consumers' expenditures and incomes, as well as the characteristics of those consumers..."
Consumer Expenditure Survey

Real Personal Income for States and Metropolitan Areas: 2008-2012

"Real personal income across all regions rose by an average of 2.3% in 2012. This growth rate reflects the year-over-year change in nominal personal income across all regions adjusted by the change in the national PCE price index. On a nominal basis, personal income across all regions grew an average of 4.2% in 2012. In 2012, the U.S. PCE price index grew 1.8%.

Growth in real state personal income from 2011 to 2012 ranged from a decline of 1.2% in South Dakota to an increase of 15.1% in North Dakota. These growth rates reflect the year-over-year change in the state’s nominal personal income, the change in the national PCE price index, and the change in the regional price parity for that state. After North Dakota, the states with the largest growth rates were Montana (3.7%), Indiana (3.7%), California (3.4%), and Mississippi (3.4%). South Dakota was the only state with a decline in real personal income..." Real personal income

Friday, May 23, 2014

US Topo Quadrangles — Maps for America

"US Topo quadrangles are digital topographic maps produced by the National Geospatial Program of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Created in the familiar 7.5-minute quadrangle format like the legacy paper maps, US Topo maps support frequent updating, wide and fast public distribution, and basic, on-screen geographic analysis.
US Topo maps are available for free Web download from the USGS Store. Each map is delivered in PDF format with geospatial extensions (GeoPDF®) and is made from key layers of geographic data - orthoimagery, transportation, geographic names, topographic contours, boundaries, hydrography, structures, and woodlands - found in The National Map. The National Map is a nationwide repository of integrated data from local, State, Federal, and other sources. Recent US Topo maps also include the Public Land Survey System (PLSS) and the United States National Grid (USNG)..."

Topographic maps

Women in the Labor Force: a Databook, 2014

"This report presents historical and recent labor force and earnings data for women and men from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a national monthly survey of approximately 60,000 households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unless otherwise noted, data are annual averages from the CPS.."

Women and Labor force

Libya: Transition and U.S. Policy

"Libya’s post-conflict transition has been disrupted by armed non-state groups and threatened by
the indecision and infighting of interim leaders. To date, the elected General National Congress
(GNC) and the interim executive authorities that it has endorsed have failed to address pressing
security issues, reshape the country’s public finances, or create a viable framework for post-
conflict justice and reconciliation. The insecurity that was prevalent in Libya in the wake of the
2011 conflict has deepened, and armed militia groups and locally organized political leaders
remain the most powerful arbiters of public affairs..."
Libya

Thursday, May 22, 2014

South, West Have Fastest-Growing Cities, Census Bureau Reports; Three of Top 10 are in Texas Capital Area

"Austin has been the capital of Texas since 1839, and in 2013 the area became the nation's capital for population growth, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released today. San Marcos, Cedar Park and Georgetown — each near Austin — ranked among the 10 fastest-growing cities with populations of 50,000 or more during the year ending July 1, 2013. San Marcos was number one in percent growth for the second consecutive year, with Austin itself gaining more people (nearly 21,000) than any city with fewer than 1 million residents.

The South and West dominated the list of fastest-growing municipalities between 2012 and 2013, claiming all of the top 15, seven of which were in Texas. Frisco and McKinney (near Dallas), Odessa (in West Texas) and Pearland (near Houston) were the other Texas cities on the list. (See Table 1 for complete list.).."

Cities- population growth

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Why Are Gasoline Prices Higher in Some Regions Than in Others?

"Although price levels vary over time, average retail gasoline prices are often highest in certain States or regions. Besides taxes, there are other factors that contribute to regional and even local differences in gasoline prices:

Distance from Supply Usually Means Higher Gas Prices

Gas prices in San Francisco, California, in the summer of 2008, were the highest they have ever been without adjustment for inflation.
Gas prices in San Francisco, California, summer 2008.
Source: Stock photography (copyrighted)
Retail gasoline prices tend to be higher the farther it is sold from the source of supply: ports, refineries, and pipeline and blending terminals. About 60% of the crude oil processed by U.S. refineries in 2011 was imported, with most transported by ocean tankers. The U.S. Gulf Coast was the source of about 23% of the gasoline produced in the United States in 2011 and the starting point for most major gasoline pipelines, so those States farther from the refineries will most likely have higher.."
Gas prices

Adult Bed Rails: A Solution For Some, Not For Others

"Do you care for someone who uses portable bed rails? These rails and handles may not provide the added safety you seek.  If the person you are caring for has physical limitations, dementia or delirium, portable bed rails could be hazardous. From January 2003 to December 2013, CPSC received reports of nearly 175 deaths related to adult portable bed rails. In addition, an estimated 39,600 adult portable bed rail injuries were treated in hospital emergency departments from 2003 to 2012. Most of these deaths and injuries occurred with people who were 60 years old and older..."
Adult bed rails

Lyme Disease: Ten things you always wanted to know about ticks..

"May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month.
To find out how to steer clear of Lyme disease during "picnic season" - a time when people are more likely to pick up ticks - the National Science Foundation spoke with NSF-funded disease ecologist Rick Ostfeld of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y., and program director Sam Scheiner of NSF's Division of Environmental Biology..."
Lyme disease
dousing the southwest in rain or leaving it bone dry, oscillations in the ocean can have huge effects on the weather.


Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/pacific-may-be-building-huge-el-nino-180951527/#mfRc4Y4ElOmmz4OE.99
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PrEP for HIV Prevention

"If you think you are at risk of getting HIV, ask your health care provider if PrEP is right for you. Along with other prevention methods like condoms, PrEP can offer good protection against HIV if taken every day.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a way for people who don't have HIV to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. The pill contains two medicines that are also used to treat HIV. If you take PrEP and are exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from taking hold in your body..."

HIV-prep

May is National Stroke Awareness Month


"Take the time to learn the signs and symptoms of stroke during May, which is National Stroke Awareness Month. A 2005 CDC survey found that only 38% of people could correctly identify all 5 symptoms of stroke and knew to call 9-1-1 if they thought that someone was having a stroke.
The key to recognizing a stroke is knowing the following signs and remembering that they occur suddenly:
Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause..."
    Stroke

Don’t Let Measles Be Your Travel Souvenir


"Stay safe and healthy when traveling overseas. Measles is very contagious and can cause serious illness, even death. Make sure you and your family are vaccinated for measles before you travel.
Are you traveling overseas? You might not think about measles when you are preparing for your trip, but it is a health risk in many destinations. Make sure you and your family are vaccinated for measles and other disease before you travel. After your trip, you want to bring home fun souvenirs, a camera full of photos, and fantastic memories—NOT measles!.."
Measles and Travel

Nigeria’s Boko Haram: Frequently Asked Questions

"Boko Haram, a violent Nigerian Islamist movement, has grown increasingly active and deadly in
its attacks against state and civilian targets in recent years, drawing on a narrative of resentment
and vengeance for state abuses to elicit recruits and sympathizers. The group’s April 2014
abduction of almost 300 schoolgirls has drawn international attention, including from the Obama
Administration and Members of Congress. Periodic attacks against foreign targets in the region
and growing evidence of ties to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a regional terrorist
network affiliated with Al Qaeda, have also raised the concern of U.S. policymakers..".

Boko Haram

America's aging autos

"From 2008 to 2012, the average age of U.S. households’ vehicles increased as owners held on to their cars, trucks, and vans longer. The trend in aging autos coincides with declines in average household income in 2008; however,  subsequent recovery in households’ incomes and a return to previous levels of
expenditures on vehicles in 2012 do not appear to have reversed the pattern of aging.."
Aging Automobiles

Trends in the Parent-Report of Health Care Provider-Diagnosis and Medication Treatment for ADHD: United States, 2003—2011

"Health care providers who care for children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and public health practitioners should be aware that an estimated two million more US children were reported by their parents to be diagnosed by a health care provider  with ADHD and a million more were reported to be taking medication for ADHD in 2011, compared to 2003.."
Health care providers and ADHD

Public High School Four - Year On - Time Graduation Rates and Event Dropout Rates: School Years 2010 – 11 and 2011 –12

Find data on the 4-year on-time graduation rates that provide measures of the percent of students that successfully complete high school in 4 years with a regular high school diploma.
Public high school graduation

Friday, May 16, 2014

Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2010

Find information on the latest research on ozone depletion.
Ozone depletion

National Wildlife Refuge System


"The National Wildlife Refuge System has more than 20 million acres of designated wilderness. It has 75 wilderness areas – about one-fifth of the designated wilderness acres in the United States -- on 63 refuges in 26 states. About 90 percent of the Refuge System’s wilderness is in Alaska...."

Wildlife refuge

Forest Pests of North America: a Photographic Guide

"The photos present in this CD are intended to help foresters, urban landscaping employees, or others working with trees recognize some of the common pest insects affecting trees in North America and understand their life cycles and how they damage trees. The information was drawn from book, websites, factsheets, and some original literature. This CD is not a guide for specialists..."
Forest pests

Growing Young Minds: How Museums and Libraries Create Lifelong Learners.

"It is a pleasure to present Growing Young Minds: How Museums and Libraries Create Lifelong Learners. This report issues a call to action: Now is the time for policy makers and practitioners to fully use the capacity of libraries and museums in their early learning efforts. This is critical because we must work together to reach the all-too-many children who are still left out of effective community early learning opportunities and resources, and disconnected from the powerful programs for children, parents, and caregivers that you will read about in this report.."
Growing Young Minds

An Estimate of Housing Discrimination Against Same-Sex Couples

"The study finds that same-sex couples experience less favorable treatment than heterosexual couples in the online rental housing market. The primary form of adverse treatment is that same-sex couples receive significantly fewer responses to e-mail inquiries about advertised units than heterosexual couples..."
Same sex couples

American Latinos and the Making of the United States: A Theme Study

"The relatively unknown story of Latinos in America is at the heart of this Theme Study, American Latinos and the Making of the United States. Over a year in development, the idea was launched at a forum held in La Paz, California on June 16, 2011. Shortly after, the National Park System Advisory Board constituted the American Latino Scholars Expert Panel. At the invitation of the Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, the group of ten academics agreed to dedicate themselves to crafting a historic document; one that would help the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service tell the layered story of American Latinos as an integral part of the history, culture, and politics of the United States..."
American Latinos

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Barack Obama (2010, Book II)

Find the official paper of President Barack Obama presidency for the period, July 1, 2010 - Dec. 31, 2010. 
Public Papers - Barack Obama

Heatlh, United States: 2013

Find information on the nation's health with the annual Health, United States report from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics.
Health, United States

Health, United States, 2013 includes special section on prescription drugs

"About half of all Americans reported taking one or more prescription drugs in the past 30 days during 2007-2010, and 1 in 10 took five or more, according to Health, United States, 2013, the government’s annual, comprehensive report on the nation’s health..."
Prescription drugs

How Social Security Benefits Are Computed: In Brief

"With $812 billion in benefit outlays in 2013, Social Security is the largest program in the federal
budget. It provides monthly cash benefits to retired and disabled workers and their family members as well as to the family members of deceased workers. Currently, there are about 58 million beneficiaries. Under current law, Social Security’s revenues are projected to be insufficient to pay full scheduled benefits after 2033..."
Social Security benefits

Afghanistan: Drug Trafficking and the 2014 Transition

"Afghanistan is the world’s primary source of opium poppy cultivation and opium and heroin
production, as well as a major global source of cannabis (marijuana) and cannabis resin (hashish).
Drug trafficking, a long-standing feature of Afghanistan’s post-Taliban political economy, is
linked to corruption and insecurity, and provides a source of illicit finance for non-state armed
groups. Based on recent production and trafficking trends, the drug problem in Afghanistan
appears to be worsening—just as the U.S. government finalizes plans for its future relationship
with the government of Afghanistan in 2015 and beyond and reduces its counternarcotics
operational presence in the country to Kabul, the national capital.."Afghanistan & Drug Trafficking

FCC Launches Broad Rulemaking to Protect and Promote the Open Internet

"The Federal Communications Commission today launched a rulemaking seeking
public comment on how best to protect and promote an open Internet. The Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking adopted today poses a broad range of questions to elicit the broadest range of input from
everyone impacted by the Internet, from consumers and small businesses to providers and start-ups.
The Internet is America’s most important platform for economic growth, innovation, competition, free expression, and broadband investment and deployment..."
FCC -Open Access

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Check Your Garage for Summer Recreation Products Recalled In the Winter

"Vacations and outdoor activities are the highlight of any summer, but before you head out for your summer trip, check if any of those warm weather activity products were recalled this winter like those below. To check other products for safety issues, go to SaferProducts.gov..."
Recalls

Healthy Vision: Make It Last a Lifetime

"Taking care of your eyes can be a priority just like eating healthy and physical activity. Healthy vision can help keep you safe each day. To keep your eyes healthy, get a comprehensive dilated eye exam: an eye care professional will use drops to widen the pupils to check for common vision problems and eye diseases. It's the best way to find out if you need glasses or contacts, or are in the early stages of any eye-related diseases..."
Healthy Vision

Modes Less Traveled—Bicycling and Walking to Work in the United States: 2008–2012

"• The number of U.S. workers who traveled to work by bicycle increased from about 488,000
in 2000 to about 786,000 in 2008–2012, a larger percentage increase than that of any other
commuting mode.
• The combined rate of bicycle commuting for the 50 largest U.S. cities increased from 0.6
percent in 2000 to 1.0 percent in 2008–2012..."
Bicycling

Monday, May 12, 2014

Judicial Activity Concerning Enemy Combatant Detainees: Major Court Rulings

" As part of the conflict with Al Qaeda and the Taliban, the United States has captured and detained numerous persons believed to have been part of or
associated with enemy forces. Over the years, federal courts have considered a multitude of petitions by or on behalf of suspected belligerents challenging aspects of U.S. detention policy. Although the Supreme Court has issued definitive rulings concerning several legal issues raised in the conflict with Al Qaeda and the Taliban, many others remain unresolved, with some the subject of ongoing litigation..."

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R41156.pdf
Enemy combatants

NOT ALONE The First Report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault

"One in five women is sexually assaulted in college. Most often, it’s by someone she knows
and also most often, she does not report what happened. Many survivors are left feeling isolated, ashamed or to blame. Although it happens less often, men, too, are victims of these crimes. 
The President created theTask Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault to turn this tide.As the name of our new website–NotAlone.gov– indicates, we are here to tell sexual assault survivors that they are not alone. And we’re a lso here to help schools live up to their obligation to protect students from sexual violence..".

Sexual Assault

Friday, May 9, 2014

Suicide in the Military: Army-NIH Funded Study Points to Risk and Protective Factors

" The largest study of mental health risk and resilience ever conducted among U.S. military personnel today released its first findings related to suicide attempts and deaths in a series of three JAMA Psychiatry articles. Findings from The Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS ) include: the rise in suicide deaths from 2004 to 2009 occurred not only in currently and previously deployed soldiers, but also among soldiers never deployed; nearly half of soldiers who reported suicide attempts indicated their first attempt was prior to enlistment; and soldiers reported higher rates of certain mental disorders than civilians, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), intermittent explosive disorder (recurrent episodes of extreme anger or violence), and substance use disorder..."
Suicide in military

Wellness at Work

"Chronic Disease at Work
Chronic diseases such as depression and hypertension can lead to a decline in the overall health of employees in a workplace, contribute to an increase in health-related expenses for employers and employees, and lead to days away from work. Many businesses have realized the benefits of health promotion, and to curb the costs of rising health care they have begun offering wellness programs to their employees. Ideally, the office should be a place that not only protects the safety and well-being of employees but also provides them opportunities for better long-term health..."
Working & Wellness

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Who Bikes to Work in America?

From U.S. Census Bureau's Random Samplings blog (5/8/2014)
"As cities take steps to increase transportation options, many people choose to ride a bike to work or walk. Timed with National Bike to Work Month, the Census Bureau has released its first-ever report on biking and walking to work. If you have ever wondered who chooses this form of commuting, this report highlights annual American Community Survey information on biking and walking but also offers new information about these travel modes for specific populations.

Although changes in rates of bicycle commuting vary across U.S. communities, many cities have experienced relatively large increases in bicycle commuting in recent years. The total number of bike commuters in the U.S. increased from about 488,000 in 2000 to about 786,000 during the period from 2008 to 2012, a larger percentage increase than that of any other commuting mode.."Bikes to work

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

National Climate Assessment

View the full reports and related information from the latest National Climate Assessment report.
National Climate Assessment

EPA Releases EnviroAtlas Ecosystem Mapping Tool

"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released EnviroAtlas, a web-based interactive tool that integrates over 300 separate data layers, helps decision makers understand the implications of planning and policy decisions on our fragile ecosystems and the communities who depend on goods and services from these ecosystems. EnviroAtlas is designed for people from all levels of government, professionals, researchers, educators, non-governmental organizations, and anyone interested in considering the benefits or impacts of a decision, such as siting a new road or city park..."
EnviroAtlas 
http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/E60F65067738871485257CD1004DA741

File a Consumer Complaint with the FTC from Your Mobile Device

"The Federal Trade Commission’s online Complaint Assistant is now easier to use for consumers who want to file a complaint through their mobile device.

When consumers visit the Complaint Assistant from their mobile device, they’ll be presented with a format that is simpler to navigate on a smaller screen and without a keyboard. The changes will happen automatically, without any action required by the consumer..."
FTC - Consumer complaint

Whole-House Systems Approach

"Designing and building a new house or renovating an existing house to be highly energy-efficient requires careful planning and attention to detail. A whole-house systems approach helps homeowners, architects, and builders develop successful strategies for optimizing home energy efficiency.
This approach considers the house as an energy system with interdependent parts, each of which affects the performance of the entire system. It also takes the occupants, site, and local climate into consideration..."

Whole house systems

Try Walking to Ease Joint Pai

"Despite the known benefits of physical activity to help manage arthritis, adults with arthritis are less active than adults without arthritis.1 Walking has been shown to improve arthritis pain, fatigue, function, and quality of life,2 but over 50% of people with arthritis do not walk at all (walk an average of 0 minutes per week).3 Walking is low impact on your joints, can be done almost anywhere and doesn't require special equipment or a gym membership. Celebrate Arthritis Awareness Month by starting a walking program today..."
Athritis Awareness

Do You Know About Thalassemia?

 "Did you know that thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that occurs because red blood cells from a person with thalassemia don't make enough of an important protein called hemoglobin? When there isn't enough hemoglobin, the body's red blood cells don't function properly and they last shorter periods of time, so there are fewer healthy red blood cells traveling in the bloodstream..."
Thalassemia awareness

U.S. Population Will Get Older but Remain Younger than Most Developed Countries

From Random Sampling, the U.S. Census Bureau's blog[5/6/2014]:
"Between 2012 and 2050, the share of the world’s population age 65 and over is projected to double from 8 percent in 2012 to 16.7 percent in 2050 (see figure). Although the United States is also projected to age over this period, it will remain one of the youngest developed countries, with 20.9 percent of its population 65 and over in 2050.

In contrast, Japan is projected to continue to be the oldest country of those with a population greater than 50,000, with 40.1 percent age 65 and over in 2050. Other developed countries, including Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland, are expected to have nearly one-third of their populations age 65 and over.."
Aged, Aging.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

ALS-Lou Gehrig’s Disease-Learn More

"Many people know amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) as Lou Gehrig's disease, named after the famous baseball player who retired in 1939 because of it. But far too little is known about what causes this disease.
The National ALS Registry is a ground-breaking step in the fight against ALS. The Registry collects and analyzes data about people with ALS. It gathers data about who has the disease and where it occurs. Researchers can use Registry data to detect disease pattern changes over time and identify whether there are common risk factors among ALS patients who are listed in the Registry. Patients and their families can turn to the Registry for updated links for resources such as ALS clinical trials..."

ALS

National High Blood Pressure Education Month

"Reducing high blood pressure can lower your risk for stroke and heart attack.

Less is better in some things, including in blood pressure. About 1 of 3 US adults—67 million people—have high blood pressure.1 High blood pressure makes your heart work too hard and increases your risk of heart disease and stroke..."
High Blood Pressure

It's Spring – Time to Prevent Lyme Disease

"Before gardening, camping, hiking, or just playing outdoors, make tick bite prevention part of your outdoor plans.
Over 25,000 cases of Lyme disease among Americans will be reported this year. The risk is greatest among those living in or visiting New England, the mid-Atlantic states, and the upper Midwest. A recent national survey found that nearly 20 percent of people in areas where Lyme disease is common were unaware of the danger. Fortunately, there are several tactics you and your family can use to prevent tick bites and reduce your risk of tickborne disease..."
Lyme Disease

Potentially Preventable Deaths from the Five Leading Causes of Death, United States, 2008-2010

"Each year, nearly 900,000 Americans die prematurely from the five leading causes of death – yet 20 percent to 40 percent of the deaths from each cause could be prevented, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The five leading causes of death in the United States are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, and unintentional injuries. Together they accounted for 63 percent of all U.S. deaths in 2010, with rates for each cause varying greatly from state to state.."
. Preventable deaths

An Aging Nation: the Older Population in the United States

 "This report examines how the age structure of the U.S. population is expected to change over the coming decades and focuses on the older population in terms of age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin. The size and structure of the older population is important to public and private interests, both socially and economically..."

Monday, May 5, 2014

Before You Start Your Summer Fun, Check for These Recalled Products

"Winter is finally giving way to warmer weather. This means kids are playing outside and adults are firing up their grills and working on their lawns. Now would be a good time to check on whether any of your summer products were recalled this past winter. Check out the list of recalled products below. To check other products for safety issues, go to SaferProducts.gov..."
Recalled products

Millions More IKEA Children’s Lamps Recalled

"Did you buy a children’s wall-mounted lamp or nightlight from IKEA? So did a lot of people. Take some time today to see if your child’s light is recalled.
IKEA is recalling about 3.5 million lamps in the U.S., 1.4 million in Canada and 30.2 million worldwide. Children can get tangled and strangle in the electrical cord that hangs from the lamp.
IKEA previously recalled some of these lamps in December 2013. As we reported then, two children, a 16-month-old and a 15-month-old, got tangled in the lamp’s cord while the children were in their cribs. One child died, the other nearly strangled. In both of these instances, which happened in Europe, the children pulled the lamp cords into the crib.."
IKEA children lamps

Clarity for lake researchers' water quality questions

"Scientists engaged in a study of long-term water quality trends in Midwestern lakes found some good news: little change in water clarity in more than 3,000 lakes.

Look deeper, and the research becomes something more: a chronicle of a new source of data for scientists, data from residents of towns and villages surrounding the lakes..."

2014 National Alzheimer’s Disease Plan

"HHS today[4-29-14] released the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease: 2014 Update, reflecting the nation’s progress toward accomplishing goals set in 2012 and current action steps to achieving them. The 2011 National Alzheimer’s Project Act calls for all Plans to be updated annually; the 2014 Plan follows the initial Plan released in May 2012 and an updated Plan released in June 2013.

The 2014 Plan was developed with input from experts in aging and Alzheimer’s disease from federal, state, private and non-profit organizations, as well as caregivers and people with the disease. The 2014 Plan includes the following five goals: finding ways to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025; enhancing care for Alzheimer’s patients; expanding support for people with dementia and their families; improving public awareness; and carefully tracking data to support these efforts..."
Alzheimer Disease

Fuel economy sticker for used cars

''For the past five years, used car sales have been booming. Last year alone, more than 40 million used light-duty vehicles were sold in the U.S. -- that's more than twice as many as new car and light truck sales -- and this year they’re expected to grow further. But until recently, consumers buying these cars had little insight into the vehicle’s gas mileage. Now one of FuelEconomy.gov’s newest tools -- the Used Car Fuel Economy Label -- makes it easier for consumers to compare used cars, select the most fuel-efficient model and save money at the pump.."
Fuel economy and used cars

BIG DATA: SEIZING OPPORTUNITIES, PRESERVING VALUES

"This review focuses of how the public and private sectors can maximize the benefits of big data while minimizing its risks. It also identifies opportunities for big data to grow our economy, improve health and education, and make our nation safer and more energy efficient..."
Big Data

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

"On May 2, 2014, the first confirmed case of MERS-CoV was reported in a traveler to the United States. This is the only confirmed case in the United States. CDC is working very quickly to investigate this first U.S. case of MERS and respond to minimize the spread of this virus. We expect to learn much more in the coming hours and days. We will share updated information through the CDC MERS website.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. It is different from any other coronavirus previously found in people. We don’t know where the virus came from or exactly how it spreads. However, it likely came from an animal source. All reported cases to date have been linked to the Arabian Peninsula..."
MERS

Preventing CO poisoning

"Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday, March 9, 2014. As you prepare to set your clocks ahead one hour, remember to change the batteries in your CO detector. If you don't have a battery-powered or battery back-up CO alarm, now is a great time to buy one. At least 430 people die each year in the US from unintentional, non-fire related CO poisoning.
CO is found in fumes produced by furnaces, vehicles, portable generators, stoves, lanterns, gas ranges, or burning charcoal or wood. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned and can die from breathing CO..."
Carbon Monoxide detectors

Unpredictable Spring Weather

 "Because spring weather is so unpredictable, you may be unprepared when severe weather hits—particularly if you live in a region that does not often experience thunderstorms, tornadoes or flooding. And when severe weather hits unexpectedly, the risk of injury and death increases. So planning ahead makes sense; prepare for storms, floods, and tornadoes as if you know in advance they are coming, because in the spring, they very likely will..."
Spring weather

May 5: Hand Hygiene Day

"Hand hygiene is a simple thing and it's the best way to prevent infection and illness.

Clean hands prevent infections. Keeping hands clean prevents illness at home, at school, and at work. Hand hygiene practices are key prevention measures in healthcare settings, in daycare facilities, in schools and public institutions, and for the safety of our food.

In healthcare settings, hand hygiene can prevent potentially fatal infections from spreading from patient to patient and from patient to healthcare worker and vice-versa..."

Hand Hygiene

Food Safety Data: 2013

"The nation’s food safety grades are out and the results are mixed. Today’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report includes CDC’s annual food safety report card, which shows that foodborne infections continue to be an important public health problem in the United States (US). The Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, or FoodNet, tracks nine infections transmitted commonly through food. For 2013, FoodNet identified just over 19,000 infections, 4,200 hospitalizations, and 80 deaths among 48 million residents of 10 states, or about 15% of the total US population..."
Food safety

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Living in Near Poverty in the United States: 1966–2012

"The official U.S. poverty thresholds create an explicit boundary that defines who lives in poverty, and the U.S. Census Bureau reports annually on this vulnerable population (DeNavas-Walt, Proctor, and Smith, 2013). Less is known about the low-income population living just above official poverty thresholds. This report describes individuals and families living near poverty—those individuals whose family incomes are close to, but not below, official poverty thresholds..."
Poverty

Country Reports on Terrorism 2013

"Country Reports on Terrorism 2013 is submitted in compliance with Title
22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f (the “Act”), which requires the Department of State to provide to Congress a full and complete annual report on terrorism for those countries and groups meeting the criteria of the Act.."
Terrorism

EPA's Coordinated Approach on Asthma

"EPA promotes scientific understanding of environmental asthma triggers and ways to manage asthma in community settings through research, education and outreach. With federal, state and local partners, we are building the nation's capacity to control asthma and manage exposure to indoor and outdoor pollutants linked to asthma. Our purpose is to build knowledge and awareness to improve the quality of life for millions of Americans with asthma..."
EPA and asthma