Thursday, June 30, 2005

Government Reports Easier to Find Now

A new web site, Open CRS, aims to make widely available to the public certain government reports about topics from terrorism to Social Security that congressional researchers prepare and distribute now only to lawmakers.

Open CRS links to more than a half-dozen existing collections of nearly 8,000 reports from the Congressional Research Service. According to Open CRS, american taxpayers spend nearly $100 million a year to fund the Congressional Research Service, a "think tank" that provides reports to members of Congress on a variety of topics relevant to current political events. Yet, these reports are not made available to the public in a way that they can be easily obtained.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

More Boys than Girls?

The National Center for Health Statistics has released a new report showing that male births outnumbered female births in the United States in 2002. This is the 63rd year in a row that male births have outnumbered female births.

For summary of report, click here.

For the full report, click here.

Monday, June 27, 2005

AFI's Top 100 Quotes from U.S. Filmmaking

The AFI (American Film Institute) is a national organization providing leadership in screen education and the recognition and celebration of excellence in the art of film, television and digital media. AFI is known for their cinematic countdowns and recently they announced the top 100 movie quotes within the last 100 years of American filmmaking.

1. "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" Gone With the Wind (1939)
2. "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse." The Godfather (1972)
4. "Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." The Wizard of Oz (1939)
5. "Here's looking at you, kid." Casablanca (1942)
6. "Go ahead, make my day." Sudden Impact (1983)
8. "May the Force be with you." Star Wars (1977)
10. "You talking to me?" Taxi Driver (1976)
15. "E.T. phone home." E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
22. "Bond. James Bond." Dr. No (1962)
26. "Show me the money!" Jerry Maguire (1996)
29. "You can't handle the truth!" A Few Good Men (1992)
44. "I see dead people." The Sixth Sense (1999)
54. "There's no crying in baseball!" A League of Their Own (1992)
68. "Here's Johnny!" The Shining (1980)
76. "Hasta la vista, baby." Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
80. "Yo, Adrian!" Rocky (1976)
85. "My precious." The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (2002)
94. "I feel the need-the need for speed!" Top Gun (1986)
100. "I'm king of the world!" Titanic (1997)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

OpenNet Initiative Monitors Worldwide Censorship

OpenNet Initiative is collaborative endeavor between researchers of Harvard University, the University of Toronto, and the University of Cambridge. Their mission is to investigate and challenge state filtration and surveillance practices.

Their latest reports have been compiled on Iran and China. Each of the studies includes a press release which provides a summary of their investigation findings and a full report which includes details of Internet infrastructure, media regulations, testing methodology and analysis.

The website includes reports on Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

New Medicare Prescription Drug Program

From the U.S. Social Security Administration office in Oklahoma City:

In January 2006, a new Medicare Prescription Drug Program (Part D) will take effect, providing a prescription drug benefit to seniors and persons with disabilities who have Medicare coverage. Under this new program, Medicare beneficiaries who meet limited income and asset limits may be eligible to receive financial help which reduces or eliminates the monthly premium and significantly lowers the co-payment for prescription drugs.

From June through August 2005, Medicare beneficiaries who may be eligible for the extra help will be mailed an Application for Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs (Form SSA-1020). If you receive an application you should complete and return it as soon as possible. If you do not receive an application in the mail or do not want to wait, you can get one by calling at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Beginning July 1, 2005, you can also apply online at

Have questions about basic aspects of social security or reform issues? Please consult this guide for further information.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Recent Data on American Education

2003 International Adult Literacy and Lifeskills (ALL) Survey

The report shows that America’s adults performed worse than their counterparts in Bermuda, Norway, and Switzerland, but better than those in Italy. There was no measurable difference between the performance of Canadian and U.S. adults. ALL reports on the literacy and numeracy skills of adults ages 16-65 in six countries.

Men outscored women on the numeracy scale in every country. In the United States, men scored 15 points higher than women on the literacy scale. White U.S. adults outscored Black, Hispanic, and other adults in both literacy and numeracy. There was no measurable difference between the performance of Blacks and Hispanics in literacy or numeracy.

Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Education: School Year 2002-03

Released by the National Center of Education Statistics, this National Public Education Financial Survey is to provide district, state, and federal policymakers, researchers, and other interested users with descriptive information about revenues and expenditures for public elementary and secondary education.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Flag Day History

On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress replaced the British symbols with a new design featuring 13 white stars in a circle pattern on a field of blue and 13 red and white stripes. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that established Flag Day on June 14.

It is observed across the country by displaying the American Flag on homes and public buildings. Other popular ways of observing this day include flag-raising ceremonies, singing of the national anthem, and the study of flag etiquette and the flag's origin and meaning.

"Flag Day, June 14" Henderson, Helene, ed. Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary. 3rd ed. Detroit: Omnigraphics, 2005. Ref 394.26 H732

For more information about the observance of this day, please visit the website of the National Flag Day Foundation.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Meteorology Terms 101

After experiencing the powerful storms that traveled through the area yesterday, did the weatherman introduce any meteorological terms unfamiliar to you?

Wind Shear- an abrupt change in wind speed or direction which can occur at any altitude

Squall Line- unbroken line of thunderstorms that form over or ahead of fast-moving cold fronts which often produce strong straight-line winds and hail

Gust Front- is the leading edge of the cold, low-level outflow from a thunderstorm which often produces strong, gusty winds and a sudden drop temperature

Gustnado- a short-lived, circulating funnel occuring in the gust front that rarely produces damage

For more meteorological information like this, consult the following reference resource:
Schneider, Stephen H., ed. Encyclopedia of Climate and Weather. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Ref 551.503 En195

Friday, June 10, 2005

American Revolution Map Collection

The Rochambeau Map Collection contains cartographic items used by Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau (1725-1807), when he was commander in chief of the French expeditionary army (1780-82) during the American Revolution.

The maps were from Rochambeau's personal collection, cover much of eastern North America, and date from 1717 to 1795. The maps show Revolutionary-era military actions, some of which were published in England and France, and early state maps from the 1790s. Many of the items in this extraordinary group of maps show the importance of cartographic materials in the campaigns of the American Revolution as well as Rochambeau's continuing interest in the new United States.

The collection consists of 40 manuscript and 26 printed maps, and a manuscript atlas, the originals of which are in the Library of Congress' Geography and Map Division.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Previous Record Held by Baby Boomers Surpassed

The number of students enrolled in elementary and high school in 2003 — 49.5 million — surpassed the previous all-time high of 48.7 million set in 1970 when baby-boomers were of school-age, the U.S. Census Bureau reported.

For the full press release, click here.

For the statistical data, click here.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

PubChem Project

PubChem is a component of the National Library of Medicine's Molecular Libraries Roadmap Initiative. This database is organized into three sections: Compound, Substance and BioAssay.

Each compound is displayed with a visual representation of its structure and includes cross-referenced links into bioactivity, protein structures, toxicology, MeSH annotations, related and similar compounds.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

One of 2004's Best Online Reference Sources


Created in 1995, this constantly growing resource of more than 76,000 biographies, 778,900 albums and 260,700 album reviews, provides information on popular artists as well as historic entertainers in a variety of genres. Each artist is presented with an overview, biography, discography, song index with audio capability, collaborations, and awards.