Tuesday, May 30, 2006

AIDS epidemic slowing globally

The United Nations released the 2006 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic today. This annual report examines the spread of AIDS globally, reporting on AIDS prevalence, treatment, and funding for UN member states. For a quick overview of this 500-page report, take a look at the press release. For country profiles go the report and scroll down to Annex 1 and choose the letter of the country you are interested in.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Squirrels are omnivorous

Just got back from a trip to Mesa Verde National Park where, in addition to some amazing ancient stone villages, I saw what appeared to be a chipmunk carrying a dead squirrel in its mouth off the side of the road! It turns out what I saw was probably a squirrel, possibly the Golden-manteled ground squirrel (pictured to the left from the Yosemite National Park site: http://www.nps.gov/yell/slidefile/mammals/groundsquirrels/page.htm). These squirrels are omnivorous, which means they eat "leaves, flowers, seeds, fungi, insects, eggs, small vertebrates, and carrion," according to the Ground-Dwelling Squirrels of the Pacific Northwest, page 11. So the next time that cute little squirrel comes up looking for a handout at the picnic table remember he may actually like a bite of your ham sandwich to go with the peanuts.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Top Baby Names

The Social Security administration has released the most popular baby names for 2005 in the United States, Jacob for boys and Emily for girls. This web site also allows you to see what the most popular names were for every year starting in 1879! For contrast, why not take a look at the United Kingdom's most popular baby names, Jessica for girls and Jack for boys. Amazingly, Jack has won its spot for the 11th year in a row, in the US in the past ten years Jack has never been higher then 34.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Report on Ward Churchill

The Investigative Committee of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct at the University of Colorado at Boulder has released its report concerning allegations of academic misconduct against Professor Ward Churchill. You can read the full report or summary online. You can also read the various news releases leading up to this report online. For more information on the next steps in the process, check out the news release from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

President Bush's speech on immigration

Last night, President Bush gave a speech on immigration reform, you can read or watch the speech online. For a quick overview of his plan, take a look at this fact sheet and for all that Bush has said about immigration recently, take a look at the White House's immigration page. For other sources of information on immigration, take a look at our subject guide.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Foreign-born labor force

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 15% of the U.S. labor force aged 16 and over was foreign-born. This data can be found in the "Labor Force Characteristics of Foreign-Born Workers." This information contains both legal and illegal workers, although the data are based on surveys so there is also the possibility of sampling errors.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Air pollution

I am often surprised on who does research on a particular topic, for example who would expect the World Health Organization to have material on indoor air pollution? But following their focus on human health the title Fuel for Life: Household Energy and Health examines the effects of energy use and pollution. The WHO actually has a large quantity of material on indoor air pollution, which can be found at their web site.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Homelessness in Metro Denver

Each year there is a point-in-time survey of the homeless conducted in the Denver metro area, read the 2006 report online. This report shows a decline 11.5% overall decline in homelessness, but a 12% increase in the number of homeless families. For an in-depth analysis of the report, read the Denver Post's "Number of metro homeless falls 11.5% over year." There are tables by county and city for 2005 available on the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative web site. For reports back to 1998, see the Colorado Department of Human Services web site.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Michael Hayden Nominated to head CIA

Porter Gross, current head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) resigned his post last Friday. Today, President Bush nominated General Michael Hayden to be the new director of the CIA. The White House has released a press sheet with Hayden's qualifications, which include his post as Director of the National Security Agency. The Washington Post has released an article discussing this nomination "Hayden Nominated to Head CIA" or you can read the Denver Post's "Bush Taps Hayden for CIA."

Friday, May 05, 2006

Katrina Contractors

Yesterday, the House Committee on Government Reform held a hearing entitled "Sifting through Katrina's Legal Debris: Contracting in the Eye of the Storm." This discussed the successes and failures of the various government agencies involved in contracting after Katrina hit. On this site you can read the testimony from the agencies and various contractors. For an overview of the contracting process, take a look at the Government Accountability Office report: "Hurricane Katrina: Improving Federal Contracting Processes in Disaster Recovery Operations."

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Pandemic Influenza

It is getting warm outside and on some days the sun is shining, which means the end of flu season, right? Well, back in November we posted on the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza, now the government has come up with an plan to fight global influenza. The "Implementation Plan: National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza" has information on how the federal government is addressing this threat and has advice for states, schools (check out page 194 for Colleges), and law enforcement. If the idea of reading 233 pages on flu makes you a little sick, why not check out the briefing book, which is a much more manageable 26 pages. And finally for a non-governmental perspective, check out the Washington Post Article "White House Plan Defers Leadership in Bird-Flu Fight."

IAEA and Iran

Back in March we posted on the United Nations Security Council request that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) submit a report on Iran's nuclear activities. This report has just been released to the public. In it the IAEA discusses the knowledge of Iran's nuclear program, but states that at this time the "Agency cannot make a judgment about, or reach a conclusion on, future compliance or intentions." For additional information on this discussion from the IAEA, see their web site "In Focus: IAEA and Iran." For more information on Iran, please check out our Iranian country page.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Wildfire preparation

As this has been a dry winter outside of the high country here in Colorado, many are worrying about the possibility of wildfires. The Government Accountability Office just released a letter outlining "Federal Agency Efforts to Develop a Cohesive Strategy to Address Wildland Fire Threats." On the Colorado level, the Governor's office has a collection of publications for homeowners to prepare for the wildfire season: http://www.colorado.gov/oemc/links/fire/index.htm. The Governor also has made $2 million available for the Emergency Management Fund for wildfire preparation and suppression activities (Executive Order D 008 06).

Monday, May 01, 2006

Country Reports on Terrorism

As a counterpoint to the Anna Nicole Smith opinion released today take a look at the annual Country Reports on Terrorism. This report is required to be written by April 30th of each year, for the archives of this report back to 2004, see http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/crt/. This page also has the previous version of this title, Patterns of Global Terrorism, available back to 1995, for the print or microfiche version back to 1975, search Chinook. According to the 2005 report, 56 "private citizens" were killed due to terrorism, 48 of them in Iraq. Overall there were 14,602 deaths in 2005 worldwide in attacks directed against noncombatants.

Anna Nicole Smith and the Supreme Court

Supreme Court BuildingSupreme Court Opinions are generally not popular in the entertainment media, but today is different. Anna Nicole Smith won her battle in the Supreme Court for the right to go back to the lower court to try for a portion of her late husband's estate. The Supreme Court opinion is available online. You can also read the Denver Post Article "Bombshell's Supreme Court Bombshell" for a description of the case up till now. The Supreme Court also released opinions on admitting evidence in death penalty cases and recovering Medicaid money for the state in lawsuits.