Monday, December 22, 2014

NORAD's Santa Tracker

Since 1955 the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD), have provided a Santa tracking service to children all over the world. Volunteers from NORAD personally respond to phone calls and emails and use the internet to track Santa. NORAD's creative website includes the Santa tracker and games and images related to the North Pole and Santa's Village. It even has an app to tract Santa from a mobile phone. To find Santa's exact location children can call 1-877-446-6723 to talk with a NORAD staff member from 3:00 a.m. MST on December 24 until 3:00 a.m. MST on December 25, or on December 24 they can email

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Report on the Future of Privacy

On December 18, 2014 Pew Research, a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, released a report that looks "into the future of privacy in light of the technological change, ever-growing monetization of digital encounters, and shifting relationship of citizens and their governments that is likely to extend through the next decade." Digital Life in 2025: The Future of Privacy canvassed thousands of experts and Internet builders to share their predictions. (They use the term canvas since this was not a representative randomized survey.) Questions asked of the responders were:

  • Will policy makers and technology innovators create a secure, popularly accepted, and trusted privacy-rights infrastructure by 2025 that allows for business innovation and monetization while also offering individuals choices for protecting their personal information in easy-to-use formats?
  • Describe what you think the reality will be in 2025 when it comes to the overall public perception about whether policy makers and corporations have struck the right balance between personal privacy, secure data, and compelling content and apps that emerge from consumer tracking and analytics. 
  • Consider the future of privacy in a broader social context. How will public norms about privacy be different in 2025 from the way they are now?

Common thoughts shared by those interviewed were:

  • Privacy and security are foundational issues of the digital world
  • People are living in an unprecedented condition of ubiquitous surveillance
  • People require little more inducement than personal convenience to disclose their personal information
  • Norms are always evolving, and privacy will certainly change in coming years 
  • An arms-race dynamic is unfolding
  • Renegotiation and compromise will be a constant in privacy-security policy space
For more information and to obtain a PDF of the report, access

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

CIA Torture Report

On December 9, 2014 the Senate released the recommendations, executive summary, and findings of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency's Detention and Interrogation Program commonly known as the CIA Torture Report.  Read a PDF of the Executive Summary, Findings and Conclusions and/or a PDF of the Minority Views of Vice Chairman Chambliss and Senators Burr, Risch, Coats, Rubio and Coburn.

The official digital version (PDF) is now available on GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys). The print version is available for purchase at GPO’s retail and online bookstore for $29.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Understanding Pearl Harbor

U.S.S. Shaw burning in Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941

To help us understand the background of the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and what it was like to live through it, government agencies have posted material online. For example, the Senate has made available the summary of the work of the Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack as well as a PDF of their report. The Naval History and Heritage Command website has an overview and selected images about the Pearl Habor raid. The Library of Congress' American Folklife Center (AFC) has "man on the street interviews" featuring "opinions recorded in the days and months following the bombing of Pearl Harbor from more than two hundred individuals in cities and towns across the United States." The AFC also hosts the Veterans History Project making accessible personal accounts of American veterans from World War I to the present. Bibliographic records are available online for all the interviews with about 10% of the interviews (those with a VIEW DIGITAL COLLECTIONS button) being available online. Enter "Pearl Harbor" in the search box to access interviews relating to that fateful day.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Free Election Data

According to Library Journal and also Data Driven Journalism, Derek Willis, New York Times interactive news developer, and Sedar Tumgoren, Washington Post news apps developer, have created a free comprehensive database of past U.S. election results with the approval but not sponsorship of their employers. Supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's News Challenge, OpenElections aims to "create the first free, comprehensive, standardized, linked set of election data for the United States, including federal and statewide offices."

Monday, September 22, 2014

Warren Commission Report Available Online

Notice from the Government Printing Office (GPO):

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the release of the Warren Commission Report, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) makes the complete report and 26 hearing volumes available on GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys). The Commission was created by President Lyndon Johnson and chaired by Chief Justice Earl Warren to investigate President Kennedy's assassination. GPO worked with Boston Public Library to digitize the 26 hearing volumes after digitizing the Warren Commission Report last year. Now the complete, official Warren Commission Report and hearing volumes are digitally available through GPO.

  • For link to complete Warren Commission Report, click here 
  • For link to historic video of GPO’s production of the Warren Commission Report, click here

  • GPO produced the Warren Commission Report and 26 hearing volumes in 1964. Altogether, GPO's work for the Commission resulted in nearly 235,000 copies of the report and nearly 5,600 sets of the hearings. All of these materials were made available to the public through distribution to Federal depository libraries nationwide and sales via GPO's bookstores.

    “GPO is committed to digitization efforts and providing future generations of Americans with digital access to historical content,” Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks. “I thank Boston Public Library for collaborating with GPO to digitize the hearing volumes. This digitization effort reflects GPO’s digital transformation from printing the report 50 years ago to making digitally available today.”

    The post President Kennedy assassination audio tape recordings of conversations between various individuals in Washington, DC and Air Force One pilots and officials on board during the flight from Dallas to Andrews Air Force Base are also available on FDsys.

  • For link to post assassination audio tape recordings, click here.
  • Friday, September 19, 2014

    Affordable Care Act Legislation

    On Sept. 12, 2014 the Congressional Research Service released Legislative Actions to Repeal, Defund, or Delay the Affordable Care Act (PDF link) by C. Stephen Redhead and Janet Kinzer. Three appendices summarize legislative actions to repeal, defund, delay, or otherwise amend the ACA law's enactment:

    • Table A-1 in Appendix A - "summarizes the authorizing legislation to amend the ACA that has been approved by both chambers and enacted into law."
    • Table B-1 in Appendix B - "summarizes the ACA provisions in authorizing legislation that passed the House in the 112th Congress (2011-2012) but was not approved by the Senate. It also lists the ACA-related legislation that the House has passed to date in the 113th Congress (2013-2014), but which has not been taken up by the Senate."
    • Table C-1 in Appendix C  - "summarizes the ACA-related provisions in enacted annual appropriations acts for each of FY2011 through FY2014."
    The report also contains background information on the core provisions of the ACA and an overview of the law's impact on federal spending.