Archive for August, 2012

Welcome to the 2012/2013 Academic Year!

We at the Library extend best wishes and felicitations to both new and returning students. Please remember that we are here to help you, no matter what your information needs. The regular hours for the Library look like this: Monday-Thursday  7:30am – 10pm; Friday 7:30am – 5pm; Saturday 9am – 5pm; Sunday 11am – 5pm                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

 The Library will be closed from Saturday, 9/1 through Monday 9/3, and  Thursday 11/22,  Saturday 11/24 – Sunday 11/25; we’ll have extended hours for exams on Monday 12/17 through Thursday 12/20 staying open until 11pm.  A more detailed calendar is here.

 Here are some handy NJCU sites for you. When you need to contact a department or faculty member, use the university’s online campus directories. To purchase textbooks for your courses and to see if there are used cheaper copies or a rental option, access the bookstore. If you need to consult master course lists or catalogs, you may come to the Library or peruse the latest versions here. And let us not forget the Office of Campus Life. Since parking is at such a premiun around here, familiarize yourself with the parking rules and regulations. For those taking mass transportation, check this NJ Transit site. Cafeteria hours, menus, specials, etc are available at this Gourment Dining site. All students should read the NJCU Student Handbook – the Gothic Guide(2010 draft)  – and be familiar with NJCU’s Academic Integrity Policy, Copyright Policy and Related Guidelines, and its Responsible Use of Computing Resources; other student policies should also be consulted. Also, please peruse the award-winning Gothic Magazine, read The Gothic Times (your student newspaper) and keep up with the Gothic Knights sports teams at this official and informative site. Learn about NJCU through this informative historical timeline and visit the accolade-laden Jersey City Past and Present. Make the most of your time here.

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2012 New Jersey Labor Day Weekend Events

A listing of New Jersey parades, fireworks, and other actvities can be found here. “Family fun” celebrations are here; some South Jersey and Shore events are here. This New York Times article has listings for NY City, upstate New York as well as Long Island and New Jersey.

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Governor Christie’s Keynote Address at the 2012 Republican National Convention

For those who did not stay up, here is a video of his speech from C-SPAN which is also providing gavel-to-gavel coverage of this convention. A transcript of the speech is also online; a YouTube round-up of commentaries is available as well.

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Chronicle of Higher Education – Faculty Salary Survey

Find out what is the median salary that  professors make at 1251 higher education institutions, including NJCU. It includes a brief faculty profile and a section entitled “salaries over time.”

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The Good Life of the Rich

We recently wrote about the Pew report on the middle class; it has now issued a survey dealing with the upper class entitled Yes, the Rich are Different. The report states that: “… a majority of the public (65%) thinks the nation’s income gap between rich and poor has grown in the past decade—and most say that’s a bad thing for the country.”(1) Yet an overwhelming majority of respondents admire people who get rich by working hard.(1) Numerous charts detail the differences in lifestyle satisfaction among those surveyed and who identified themselves with the various “class” designations offered: upper, upper-middle, middle. lower-middle, or lower. Upper class people tend to be healthier and happier (10), have been spared much of the travails of the Great Recession (11), and greatly favor the Repiblican Party(13). Overall, Americans think the rich are smart and hardworking but also greedy and undertaxed.

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Diabetes Statistics for the United States and New Jersey

The CDC has just released its 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet that shows the growing prevalence of this disease in the country. Almost two million new cases among persons aged twenty or older were diagnosed in 2010, bringing the total adult population affected to almost twenty-six million people. The prevalence of diabetes in New Jersey counties as well as state-level statistics on such topics as risk factors and preventive care are also available. Similar figures are available for the other states as well. Additional links on diabetes are found here.

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The Disappearing Middle Class

According to this Pew Research Research Center report – The Lost Decade of the Middle Class– “Since 2000, the middle class has shrunk in size, fallen backward in income and wealth, and shed some—but by no means all—of its characteristic faith in the future.”(1) In 140 pages, this document explores the vagaries of the last decade that have resulted in the shrinking of this group from 61% of all adults in 1971 to its present 51%; in addition, the middle class proportion of the national household income has slipped from 62% to 45% over the same timeframe.(2) There are separate chapters on demographics, economics, mobility, and politics; interspersed are informative sidebars detailing answers to the survey’s questions, such as who is better for the middle class, Obama or Romney  (3) or views of the Republican party (53). Numerous charts are scattered throughout this document as well, graphically illustrating the erosion of the middle class across so many indicators. In referencing the Great Recession, the report states that it rolled back lower and middle class household net worth by two decades.(83) This report is guaranteed to generate comment and analysis for some time. As far as defining “middle class,” it appears, as always, that there is no true definition of the term; p.1-2 contain the Pew interpretation of this term, while p.8 contains self-reported definitions from the respondents. This CRS report succinctly summarizes the dilemma – Who is the “Middle Class”?; another report is available courtesy of FactCheck.org. The White House created the Middle Class Task Force headed by VP Joe Biden; its reports are here. This article, Middle Class in America, is worth a look as well.

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Salaries of Members of Congress, 1789 to Present

In this brief, heavily annotated report, one can trace the pay of Congress from its $6 per diem in 1789 to its frozen 2011 rate of $174,000.

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Terrorism Resources from a British Perspective

At times we may lose sight of the fact that terrorism in its various guises does not just affect the United States alone; other countries also bear a high price for combating this insidious monster. This Select Bibliography of Terrorism Resources, a House of Commons Library Standard Note (“short briefings often produced in response to frequently asked questions by MPs. They are less formal briefings than Research Papers.”), provides fourteen pages of links to various governmental reports on terrorism. Included are Home Office reports, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation Reports, as well as reports from the Joint Committee on Human Rights, the Home Affairs Committee, and the Constitution Committee. Other relevant reources and the full text of terrorism bills are also available. A worthwhile compendium of useful links indeed! In addition, visit the Parliament UK Terrorism page as well as Parliament TV with archives back to July 2009. This Topics: Terrorism page gives access to more updated reports, briefings, and committee hearings as they are produced. For non-governmental perspectives, try Chatham House (aka the Royal Institute of International Affairs).

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BBC Podcasts

Back in the day when we criss-crossed the globe, we kept ourselves informed through the BBC. At times, the BBC was our only contact with the “outside” world; we are forever grateful for their services. Thirty-five years later, we still listen to the BBC via their podcats. Over 300 shows can be accessed, with content remaining available for seven days to “indefinitely.” Its documentary section contains a wide range of topics from the recent Olympics to the status of women in Saudi Arabia; its Books and Authors program is just what it says: dozens of interviews and discussions on books. You can search by radio station or genre, and you can limit results by update or length of the podcast. There is something for everyone here: news, gardening, comedy, business, religion, or sports.

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State of the States

The Book of the States, an annual publication, provides an in-depth look at topics at the state level. Articles for each chapter are written by experts, and each chapter has numerous attachments. For example, Chapter 9: Selected State Policies and Programs, contains informative pieces on hydraulic fracuring, common core standards, and medicaid, among others. It also has accompanying tables, some of them on education, corrections, and highways. Each chapter has a sidebar called “More like this,” directing you to similiar chapters in previous volumes. This compendium of statistics, articles, and links is sure to provide a researcher with a great deal of information. To keep abreast of legislative activities at the state level, we highly recommend the National Conference of State Legislatures; we have used this site before and will definitely need it again. FYI, State of the State speeches are available courtesy of the Pew Center on the States, another invaluable site.

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International Employment/Unemployment Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has issued the International Comparison of Annual Labor Force Statistics comparing the United States with 16 other countries, among them South Korea, New Zealand, Germany and Italy. The report is replete with charts and statistics; of particular interest is Table 1 detailing unemployment rates for the 17 countries for 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, 2005 – .(8) All figures have been adjusted where possible to fit U.S. definitions because: “Persons counted as employed, unemployed, or not in the labor force may differ across countries.”(3) While other reports(here  and here) do exist on this topic, none are as comprehensive in scope and analysis; data are broken down by age, sex, inactivity rates, women’s share of working population, etc.

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New Jersey Among the Least Obese States

So says the CDC. With “only” 23.7% of adults obese, tying Washington, D.C., New Jersey is right at the top among those states with the fewest obese individuals. Only Colorado, Hawaii, and Massachusetts boast lower numbers. Start walking, Jersey!

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2012 Back to School Facts and Figures

From how many students are heading to how much money will be spent in August on back to school supplies and clothing, this Census Bureau feature has it all. The National Retail Federation chips it with its own surveys on back to school spending at both the K-12, and college levels.

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Spending Per Pupil in New Jersey School Districts

The 2012 Taxpayer’s Guide to Education Spending shows how much money was expended on each pupil in each school district, including charter schools. There are 21 fiscal “indicators,” ranging from spending on classroom supplies to employee benefits. You can search by indicator, district, or group. (Charter schools will be found under the last heading.) Jersey City’s numbers are here; the University Academy’s figures are here. Previous reports dating back to 1999 are also available.

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Happy 100th Birthday, Julia Child!

For those of us who grew up with her cooking shows or were the beneficiaries of dishes cooked from her Mastering The Art of French Cooking, this is indeed a milestone day. Biographies are at: biography.com, history.com, PBS(a quite extensive tribute site including a wonderful remix), and The New York Times (with a plethora of articles and links). Her career with the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA, is described here. The Census Bureau also offers a tribute, and her kitchen is at the Smithsonian. Some of her recipes are at the PBS and The New York Times sites; another batch is at food.com. A long interview from 1999 is at TV Legends. Bon appetit!

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Dates, Times, and Locations of Presidential/Vice Presidential Debates

The Commission on Presidential Debates has also announced the moderators for the four debates to take place this fall. Biographies of the moderators and the debate formats are also listed. Transcripts will be provided. Previous debates and transcripts are available here.

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Recent National Security Reports/News

Critical U.S. Infrastructure Vulnerable to Cyber Attack, Congress Fails to Act (video and transcript, PBS); FISA Amendments Act Reauthoization Act of 2012 (THOMAS, Library of Congress; an overview of FISA is available); Cybercrime: Conceptual Issues for Congress and Law Enforcement (CRS); Global Security Contingency Fund (GSCF): Summary and Issue Overview (CRS; GSCF is used to coordinate State and Defense Department resources to address mutual security issues); Department of Homeland Security: FY 2013 Appropriations (CRS); Delivering Security in the 21st Century (transcript of sppech at Chatham House by Anders Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General); A Profile of  AQAP’s Upper Echelon (Combating Terrorism Center; AQAP = al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula); Afghan National Security Forces: Afghan Corruption and the Development of an Effective Fighting Force (Hearing, House Armed Services Committee); and Democratization in the Arab World (RAND; 500-page report).

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July 2012 is the Hottest Month Since Records Have Been Kept

And that is going back over 100 years! For the contiguous United States, this past month has been exceedingly hot according to this report – State of the Climate, July 2012 – from NOAA. In New Jersey, July 2012 proved to be the 6th hottest July on record, while the Jan-July 2012 period is the hottest in New Jersey ever. As far as drought conditions in New Jersey go, 47% of the state is experiencing abnormally dry conditions, according to the U.S.Drought Monitor. Weather extremes for New Jersey monitoring stations are here, with some records going to the late 19th century.

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Secret Lives of Domestic Cats

Just what does kitty do outside? An ambitious project from the University of Georgia and The National Geographic equipped 50+ cats with “kitty cams” and followed the meanderings of domestic cats, what impact they have on the environment, and what situations they get themselves into. Well over 2000 hours of footage was taken. Overall, it’s best if kitty stays in the house, but you can draw your own conclusions. The site has videos, photos,  research findings, and news reports on what our beloved felines do out of doors.

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