Archive for January, 2011

Today in History – The Challenger Explosion

“We have a report from the flight dynamics officer that the vehicle has exploded…flight director confirms that….” With those words, the public learned of the Challenger’s tragic, brutal ending;  many of us remember that day with clarity and sadness. The official NASA page on the accident is here; you can read the Rogers Commission Report (known as the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident) along with appendix F containing “Personal Observations on Reliability of Shuttle,” a scathing report on NASA by Richard Feynman, he who proved the unreliability of the o-ring in a live demonstration during these hearings. CNN has a special report on this tragedy, as does C-SPAN, BBC,, and AOLnews.


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What Really Caused the Financial Crisis?

It would appear that more than a few causes led to the economic crisis we have been dealing with: lack of financial regulation, ill-equipped policy makers, excessive borrowing by householders and Wall Street, and an overall lack of ethics. These factors are enumerated in the 600+ page final report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.  The Commission’s opinion: “We conclude this financial crisis was avoidable. The crisis was the result of human action and inaction….”(xvii) To view all the documentation upon which this report is based: interviews, hearings, reports, etc., please go here.






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Obama’s 2011 State of the Union Address

We have written about the state of the union address in previous entries. But this year, the address can be viewed along with accompanying graphs and charts which illustrate the speech as it is being given. It is being called the Enhanced State of the Union and is only available through the White House portal.

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Database of Contemporary British Writers

This collection presents current information on contemporary writers in the UK. Biographical information, along with critical appraisals, author bibliographies, and prizes awarded are listed for each profile.

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2011 Edition of the Statistical Abstract of the United States Released

Published since 1878, the volume contains a wealth of information on the social, demographic, business, and economic conditions of the country. Gleaned from a wide variety of federal and state resources, the Statistical Abstract includes hundreds of  tables and charts on various topics from principal crops to teenage birth rates to foreign aid. This is an essential information tool. And for a more retrospective look, please consult the Bicentennial Edition: Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970 (Part 1 and Part 2).

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New Jersey Charter Schools NJ ASK/HSPA Results

This Department of Education report, Living Up To Expectations, shows how charter schools compared to their school district counterparts on these standardized tests. On the whole, the charter schools outperformed in-district schools but did not fare as well against the state average. In related news, 23 new charter schools have been approved by the state; two are in Jersey City.

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President Obama’s Speech in Tucson

You can view the speech and read the transcript here.

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