Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fair Use Week, Feb. 23-27, 2015

ARL, the Association of Research Libraries, is coordinating a celebration of Fair Use Week from February 23-27, 2015. ARL states:

[Fair Use Week] celebrates the important role fair use plays in achieving the Constitutional purpose of intellectual property rights in the US: to promote the progress of science and the useful arts. The flexible nature of the fair use doctrine has permitted copyright to adapt to new technologies and changes.

Information about ways to participate in Fair Use Week are available from http://www.fairuseweek.org  and from ARL.

Monday, February 09, 2015

National Security Strategy

On February 6, 2015 the White House released the latest National Security Strategy (29p. PDF). In the introduction, President Obama addresses the United States' strengths and speaks of the following challenges:
Now, at this pivotal moment, we continue to face serious challenges to our national security, even as we are working to shape the opportunities of tomorrow. Violent extremism and an evolving terrorist threat raise a persistent risk of attacks on America and our allies. Escalating challenges to cybersecurity, aggression by Russia, the accelerating impacts of climate change, and the outbreak of infectious diseases all give rise to anxieties about global security. We must be clear-eyed about these and other challenges and recognize the United States has a unique capability to mobilize and lead the international community to meet them.

For a quick overview, access Fact Sheet: The 2015 National Security Strategy http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/02/06/fact-sheet-2015-national-security-strategy

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

USGS Releases Historic Hydraulic Fracturing Data

According to a January 27, 2015 news release, the U.S. Geological Survey has made available online two new publications about hydraulic fracturing, the Scientific Investigation Report and its companion Data Series, The publications highlight historical hydraulic fracturing trends and data from 1947 to 2010. They "provide a basis for making comparisons of current-day hydraulic fracturing to historical applications" and an "improved understanding of where the practice is occurring and how hydraulic fracturing characteristics have changed over time."

Monday, January 26, 2015

Asteroid Visible from Earth on January 26, 2015

According to NASA, an asteroid about a third of a mile in size (0.5 kilometers), will be visible from Earth with binoculars on January 26, 2015 as it passes by about 745,0000 (1.2 kilometers) miles away.

For more information and to see a graphic and a video depiction, access NASA's new story, "Asteroid to Fly By Earth Safely on January 26."

Friday, January 23, 2015

National Taxpayer Advocate 2014 Annual Report to Congress

The National Taxpayer Advocate, an independent organization within the IRS created to help taxpayers resolve problems with the IRS and/or recommend changes to prevent problems, released its 2014 Annual Report to Congress. According to its newsroom report, taxpayers "this year are likely to receive the worst levels of taxpayer service since at least 2001 when the IRS implemented its current performance measures."

The primary sections of the report include:
A link to the Executive Summary and the full report is available at http://www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/2014-Annual-Report/full-2014-annual-report-to-congress/

The preface to the report was dated Dec. 31, 2014. In January libraries participating in the IRS Tax Outlet program were notified that since Congress cut IRS appropriations in the 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill, outlets will receive Forms 1040EZ, 1040A and 1040 but not the multi-page instruction booklets (104 pages for 1040; 86 pages for 1040A; 43 pages for 1040EZ). Each program will receive only a reference copy of the popular Publication 17,  the general rules for filing a federal income tax return. Individuals are encouraged to download forms from IRS.gov/Forms or order tax products from IRS.gov/orderforms to be delivered by mail. They may also call 1-800-829-3676, but phone service is one of the problems noted in the report.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Songs from the Selma March

On January 15, 2015 Smithsonian.com spotlighted songs recorded on the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, some of which were used in the Ava DuVernay film Selma. The songs were recorded by Carl Benkert, an architectural interior designer from Detroit who joined the march and captured it with a battery-operated reel-to-reel tape recorder hidden under his overcoat. The songs are available for listening, but require using a free Spotify account.

For more information access Smithsonian's Listen to the Freedom Songs Recorded 50 Years Ago During the March From Selma to Montgomery .

Monday, January 19, 2015

Celebrating the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today, January 19, 2015, all over the United States celebrations are being held to  commemorate the the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In Houston the Children's Museum is hosting a celebration of his life with activities going on throughout the day. It's a beautiful day to visit MacGregor Park, home to the Houston Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial which honors "Dr. King’s legacy and contributions to peace, justice, equality, human dignity, and education." People also have an opportunity to participate in a National Day of Service to honor his memory. Find service opportunities by entering a zip code at  http://www.nationalservice.gov/mlkday2015 (slow loading page).

To learn more about Martin Luther King, Jr. including links to his speeches, access the American Memory Collection from the Library of Congress, or the Martin Luther King Jr., Research and Education Institute, or the King Center."