Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A New Online Tool to Help Growers Select the Right Cover Crop

"Whether you’re a home gardener or a commercial grower of vegetables, cotton, or other agricultural crops, as soon as the growing season is over, you may want to consider planting cover crops—grasses, legumes and small grains that protect and improve the soil.
Cover crops, which are typically grown off season, help reduce soil erosion, increase organic matter and control weeds. At the same time, they can lessen the effects of extreme weather conditions such as drought and help improve water and air quality as well as wildlife habitat.
But how do you know which cover crops are right for you? Although a lot of information is available about individual cover crops, there’s a need to show how these crops could potentially complement one another when grown together.
An online tool developed by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists is a good place to start..."

Cover crop

EPA Adds Five Hazardous Waste Sites to Superfund’s National Priorities List and Proposes an Additional Seven

"Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is adding five hazardous waste sites that pose risks to human health and the environment to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). A separate action includes a proposal to add seven sites to the list.

“Since the creation of the Superfund program 35 years ago, EPA has been addressing the risk to human health and the environment as well as blight to the economy due to contamination left behind by owners and operators,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “Superfund cleanups protect communities’ health, their environments and their economic wellbeing, including some of the country’s most vulnerable populations.”...
The following seven sites have been proposed for addition to the NPL:
• Iowa - PCE Former Dry Cleaner (dry cleaner) in Atlantic, Iowa;
• Illinois - Old American Zinc Plant (zinc smelter) in Fairmont City, Ill.;
• Indiana - West Vermont Drinking Water Contamination (ground water plume) in Indianapolis, Ind.;
• Louisiana - SBA Shipyard (barge construction and maintenance) in Jennings, La.; 
• Nebraska - Iowa-Nebraska Light & Power Co. (former manufactured gas plant) in Norfolk, Neb.; 
• New Jersey - Former Kil-Tone Company (pesticide manufacturer) in Vineland, N.J.; and
• New Mexico - Lea and West Second Street (ground water plume) in Roswell, N.M...

Superfund sites

" Last week, the U.S. Department of Education announced the completion of the English Learner Tool Kit, designed to support educators in ensuring equal access to a high-quality education for English Learners (EL). This tool kit complements the English Learner Guidance that was released in January 2015 by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice to remind states and school districts of their civil rights obligations to EL students and Limited English Proficient parents..."
Teach Children Learning English

Celebrating Electric Vehicles

"Electric cars are more popular than ever. Earlier this month, drivers shared why they love these sustainable vehicles.
  1. With more than 1 million sold worldwide, plug-in electric vehicles -- also called electric cars or EVs -- are increasingly common on our nation’s roadways. Earlier this month, we highlighted the stories of EV owners across the nation as part of National Drive Electric Week by asking drivers to share their own experience.."

Measuring wage inequality within and across U.S. metropolitan areas, 2003–13

"Rising wage inequality in recent years has brought increased focus on the disparity between the highest wage earners and the lowest wage earners. Less attention, however, has been paid to how wage inequality varies by location or area. By one measure—the ratio of the 90th wage percentile to the 10th wage percentile, sometimes called the “90–10” ratio, inequality increased by 7 percent in the United States between 2003 and 2013. But this increase varied widely by area. The 90–10 ratio increased by over 20 percent in Oakland, CA, and Corvallis, OR, for example, while it declined in several other metropolitan areas in the United States, including three areas in Florida. This article examines how wage inequality varies by metropolitan area and how average wages, occupational composition, geographic location, and the size of the area contribute to the variation in this inequality measure..."
Wage inequality

Revisions to the Worker Protection Standard

"EPA is announcing stronger protections for the nation’s two million agricultural workers and their families working on farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses. These revisions to the 1992 Agricultural Worker Protection Standard will afford farmworkers similar health protections that are already afforded to workers in other industries.
Read the revised Worker Protection Standard..."
Worker safety

Monday, September 28, 2015

Confronting Violence:Improving Women's Lives

Acvitists and reformers in the United States have long recognized the harm of domestic violence and sought to improve the lives of women who were battered.
During the late 20th century, nurses took up the call. With passion and persistence they worked to reform a medical profession that overwhelmingly failed to acknowledge violence against women as a serious health issue. Beginning in the late 1970s, nurses were in the vanguard as they pushed the larger medical community to identify victims, adequately respond to their needs, and work towards the prevention of domestic violence. This is their story..."
Confronting violence

How Vaccines, a Collective Triumph of Modern Medicine, Conquered the World's Diseases

"Tucked away in a cabinet on the fifth floor of the National Museum of American History are rows of tiny bottles, boxes and needles. Acrid whiffs of evaporating medicine hints at their purpose.
These are the instruments that brought down polio, smallpox and diphtheria—diseases that in the past two centuries have killed thousands annually. By the end of the 20th century, however, mass vaccination programs have completely eradicated or brought these diseases under control both in the United States and abroad.
In the late 19th century, when James Flint (1838-1919), the Smithsonian’s first curator of Materia Medica (medical substances), began the collection, vaccines and serums were at the cutting edge of modern medicine. Flint collected some of the first vaccine products manufactured in America.
In the 1920s, Flint’s successor Charles Whitebread curated the Smithsonian Institution’s first exhibition on vaccines to showcase the recent medical advances at the time and to help educate Americans about the power of vaccines and serums in arresting epidemics in their communities. And today, the American History Museum continues that effort, helping families to understand and appreciate the safety and effectiveness of early childhood vaccine programs.
Whitebread worked closely with pharmaceutical companies to acquire their latest products. Under his direction, the collection grew to about 100 specimens including the influenza and typhus vaccines developed during World War II. Following in his footsteps, curators today collect vaccines, syringes and serums from pharmaceutical companies, druggists, physicians and public health organizations, making the collection one of the largest and most complete in the country..."

Crime in the United States: 2014

"Today, the FBI is releasing the 2014 edition of its annual report Crime in the United States, a statistical compilation of offense, arrest, and police employee data reported voluntarily by law enforcement agencies that participate in the Bureau’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. This latest report reveals that the estimated number of violent crimes reported by law enforcement to UCR’s Summary Reporting System during 2014 decreased 0.2 percent when compared with 2013 data. And the estimated number of property crimes decreased 4.3 percent from 2013 levels.
Here are some highlights from Crime in the United States, 2014:
  • There were an estimated 1,165,383 violent crimes (murder and non-negligent homicides, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults) reported by law enforcement.
  • Aggravated assaults accounted for 63.6 percent of the violent crimes reported, while robberies accounted for 28.0 percent, rape 7.2 percent, and murders 1.2 percent.
  • There were an estimated 8,277,829 property crimes (burglaries, larceny-thefts, and motor vehicle thefts) reported by law enforcement. Financial losses suffered by victims of these crimes were calculated at approximately $14.3 billion.
  • Larceny-theft accounted for 70.8 percent of all property crimes reported, burglary for 20.9 percent, and motor vehicle theft for 8.3 percent
  • Police made an estimated 11,205,833 arrests during 2014—498,666 for violent crimes, and 1,553,980 for property crimes. More than 73 percent of those arrested during 2014 were male.
  • The highest number of arrests was for drug abuse violations (1,561,231), followed by larceny-theft (1,238,190) and driving under the influence (1,117,852)..."

Crime statistics

Saturday, September 26, 2015

In Photos: Pope Francis Visits the White House

"President Obama, the First Lady, the Vice President, and Dr. Biden welcomed His Holiness Pope Francis this week during his first official trip to the United States. On Tuesday, they greeted him as he landed in the United States. And on Wednesday, they welcomed him to the White House in the largest State Arrival Ceremony since President Obama took office. Check out the Pope’s visit in photos..."
Pope Francis

Weekly Address: Dispose of Your Expired and Unwanted Prescription Drugs

"In this week's address, on “National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day,” the President spoke about the importance of preventing and treating substance use disorders. Overdoses from prescription pain medications kill thousands of Americans every year, and more often than not, those drugs come from the family medicine cabinet. In addition, many heroin users started out by misusing prescription drugs. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day and safely, conveniently, and responsibly dispose of expired and unwanted prescription drugs at collection sites throughout your community—no questions asked. Drug disposal programs are part of the President’s 2011 Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan, which also included increasing education for prescribers, expanding Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, and pursuing Smart on Crime enforcement. In his address, the President called on us all to continue to work to reduce substance use disorders through evidence-based treatment, prevention, and recovery..."
Unwanted prescription drug disposal

Preparing for a Power Outage

"When power outages occur during severe weather, the Energy Department works with federal, state and local agencies to help coordinate the response for restoring electricity as quickly and efficiently as possible. We also release periodic situation reports on power outage numbers and the severity of damage to electrical infrastructure.
That’s our power outage plan. What’s yours?
It’s important for everyone to plan for a potential power outage. Here are some ideas to consider as you make your own power outage plan:
  • Have extra batteries and a car charger for your mobile devices. This will allow you to stay up-to-date on news reports and use your phone to stay in touch with friends and family. If you use your car to charge your devices, make sure it’s in a well-ventilated place.
  • Keep a physical list of emergency, family and work contacts. In case your phone battery dies, you could find a landline to check on friends and loved ones.
  • Know the location of flashlights and a radio. Make sure these things are easy to access in case of power loss, and that you have extra batteries to keep them running.
  • Conserve your cell phone battery. Reduce the brightness of your screen, place your phone in airplane mode and close unused apps that draw power..."

Power outage

Census Business Builder: Small Business Edition

"The Census Business Builder:  Small Business Edition allows small business owners a way to easily navigate to and use key demographic and economic data to help guide their research into opening a new or expanding their existing business.  These key data includes the most recent and/or relevant data that Census provides that are useful to small business owners..."
Census Business Builder

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014

"This report presents data on income and poverty in the United States based on information collected in the 2015 and earlier Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplements (CPS ASEC) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. The 2013 income and poverty estimates used in this report are based on the 2014 CPS ASEC sample of 30,000 addresses eligible to complete the questionnaire that included redesigned questions for income. These 2013 estimates differ from those released in September 2014. See the text box “Source of Estimates” and Appendix D for more information.

Summary of findings:
 • Real median household income in 2014 was not statistically different from the 2013 median.
 • The official poverty rate in 2014 was not statistically different from 2013.

For most groups, the 2014 income estimates were not statistically different from 2013 estimates. There were a few exceptions. Real median household income increased for households maintained by a foreign-born householder; income declined for non-Hispanic White households, households maintained by a native-born householder, households in the West and those inside principal cities of metropolitan statistical areas. The 2014 poverty rate increased for two groups: people aged 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree and married-couple families.

This report contains two main sections; one focuses on income and the other on poverty. Each section presents estimates by characteristics such as race, Hispanic origin, nativity, and region.2 Other topics, such as earnings and family poverty rates are included only in the relevant section..."
Income and poverty

Top 5 Things You Should Know About the Sage Grouse

"The greater sage grouse -- a charismatic rangeland bird found in western states -- is making big headlines all over the country. Here are the top five things you should know about the sage grouse (and why you should care):
  1. The greater sage grouse does not require Endangered Species Act protection. Over the past five years, an unprecedented, science-based land conservation effort across the west has taken place to protect the sagebrush landscape and reduce the threats to the sage grouse’s habitat. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that these efforts have led to a huge wildlife win -- the sage grouse does not require Endangered Species Act protection...."
    Sage Grouse
six sage grouse

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Memory and Healthy Aging

"Some declines in cognition and memory with age are normal, but sometimes they can signal problems. Learn the signs and symptoms of dementia and cognitive impairments so you can help the older adults in your life seek treatment at the right time.
September is Healthy Aging Month, a great time to learn the signs and symptoms associated with dementia and cognitive impairments. Physical activity, social engagement, and a healthy diet help prevent chronic conditions and increase the longevity and quality of life of older adults, but despite engaging in these healthy activities, some adults may develop memory loss or dementia. Some declines in memory are a normal part of aging, but sometimes they can signal a problem. Learn how to tell the difference..."

Take a Stand on Falls

"Every day, more than 10,000 Americans turn age 65. Among this age group, falls are the leading cause of injury, making falls a growing problem for older adults across the nation. These injuries are treated in an emergency department every 13 seconds and claim a life every 20 minutes. Every year, 1 out of 3 older adults falls, yet less than half tell their doctor about it. Although falls pose various health risks—they can be prevented.
Join us on the first day of fall, September 23rd, along with our sponsoring partner, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) Falls Free Initiative to take a stand to prevent falls. Visit the Falls Prevention Awareness DayWeb page and follow the event on social media with the hashtag #FPAD15.Learn more about what communities across the nation are doing to keep older adults healthy, active, and independent longer..."

Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council Announces Availability of 2014 Data on Mortgage Lending

"The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) today announced the availability of data on mortgage lending transactions at 7,062 U.S. financial institutions covered by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). Covered institutions include banks, savings associations, credit unions, and mortgage companies. The HMDA data made available today cover 2014 lending activity, and include applications, originations, purchases and sales of loans, denials, and other actions related to applications.

The data released today also include disclosure statements for each financial institution, aggregate data for each metropolitan statistical area (MSA), nationwide summary statistics on lending patterns, and Loan/Application Registers (LARs) for each financial institution (LARs are modified to protect borrower privacy). The FFIEC prepares and distributes this information on behalf of its member agencies.

The HMDA data show the disposition of loan applications and include information on:
  • loan amount
  • loan type (such as conventional, Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or Veterans Administration (VA))
  • purpose (home purchase, home improvement, or refinancing)
  • property type (1-4 family, multifamily, or manufactured housing)
  • property location (MSA, state, county, and census tract)
  • applicant characteristics (race, ethnicity, sex, and income)
  • pricing-related data.."
Mortgage lending

EPA, California Notify Volkswagen of Clean Air Act Violations

"Today, EPA is issuing a notice of violation (NOV) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) to Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (collectively referred to as Volkswagen). The NOV alleges that four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars from model years 2009-2015 include software that circumvents EPA emissions standards for certain air pollutants. California is separately issuing an In-Use Compliance letter to Volkswagen, and EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have both initiated investigations based on Volkswagen’s alleged actions. 

“Using a defeat device in cars to evade clean air standards is illegal and a threat to public health,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Working closely with the California Air Resources Board, EPA is committed to making sure that all automakers play by the same rules. EPA will continue to investigate these very serious matters.”

“Working with US EPA we are taking this important step to protect public health thanks to the dogged investigations by our laboratory scientists and staff,” said Air Resources Board Executive Officer Richard Corey. “Our goal now is to ensure that the affected cars are brought into compliance, to dig more deeply into the extent and implications of Volkswagen’s efforts to cheat on clean air rules, and to take appropriate further action.”

As described in the NOV, a sophisticated software algorithm on certain Volkswagen vehicles detects when the car is undergoing official emissions testing, and turns full emissions controls on only during the test. The effectiveness of these vehicles’ pollution emissions control devices is greatly reduced during all normal driving situations. This results in cars that meet emissions standards in the laboratory or testing station, but during normal operation, emit nitrogen oxides, or NOx, at up to 40 times the standard. The software produced by Volkswagen is a “defeat device,” as defined by the Clean Air Act..."

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Executive Order -- Using Behavioral Science Insights to Better Serve the American People

"A growing body of evidence demonstrates that behavioral science insights -- research findings from fields such as behavioral economics and psychology about how people make decisions and act on them -- can be used to design government policies to better serve the American people.
Where Federal policies have been designed to reflect behavioral science insights, they have substantially improved outcomes for the individuals, families, communities, and businesses those policies serve. For example, automatic enrollment and automatic escalation in retirement savings plans have made it easier to save for the future, and have helped Americans accumulate billions of dollars in additional retirement savings. Similarly, streamlining the application process for Federal financial aid has made college more financially accessible for millions of students..."
Behavioral Science

Latest Local Health Insurance Statistics Available through Census Bureau's American Community Survey

"Between 2013 and 2014, the majority of metropolitan areas saw an increase in the percentage of people covered by health insurance, according to statistics released today from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the nation’s most comprehensive information source on American households. The 2014 American Community Survey provides statistics on over 40 social, economic and housing topics for U.S. communities with populations of 65,000 or more.
Between 2013 and 2014, all 50 states and the District of Columbia saw an increase in the percentage of people covered by health insurance.
“American Community Survey statistics inform us of how communities evolve and change, allowing us to see the effects of everything from natural disasters to new laws and policies,” Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said. “Each new year of statistics provides fresh information for the public to use and compare with the year before, helping to tell America’s story and that of communities from Boston to Honolulu and everywhere in between..."
Health Insurance, 2013-2014

Another Difference Between the Sexes – Health Insurance Coverage

"Today, the Census Bureau, with support from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, released its fifth annual report, The Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2014. This measure extends information provided by the official poverty measure by explicitly including benefits from many of the government programs designed to assist low-income families and individuals.
According to the report, the supplemental poverty measure rate was 15.3 percent last year, which was higher than the official measure of 14.9 percent for 2014. Both the supplemental measure rate and the official poverty rate were not significantly different from the corresponding rates in 2013..."
Health Insurance

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

U.S. Census Bureau Releases Key Statistics Honoring Hispanic Heritage Month

"In September 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week, observed during the week that included Sept. 15 and Sept. 16. Congress expanded the observance in 1989 to a monthlong celebration (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15) of the culture and traditions of those who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
Sept. 15 is the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively...
Hispanic heritage month

Establishment of the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

"The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announce the appointment of nationally recognized experts to the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (the Advisory Council).
“Antibiotic resistance is a growing public health threat across our country. That’s why it’s so important that we work together to address this challenge,” said HHS Secretary Burwell. “Work is underway to implement a National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, a research-driven plan to identify and coordinate action across the administration to prevent and control outbreaks of resistant pathogens. We have made progress including CDC’s new recommendations for nursing homes to improve antibiotic prescribing. But there is still more to do. I know this council will be important to this effort and provide invaluable advice on our programs, policies and plans to continue our work to combat this growing global threat.”

Antibiotics reduce illness and death from infectious diseases. However, an increasing number of bacterial infections no longer respond to our most powerful antibiotics, putting patients at risk for severe infections and even death. Detecting, preventing, and controlling antibiotic resistance requires a strategic, coordinated, and sustained effort.  The work of the Advisory Council complements other federal efforts, including the National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria and the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria. Together, these efforts provide a roadmap to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics, strengthen surveillance, prevent the transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, further new research, and improve international coordination..."
Antibiotic-Resistance Bacteria

Prostate Cancer Awareness

"The prostate is a walnut-sized organ located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum in men. It produces fluid that makes up a part of semen. The prostate gland surrounds the urethra (the tube that carries urine and semen through the penis and out of the body).
Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among American men. Most prostate cancers grow slowly, and don’t cause any health problems in men who have them. Learn about prostate cancer and talk to your doctor before you decide to get tested or treated..."
 Prostate cancer

Comparison Guidance: Income and Poverty

"Last year, the U.S. Census Bureau implemented methodological changes to the 2014Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC). Based onsubstantial research to improve the quality of the data we collect, we redesigned the way we asked the survey questions about income in 2014. Over the course of the past year, we evaluated the effects of the redesign and sought out experts to review and provide feedback on our efforts. Based on the results of our evaluation, we fully implemented the redesign in 2015.
Maintaining the time series means two estimates for 2013 income and poverty. 
In the 2014 ASEC, we introduced the redesigned income questions using a probability split panel design. Of the 98,000 addresses selected to participate in the 2014 ASEC, approximately 68,000 addresses received the traditional set of income questions. The remaining 30,000 addresses received the redesigned income questions.
The split design functions as a bridge for year-to-year comparisons of the data. Last year, we used the traditional income questions to look at changes between 2012 and 2013. This year, we will use the estimates from the sample eligible to receive the redesigned income questions to look at changes between 2013 and 2014..."
Income and poverty

Monday, September 14, 2015

FTC Sends Warning Letters about Green Certification Seals

 "The staff of the Federal Trade Commission has sent warning letters to five providers of environmental certification seals and 32 businesses using those seals, alerting them to the agency’s concerns that the seals could be considered deceptive and may not comply with the FTC’s environmental marketing guidelines.
“Environmental seals and certifications matter to people who want to shop green,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “But if the seals’ claims are broader than the products’ benefits, they can deceive people. We are holding companies accountable for their green claims.”
 Green approved, biodegradable, recyclable, compostable. If accurate, not deceptive because it lists the attributes forming the basis for the product’s certification. Bad example does not include those attributes and thus does not convey the basis for the certification.
Green certification

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Congressional Primer on Responding to Major Disasters and Emergencies

"The principles of disaster management assume a leadership role by the local, tribal, and state governments with the federal government providing coordinated supplemental resources and assistance, if requested and approved. The immediate response to a disaster is guided by the National Response Framework (NRF), which details roles and responsibilities at various levels of government, along with cooperation from the private and nonprofit sectors, for differing incidents and support functions. A declaration of a major disaster or emergency under the authority of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, P.L. 93-288, as amended, must, in almost all cases, be requested by the governor of a state or the chief executive of an affected Indian tribal government, who at that point has declared that the situation is beyond the capacity of the state or tribe to respond. The governor/chief also determines which parts of the state/tribal territory they will request assistance for and suggests the types of assistance programs that may be needed. The President considers the request, in consultation with officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and makes the initial decisions on the areas to be included as well as the programs that are implemented..."
Disasters and emergencies

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Weekly Address: A New College Scorecard

"In this week's address, the President announced the launch of a new College Scorecard, meant to help students and parents identify which schools provide the biggest bang for your buck. Designed with input from those who will use it most, the Scorecard offers reliable data on factors important to prospective students, such as how much graduates earn, and how much debt they have when they graduate.
In an economy where some higher education is still the surest ticket to the middle class, the choices that Americans make when searching for and selecting a college have never been more important. That’s why the President is committed to making sure there exists reliable information that helps students find the college that best fits their needs so that they can succeed.

College scorecard

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Future of Concussions: How 5 New Advances Could Change Treatment

"In last year's NFL season, there were 202 diagnosed concussions. Julian Edelman, a receiver for the New England Patriots, sustained one of the most talked about helmet-to-helmet hits during the Super Bowl, when he continued to play without a medical check after Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor slammed him. The incident prompted a new concussion protocol, referred to as Resolution G-2, or the “Julian Edelman Rule,” which allows spotters in the press box to contact officials on the field and call a medical timeout in cases of potential concussions. Until now, only sideline refs, who have limited field of vision, were able to stop play.
Other efforts have called attention to the issue. A class-action lawsuit passed this spring gave settlements of up to $5 million to former NFL players who suffer from serious medical conditions related to repeated head injuries. There’s even a Will Smith movie, aptly named Concussion, coming out this December about Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist who discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive degenerative disease found in athletes with repeated brain trauma, when performing an autopsy on Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster in 2002..."

As Wildfires Continue to Burn, New Maps Shows Expansion of Wildland-Urban Interface

"A new U.S. Forest Service report shows the continued expansion of housing development near forests, an area referred to as the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI), with direct implications for the cost of wildfire fighting. Increasing densities of people and infrastructure in the WUI makes wildfire management more complex and requires more firefighting assets to ensure an appropriate, safe and effective response, which in turn drives up the cost of fighting wildfires. Expansion of the WUI has direct implications for wildfire management as more of the Forest Service's resources are spent each year to provide the firefighters, aircraft and other assets necessary to protect lives, property and natural resources in the wildland urban interface regions. In addition, overall fire seasons have grown longer, and the frequency, size and severity of wildland fires has increased.
In recent decades, research has shown a steady increase in the area that is part of the WUI, as documented and visually depicted in a new publication titled, " The 2010 Wildland-Urban Interface of the Conterminous United States." The percent of homes in the WUI increased by over five percent between 2000 and 2010 (latest data available). As of 2010, the WUI of the lower 48 states includes about 44 million houses, equivalent to one in every three houses in the country, with the highest concentrations of houses in the WUI in California, Texas and Florida. The publication includes new, high-resolution maps showing housing density, land ownership, land cover and wildland vegetation cover for each state..."


US Surgeon General launches campaign with National Call to Action on Walking

"The United States Surgeon General today issued a call to action to address major public health challenges such as heart disease and diabetes. Step It Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities articulates the health benefits of walking while addressing the fact that many communities unacceptably lack safe and convenient places for individuals to walk or wheelchair roll.
“Everyone deserves to have a safe place to walk or wheelchair roll. But in too many of our communities, that is not the reality,” said Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, the 19th U.S. Surgeon General. “We know that an active lifestyle is critical to achieving good overall health. And walking is a simple, effective and affordable way to build physical activity into our lives. That is why we need to step it up as a country ensuring that everyone can choose to walk in their own communities.”...
To read the Surgeon General’s Call to Action and learn how to promote walking and walkable communities, please visit And, if you’d like to add a little music to your walks, be sure to check out the Surgeon General’s walking playlist on Pandora at" 

Surgeon's General and walking