Thursday, May 31, 2007

Prewar Intelligence Assessments About Postwar Iraq

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has just released its 226-page report Prewar Intelligence Assessments About Postwar Iraq together with Additional Views . For a discussion about the details of the report and Democratic and Republican reactions, see "Senate Democrats Say Bush Ignored Spy Agencies’ Prewar Warnings of Iraq Perils" in the May 26 edition of the New York Times.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Defense and military history resources

This afternoon I discovered an excellent collection of links to military and military-related internet resources on the website for the library at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia. The Index to Internet Sites for JFSC Researchers lists sites by subject. Another good source of military and defense information is the GPO Access Browse Topics site, a partnership with the library at Oklahoma State University. Topics include military history, defense and security and homeland security.

For scientific and technical information from the Department of Defense, search DTIC's Scientific and Technical Information Network. The multisearch feature lets you search across an array of government databases.

Friday, May 25, 2007

President to appoint new public printer

Yesterday President Bush announced his intention to appoint Robert Charles Tapella to be the new Public Printer. Mr. Tapella is currently the Chief of Staff of the Government Printing Office.

The main mission of the Government Printing Office is to make information from all three branches of the federal government available to the public. A major part of this mission involves the Federal Depository Library Program which sends government information to more than 1250 libraries including Rice University's Fondren Library.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Voting Fraud and Voter Intimidation Report

On December 7, 2006 the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) issued a report entitled Election Crimes: An Initial Review and Recommendation for Future Study. The goal of the study was "to develop a working definition of 'voting fraud' and 'voter intimidation' and to identify research methodology to conduct a comprehensive, nationwide study of these topics."

In April EAC Commission Gracia Hillman addressed criticism of the study mainly concerning the handling of research data developed by consultants. Commission Hillman's recommendations were that the:

  • EAC request its Inspector General to investigate the issues of this matter and report its findings as quickly as possible.

  • EAC release the consultants' report.

  • EAC establish additional processes that will allow the public even greater opportunity to follow and understand the developments of our research and study projects.

World Digital Library

The Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, announced that Google is the first private-sector company to contribute to its World Digital Library initiative. In a speech to the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO on June 6, 2005, Billington proposed creating a World Digital Library "that would seek to create for other cultures, languages, and nations the documentary record of their distinctive cultural achievements and aspirations—rather as we have tried to do for our own country with the ongoing American Memory project of putting primary culture and history documents online."

Monday, May 14, 2007

41 Cent Stamps Starting Today

As of Monday, May 14, 2007 stamps for first-class letters cost $0.41 (first ounce) and $0.17 (each additional ounce). First class large envelopes are $0.80 (first ounce) and $0.17 (each additional ounce). First class packages are $1.13 (first ounce) and $0.17 (each additional ounce). Priority mail flate rate boxes are $8.95 while priority mail flat rate envelopes are $4.60.

For those who want to avoid future stamp price increases, the United States Postal Service has introduced "Forever Stamps" available from the The Postal Store. Also available from The Postal Store is a link to a pdf containing the new domestic and international rate charts.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Vote May 12

Saturday, May 12, 2007 most local political subdivisions will conduct elections about local issues. See Harris Votes for a list of polling locations in Harris County. For Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, and Harris Counties the Houston Chronicle has posted a list of candidates by county. The web page also indicates what other issues are on each county's ballot.

The City of Houston is also conducting an election to fill the at-large city council seat left vacant by Shelley Sekula-Gibbs. The League of Women Voters of the Houston Area has posted the candidates' answers to questions about their backgrounds, city spending, a comprehensive plan for the City of Houston, and environmental pollution.

In addition to local issues, an important constitutional amendment (Proposition 1) is on the ballot. The amendment provides for seniors and disabled homeowners to be included in the property tax reduction granted last year to all other homeowners. A discussion of the pros and cons about this amendment is available from the Texas Legislative Council, the League of Women Voters, and the Houston Chronicle.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Encyclopedia of Life

The Field Museum of Natural History, Harvard University, Marine Biological Laboratory, Smithsonian Institution, and Biodiversity Heritage Library recently initiated a multi-media project to provide Internet access to all 1.8 million named species of animals, plants, and other Earth-based life forms. The newly launched Encyclopedia of Life will be a moderated-wiki style resource freely available to users everywhere. An international Institutional Council and an international Advisory Board will help oversee the development of the site. For more detailed information, see the May 9, 2007 Press Release.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Summer Fitness

As bathing suit weather approaches, are you feeling an urge to get in shape? The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has created to provide both a personal eating plan and a tracking device to assess the quality of your diet and your physical activity status. Since childhood obesity is a problem, the USDA has also created MyPyramid for kids to help children in elementary school make wise food and activity choices. If a food pyramid site sounds too dry, there is even an animated tour to entice you to participate.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Stanford Copyright Renewal Database

An interesting new resource has been recently been made available online: Stanford University's Copyright Renewal Database. This database makes searchable the copyright renewal records received by the US Copyright Office between 1950 and 1993 for books published in the US between 1923 and 1963.