Monday, April 26, 2010

Green Energy Portal

On the 40th anniversary of Earth Day the Department of Energy (DOE) launched DOE Green Energy, a free online public portal "designed to ease access to green energy R&D information for use by researchers, scientists, educators, students and the general public." DOE's Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) describes the portal as follows:
The portal provides technical documents from thousands of R&D projects conducted at DOE National Laboratories and by DOE-funded awards at universities. The DOE Green Energy portal is part of the DOE Open Government Plan, which furthers the Administration's Open Government Initiative. DOE Green Energy contains both current and historical research, including bibliographic citations, technical reports and patent information on different types of renewable energy resources and energy conservation. Subject areas include but are not limited to solar, wind, bioenergy, hydroelectric, geothermal, tidal and wave power, and energy storage.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Childhood Obesity, a Threat to National Security

According to an April 20, 2010 press release, Mission Readiness, a non-profit group of more than 130 retired admirals, generals and other senior military leaders, released a report indicating that being overweight is now the leading medical reason recruits are rejected for military service. More than nine million young adults age 17 to 24 are too obese to qualify for military service. Entitled Too Fat to Fight, the report contains data analyzed by staff of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing a dramatic rise in obesity among young people since 1995. Alarmingly in the last ten years "the number of states with 40 percent or more of young adults considered to be overweight has risen from one state to 39 states." Since young people consume 40 percent of their daily calories at school, the group strongly supports efforts by Senator Lugar and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack for new legislation to improve school nutrition programs.

Monday, April 19, 2010

National Park Week, April 17-25

Celebrate National Park Week by visiting one or more of the nation's 392 National Parks for free Saturday, April 17 - Sunday, April 25, 2010. On Saturday, April 24, National Junior Ranger Day, children can take part in kid-friendly activities and earn a junior ranger patch. National parks are also hosting special events and volunteer projects on Earth Day, April 22, and throughout the week.

Health reform - what does it mean to me?

On March 23, 2010 President Barack Obama signed major health reform into law.  The law is as complicated as the issue, so where do we go to learn what the changes mean?  Here are some key resources: features answers to questions for:
If you don't find the information you need, submit your question to  The site provides information by state - see Health Insurance Reform and Texas.  

From the Whitehouse: 
White House Health Care Reality Check
Legislation - take a look at the CRS summaries for a quick overview:

New EPA Database

On March 24, 2010 the Environmental Protection Agency released a new database, Health and Environmental Research Online (HERO). The database references key studies scientists from EPA's National Center for Environmental Assessment(NCEA)use in developing assessments that "characterize the nature and magnitude of health risks to humans and the ecosystem from pollutants and chemicals in the environment." You can browse the database by three topics(air pollutants, chemicals & substances, and health & environmental effects)or search for a specific author, title, etc. Articles link to publishers' websites where you can determine if they are free or can be purchased.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Nuclear Posture Review Report

The Department of Defense has released its April 2010 Nuclear Posture Review Report. The preface indicates the report "describes how the United States will reduce the role and numbers of nuclear weapons" in keeping with President Obama's agenda for reducing nuclear risks to the United States. It states that central elements of the agenda include the "New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia, the Nuclear Security Summit, our work to strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime, and a broader approach to deterrence." The report indicates a need for money to revamp our aging nuclear infrastructure and recommends a stockpile management program to extend the life of our nuclear weapons without having to develop new nuclear warheads.

For news stories, press releases, fact sheets and other information related to the report see

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Security and Stability in Afghanistan

The Department of Defense has released its latest Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan (Oct. 2009). The report identifies the following key elements necessary for success in the region:
  • Expanding the size and capability of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF)
  • Engaging the Afghan government and bolstering its legitimacy
  • Building Afghan civilian capacity
  • Building provincial and local government capacity
  • Breaking the link between narcotics and the insurgency
  • Building Pakistan's capacity to fight extremists
  • Increasing and broadening U.S. economic assistance to Pakistan
  • Strengthening Pakistani government capacity
  • Mobilizing greater international political support for objectives in Afghanistan and Pakistan
  • Encouraging and facilitating bilateral and trilateral coordination among Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the United States and broader engagement with the international community
Previous reports are available on the Department of Defense publications' page.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Government Book Talk

The Government Printing Office (GPO) has a new blog, Government Book Talk, designed to raise the profile of  government publications. The blog will review new and popular publications including some out-of-print classics. Jim Cameron, the GPO blogger who works in the publications sales program, wants feedback from readers so  the blog will become a "community of book lovers."

President Obama's Plan for Offshore Drilling

The U.S. Department of Interior has created a site entitled Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Strategy containing information about President Obama's plan to pursue "a balanced, science-based strategy for exploring and developing oil and gas resources on the Outer Continental Shelf." The site includes clickable maps with more information about development, exploration, and protection in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Pacific and Alaska regions. The site also includes links to resources such as press releases, memorandums, questions and answers, 5 year plans, regional information pages, hi-resolution maps, and Federal Register Notices.

For a brief summary about the comprehensive strategy for offshore oil and gas development and exploration, see Secretary of the Interior Ken Salzar's March 31, 2010 press release.