Archive for September, 2011

16th Century Music Books Online

Some of the oldest printed music books in the world, many too fragile to be handled, have been rendered into their digital versions. They are searchable by composer, title, date, and subject. More than 300 volumes are available at Early Music Online.

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Updated Comprehensive Benefits Review

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has just issued its annual National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in the United States. Three separate groups are examined: private industry, civilian, and state and local workers. The benefit types reviewed include retirement, leave, and health care, among others. The tables detail the proportion of each benefit paid by both the employer and employee. Geographical and income breakdowns are also available.

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What is Listeria?

Listeria is a serious infection usually caused by eating food containing the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. This has been in the press of late because of the multiple deaths caused by eating cantaloupe infected with this bacterium. More information, including statistics, prevention, who is at risk, etc can be found at the Center for Disease Control’s Listeriosis page. You’ll also be directed to articles from its publication MMWR highlighting previous outbreaks as well as to its investigation update. Multistate foodborne outbreaks are also detailed. Food safety is obviously in everyone’s best interests so you have to wonder why Republicans have cut funding to food safety programs.

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New Reports on Health Insurance

While New Jersey workers await the release of lower-cost options for health insurance, two major reports, just released, make for sobering reading. The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Employer Health Benefits: 2011 Annual Survey reports that: “The average annual premiums in 2011 are $5,429 for single coverage and $15,073 for family coverage. Since 2010, average premiums increased 8% for single coverage and 9% for family coverage.”(10) And the Northeast has the highest premiums in the country. The report includes dozens of variations and may help people make informed decisions if and when lower-cost options are ever made available in the state.  A research brief from the RAND Corporation – How Does Growth in Health Care Costs Affect the American Family? – shows how increasing health care costs have nearly doubled between 1999 and 2009, leaving families with only a net gain of $95 per month during that decade. The conclusion reached is that:  “… over the past decade, health care cost growth has consumed a large share of the disposable income of the average American family. Heavy spending on government health care programs is also adding to the federal budget deficit. These sobering facts provide further evidence that lowering health care costs is one of the most important challenges of our times.” As a sidebar to this discussion, 49.9 million people in this country have no health insurance according to Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States:2010 from the Census Bureau.

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Governor Christie’s Speech at the Ronald Reagan Library

Here is the video as well as the transcript.

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Which Country Has the Fastest Internet?

Well, it certainly is not the United States which stands at 26th in the world. How about South Korea, followed by Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, and Latvia? These are the results based on work done by Pando Networks, a leading game delivery provider. How is this possible? According to the CEO of Pando, it is the the product of “infrastructural development and favorable geography.” The power point presentation of the report can be found here; it includes the twelve fastest and twelve slowest cities in the world as well as the fastest internet connections by ISPs. In a breakdown by The New York Times, New Jersey is the second-fastest state in the nation.

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Members Named to State Teacher Evaluation Committee

The New Jersey Department of Education has published the list of appointed members to the statewide panel responsible for advising the department on the implementation of a pilot program (EE4NJ, Excellent Educators for New Jersey) that will evaluate teacher effectiveness in eleven school districts this year. Among the members is Belinda Stokes, principal of Snyder High School in Jersey City. Additional information can be found at: newjerseynewsroom and NJ Spotlight.

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