Archive for February, 2012

Interviews with America’s Top Scientists

Membership for scientists in the National Academy of Sciences is ” … in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive.” There is an ongoing project called InterViews that features some of these members; among them are Paul Ehrlich, Michael T.Clegg, and other luminaries. Each interview features background or biographical information along with “highlights” of the interview. Searching can be done by person or subject area.

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Iranian Oral Histories

With Iran figuring so prominently in the news of late, a visit to the Harvard Iranian Oral History Project could prove beneficial. There are more than one hundred oral histories here with digital audios and transcripts; these eyewitnesses accounts range from the 1920s through the 1980s. One can browse by narrator or by subject. This unique resource has been described as  “… the most comprehensive chronicle of eye-witness reports of modern Iran by some of the key figures who defined her history.” (From Role of oral histories in preparing new Iranian Economic Histroy(sic))

 

 

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What and Where Are The World’s Tallest Buildings?

The Skyscraper Center offers a wealth of information on these two queries, and more. There are pre-selected quick lists and facts on such topics as completed tallest buildings, proposed tallest buildings, demolished tallest buildings, number of “supertall” buildings, etc. In addition, you can create your own lists; for example, the United Arab Emirates has 440 tall buildings, among them the world’s tallest at 2717 feet – the Burj Khalifa. But there is so much more information:  each building has its own separate page containing  splendid photos, facts (official name, address, year started/completed), companies(contrators, owners, developers), figures (number of floors, elevators, parking spaces, hotel rooms, etc) as well as news articles, videos, and technical papers. Where does the United States rank? We come in with the 8th tallest building – the Willis Tower.  The Empire State Building is 18th, which is pretty remarkable given that all of the buildings ahead of it are decades newer. And Jersey City makes the list with 55 structures in various stages of development (vision, in progress, completed), headed by the completed 30 Hudson Street (aka Goldman Sachs Tower) at 781 feet.

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Online State Encyclopedias – Kentucky

The 20th one we have found, the Kentucky Encyclopedia is another example of an historical encylopedia written and edited by scholars, funded by state and/or federal funds, and published under the auspices of either an historical society or a university press. This site allows one to browse the entries in alphabetical order, search full text, or employ certain pre-determined limiters; i.e., search by calendar, names, place, or map (this latter choice allows the researcher to pull up individual county/regional histories). All the results are extensively linked to other entries in this work and are accompanied by bibliographies. The Civil War articles are especially pertinent given the 150th anniversary of that conflict.

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W.E.B Du Bois Papers Online

More than 60,000 items comprising this unique collection are readily available for free. You can browse by name, subject, or genre as well as by conducting advanced searches. This site also provides access to his books, articles, essays, and The Crisis, a magazine he edited for many years. In addition, a biography and a chronology are also offered.

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Higher Education, Including NJCU, To Get Funding Increases in FY 2013

Highlights of Governor Christie’s proposed funding increases for New Jersey higher education are contained on p.59 of his FY 2013 budget summary; p.8o lists the increases for each of the four-year colleges along with a boost in funding for student financial aid. A video and transcript of his address is now online.  A review of the budget in general is available from NJ Spotlight. An article from The Star-Ledger reviews the entire education sector

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Online Interviews with Civil Rights Lawyers

These 80+ interviews are primarily with civil rights attorneys who battled against discrimination and segregation through the legal system. A fuller explanation of the project can be found here. Definitely a primary source of information concerning those contentious times.

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Barrett-Browning Love Letters Online

An ill woman, forbidden to marry by her father. An ardent suitor. Hundreds of love letters written over the space of less than two years. A secret marriage. An outraged father disowning his daughter and never speaking to her again. Such are some of the elements that comprise the relationship between Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning, two of the Victorian era’s most prominent poets. All their love letters are now online; you can see digital versions of the originals as well as transcriptions. The entire database of letters is also searchable. Brief biographies are available here. You can read most of Robert Browning’s works online as well as the works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” (From her Sonnet 43)

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16.2% of New Jersey Workers Are Employed by the Government

According to the Gallup Daily tracking interviews in 2011, the number of New Jersey government workers is just below the national average of 16.3%. Government workers are those employed by federal, state, or local agencies.

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Listen to the National Anthems of the World

The CIA’s World Factbook now hosts audio files for most of the world’s national anthems. Just pick a country, select the “government” tab, and scroll to the bottom of the list where you will find the national anthems along with some interesting information, For example, did you know that Japan’s national anthem has the oldest lyrics in the world, dating back to the tenth century? Or that the music for Brazil’s anthem was composed in 1822 and played for many years until it was officially adopted in 1890?

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Contemporary Voices of the Civil War from The Atlantic

In this special issue commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the editors of the Atlantic searched their archives for writings by some of the country’s best known authors: Mark Twain, Sarah Orne Jewett, Walt Whitman, and Harriet Beecher Stowe among others. The issue is divided into three sections: pre-war, the war years, and post-war. The pieces included do give an immediacy not present in historical analyses.

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New Jersey’s NCLB Waiver Request Approved

Late last year, New Jersey applied to opt out of NCLB by showing that other state-generated measures/procedures would be more appropriate in evaluating the skill sets of New Jersey students. (Here is Acting Commissioner Cerf’s letter to school administrators explaining New Jersey’s waiver request.)  As of this morning, AP has announced that New Jersey is among the first ten states to be granted relief from NCLB. A previous blog entry on the NCLB and New Jersey is available.

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Global Directory of Think Tanks

Global Go To Think Tanks contains hundreds of these institutions broken down by various categories: top in the world, top regional think tanks, think tanks arranged by research area, and think tanks recognized for special achievement. When doing research on policy questions, this compendium would provide a great starting place to identify major players in your field of endeavor be it security, or health policy, or international economics.

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Employment Projections to 2020

The entire January 2012 issue of the Monthly Labor Review centers around how industries and occupations will develop over the next few years. How will sectors grow? What does the demand look like? This report can be supplemented by a special issue of Occupational Outlook Quarterly entitled Charting the Projections: 2010-2020 that concentrates more on the labor force itself.

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A Look Inside Facebook As It Goes Public

Forced by SEC regulations to file as a public company once it has assests in excess of $10 million and more than 500 shareholders, Facebook submitted a Form S1 Registration Statement on 2-1-12 that allows outsiders to see the inner workings of this social media giant. Included are the mission statement of the company, a personal letter from Mark Zuckerberg, executive compensation plans, names of all stockholders holding at least a 5% share, revenue history, and consolidated financial statements. A linked table of contents allows for easy navigation although the verbiage at times is mind-numbing.

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2011 ASK and HSPA Scores Released

Grade breakdowns are available here. State summaries, breakdown by schools in districts, and demographic statistics are available. A much more user-friendly site for finding out school scores is from The Star-Ledger (scroll down to the bottom of the page for searching; the results will also be listed at the bottom of the article. Charter school scores are found in the “county” box at the very end of the alphabetical list). Additional reportage is at: newjerseynewsroomCherry Hill Post Courier (with handy demographic summaries for 2003, 2007, 2011), and NJ Spotlight provides a good analysis. Once again, the results show a mixed bag.

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Economic Crisis – February 2012 Update

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Reshaping the Higher Education Landscape in New Jersey

On January 25, 2012, Governor Christie announced his plans to reshape medical education and higher education in New Jersey. This is in response to the UMDNJ Advisory Committee Final Report, released the same day as his speech. Here are some of the key points: UMDNJ  will have three of its institutions become more autonomous while the remnants, the medical and dental schools, will be renamed New Jersey Health Sciences University; University Hospital will be managed under the auspices of a public-private partnership, quite possibly with St Barnabas; The Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and the UMDNJ School of Public Health would be absorbed by Rutgers-New Brunswick; and Rutgers-Camden and its law and business schools will be merged into Rowan University which is also the home of the new Cooper Medical School. The end results of these shifts are that there will be three major medical centers in the state: north, central, south; and two large public research universities – Rutgers and Rowan. Excellent overview/analysis/background will found at NJ Spotlight which discusses the political machinations involved. News coverage is at: newjerseynewsroom, The Star-Ledger, The Bergen Record, Politicker NJ, Press of Atlantic City, and Cherry Hill Courier Post. The New York Times has a free article archives on UMDNJ dating back to 1981.

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