Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Track Santa's Movements Online

A favorite with children during the holiday season is the online Santa Tracker available in several languages. 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. NORAD's creative website includes the Santa tracker and games and images related to the North Pole and Santa's Village. It even has apps to tract Santa from a mobile phone.

State Population Estimates

What states are the most populous? Find out using the December 2015 release from the  Census Bureau entitled "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rice: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015 (NST-EST2015-01." The publication includes the following note:

The estimates are based on the 2010 Census and reflect changes to the April 1, 2010 population due to the Count Question Resolution program and geographic program revisions. See Geographic Terms and Definitions at for a list of the states that are included in each region.  All geographic boundaries for the 2015 population estimates series except statistical area delineations are as of January 1, 2015.  For population estimates methodology statements, see

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

U.S. Energy Imports from Canada

On its beta website the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) provides an overview of Canadian energy imports into the United States. The entry reveals that Canada is the "largest source of U.S. crude oil and refined products" and is "one of the few countries from which U.S. crude oil imports are increasing."  Although the Keystone pipeline did not receive a presidential permit, crude oil from Alberta is being shipped by rail to points in the United States. Of interest to Houston is the Gulf Coast Pipeline Project, which began operating by rail in January 2014 from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast Texas refining sector with plans to expand capacity from the initial 520,000 b/d to 700,000 b/d. To see proposed routes for the actual pipelines especially for the Houston Lateral which would go through Liberty, Chambers and Harris counties, see TransCanada's map.
The EIA website entry also touches on coal, natural gas and electricity exports from Canada.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Cybersecurity: Legislation, Hearings, and Executive Branch Documents

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a new report on Dec. 10, 2015 by Rita Tehan entitled "Cybersecurity: Legislation, Hearings, and Executive Branch Documents." The report provides links to cybersecurity legislation and hearings from the 112th to the 114th Congresses and information about cybersecurity bills signed by the President. It also references other CRS reports covering various aspects of cybersecurity such as data and statistics and authoritative reports.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

President Obama Signs ESSA - No More "No Child Left Behind"

On December 10, 2015 President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act which does away with provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act. The four versions of the bill [S.1177.ENR] are available from THOMAS (The Library of Congress).
The White House blog post of Dec. 7, 2015 compares President Obama'a priorities for the Every Student Succeeds Act with those of the Bipartisan Bill and No Child Left Behind. The Senate Legislative Activity page shows the main provisions of the act while the Education Week blog explains them.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

GAO Report About Asylum Application Fraud

On Dec. 2, 2015 the General Accounting Office (GAO) released a report entitled Asylum: Additional Actions Needed to Assess and Address Fraud Risks. The following provides reasons why the GAO did this study citing the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) and the DOJ (Department of Justice).

GAO was asked to review the status of the asylum system. This report addresses (1) what DHS and DOJ data indicate about trends in asylum claims, (2) the extent to which DHS and DOJ have designed mechanisms to prevent and detect asylum fraud, and (3) the extent to which DHS and DOJ designed and implemented processes to address any asylum fraud that has been identified. GAO analyzed DHS and DOJ data on asylum applications for fiscal years 2010 through 2014, reviewed DHS and DOJ policies and procedures related to asylum fraud, and interviewed DHS and DOJ officials in Washington, D.C., Falls Church, VA, and in asylum offices and immigration courts across the country selected on the basis of application data and other factors.

GAO recommended:

... that DHS and DOJ conduct regular fraud risk assessments and that DHS, among other things, implement tools for detecting fraud patterns, develop asylum-specific guidance for fraud detection roles and responsibilities, and implement timeliness goals for pending termination reviews.