Archive for July, 2013

Bradley Manning’s Trial Transcripts and Verdict

All the transcripts are here; the court decision (unofficial version) is here. Times Topics has a section on his case.

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European Social Statistics 2013

This is the first of a planned annual series from EuroStat (the statistical arm of the EU) that details socioeconomic characteristics of the EU27 countries as well as candidate countries for admission. Data range from foreign language learning to healthcare to criminal justice, and each table is accompanied by an active link to the appropriate EuroStat database.  A handy glossary of terms rounds out this valuable publication.

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Naval Chronology of the American Civil War

As we remember the American Civil War, we should not lose sight of the fact that this struggle was not just confined to land battles; many conflicts took place either in bays, rivers, or the ocean. In the early to mid-1960s, the Naval History Division of the Navy published the six-volume Civil War Naval Chronology, 1861-1865. It is a day-by-day exposition on what occurred in maritime settings, from raids on Southern coastal ports to Mississippi River operations. In addition, excerpts from participants’ accounts add to the utility of this work. Volume 6 contains a cumulative index along with many special studies such as : “The Navy in Defense of Washington,” “Shipboard Life in the Civil War” and “Naval Sheet Music of the Civil War” among others. Needless to say, this work focuses on the Union exploits afloat. The Confederate perspective can be seen in this 1887 work:  History of the Confederate States navy from its organization to the surrender of its last vessel. Its stupendous struggle with the great navy of the United States; the engagements fought in the rivers and harbors of the South, and upon the high seas; blockade-running, first use of iron-clads and torpedoes, and privateer history. This thirty-volume series,  Official records of the Union and Confederate in the war of the rebellion (1894-1922) might prove beneficial as well.

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Economic Crisis – July 2013 Update

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A Guide to Cybersecurity Resources

The CRS has just updated its Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources containing a wealth of information from government and private sources. A previous blog entry examines an earlier version of this report in greater detail.

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National Security Reports – July 2013 Update

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Mayor Fulop’s Transition Team Report

Mayor Fulop’s transition team has released its blueprint for upgrading services in Jersey City. Although it may read like a wish list, there are more than a few concrete, commonsense proposals that need to be looked at. Among the recommendations are: consolidating services, modernizing payroll and personnel records, updating IT, and increasing digitization of official documents.

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How Digital Technology Is Improving Student Writing

This just-released Pew report – The Impact of Digital Tools on Student Writing and How Writing is Taught in Schools – based on a survey of 2500 AP and NWP (National Writing Project) teachers reveals that a vast majority of those interviewed view digital technology as a valuable asset in the writing process. According to the summary:

96% agree (including 52% who strongly agree) that digital technologies “allow students to share their work with a wider and more varied audience”

 79% agree (23% strongly agree) that these tools “encourage greater collaboration among students

 78% agree (26% strongly agree) that digital technologies “encourage student creativity and personal expression”(2)

The 114-page report is replete with charts and linked references to apposite Pew publications; it also contains the survey instrument (with results) and discusion guides.



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Ed Tech in Higher Education

Keyboard College presents both a podcast and web articles highlighting this aspect of technology in education. It is not only K-12 grades that are impacted by the use of educational technology; higher education also presents fertile ground. “Distance education” as a term initially applied only to colleges; now it has permeated the lower grades as well. The rapid development of MOOCs signals how far edtech has come in higher education. Other sites of interest include: E-Learning in Postsecondary Education (2013); NMC Higher Education Report 2013 (highly cited); Beyond Retrofitting: Innovation in Higher Education (2013); and Education Technology Success Stories (Brookings, 2013).

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“This I Believe” Program

Launched in 1951 and continuing until 1954, the radio program This I Believe, hosted by Edward R Murrow allowed people famous and obscure to declare in five-minute speeches what they held near and dear to them. As Murrow himself put it: “In this brief time each night, a banker or a butcher, a painter or a social worker, people of all kinds who need have nothing more in common than integrity—a real honesty—will talk out loud about the rules they live by, the things they have found to be the basic values in their lives.”(Introduction) Eight hundred of these nightly programs were broadcast and they are all available at the Tufts Digital Library along with transcripts of each speech. More information can be obtained at the Edward R Murrow Collection. Murrow was the chief European correspondent for CBS during World War II, and his and his “boysriveting reports were main sources of information for the people back home. His 1960 documentary Harvest of Shame(YouTube) on the plight of migrant farm workers is considered among the greatest ever produced.

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Worldwide Drug Statistics

The World Drug Report 2013 from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is full of figures and statistics on drug supply/drug demand for such substances as cocaine and cannabis, among others. Data are available for selected countries, regional groupings, and worldwide dissemintation.

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Global Risks 2013

From income inequality to natural disasters like la Hurricane Sandy to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the world faces many threats according to Global Risks 2013 from the World Economic Forum. A thousand experts from various fields were asked to give their opinions on what constituted the greatest risks we now face. Figure 29 of this report has the five areas of concern: economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal, and technological along with the associated risks, numbering ten for each group. We should point out that one of the societal risks is “water supply crises”. This risk is also considered a … ” ‘centre of gravity’ – the one risk that they[survey-takers] thought is the systemically most important one in that group. Due to their influence on other risks, these are the risks to which leaders and policy-makers should pay particularly close attention.”(figure 36) The report is somber reading but nonetheless needs to be consulted. And nowhere does the spectre of nuclear conflict arise as a threat.

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NSA Surveillance Controversy

Far be it from us to keep up with escalating events surrounding leaks of classified documents. This site has a number of excellent links on this topic. We especially recommend this CRS report – NSA Surveillance Leaks: Background and Issues for Congress. Another excellent starting point is the Electrronic  Frontier Foundation’s Timeline of NSA Domestic Spying that includes links to brief biographies of those involved, IG reports, testimonies, etc. The Guardian’s NSA Files is replete with detailed information; NSA Surveillance Lawsuit Tracker from ProPublica lists major challenges to domestic spying and includes the case (with full text of the complaint), date of filing, where filed, what’s challenged, summary, and status; the Times Topics weighs in with Surveillance of Citizens by Government Chronology, a timeline of  NY Times articles with links to various documents; The Washington Post has its own section on the NSA Surveillance; the Brookings Institution has somethings to say; and the Council on Foreign Relations provides access to many primary sources going back years. The C-SPAN Video Library contains dozens of relevant videos, including one by, in our opinion, one of the best chroniclers of secrecy in this country – Steven Aftergood – author of  Secrecy News (from the American Federation of Scientists), a blog we read as often as we can.

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Historical Congressional Statistics

Vital Statistics on Congress is a large compendium of data touching on every aspect of this legislative body. Want to find out how many seats a state was apportioned in the House from 1910? It is here. Ticket splitting statistics from 1900 to 2010? Look no further than this tome. Congressional workload: bills introduced, bills passed, days in session, hours in session? Stop right here.  This work has been around for three decades, and those who wanted impartial statistical data always reached for the print volumes; it has now been put online with continuously updated figures and is available to everyone. An overview of the various chapters is available.

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EdTech Reports/Sites of Interest

While recently updating a handout for an edtech presentation, we came across some sites that we thought would yield important information for anyone interested in this field. Without further ado, here they are:

Education Leadership Tool Kit Change and Technology in America’s Schools. A web site hosted by the National School Board Administrators (NSBA)

Educational Technology (An informative and current blog from University of Illinois at Springfield. Highly recommended.)

International Information Technology Statistics (from various sources)

National Educational Technology Trends (an annual report detailing edtech across the nation from the from the State Educational Technology Directors Association. SETDA has generated many relevant reports all freely available at their site. A great place to find valuable, up-to-date information, some of which is broken down to the state level. Here is New Jersey and its technology plan.)

New Jersey World Class Standards. Content Area: Technology (Core Curriculum Content Standards)

PBS Learning Media (“…is the go-to destination for instant access to tens of thousands of classroom-ready, digital resources including videos, games, audio clips, photos, lesson plans, and more!” The service is free to educators)

Principal Connections Online (While devised for Virginia, this goldmine of resources is applicable to anyone interested in leadership styles/qualities in educational technology. A MUST!)

Teacher Technology Usage 2013 (A survey prepared for PBS. Who is using what how)

Teacher’s Guides to Technology & Learning (from Twitter to Google Glass, this is the place to go. Copious links and lists; it even has a guide to the Library of Congress)

Unleashing the Potential of Educational Technology (2011 report from the Council of Economic Advisers, The White House)

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Abbottabad Commission Report Released

As obtained by Al Jazeera, the 300+ page report from the Pakistani Abbottabad Commission reviews the ineptitude of the Pakistani government in both allowing Osama bin Laden to go undetected for nine years as well as criticizing it for being unaware of the  Special Operations Forces raid on his compound until it was over. Further reportage is at: The New York Times, Financial Times, CNN, and The Times of India.

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Online Primary Sources for American History: The Secession Era

The American Civil War did not just start overnight. For years there had been a discernable movement in the country propelling it toward disunification. The election of Abraham Lincoln just provided the ignition to a longstanding dissatisfaction among many in the south. Newspapers provided many editorial opinions on secession; needless to say, geographical location informed many of the opinions. The Secession Era Editorials Project collects hundreds of opinion pieces ranging from 1854 to 1859 clustered around four main events during those years: the Nebraska Bill (background info here);  the Sumner Caning Incident (background info here); the Dred Scott Decision (background info here); and John Brown’s Raid (background info here). The writings are sorted either by year or by party affiliation(newspapers were all aligned with one party or the other). The editorials have been transcribed, so while you lose the digital version of the actual copy, what you can read is clear and printable. The Editorials on Secession Project primarily concentrates on editorials published in 1860. This ambitious undertaking was never completed, but much of importance is housed here. By using the newspapers link hundreds of  editorials are made available, arranged by state, then city, and then by newspaper title. For example, you can read what these two Jersey City newspapers had to say: the American Standard and the Daily Courier and Advertiser. As in the previous site, all editorials have been transcribed for ease of viewing and printing. The state ordinances of secession (in Louisiana’s case, printed in both English and French) are available for perusal as well. A very well thought-out presentation on this topic is the Virginia Secession Convention site where numerous speeches are housed. Many of the state conventions that met to debate over secession published proceedings/journals which are online and are considered primary sources in and of themselves. Other contemporary source documents, including Jefferson Davis’ speech to the Senate on secession are here and here. Additionally, the various online encyclopedias of the affected states have informative articles on this precipitating event of the Civil War.

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Online State Encyclopedias – Wyoming

WyoHistory, the 21st volume of these online guides to state histories that we have discovered, delves into the background and development of “The Equality State”. One can view essays, search by author in the index section, go on digital field trips, or consult oral histories. Entries are supplemented with links as well as by listings of primary and secondary sources.

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July 4th Celebrations in New Jersey

From concerts to fireworks, here is a good listing of what is upcoming. For those planning a trip to South Jersey, this is a very handy enumeration.

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Full Text of Poem Read at Mayor Fulop’s Inauguration

Why are we making an entry on this? Because this poem was written and read by an NJCU alumna – Melida Rodas. Bravo!! Here is the poem: There in a City, our Jersey City

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