Saturday, October 31, 2015

Speaking of Pumpkins

"In the fall a person’s fancy often turns to thoughts of…pumpkins. The season is underway, from the ornamental pumpkins of Halloween to the pies that grace many tables at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Where do pumpkins come from? Though six States account for nearly half of U.S. production, pumpkins are grown in virtually every State of the union. This is important to consider in light of recent media reports of a looming pumpkin shortage.
Reports of “the great pumpkin shortage of 2015” cite heavy rains during the planting season in central Illinois as the culprit. Illinois is the top producing State, and most of its output is processed (think canned pumpkin for pies). So the concern this year is for Thanksgiving rather than for Halloween. Illinois’ Tazewell County is the top producer of pumpkins in the United States. And the town of Morton, near Peoria, home to a huge canning facility, is the (self-proclaimed) Pumpkin Capital of the World..."

The African American History Museum Will Become a Five-Story-Tall Movie Screen

"The building of the National Museum of African American History and Culture is now complete with interior work underway. Now marks the final countdown to the museum’s grand opening next Fall (exact dates have not yet been announced). Though an actual visit to the long-awaited museum is still many weeks away, visitors to the National Mall next month will get a taste of what’s to come when the museum’s façade will be transformed into a lively and spectacular display of video, music and light.
When the sun goes down each evening between November 16 and 18, the museum’s south exterior, facing Madison Drive, and its west exterior, on 15th Street near the Washington Monument, will be illuminated by a seven-minute video, entitled “Commemorate and Celebrate Freedom.” Produced by the renowned filmmakers Stanley J. Nelson and Marcia Smith of Firelight Media, and animated by Quixotic Entertainment, the video projection will transform the museum into a five-story, block-long 3D canvas, according to museum officials..."
African American History Museum

Wealth of Congress Index

"Every year since 1990, Roll Call has raked through congressional financial disclosure forms to create our Wealth of Congress Index. In the course of analyzing the data of the 50 richest members of Congress, the 10 "poorest" and all the others elected to represent Americans in the Capitol, we discovered scores of interesting things that illustrate how they made their money, how they keep it and how some use the illusion of transparency to their advantage.
The disclosure forms are imperfect at best — members are required to report values in broad ranges of minimums, starting at $1 to $1,000 and ending with any asset or liability worth $50 million or more. Our equation for calculating the minimum net worth of each member remains unchanged: Total minimum reported value of assets minus total minimum reported value of liabilities equals total minimum net worth.
This year's Wealth of Congress Index, derived from forms covering the 2014 calendar year, shows it took a minimum net worth of $7.28 million to crack the exclusive 50 richest club. The full list, with breakdowns of members' assets and liabilities, is below..."
Congress wealth

A Survey of House and Senate Committee Rules on Subpoenas

"House Rule XI, clause 2(m)(1) and (3) authorizes House committees and subcommittees to issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents. Senate Rule XXVI, paragraph 1 authorizes Senate committees and subcommittees to subpoena witnesses and documents. In turn, most House and Senate committees have adopted in their own rules subpoena provisions containing procedures for exercising this grant of power from their parent chamber.

Committee rules may cover authorization, issuing, and service of subpoenas; may cover just one or two of these actions; or may be silent on exercise of the subpoena power. A subpoena must be authorized—a decision to approve this legal order to a person to appear to testify or to provide documents. Once authorized, a subpoena must be issued—signed and given to an individual to deliver the subpoena to the person named in it. To deliver a subpoena to the person named is to serve the subpoena.

Most House and Senate committees have specifically included in their rules one or more provisions on committees’ and subcommittees’ power to authorize subpoenas by majority vote. Most House committees have also delegated to their chair the power to authorize subpoenas. Many of these rules delegating authority also require the chair to consult the committee’s ranking minority Member..."
House Subpoenas

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Collaboration and Innovation are Keys to Organic Success

"For years, the organic industry has experienced enormous growth, defying expectations and creating exciting opportunities for producers and entrepreneurs around the world. 2014 was another record year for the organic community, with 19,474 certified organic operations in the United States and nearly 28,000 certified organic operations from more than 120 countries around the globe.
The retail market for organic products is now valued at more than $39 billion in the U.S. and over $75 billion worldwide. With its rapidly growing market and high consumer interest, USDA is focused on helping this area of agriculture achieve even greater success. In May 2013, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued guidance that identified organic priorities for the Department, including training and outreach, growing the organic sector, reducing paperwork, improving research, and gathering data..."
Organic farming

Hazards Shouldn’t Lead to Disasters: NIST Releases New Community Resilience Planning Guide

"The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today issued the Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems to help U.S. communities better withstand and rebound from the shocks of severe weather, earthquakes and other hazards.
Issued on the third anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, which killed 157 people in the United States and wreaked havoc and destruction from Maine to North Carolina, the new planning guide is aimed at community leaders in both the public and private sectors. It lays out a practical six-step process that communities can follow to develop resilience plans to help them prepare for hazards, adapt to changing conditions and withstand and rapidly recover from disruptions..."
Hazards and disasters

The Nation's Report Card: 2015 Mathematics and Reading

"The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is a continuing and nationally representative measure of trends in academic achievement of U.S. elementary and secondary students in various subjects. It is the largest continuing and nationally representative assessment of what our nation’s students know and can do in select subjects. It was first administered in 1969 to measure student achievement nationally. Teachers, principals, parents, policymakers, and researchers all use NAEP results to assess progress and develop ways to improve education in the United States..." 
Nation's Report Card

Wisconsin Blue Book, 2015-2016

The latest edition of the Wisconsin Blue Book, compiled by the Wisconsin Legislative Bureau, is now available to access online.
Wisconsin blue book

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

USDA Foods: From American Farms to American Tables

Food Purchasing Infographic
An infographic highlighting food purchases and programs that help feed those in need. Click to view a larger version.
Food assistance

The Next Gen Shipbuilder: Fincantieri Marinette Marine

"Sparks flying, the smell of flux and metal fusion in the air, and a fog horn echoing in the distance. On Friday, October 23, Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) welcomed over 100 local high school students from Marinette, WI and Menominee, Mich. to learn about the art of shipbuilding, and what it takes to become the next generation Shipbuilder. 
Students were hand selected by school instructors, based on their aptitude and interest in Voc Tech classes, math, and engineering.  FMM, the largest employer within the local community, teamed with employee development partner Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) to provide participants with a firsthand introduction to the fast paced and rewarding careers in shipbuilding. The event included demonstrations in welding, electrical, engineering, and operations.  Presenters covered not only the specifics about each trade, but also the education needed to obtain that position, and career paths for those excelling in that discipline. Students learned that in addition to obtaining a job in these specific areas, individuals with this specific training may also pursue careers in Supervision, Program Management, Purchasing, and Sales.  The event was held at the Northcoast Marine Manufacturing Training Center, a state of the art training facility managed by NWTC, located one block from the shipyard. The center was designed with Marine Manufacturing in mind, equipped with welding, electrical, and brazing labs, in addition to traditional classrooms. This proved to be a perfect venue to introduce local students to the skilled trades in a safe and control environment..."
Fincantieri marinette marine

5 Things to Know About the WHO’s Statement on Red Meat and Cancer

"It was the statement heard ‘round the world—people paused mid-bite, holding up that bacon cheeseburger in disbelief, as the World Health Organization announced yesterday that it would classify both processed and red meat as carcinogens. Here are five things to know about the announcement:
The Term “Carcinogens” Can Be Misleading
That’s because all WHO findings fall into a category system that can be pretty confusing. WHO’s classifications “are based on strength of evidence not degree of risk,” Ed Yong writes for The Atlantic. That means that things like processed meat that fall into Group 1 (established carcinogens) are similar not because of how risky they are, but because of the strength of evidence that they cause cancer. Hence, plutonium and processed meat fall into the same category—though plutonium is much more likely to give you cancer. The categories get even more confusing as you head into groups 2A and 2B, writes Yong. Given the criteria used by the WHO, it's silly to compare eating meat with something as carcinogenic as smoking or handling radioactive materials, so proceed with caution..."
Red meat

Cyber Tip: Social Media and the Use of Personal Information

"The myriad of social networking websites currently available have hundreds of millions of registered users. But just like any kind of cyberspace communication, using social media can involve some risk.
Once a user posts information to a social networking site, that information can no longer be considered private and can be used for criminal purposes. Even if you use the highest security settings on your account, others may—intentionally or not—leak your information. And once in the hands of criminals, this personal information can be used to conduct all kinds of cyber attacks against you or your family members, friends, or business associates in an effort to obtain additional and even more sensitive personal information..."
Cyber & social media

Breast Cancer Screening for Women with Disabilities

"October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. All women ages 50 to 74, including women with disabilities, should have a screening mammogram every two years as an important way to lower the risk of dying from breast cancer.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in the United States, and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women. Getting an X-ray of the breast every two years, called amammogram, is the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easiest to treat..."
Breast cancer

Protect Against Respiratory Syncytial Virus

"Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a common virus. It can spread through coughing and sneezing. You can also get RSV by touching surfaces that have RSV on them, then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Most children get RSV by the time they are 2 years old. Healthy children usually experience mild, cold-like symptoms and recover on their own within a week or two. But RSV can cause severe lung infections, including bronchiolitis (infection of small airways in the lungs) and pneumonia. Each year in the United States, an estimated 57,527 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized due to RSV infection..."Respiratory Syncytial virus


"America has long been a nation of innovators. The United States is the birthplace of the Internet, which today connects three billion people around the world. American scientists and engineers sequenced the human genome, invented the semiconductor, and sent humankind to the moon. And America is not done yet.

For an advanced economy such as the United States, innovation is a wellspring of economic growth. While many countries can grow by adopting existing technologies and business practices, America must continually innovate because our workers and firms are often operating at the technological frontier. Innovation is also a powerful tool for addressing our most pressing challenges as a nation, such as enabling more Americans to lead longer, healthier lives, and accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy..."

Advancing Open and Citizen-Centered Government

"Today, the United States released our third Open Government National Action Plan, announcing more than 40 new or expanded initiatives to advance the President’s commitment to an open and citizen-centered government.
The release is part of our membership in the Open Government Partnership — launched by President Obama and seven other heads of state — which in just 4 years has grown from 8 to now 66 countries. Member countries and their civil society partners are all working to increase public integrity, enhance public access to information, improve management of public resources, and give the public a more active voice in government processes. As a member of the Open Government Partnership, the United States issues Open Government National Action Plans outlining ambitious commitments to advance open government every 2 year..."
Open government

Let's Fix Our Criminal Justice System

"The Case for Reform
Over the last few decades, we've locked up more non-violent offenders than ever before — and for longer than ever.
Since he was a Senator, the President has noted that in too many cases, our criminal justice system represents a pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails. And while he's since taken steps to address it, much of our criminal justice system remains unfair.
And people of all political persuasions, in both  are ready to do something about it..."
Criminal justice system

Homegrowns and Rolling Stones

"Most people in the United States — about 59 percent — live in the state where they were born. Nevertheless, that leaves a large share of people who have moved from their home state to another part of country. This migration dynamic varies, as some states are more likely to have a mostly homegrown population while other states have large shares of people born elsewhere.
The Census Bureau released two tables last month that make it easy for researchers and local communities to explore the places where people were born compared to where they currently reside, using American Community Survey data. The first table crosses state of birth by state of current residence. The second table is a Historic Place of Birth Dashboard, an interactive table that shows the total population over time and the population born in a selected state. This is the first time these tables have been available from the American Community Survey..."
Homegrowns & migration

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Multi-Prong Strategy Essential to Preventing Workplace Harassment

" Placing pressure on companies by buyers, empowering bystanders to be part of the solution, multiple access points for reporting harassment, prompt investigations, and swift disciplinary action when warranted, along with strong support from top leadership, are some of the measures employers can take to prevent workplace harassment, panels of experts told the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace (STF) at a public meeting held yesterday in Los Angeles.
This was the second public meeting of the STF, and the first to be held outside of Washington, DC.  The STF was announced by EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang in March, 2015, and it is co-chaired byEEOC Commissioners Chai R. Feldblum and Victoria A. Lipnic.  Members of the STF include individuals representing the worlds of academia, law, labor, and business.  This meeting was designed to explore innovative steps to prevent workplace harassment..."
Workplace harassment

Qatar Country Analysis

"Qatar is the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the world, and the country’s exports of LNG, crude oil, and petroleum products provide a significant portion of government revenues.

Like many of its neighbors, Qatar relies on its energy sector to support its economy. According to the Qatar National Bank (QNB), Qatar’s earnings from its hydrocarbon sector accounted for 49% of the country’s total government revenues in 2014, a figure that has declined over the past four years.1 The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that Qatar earned $38 billion from net oil exports in 2014.."

Supreme Court Appointment Process: Senate Debate and Confirmation Vote

"The procedure for appointing a Justice to the Supreme Court is provided for in the U.S. Constitution in only a few words. The “Appointments Clause” in the Constitution (Article II, Section 2, clause 2) states that the President “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint ... Judges of the supreme Court.” While the process of appointing Justices has undergone some changes over two centuries, its most essential feature— the sharing of power between the President and the Senate—has remained unchanged: To receive lifetime appointment to the Court, one must first be formally selected (“nominated”) by the President and then approved (“confirmed”) by the Senate.

For the President, the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice can be a notable measure by which history will judge his Presidency. For the Senate, a decision to confirm is a solemn matter as well, for it is the Senate alone, through its “Advice and Consent” function, without any formal involvement of the House of Representatives, which acts as a safeguard on the President’s judgment. This report provides information and analysis related to the final stage of the confirmation process for a nomination to the Supreme Court—the consideration of the nomination by the full Senate, including floor debate and the vote on whether to approve the nomination..."
Supreme Court

Working in America: New Tables Detail Demographics of Work Experience

"More than seven in 10 people of traditional working age (16 to 64 years old) worked in 2014; for people 65 and over, at least one in five had worked in the past 12 months. In fact, 12.4 percent of people 70 and over continued to work.
Of these older workers, many worked full time, year round; nearly half of workers age 65 to 69 and nearly a third of workers 70 and over worked full time, year round. Among workers 65 and over, men worked longer hours each week than women; 57.6 percent of men compared with 45.5 percent of women 65 and over clocked in 35 or more hours per week..."
Work experience

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Fall Migration Underway – Make Sure to Protect Your Poultry with Good Biosecurity Practices

"Earlier this year, we experienced this country’s largest outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza, affecting more than 200 commercial and backyard poultry flocks.  While there have been no new cases since mid-June, we ask that all poultry owners stay alert and be vigilant.  This virus can be carried by wild waterfowl (who do not get sick from it).  The fall migration is underway, so these migratory ducks, geese and other birds have the potential to bring the virus with them anywhere in the country.  It doesn’t mean they will – but they could.   So if you own or handle poultry, it is essential to follow good biosecurity practices at all times..."
Fall bird migration

In Wisconsin, Evidence of Human Sacrifice

"Wisconsin's Aztalan State Park is home a mysterious pyramidal mound built by the prehistoric Native Americans who once lived there. Excavations of the site have yielded intriguing, and grisly, findings (2:26)(video)..."

Aztalan State Park

New guidance on economically targeted investments in retirement plans from US Labor Department

"The U.S. Labor Department has issued new guidance regarding economically targeted investments (ETIs) made by retirement plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. ETIs are investments that are selected for the benefits they create in addition to the investment return to the employee benefit plan investor.
"Investing in the best interests of a retirement plan and in the growth of a community can go hand in hand," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "We have heard from stakeholders that a 2008 department interpretation has unduly discouraged plan fiduciaries from considering economically targeted investments. Changes in the financial markets since that time, particularly improved metrics and tools allowing for better analyses of investments, make this the right time to clarify our position."
The Labor Department previously addressed issues relating to ETIs in Interpretive Bulletin 94-1 (IB 94-1) and Interpretive Bulletin 2008-1 (IB 2008-1). IB 94-1 corrected a misperception that investments in ETIs are incompatible with ERISA's fiduciary obligations. On Oct. 17, 2008, the department replaced IB 94-1 with IB 2008-01. However, the department has now concluded that in the seven years since its publication, IB 2008-01 has unduly discouraged fiduciaries from considering ETIs and environmental, social and governance ("ESG") factors under appropriate circumstances..."
Retirement plans

Quarterly and Mean Monthly Personal, Family and Household Income by Selected Characteristi

Find the latest statistics of family and household income as published by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Family and household income

3 Facts Most People Don't Know about Prescription Drug Abuse:

"Prescription drug abuse and heroin use have taken a heartbreaking toll on too many Americans and their families. Today, President Obama traveled to West Virginia — the state that's home to the highest rate of overdose deaths in the nation — to hear directly from people in the community and discuss new actions to fight this epidemic. 
Get the facts about prescription drug abuse in this country, and then watch the conversation..."
Prescription drug abuse

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

These Are the Oldest Known Flowers in the World

"The evolution of flowers, Charles Darwin famously said, was an “abominable mystery,” chiefly because they seemed to suddenly burst into the fossil record 100 million years ago. Naturalists have struggled to fill in the blanks that puzzled Darwin, and now, after a dogged search by Bernard Gomez, a paleobotanist from France, there’s a new candidate for the oldest known flower. Gomez studied more than 1,000 fossils of the extinct aquatic plant Montsechia, recovered in abundance from sites in Spain and preserved in collections across Europe. In the surprisingly messy world of plant taxonomy, Montsechia has been classified as a conifer, among other classifications, but Gomez concluded that it possessed enclosed seeds, the hallmark of an angiosperm, or flowering plant. “I went to the British Museum, I went to Paris, I went to Berlin and Barcelona,” he says. A poor excuse for a flower by today’s standards, Montsechia, which dates to about 130 million years ago, didn’t even have petals. Its pollen floated in water instead of through air. But along with ancient specimens from China, Portugal and the Americas, it embodies the humble origins of the glorious forms we see all over the world today..."
Oldest known flowers

Monday, October 19, 2015

DOL Resources for Women

"This is a central, comprehensive and searchable repository of Department of Labor resources, tools, and publications of interest to women..."
Resources for Women

Law Enforcement Officers Killed in 2014

"On May 29, 2014, a 42-year-old trooper with the New York State Police made a traffic stop on an interstate highway north of Binghamton. The veteran trooper parked behind the stopped car and approached the driver’s side window. In that fleeting moment, a truck traveling in the same direction at about 90 miles per hour suddenly swerved, sideswiping the car and striking the trooper, killing him instantly. The truck’s driver, a 60-year-old male with a criminal record, admitted after his capture that he intentionally veered to hit the trooper.
The chilling account of the unprovoked attack is just one of dozens of detailed narratives recounting the felonious deaths of law enforcement officers in the United States in 2014. The accounts are a central component of the latest Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) report, issued today, which shows that 96 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty last year—51 as a result of felonious acts and 45 in accidents. The annual report, released by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, also shows that 48,315 officers were victims of line-of-duty assaults in 2014..."
Law enforcement officers killed

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Robert E. Lee’s demand for the surrender of John Brown and his party, October 18, 1859

"On October 16, 1859, abolitionist John Brown and his "army" of some 20 men seized the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia) in preparation for his war for slave liberation. By the morning of October 18, when Brown refused to accept the terms of this note, marines under the command of Bvt. Col. Robert E. Lee, stormed the building and captured Brown and the survivors of his party. The operation that Brown envisioned as the first blow in a war against slavery was over in 36 hours...."
John Brown's surrender

Where Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse Defeated Colonel Custer

"Custer's Last Stand took place at the Little Bighorn River, where he led over two hundred soldiers into battle against thousands of Lakota and Cheyenne warriors (3:58)..."

Custer's Last Stand

World Statistics Day 2015

"The United Nations General Assemby has designated October 20,2015 as World Statistics Day with the theme "Better Data, Better Lives".

At the Census Bureau, we strive to make our statistics easy to access wth mobile apps, interactive maps, and other online tools like the Population Clock, Economic Indicators, American FactFinder, and Quick Facts.   Our developer tools include Census APLs, CitySDK, Census Business Builder, and Industry Snapshots aid businesses..."
World Statistics Day

The Internet of Things: Frequently Asked Quetions

"“Internet of Things” (IoT) refers to networks of objects that communicate with other objects and with computers through the Internet. “Things” may include virtually any object for which remote communication, data collection, or control might be useful, such as vehicles, appliances, medical devices, electric grids, transportation infrastructure, manufacturing equipment, or building systems.

In other words, the IoT potentially includes huge numbers and kinds of interconnected objects. It is often considered the next major stage in the evolution of cyberspace. Some observers believe it might even lead to a world where cyberspace and human space would seem to effectively merge, with unpredictable but potentially momentous societal and cultural impacts.

Two features makes objects part of the IoT—a unique identifier and Internet connectivity. Such “smart” objects each have a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address to identify the object sending and receiving information. Smart objects can form systems that communicate among themselves, usually in concert with computers, allowing automated and remote control of many independent processes and potentially transforming them into integrated systems.."


"Welcome to MetaLib, a service of the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP)! MetaLib is a federated search engine that searches multiple U.S. Federal government databases, retrieving reports, articles, and citations while providing direct links to selected resources available online. To learn more, view additional brief or detailed search information..."

Friday, October 16, 2015

Wisconsin not only the “Dairy State” but also the “Cranberry State”

"Most have probably heard Wisconsin’s famous moniker “The America’s Dairyland.” This nickname is definitely befitting considering our long history with milk production. But, while our milk, cheeses, and other dairy products are available year-round, the fall season brings attention to a completely different commodity. I’m talking about cranberries.
Alongside pumpkins, apples, and pears, cranberries are a staple of American cuisine during the fall months. But did you know that most cranberries in the United States come from Wisconsin? Our growers produce 60 percent of the cranberries in the United States?  Last year alone, more than 5 million barrels of cranberries came from Wisconsin. One barrel weighs 100 pounds, which means our growers produced more than 250,000 tons of this amazing fruit.
Despite our generous crops of apples and pears, the cranberry is the number one fruit crop in Wisconsin in both size and economic value. And while the number of farms may seem low – according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, there are 241 cranberry farms in our state – these farms cover 20,641 acres across 20 of Wisconsin counties. The crop is typically harvested in late September through October, so our cranberry growers are working hard as we speak to make sure cranberries are available to everyone across the United States and abroad..."

Plan Ahead Before Using a Portable Generator

"You’re at home during a storm and the power goes out. There are no lights and no television. Your cell phone is running out of power and the stove doesn’t work. The groceries you just bought are in the refrigerator, and it’s only a matter of time before they spoil. Depending on the time of year, there is no air conditioning or heat. You are desperate for relief. Electricity, please!
So you power up the portable gas generator.
CPSC is concerned about your safety and the safety of your family in this chaotic situation. Why?
Portable generators pump out DEADLY carbon monoxide (CO) in their exhaust. CO is called the invisible killer, because you cannot see or smell CO. In fact, CO from a generator can kill you in minutes.
That’s why you need to plan ahead before a storm and before you use a generator. A new report from CPSC reveals some frightening facts:
  • CPSC is aware of more than 740 people who died from carbon monoxide poisoning from portable generators from 2004 to 2014.
  • Most of the generator-related CO deaths took place in fixed-structure homes.
  • In 70 percent of the deaths in fixed-structure homes, the generator was used inside the home’s living area, including the basement, closets and doorways – exactly where a generator should NEVER be used.
  • In 25 percent of the deaths in fixed-structure homes, the generator was used inside the garage – another place where a generator should NEVER be used.
  • African Americans or non-Hispanic blacks made up 24 percent of generator-related CO deaths. That’s nearly double the proportion of African Americans in the U.S. population..."
    Portable generator

A Global Effort to Phase Down Hydrofluorocarbons

"When we think of the gases that contribute to climate change, carbon dioxide comes to mind first -- with good reason. CO2 accounts for about 82 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and persists for centuries.

But other gases contribute to climate change as well, some of which are many times more potent than CO2 though less abundant in the atmosphere. One class of these is hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, gases used in many air conditioners and refrigerators. HFCs can be up to 10,000 times more damaging to the climate than CO2 -- and absent ambitious action to limit their use, HFC emissions are projected to triple in the U.S. by 2030...."

Keeping Workers Safe

"Studying workers' sizes and shapes and how they perform tasks can prevent injury on the job. CDC offers manufacturers, employers, and others important resources and research findings for improving the workspaces, machines, vehicles, and personal protective equipment of workers.

What is engineering anthropometry?

Engineering anthropometry (an″thro-pom´ĕ-tre) is the science of defining a person's physical measures, such as their size and shape. CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducts engineering anthropometric research to prevent work-related injuries and deaths by studying how work spaces and equipment fit today's diverse worker population. This includes the fit of tools, machines, vehicles, and personal protective equipment (PPE).
Before NIOSH began anthropometry research in the early 2000s, anthropometric data from the surveys of military personnel collected in the 1950s and 1970s were used. These decades-old data do not represent the sizes and body types of today's workers who are much more diverse in age, gender, and ethnicity..."
Worker safety

Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response

"The rise of the insurgent terrorist group known as the Islamic State (IS, aka the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL/ISIS) and Russia’s military intervention on behalf of the Syrian government have reshaped debates over U.S. policy toward the ongoing civil conflict in Syria, now in its fifth year. The Islamic State controls large areas of northeastern and central Syria, from which it continues to launch assaults on forces opposed to and aligned with the government of President Bashar al Asad. Meanwhile, fighting elsewhere pits government forces and their foreign allies against a range of anti-government insurgents, some of whom have received limited U.S. assistance. Russian military intervention in support of Asad poses a direct challenge to U.S. goals in Syria, and is raising new questions about the future of the conflict and U.S. strategy..."

Current Economic Conditions ..Beige Book, Oct. 14, 2015

"Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts point to continued modest expansion in economic activity during the reporting period from mid-August through early October. The pace of growth was characterized as modest in the New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago, and St. Louis Districts, while the Minneapolis, Dallas, and San Francisco Districts described growth as moderate. Boston and Richmond reported that activity increased. Kansas City, on the other hand, noted a slight decline in economic activity. Compared with the previous report, the pace of growth is said to have slowed in the Richmond and Chicago Districts. A number of Districts cite the strong dollar as restraining manufacturing activity as well as tourism spending. Business contacts across the nation were generally optimistic about the near-term outlook..."
Beige Book(10/2015)

School Enrollment

"School enrollment captures the population who report being enrolled in a regular school. A regular school advances a person towards an elementary school certificate, high school diploma, or college, university, or professional school (such as law or medicine) degree..."
School Enrollment

Explore America’s Best-Kept Secret: National Wildlife Refuges

"With free entrance on Sunday, October 11, to celebrate the start of Wildlife Refuge Week, now is the perfect time to visit your closest wildlife refuge! Named for the world-renowned environmentalist, Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Maine is a great place to find peace and connect with nature on a quiet stroll, catching glimpses of bird and bunnies in the woods and on the beach. Open in all seasons, the refuge is always welcoming -- but it’s especially amazing in the fall..."
National Wildlife Refuges

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Behavior Therapy First for Young Children with ADHD

"October is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) awareness month. Did you know that many children with severe symptoms of ADHD are diagnosed before 6 years of age? Young children with ADHD need the right treatment for ADHD. Learn about using parent behavior therapy first to help young children with ADHD.
ADHD is one of the most common enduring conditions of childhood and affects many children, including very young children. Those with more severe symptoms are often diagnosed earlier.Read about trends in diagnosis and medication treatment for ADHD..."

Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Products

"The Census Bureau is releasing a selection of data products on income, poverty and health insurance coverage. These products include:

Income, poverty, health insurance

Labor law highlights, 1915–2015

"“Democracy cannot work unless it is honored in the factory as well as the polling booth; men cannot truly be free in body and spirit unless their freedom extends into places where they earn their daily bread.” This declaration, uttered by Senator Robert Wagner as he introduced the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935, offers a fair summation of the reasoning underlying many of the labor laws enacted during the past century. Equality and the rule of law are considered among the most important principles of democracy—principles that Wagner articulated. This article highlights some of the more important labor laws that have been passed in the hundred years that the Monthly Labor Review has been in publication. All the legislation discussed in this article has, in some way, advanced principles of democracy within the U.S. workforce..."
Labor law

Justice Department Data Reveal 29 Percent Drop in Criminal Prosecutions of Corporations

"Despite repeated claims to the contrary by top officials at the U.S. Department of Justice, the government's criminal prosecution of corporate violators has declined substantially in the last decade, falling by almost one third(29%) between FY 2004 and FY 2014..."

Criminal prosecutions

Monday, October 12, 2015

Suprem Court Revisions of Opinions

"Beginning with the October Term 2015, postrelease edits to slip opinions on the Court’s website will be highlighted and the date they occur will be noted. The date of any revision will be listed in a new “Revised” column on the charts of Opinions, In-Chambers Opinions, and Opinions Related to Orders under the “Opinions” tab on the website. The location of a revision will be highlighted in the opinion. When a cursor is placed over a highlighted section, a dialog box will open to show both old and new text.  See "Sample Opinions" for an example of how postrelease edits will appear on the website..."
U.S. Supreme Court

A Woman Bought a House For $100,000, Then Learned Frank Lloyd Wright Built It

"Athough renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed more than 1,000 houses, only 532 were built before his death in 1959. That's why a Wright home commands huge prices on the open market today — they're just not common. So when someone buys an ordinary house, lives in it for years, then discovers that Wright made it? Well, that's a steal.
As AP's Scott Bauer reports, a Madison home purchased for $100,000 has been verified as a Frank Lloyd Wright original. Linda McQuillen, who bought the house in 1989 when it was in a state of disrepair, had no idea she was living in historic architecture — though she figured it was an imitation of his Prairie School style — until a Wright scholar wrote her a letter about the property.
The house is one of only 14 remaining examples of Wright's affordable housing project, writes theWisconsin State Journal’s Gayle Worland. Hoping to make small dwellings available to all, he came up with an idea to sell the "American System-Built Home," a structure that was built in a factory, and then assembled on site. Unfortunately, the experiment failed at the onset of World War I, partially due to conflicts with his business partner. Several houses were built in Midwestern cities before the business went kaput, including McQuillen's, which dates back to 1917..."
Frank Lloyd Wright's Madison built house

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Land and Water Conservation Fund

"Investing in nature is investing in the future. The Land & Water Conservation Fund was created in 1965 to protect the nation's land and heritage for use by all Americans. But without action from Congress, it is set to expire today. If this happens, it will rob local communities of future conservation, historic preservation and recreation opportunities.
Explore 5 amazing public lands that were made possible by the Land & Water Conservation Fund...."
Land and Conservation Fund

USDA Releases New Data on Investments in Manufacturing, Jobs Supported by Manufacturing in Rural Communities

"Those who call rural America home know that there's more to the rural economy than just farms and ranches. The potential to grow and make innovative products in rural America is limitless, and manufacturing is particularly important for rural communities. Rural America makes a wide array of products including light manufacturing tools, automotive parts, clothing and apparel, crafts, forest products, and services. In 2013, manufacturing accounted for nearly 2.5 million rural jobs nationwide.
Between fiscal years 2009 and 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has invested $2.5 billion to help rural manufacturers across the country increase production and capacity, move products to market at home and abroad, and support good paying jobs in rural communities. To learn more about how USDA invests in rural communities and businesses to help them grow, visit"
Rural agricultural jobs

MAP: How Climate Change Threatens America’s Energy Infrastructure in Every Region

"We live in a rapidly changing world. The effects of climate change -- such as heat waves, rising sea levels and more severe storms -- are already being felt across the United States. Our energy infrastructure is especially vulnerable to climate-related impacts, which can pose a serious threat to America’s prosperity, national security, energy security and quality of life.
Today, the Energy Department released a report that highlights threats to our energy sector in nine geographic regions, each with its own unique challenges and solutions..."
Climate change-map

2015 South Carolina Floods

"The Census Bureau produces timely local data critical to emergency planning, preparedness and recovery efforts. To that end, a wide variety of statistics profiling the flood-affected areas of South Carolina are now available. These include demographic and socio-economic profiles of the population, housing characteristics and a portrait of businesses. An 11-county area is profiled, including Berkeley, Charleston, Clarendon, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter and Williamsburg.

Friday, October 9, 2015

New USDA Fact Sheets Illustrate State-by-State Benefits of Trans-Pacific Partnership

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today released a series of fact sheets illustrating how the newly reached Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement can boost the U.S. agriculture industry, supporting more American jobs and driving the nation's rural economy. Created by the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the fact sheets graphically depict how each state and individual commodities stand to benefit from increased agricultural trade with the 11 other TPP countries.

Trade ministers from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam concluded TPP negotiations on Oct. 5 in Atlanta, Ga. Trade with these countries accounted for 42 percent of U.S. agricultural exports in 2014, contributing $63 billion to the U.S. economy..."
Trans-Pacific Partnership


"EIA projects average U.S. household expenditures for natural gas, heating oil, and propane during the upcoming winter heating season (October 1 through March 31) will be 10%, 25%, and 18% lower, respectively, than last winter, because of lower fuel prices and lower heating demand. Forecast lower heating demand and relatively unchanged prices contribute to electricity expenditures that are 3% lower than last winter (Winter Fuels Outlook slideshow)..."

Short term energy outlook

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. Issues such as Arctic sovereignty claims; commercial shipping through the Arctic; Arctic oil, gas, and mineral exploration; endangered Arctic species; and increased military operations in the Arctic could cause the region in coming years to become an arena of international cooperation or competition.
The United States, by virtue of Alaska, is an Arctic country and has substantial political, economic, energy, environmental, and other interests in the region. Decisions that Congress, the executive branch, foreign governments, international organizations, and commercial firms make on Arctic-related issues could significantly affect these interests.

This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress, and refers readers to more in-depth CRS reports on specific Arctic-related issues. Congressional readers with questions about an issue discussed in this report should contact the author or authors of the section discussing that issue. The authors are identified by footnote at the start of each section..."
Arctic region

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Increasingly Muddled Origins of Homo Naledi

"The recent discovery of a new human ancestor in the Rising Star cave system of South Africa shook the family tree. The newest member—Homo naledi—has a mash-up of ancient and modern human features, and the announcement stirred some controversy over whether the specimens are truly a new species.
Two studies published today in Nature Communications only intensify the debate, suggesting that H. naledi was a tree climber, long-distance strider and potential tool-user. 
H. naledi’s skull is closest to that of Homo erectus—the earliest human ancestor with many modern human traits—according to an initial study of the remains. But some of the bones in the trunk, shoulder, pelvis and femur are more similar to those of Australopithecus, an even older group of relatives known for the famed Lucy. But according to new research H. naledi's wrists, hands, feet and lower limbs are more like modern humans than these ancient ancestors..."
Homo Naledi