Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Shuttle "Rollback" Rolled Back

After deciding to return the Space Shuttle Atlantis to Vehicle Assembly Building yesterday morning, NASA reversed course a few hours later and began to move the Shuttle back to the launch pad. The decision was based on weather forecasts that Tropical Storm Ernesto would not pose a threat to the launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The shuttle rollback, the first to be reversed in mid-course, would have been the 17th rollback since the first rollback on October 19, 1983, when Space Shuttle Columbia was returned to the Vehicle Assembly Building.

Learn more about the Atlantis Mission STS-115.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

One year ago today...

One year ago today Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast of the United States. Hurricane Katrina had the worst economic cost of any hurricane that has hit the United States. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has just put up a web site on Katrina. This web site links to satellite photos of the storm, pictures of the aftermath, and much more. For a look at the human toll of the Hurricane, take a look at the World Health Organization (WHO) report on mental illness and suicides before and after the storm. On this blog over the past year we have linked to a variety of government reports on Katrina relief, check out these search results to see those reports.

Space Shuttle Rollbacks

NASA has announced that rollback preparations are proceeding to return Space Shuttle Atlantis to safety as Tropical Storm Ernesto heads toward Kennedy Space Center. Tuesday's scheduled launch has been postponed and a new launch date has not been set. "Rollback" is the term used when the Space Shuttle must be rolled back from the launch pad atop the Mobile Launcher Platform and Crawler-Transporter to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Between 1983 and 2005, there were sixteen rollbacks.

During its mission, STS-115, the Atlantis crew will install a second set of solar arrays on the space station, doubling the station’s ability to generate power from sunlight and adding 17.5 tons to its mass.

Monday, August 28, 2006

NTSB what is it?

When watching the evening news last night the news anchor kept saying the NTSB reports or NTSB is investigating... I got to wondering how many people actually know what the NTSB stands for or what they do. So today, I thought I'd talk a little bit about this agency.

NTSB is the "National Transportation Safety Board," which investigates every civil aviation accident, no matter how small, and is generally called in for any significant accident in the other modes of transportation, like trains and roadways. When the NTSB was formed in 1967 it was part of the Department of Transportation, but in 1975 it was made an independent agency, which means it has its own budget and administrative staff. It has investigated 124,000 aviation accidents and over 10,000 surface transportation accidents since 1967. If you'd like to read more about it's history and the laws and rules of the agency, check out the NTSB's "History and Mission" web site. I would link to information on the crash in Lexington, Kentucky here, but the NTSB makes it a policy not to release information on the cause of a crash until a through investigation has been made, which can take up to 12 to 18 months. Generally, a preliminary report will come out within a week of the accident, but it has not come out yet. If you are interested in learning more about a particular aviation accident, the NTSB has a database of accident reports, as well as a collection of aviation accident statistics.

For those of you who want to know what some of the other government acronyms (CIA, ATF, etc.) stand for, check out our List of Government Acronyms.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Little Pluto Gets Demoted!!

Did anybody ask Interplanet Janet about this?

The International Astronomical Union has downgraded Pluto!! On Thursday, Aug. 24, the 2006 General Assembly passed six resolutions including one that defines planets and another that defines Pluto as a "dwarf planet", leaving only eight planets in our solar system.

NASA's Solar System Exploration website has been edited to show this change on its Pluto page.

For related information, check out the Government Publications Library's Astronomy and Space subject guide.

For items in the library collection, browse the following titles in Chinook.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Intelligence on Iran?

The staff of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released a report yesterday, titled "Recognizing Iran as a Strategic Threat: An Intelligence Challenge for the United States." This report discusses the state of intelligence on Iran and is critical of how and what has been gathered on the country. Don't want to actually read the report, but want to know the reaction to it? Check out "U.S. Spy Agencies blasted for poor intel about Iran" from the Denver Post (only good for a week, after that if you are a CU user you can read it in the ProQuest database).

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Smithsonian Photographs

Have those mid-week blues? Or maybe you are just tired of reading government reports, why not check out photographs from the Smithsonian? Why not spend your afternoon creating slide show in the Smithsonian Photography Initiative. All the pages have this feature called "Enter the Frame" which will let you create sequences of images, tag images, and share what you have created. You can search images, check out exhibitions, or just have fun browsing the site. For a sample of what you can find here, check out this photo of the Black CaƱon on the Colorado River taken in 1871.

Orion - NASA's new spaceship

NASA has announced that its new space exploration vehicle will be named Orion. The program is being developed to carry humans back to the moon and eventually to Mars. Plans call for a first flight to the International Space Station by 2014 and then a flight to the moon by 2020.

The name Orion was to have been revealed later this month but was apparently leaked by astronaut Jeff Williams, who spilled the beans on Tuesday while taping a message from the International Space Station.

For related information, check out the Government Publications Library's Astronomy and Space subject guide.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

UN's News Focus Website

If you're looking for a great source of information on current United Nations issues in the news, check out the UN's News Focus site, billed as "A one-stop guide to essential resources on UN issues in the news." The site pulls together a variety of relevant sources to a given issue, including news stories; Secretary-General remarks and statments; statements and briefings from related missions; Security Council meetings, resolutions, and statements; General Assembly resolutions; maps and images; links to external sources, and more.

Current issues include the Middle East, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, North Korea, the South Asia Earthquake, Terrorism, the Oil-for-Food Probe, and more. There is also an archive of New Focus pages.

For information about the United Nations, visit the Government Publications Library guide to United Nations Resources.

Press Conference yesterday

Did you miss the press conference given by President Bush yesterday? Do you want to watch or read more then the clips they showed on the evening news? The White House has put up a transcript of the press conference as well as video (available by clicking on the link on the right hand of the screen). The White House has also put up a page called the "Road Map to Peace" which links to speeches and press releases from the President and his staff. If you are interested in more information the library has put together a guide on the Arab-Israeli conflict or to learn more about the countries involved, check out our pages on Israel, Iraq, or Lebanon.

Colorado Leads Nation in % Adults with College Degrees

According to Census 2000 data, Colorado ranks highest in the percentage of adult population (25+) with a bachelor's degree. 21.6% of the population 25 years or older has a bachelor's degree, while the nation's average is 15.5%. Trailing Colorado are Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New Hampshire.

At the county level, three Colorado counties rank in the top 10 in the same category. Of the nation's 3,141 counties, Pitkin County leads the nation with 40% of its adult population having bachelor's degrees. San Miguel, Douglas, Summit, and Eagle Counties rank 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 7th, respectively. Gunnison, Boulder, and Routt Counties follow at 11th, 12, and 13th place.

For more data and ranking tables, visit States IN Profile and USA Counties IN Profile. See also the Government Publications Library's subject guide for Education.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Bird Flu Strain Detected in Michigan

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that tests on two wild mute swans in Michigan indicate that the birds were infected with a "low pathogenic" strain of bird flu that poses no threat to humans. The swans were sampled on August 8th on the coast of Lake Erie in Michigan at the Mouillee state game area.

For more information and updated news reports related to avian flu, visit the following sites:
Browse Chinook, the library catalog, for related items available through the Government Publications Library.

Friday, August 18, 2006

9/11 in the media

Leading up to the 5 year mark of the attacks on the World Trade Center, we've had Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), Flight 93 (2006) and this summer Oliver Stone's World Trade Center retelling experiences from 9/11. On September 10th, CBS is scheduled to air an updated version of an award-winning 9/11 documentary, first aired in 2002.

Worth a second look (or perhaps a first) is the New York Times best-seller, The 9/11 Commission Report, published by the Government Printing Office in 2004. A print copy is available in the Government Publications Library along with many other documents relating to the September 11th terrorist attacks.

The Library of Congress houses the American Folklife Center's The September 11, 2001, Documentary Project, a collection of reactions, eyewitness accounts, and diverse opinions of Americans and others in the months that followed the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93. The online presentation includes almost 200 audio and video interviews, 45 graphic items, and 21 written narratives.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

JonBenet Ramsey Homicide Arrest

There has been an arrest made in Bangkok, Thailand in the JonBenet Ramsey murder. For basic information check out the press release from the Boulder District Attorney, Mary Lacy. There will be a listserv for additional information, which you can sign up for at the bottom of her web site. For more information you can check out the Daily Camera's "JonBenet Suspect named" (may require free registration), which also has links to historical material on the investigation.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Iran's Presidential blog

Librarians, students, journalists are all blogging these days, but now we can add Presidents to the list of bloggers. The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad just started his own blog. If you click on the tiny little flags on the right you can read the blog in Farsi, English, Arabic and French. Want to read more about the blog? Check out the BBC's "Iran's President Launches Weblog." Want to learn more about Iran? Check out our subject guide. For a different perspective on some of the events discussed in this posting, check out either the Library of Congress's Country Study on Iran or check out any of the many books on the subject in the Chinook, our library catalog.

Pakistan and India Celebrate Independence Day

Pakistan and India are celebrating their 59th birthdays this week. The two countries gained independence from British rule on August 14th and 15th, 1947.

Read accounts of Pakistan's celebration and speeches by the Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and President General Pervez Musharraf.

Read the speeches given by India's President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sesame Street has a new character

Abby Cadabby image from PBS web siteOk, the other day we posted on Mr. Rogers testifying before congress. Today, I thought I would let you all know that Sesame Street has a new character named Abby Cadabby, who is the first new female character in 13 years. Now what does Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers have to do with the government? Well, the government gave the Corporation for Federal Broadcasting $400 million dollars last year. Approximately 137 million of that money will go to programming, like Sesame Street, Masterpiece Theater and Buster the Rabbit. Want to read all the budgetary details? Check page 1124 of the Appendix to the 2007 budget. While I can't find that Kermit testified before Congress, there have been numerous hearings where Sesame Street has been a topic of discussion. To find out about these hearings, please search LexisNexis Congressional (this database is available to users in the CU community) or stop by your local depository library.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

UN Security Council Adopts Hizbollah-Israeli Resolution

The United Nations Security Council has unanimously adopted Resolution 1701 (2006), which calls for ending the fighting between Hizbollah and Israel. According to the resolution, a permanent ceasefire will be based on the creation of a buffer zone stretching from a UN-drawn Blue Line in southern Lebanon and the Litani River, 12 miles from Israel.

Friday, August 11, 2006

U.S. Embassy in India Warns of Terrorist Threats

The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi has warned of possible terrorists threats to be carried out in New Delhi and Mumbai between August 11th and 16th. Targets may include major airports, government offices, hotels and markets. The attacks may be planned to coincide with India's Independence Day, August 15th. U.S. citizens have been urged to remain alert and attentive and to keep a low profile.

Read Independence Day speeches delivered by the President of India.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Homeland Security Raises Threat Level to Red

Authorities in the United Kingdom have arrested a number of extremists involved in a plot to blow up passenger aircraft flying from London to the United States. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has responded by raising the nation's threat level to Red (Severe) for commercial flights from the U.K. to the U.S. and to Orange (High) for all other flights within or coming to the U.S.

Read the full press release from the Department of Homeland Security.

See also Guidance For Airline Passengers from the Transportation Security Administration, which has released the following warning:

"NO LIQUIDS OR GELS OF ANY KIND WILL BE PERMITTED IN CARRY-ON BAGGAGE. SUCH ITEMS MUST BE IN CHECKED BAGGAGE. This includes all beverages, shampoo, suntan lotion, creams, tooth paste, hair gel, and other items of similar consistency. Exceptions: Baby formula and medicines, which must be presented for inspection at the checkpoint."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What are Progressive Dunkers?

One hundred years ago, in 1906, the Census Bureau completed its fifth collection of statistics on religious bodies in the United States. Previous surveys had been done in 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1890. The report, Religious Bodies: 1906, was first published in 1910 as Census bulletin 103 and was 146 pages in length. It was later republished in two parts (Part 1 - Summary and General Tables; and Part 2 - Separate Denominations: History, Description, and Statistics) and was 1,246 pages long.

The Brethren Church, more commonly known as the "Progressive Dunkers" was a Christian denomination that separated from the larger German Baptist Brethren Church, or the "Dunkers" in 1882. The Progressive Dunkers preferred a more local or congregational form of church governance over the centralized, more powerful form that the larger church had taken on since its formation in the late 17th century.

Check out the full report to find out more about the Progressive Dunkers and other groups like the Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists, Japanese Buddhists, Christadelphians, Volunteers of America, Schwenkfelders, and Defenceless Mennonites.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Primary Elections today

Today primary elections are being held in Colorado. To vote in a primary election you need to be registered either as a Democrat or Republican. Want to know who is up on your county's ballot? Check out the official primary election list for Democrats and Republicans. Unfortunately, if you don't know what district you are in this list is not very useful. The Colorado Legislative Council has an interactive map that lets you determine which district you are a part of, the key to using this map is to click on the "Find/Change Location" on the right hand side this will let you put in your address and then display your district number. Finally, if you lost the little card that many of us got in the mail telling us where to vote, go to your County Clerks and Recorders web site for a list of polling places and phone numbers.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Gas is going up...

In an attempt to make everyone ride the bus, the price of a barrel of crude oil just pass $76. This jump of over a dollar in one day is in response to BP's announcement that they are shutting down the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field. This shutdown will result in an estimated 400,000 fewer barrels being produced every day. For more information on the duration and causes of this shutdown you can read the press release. Want to see the statistics on the increasing gasoline and oil prices? Check out the Energy Information Administration's (EIA) petroleum page. According to the EIA, gas is up 3.4% over the past week and 67% from last year. For more information on energy, check out our subject guide. To learn more about the current shutdown from BP and it's effect on the market, check out the New York Time's article "Oil Prices Rise After Field in Alaska is Shut" (when this link dies the CU community can find the article in the Proquest Newstand database).

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Britain's oldest public record, the census known as the Domesday Book, available online

The Domesday Book, an early census record which lists the people and lands ruled by William the Conqueror, is now available online through the National Archives of the UK. William commissioned the survey in 1085 to determine the taxable value of his kingdom. The result is a detailed list of more than 13,000 places, depicting a structured feudal society of late 11th century England. The online book can be searched by place or personal name. Record summaries are free but the pages themselves, along with a translation of the original Latin, cost $6.60 each.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Minimum wage bill not passed in the Senate

Much to the disappointment of many minimum wage workers in the United States, the increase in the minimum wage did not pass the Senate last night. The bill "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to increase the unified credit against the estate tax to an exclusion equivalent of $5,000,000, to repeal the sunset provision for the estate and generation-skipping taxes, and to extend expiring provisions, and for other purposes" was blocked by a lack of a majority to prevent further discussion. My favorite part of this bill's title is that there is nothing mentioning the minimum wage increase. Many opponents of the bill could not bear the cost of the drop of the estate tax, even if they were in favor of the minimum wage increase. If you are interested in reading the bill and the actions on it, check out the Thomas web site. If you want further analysis of the bill along with more details on the vote, check out the Washington Post article "GOP Bid on Wages, Estate Tax is Blocked: Democrats Prevent Vote on Senate Bill." To find out the costs of the ending of the estate tax, check out the Congressional Budget Office report "H.R. 5970, Estate Tax and Extension of Tax Relief Act of 2006."

Hispanics Are Largest Ethnic or Race Minority in U.S.

The latest population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show that the U.S. Hispanic population (42.7 million) constitutes 14 percent of the nation's total population, the largest of any ethnic or racial minority group. New Mexico has the highest percentage of Hispanics of any state at 43 percent. Colorado's population is just over 19 percent Hispanic.

Read more about the U.S. Hispanic population in the Census Bureau's Facts for Features report produced for Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 - Oct. 15). Congress authorized President Johnson's proclamation of a National Hispanic Heritage Week in September 1968, which was expanded to a monthlong celebration in 1988. The 1968 proclamation was printed in the Federal Register (33 FR 14159), which is available online to the CU community through the Hein Online database.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Calvin Coolidge Inaugurated today in 1923

Calvin Coolidge inaugurated today, after Warren Harding died "After becoming ill with what was at the time attributed to ptomaine (food) poisoning, Harding had a heart attack and died quietly in his sleep. The rumors flew that Flossie had poisoned the President to save him from being engulfed in the charges of corruption that swept his administration" (from the American Presidency web site). Want to know more about what happened today in history, check out the Library of Congress's web site.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) scores released

CSAP scores for 2006 were released today by the Colorado Department of Education. Overall the scores were positive and in math and reading were on a general upward trend. If you would like some analysis of the scores, check out the Denver Post's "CSAP scores show strong growth for some." The Denver Post has also provided a slightly more user friendly database of the CSAP scores. If you would like to see other educational resources, check out our subject guide.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Castro temporarily cedes power

Fidel Castro, leader of Cuba, has temporarily delegated power to his brother, Raul Castro Ruz. The text of the letter read on Cuban national TV is available from the Washington Post. This is the first time in forty-seven years that Castro has not been in command of Cuba. There has been a lot of debate in that national media on what this means. Check out the Denver Post's article "Castro's status not yet known" or maybe listen to the coverage on NPR's "Castro Surgery puts Brother in Control of Cuba." For more on U.S.-Cuban relations, check out the State Departments Background Notes on Cuba.