Thursday, December 06, 2012 Celebrates 10th Birthday

According to a Dec. 5, 2012 press release, the U.S. Government's science information search and retrieval web portal has now been in service for 10 years. was created in Dec. 2002 after "senior information managers representing 13 Federal agencies forged a consensus on how national science organizations could improve public access to the nation’s rich and diverse scientific research information" by partnering to create the web portal.

See the press release for more information. Also check out the "Cool Things" page to find odd facts and interesting history about the Alliance members.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

CBS News reported on Nov. 26, 2012 that during the Cold War the United States had considered detonating a nuclear device on the moon to send a message to the Soviet Union. Military officials rejected the idea because of possible harm to people on the Earth. The abstract for the unclassified 1959 report about the project, "A Study of Lunar Research Flights, Vol I," states:
Nuclear detonations in thc vicinity of the moon are considered in this report along with scientific information which might be obtained from such explosions. The military aspect is aided by investigation of space environment, detection of nuclear device testing, and capability of weapons in space.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

International Banking Supervision

With headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, the Basel Committee, an international committee associated with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) aims to improve the quality of banking supervision worldwide. It holds an International Conference of Banking Supervisors (ICBS) every two years. On November 6, 2012 Mr. Wayne Byres, an Executive General Manager of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) who presently serves as Secretary General of the Basel Committee, gave the keynote address at its 6th Biennial Conference on Risk Management and Supervision. In his speech Mr. Byres discusses why the Basel III plan proposed by the committee is essential but not sufficient to secure a healthy banking system for the future. He stressed that "Basel III needs to be complemented by other measures to deliver the sort of financial stability outcomes" that the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors desire.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Highlights of Women’s Earnings in 2011

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report revealing in 2011 women who "who were full-time wage and salary workers had median usual weekly earnings of $684,about 82 percent of median earnings for male full-time wage and salary workers ($832)." The report goes on to say that in 1979, "the first year for which comparable earnings data are available,women earned 62 percent of what men earned." The report also provides detailed descriptions of the source of the data as well as an explanation of the concepts and definitions used since earnings differences can be influenced by many factors. The data is taken from the Current Population Survey (CPS) which the U.S. Census Bureau conducts monthly for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The Census Bureau surveys approximately 60,000 households each month and collects information on earnings from one-fourth of the CPS sample each month.

Compounding Pharmacies Report

On Oct. 28, 2012 Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released a comprehensive report describing more than a decade of violations and problems at compounding pharmacies throughout the nation. Markie used "media reports, publicly-available FDA and state Boards of Pharmacy documents from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and DC" to show how "FDA’s efforts to assure the safety of compounding pharmacies have been challenged at every juncture by some members of the compounding pharmacy sector." According to a press report, his document also reveals "that the state Boards of Pharmacy do not typically and consistently oversee the safety of the drugs made by compounding pharmacies and do not always provide records of their enforcement activities in an easily searchable and publicly available format."

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

China - the World's Largest Energy Consumer

On September 4, 2012 the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released an analysis revealing that China, the most populous country in the world, is also the largest energy consumer. The report provides a detailed discussion of China's consumption and production of oil, natural gas, coal, renewable energy, hydroelectric power, and nuclear energy. See the full analysis or an analysis brief. Use the pull down menu at the top to access other countries' briefs also.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Potential Budgetary Effects of Immediately Opening Most Federal Lands to Oil and Gas Leasing

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has analyzed a proposal to immediately open most federal lands to oil and gas leasing. Although some federally controlled lands are currently open to leasing, the proposal studies the effects of opening two categories of federal property currently closed to development: lands now statutorily prohibited such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and lands prohibited under current administrative policies such as sections of the Outer Continental Shelf. Read more at Potential Budgetary Effects of Immediately Opening Most Federal Lands to Oil and Gas Leasing.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Tidying Up: What Reorganization Can Do for Federal Agencies

Given that budget constraints are a reality, the Government Business Council underwritten by Deloitte has released a random-sample survey of 244 Federal managers from defense and civilian agencies about reorganization at the program or agency level. Tidying Up: What Reorganization Can Do for Federal Agencies indicates that Federal managers believe reorganization can be worthwhile, but that "the skills needed for reorganization are not readily available in many agencies." Consequences of past reorganization efforts were distracted employees and low morale especially from new employees fearing job loss. For successful reorganization, the report recommends the following:
  • Have a vision
  • Be transparent and inclusive
  • Act with speed
  • Monitor progress

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Options for Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate Mechanism

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has analyzed three options for dealing with Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) mechanism under which Medicare's payment rates for physicians' services are scheduled to be reduced by 27 percent in 2013. The CBO has provided tables for showing increases or decreases in outlays for the period 2013-2022 for the cliff option (significant reduction in the first year after a specified update), the clawback option (additional spending for a few years to override reductions in payment rates but reductions to payment rates in subsequent years), and the replace or restructure option (replace the SGR with a one or two percent freeze in each year through 2022). For details see Medicare's Payments to Physicians: The Budgetary Impact of Alternative Policies Relative to CBO’s March 2012 Baseline.

Friday, July 27, 2012

America Invents Act (AIA) Proposed Rule and Comment Request

A proposed rule and a request for comments regarding the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) have been published in the Federal Register. According to the summary of the proposed rule, Changes To Implement the First Inventor To File Provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, the act "amends the patent laws pertaining to the conditions of patentability to convert the United States patent system from a 'first to invent' system to a 'first inventor to file' system; treats United States patents and United States patent application publications as prior art as of their earliest effective United States, foreign, or international filing date; eliminates the requirement that a prior public use or sale be ‘‘in this country’’ to be a prior art activity; and treats commonly owned or joint research agreement patents and patent application publications as being by the same inventive entity for purposes of novelty, as well as nonobviousness." See more at .

The request for comments pertains to examination guidelines to implement the first-to-file provisions of the AIA. See details at

Friday, July 13, 2012

National and State Effects of Eliminating the American Community Survey (ACS)

The Census Project, "an informal network of scores of census stakeholder organizations that are working to ensure inclusive, comprehensive and forward-thinking early planning for Census 2020,"
released a new report documenting state and national effects of eliminating the American Community Survey (ACS). (The House of Representatives voted on May 9 to eliminate funding for the ACS. See our May 10, 2012 blog post for information about and link to the House vote.) Entitled Eliminating America's Playbook, the report compiles case studies and comments from organizations detailing how they use the ACS. The case studies and comments are "organized nationally, and, in some states by topic area" and include contact information for the reporting organizations. A wide array of organizations provided information including those working with children, women, minorities, veterans, housing, urban planning, community development, and academics projects from Harvard and Pennsylvania State.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Annotated Bibliography of Native American History

Brandon Burnette of Southeastern Oklahoma State University has published a new GODORT (Government Documents Round Table/ American Library Association) Occasional Paper (Number 7, June 2012) entitled "Annotated Bibliography of Native American History from United States Federal Documents: Print and Online Resources." The extensive list of resources should be of help to anyone conducting scholarly or genealogical research.

Other occasional papers are available on the GODORT wiki at

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

JP Morgan Losses and Systemic Risk

Edward V. Murphy in a new Congressional Research Service report reveals that Congress will be examining JP Morgans trades involving complex financial instruments. "What Is Systemic Risk? Does It Apply to Recent JP Morgan Losses?" defines systemic risk and discusses a number of policy responses to it.

Long-Term U.S. Budget Outlook

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released The 2012 Long-Term Budget Outlook complete with a summary, supplemental data, and an infographic. The CBO predicts that the federal debt will reach approximately 70 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of 2012, "the highest percentage since shortly after World War II."  The report presents two possible scenarios (extended baseline and extended alternative fiscal scenario) about federal revenues and spending  and corresponding budgetary outcomes.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

House Votes to Eliminate Funding for the American Community Survey

Starting with the 2010 Census the American Community Survey (ACS) replaced the traditional census long form. Data collected by the ACS is used to help determine the distribution of $400 billion in federal and state funds for everything from school lunch programs to new hospitals. Joan Naymark, Director of Research and Planning for Target, states on the ACS website:
The American Community Survey is vital to economic development and for wise government and business decision-making. The American Community Survey is an improvement over the census long form because it provides small-area information annually instead of once a decade.
On Wednesday, May 9, 2012 in the House of Representatives, Daniel Webster (R-FL) introduced Amendment 1077 to the FY2013 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill. The amendment sought "to prohibit the use of funds to conduct the survey, conducted by the Secretary of Commerce, commonly referred to as the 'American Community Survey." The House voted 232-190 to eliminate all funding of the ACS ( All but 11 Republicans voted for Webster's amendment; all but four Democrats voted against eliminating ACS funding.

The Senate is expected to take up the FY2013 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill next week. To monitor progress on the bill, access The Library of Congress Thomas site:

Friday, May 04, 2012

Bin Laden's Letters

The Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) at West Point has released a report entitled Letters from Abbottabad: Bin Ladin Sidelined? The report studies 17 declassified letters or draft letters authored by bin Laden and other al-Qa`ida leaders obtained during the Abbottabad raid. Dated from September 2006 to April 2011, 175 pages of the letters are in original Arabic while 197 pages have been translated to English.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Launch of Manufacturing.Data.Gov

According to an April 30, 2012 news release, Manufacturing.Data.Gov is now available as a "one-stop Web portal" for anyone interested in sharing ideas and "transforming emerging technologies into commercial success stories." The site will serve "as a public resource of high-value datasets, tools, and applications that can help entrepreneurs steer the entire product development chain for a project, from invention, engineering design and prototyping, to validation and testing, manufacturing, and sales."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Interactive 1940 Census Web Page

According to a news release, the Census Bureau has launched an interactive 1940 Census website in anticipation of the April 2 release of the 1940 Census records. April 2 marks the end of the 72 year embargo period required for confidentiality of census records. The site includes questions asked on that form, a 1940 Census video, a link to the National Archives website for looking up records starting April 2, and an infographic depicting how characteristics of the U.S. population have changed between 1940 and 2010. The Census Bureau will regularly update the site with new interactive features in the days leading up to April 2.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Surging Seas Report and Website

According to a new report, Surging Seas, released by Climate Central, by 2030 many coastal locations are likely to sea waters rise at least 4 feet above the local high-tide level and by 2050 rise above the 5 feet level due to global warming. The report generates "local and national estimates of the land, housing and population in vulnerable low-lying areas, and associate(s) this information with flood risk timelines." Its accompanying Surging Seas website "includes a searchable, interactive online map that zooms down to neighborhood level, and shows risk zones and statistics for 3,000 coastal towns, cities, counties and states affected up to 10 feet above the high tide line."

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (Wise) Images

A March 14, 2012 news release states, "NASA unveiled a new atlas and catalog of the entire infrared sky today showing more than a half billion stars, galaxies and other objects captured by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission." Many of the stars and galaxies captured in the more than 18,000 images have never been seen before.

More information about WISE is available from . An introduction and quick guide is available from . The collection of WISE images released to date is available from .

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Macondo Well-Deepwater Horizon Blowout Lessons

The National Academies have made available for free online the 196 page book, Macondo Well-Deepwater Horizon Blowout: Lessons for Offshore Drilling Safety.  After examining the causes of the blowout, the report makes recommendations for the oil and gas industry and government regulators and advises taking a "system safety" approach  "anticipating and managing possible dangers at every level of operation."

A paperback version is also available for purchase from the National Academies website.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

U.S. Budget Goes Mobile

The Government Printing Office (GPO) has developed a mobile version of the FY 2013 Budget of the U.S. Government that is supported on iOS 4.3 and above, Android 2.2 and above, and Blackberry OS v. 6.0 and above. To access the app on your mobile phone, go to . 

The mobile app allows users to access the text and images of the main FY 2013 Budget. Links at the bottom also allow users to purchase a copy of the Budget from the GPO Online Bookstore or to access digital versions of previous Budget volumes through GPO's Federal Digital System (FDsys).

For more information see the featured article on FDLP Connection.

Monday, March 05, 2012

American Community Survey Bill

If you use census information, you might be interested in a proposed bill to make responding to the American Community Survey (ACS) voluntary except for some limited questions. The American Community Survey replaced the long form of the census with annual updates and multi-year estimates of the characteristics of population and housing.The Census Bureau randomly selects about 3 million people each year to participate in this confidential survey, and the information gathered from all the questions on the ACS helps the federal government determine how to spend federal funds for infrastructure and services.

View the official text of the bill at The Library of Congress Thomas site:

GovTrack also provides information about the status of the bill and the legislative process: . Under Primary Source it includes a link to the official Thomas site.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Priorities for NASA Space Technology

A new report from the National Academies, NASA Space Technology Roadmaps and Priorities: Restoring NASA's Technological Edge and Paving the Way for a New Era in Space, recommends that NASA's technology development efforts should focus on 16 high priority technologies during the next five years. The priorities "align with three main facets of NASA's overall mission: extending and sustaining human activities beyond low Earth orbit; exploring the evolution of the solar system and the potential for life elsewhere; and expanding our understanding of Earth and the universe."  See more information in the Feb. 1, 2012 news release.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense" has been released by the White House and the Pentagon to identify strategic interests and defense priorities in order to cut military spending in a "responsible and balanced manner." For more information, see the press release.