Archive for December, 2011

Guggenheim Museum Catalogs Online

More than 60 catalogs have been digitized and are available for viewing; they range from an exhibition on Alexander Calder to a 500 page volume on Chinese art through 5000 years. They can be searched by date, title, or subject. In addition, the museum is also devising The Syllabus which “…offers points of entry into the Guggenheim’s rich publication archives, with suggested readings on historical themes, topics, and trends, as well as links for further exploration.” This latter section is still under development and more content will be added over time.

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Isaac Newton’s Papers Online

Isaac Newton, one of the world’s greatest mathematicians, left behind thousands of pages  when he died. Numerous dead-tree collections  have been published of his papers but the Cambridge Digital Library states: ” The Library holds the most important and substantial collection of Newton’s scientific and mathematical manuscripts and over the next few months we intend to make most of our Newton papers available on this site.” Those works that are now available have been transcribed for easier reading.  Another ongoing electronic project can be found at  The Newton Project where almost 5 million transcribed words of Newton’s writings are available online. This site also includes a listing of the books in Newton’s library that were  used in his own research/writings; these are not digitized, but a quick look through some repositories such as HathiTrust or Internet Archive will pull some of them up.

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Sexual Violence is Widespread in the United States

Here are some frightening statistics from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey conducted in 2010 with 16,500 subjects via telephone interviews of about half an hour: 1 in 5 women have been raped in their lifetime; 1.3 million women were raped during the year previous to this survey;  1 in 6 women have been stalked in their lifetime; and 1 out of 4 women have been the victims of severe physical abuse by an intimate partner. Men, as well, reported being raped, stalked, or abused. This is the first year this survey was conducted and the results will serve as a foundation for subsequent surveys. This report also has tables that are broken down by state. Additional information is at the CDC”s Violence Prevention page. Reportage is availabe from The New York Times, BBC, Los Angeles Times, and  The Washington Post.

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Hazardous Substance Information

You or a co-worker are expected to handle some chemicals. What are the risks involved? Is protective gear necessary? If so, what kind? If there is an accident, what immediate care should be given? Besides calling a help line (National Poison Control Center – 1 800 222 1222), you do have access to some good online sources before you tackle a particular situation. New Jersey has the Right to Know Hazardous Substance Fact Sheets.  “The Fact Sheets are prepared on pure substances and contain information on health hazards, exposure limits, personal protective equipment, proper handling, first aid, and emergency procedures for fires and spills.” There are 1600 of them with 900 translated into Spanish. They are being constantly revised and additional ones are being translated. The site allows access by alphabetical listing, new/revised sheets, carcinogens, translated into Spanish, and newly translated sheets. As the sheets are revised, they are transferred into a more accessible and informative format. The site also contains “quick response guides” for emergency responders. Tha National Librray of Medicine, within its TOXNET site, offers the Hazardous Substances Data Bank that includes over 5000 chemicals and their human health effects (with peer reviewed references) and medical treatments. The HSDB also provides mobile access.

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Putting the Fiction Back in Science: Nature’s “Futures” Short Science Fiction Stories

Beginning with Arthur C Clarke’s short story in 1999, Nature has now published more than 400 short(under a 1000 words more or less) science fiction pieces by some of the most accomplished writers in the field (Norman Spinrad, Gregory Benford) as well as lesser-known luminaries from other fields of endeavor. These are all freely available at this site – Web Focus: Futures – where you can find the latest stories, a podcast, archives, and links. An overview/history of this feature is also available.  For those of us who are SF enthusiasts, this is a delightful weekly treat.

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LIVE – Former Governor Corzine’s Testimony Before the House Agriculture Committee

His testimony is online now, thanks to C-SPAN.

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Total Compensation Costs for State and Local Workers

 This report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics – Employer Costs for Employee Compensation - contains two tables of importance; Tables 3 and 4 explore the distribution of compensation for state and local workers. This release also contains the following advice: “Compensation cost levels in state and local government should not be directly compared with levels in private industry.  Differences between these sectors stem from factors such as variation in work activities and occupational structures” (Technical Note) So when discussing salaries and benefits, these newly-generated facts should provide a guide for the conversations; after all, “Knowledge is power.” Another recent report, Comparing Compensation: State-Local Workers Versus Private Sector Workers, from the Center for Retirement Research, utilized”…careful comparisons between people with similar skills doing similar jobs.”(3) The conclusion was “In short,  for the nation as a whole the difference between public and private sector compensation appears modest.(7) It goes on to urge lawmakers to exercise caution when restructuring public sector compensation. An excellent bibliography in appended.

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