Archive for September, 2017

Welcome to Zealandia, the Newest Continent

As published in GSA Today, Zealandia: Earth’s Hidden Continent, this landmass broke off of Australia tens of millions of years ago and is now 94% underwater. (The part of the continent above the water is New Zealand.)  The authors of this article state that “The identification of Zealandia as a geological continent, rather than a collection of continental islands, fragments, and slices, more correctly represents the geology of this part of Earth.” (Abstract)

While the existence of this continent had been known for years( Zealandia was first named by Bruce Luyendyk in his Hypothesis for Cretaceous Rifting of East Gondwana caused by Subducted Slab Capture written in 1995), the first scientific expedition to explore this area has just finished its survey, and that is why this is now newsworthy.

The JOIDES Resolution is the name of the survey ship; it has a YouTube channel with brief videos highlighting some of the work involved with this expedition. You can also read blog entries at the vessel’s site. Additional information at The New York Times, The Guardian, Smithsonian, and National Geographic.

 

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Upcoming Cases Before the Supreme Court, October 2017 Term

This October 2017 term appears to be one full of important cases that will resonate down the years: cell phone privacy, district re-mapping, civil rights and free speech, etc. This CRS report –  Supreme Court October Term 2017: A Preview of Select Cases, September 19, 2017 – discusses the importance of four major cases and provides copious notes on these highlighted items as well as providing a table listing all the cases already approved. Another site with extensive coverage of this upcoming term is ScotusBlog, a real go-to site for me.

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Photos of Science Fiction Conventions

Before there was ComicCon, there were cons (science fiction conventions) dating back to the 1930s. Cosplay? That, too, appeared at science fiction conventions. Panels? Yep, sf cons as well. A goldmine of searchable photos, almost 6000 in total, from science fiction conventions from the 1960s and 1970s are now available. A great way to visually document the fanbase of sf as well as its authors.

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Books/Reports on Disaster Management

Recent events have certainly focused our attention on disasters and how we respond to them. To help provide guidance, the National Academies of Science have issued a topical list of freely accessible publications entitled Emergency Preparedness / Disaster Management Collection. Ranging from workshop reports on public health research during disasters to toolkits for crisis care standards, these timely documents will inform all first responders and other engaged populations of the necessary procedures to effectuate optimal measures in the provision of needed services.

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One of Science Fiction’s Greatest Magazines – Galaxy Magazine – Now Online for Free

Well do I remember subscribing to Galaxy; it eschewed the tech-heavy fiction of other pulps and concentrated on more “literary” offerings and stories that dealt with societal concerns. While this collection is not complete, it does offer almost 350 monthly issues. In its pages, you will find the first short rendition of what came to be one of Ray Bradbury’s most widely-read works – Fahrenheit 451 – here in the guise of the story “The Fireman“. All the giants in the field of science fiction appeared in Galaxy from Asimov to Simak to Brown to Sturgeon, the list is endless. And so are the vistas that these authors conjured up on a monthly basis. Here is a partial author listing.

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Another Groundbreaking Ceremony at NJCU’s West Campus

This ceremony heralded another step forward for the development of the West Campus; this building is planned to contain almost 150 apartments. Photos accompany this article.

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Online Primary Sources: “British Documents on the End of Empire”

This massive project was undertaken in light of the following:

“The main purpose of the British Documents on the End of Empire Project (BDEEP) is to publish documents from British official archives on the ending of colonial and associated rule and on the context in which this took place. In 1945, aside from the countries of present-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma, Britain had over fifty formal dependencies; by the end of 1965 the total had been almost halved and by 1985 only a handful remained.”

Documents were culled from a vast array of official sources and provide insights into the transfer of power and the establishment of relations with former colonies.

The project was divided into three series: Series A approached this re-alignment thematically; Series B concentrates on specific countries; and Series C acts as an updated guide to the official records housed in various agencies. All the volumes contain hundreds of documents; at times, the tomes take some time to download. But it is worth the wait. In total, eighteen volumes were published between 1992 and 2006.

 

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Happy Hobbit Day!

For those who have enjoyed JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit (This work celebrated its 80th anniversary of publication on September 21) and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, September 22 marks the birthday of Bilbo Baggins and his nephew Frodo Baggins. Of course they were born in different years  – 1290 for Bilbo; 1368 for Frodo.

I so remember receiving the boxed three-volume paperback set of LOTR for Christmas in either 1966 or 1967; I read the entire trilogy over that break. In fact, it is one of the few series I have re-read over the years, not counting the times I read the volumes to various girlfriends. (I did a very credible Oliphant roar.) Now my children have had the pleasure of discovering this fully-realized world. Maybe I’ll go back.

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Brian Aldiss, 1925-2017

He was one of the seminal writers (along with Michael Moorcock and J G Ballard) who ushered in the British “new wave” of science fiction. I eagerly looked forward to his work, remembering his challenging novels from the 1960s through the late 1990s. It must also be stated that he was an influential editor, anthologist, and non-fiction writer.

Biographical information about him can be found in this entry from the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Obituaries can be found at The Guardian, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Locus.

Remembrances are at Ansibleinterviews are on YouTube; here is a great interview from 2015 from The Telegraph.

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Day-by-Day Chronology of the Civil War

This site includes pre-war dates. Links to documents and biographies.

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What Harborside is Going To Look Like Soon

Mack-Cali, the developer of Harborside where NJCU has its business school, has announced an ambitious transformation of the site. To be included in this re-development is a ferry terminal with a direct connection to Manhattan.

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Online Primary Sources for American History: The Papers of General John J Pershing

The Library of Congress has made available online selected material from its collection of Pershing Papers. These include typewritten diaries covering his WWI experiences and well as his post-war activities as Army chief of staff. You might also want to read his Report of General John J. Pershing, U.S.A., Commander-in-Chief, American Expeditionary Forces. Cabled to the Secretary of War, November 20, 1918. Cor. January 16, 1919.

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Teens Growing Up More Slowly Than Their Parents Did

That is the main conclusion from this study – The Decline in Adult Activities Among U.S. Adolescents, 1976–2016 from the journal Child Development. Using seven time-lag surveys, the researchers found that “In recent years, fewer adolescents engaged in activities rarely performed by children and often performed by adults, such as working, driving, going out, dating, having sex, and drinking alcohol….” There are significant declines in these adult behaviors, especially beginning with 2000. Tables, figures, and references round out this important report.

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Who Are the Rohingya?

They are a minority-Muslim group inside the largely Buddhist country of Myanmar (once known as Burma). According to CIA data, Buddhists comprise 87.9% of the country while Muslims total 4.3% of the population. These people have been in the news largely because of the large mass emigrations into neighboring Bangladesh, supposedly in retaliation for attacks on government offices by a splinter Rohingya group.

Background information on this can be found in many places, especially:

The Rohingya Migrant Crisis (CFR Backgrounder); The Rakine State Danger to Myanmar’s Transition (International Crisis Group); Rohingya (Migration Policy Group); STATEMENT ON ROHINGYA REFUGEES FLEEING BURMA TO BANGLADESH (US State Department); Final Report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State (supplemental material here); Congressional bills, hearings, resolutions on Rohingya; Burma – February 2017 Update (UK House of Commons Library Research Briefing); U.S. Restrictions on Relations with Burma (CRS); There is no simple solution to the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar (Brookings); Myanmar’s Problem State (Chatham House); and United Nations reports, documents, and publications.

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President Trump’s First Speech at the UN

Here is a video of his speech made today.

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Guidebooks to Disaster Responses

These are two examples of handbooks used by governmental agencies to respond to “incidents”: Coast Guard Incident Management Handbook (IMH-2014) and FEMA Incident Management Handbook (IMH).

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The Importance of Non-Degree Credentials

Here are some major takeaways from this 2017 report –  Adult Education and Training: Results from the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2016 from NCES:

Usefulness of Nondegree Credentials and Work Experience Programs

  • A majority of adults reported that their most important work credential was very useful for getting a job (82 percent), keeping a job (80 percent), remaining marketable to employers or clients (81 percent), and improving work skills (66 percent) (table 7).
  • Among adults who reported completing a work experience program, 64 percent found them to be very useful for getting a job, 66 percent thought they were very useful for improving work skills, but only 37 percent considered them to be very useful for increasing their pay (table 7).  ((From “Key Findings”(4))

Numerous charts/statistics add to the utility of this document that suggests that there is a great demand for non-degree credentials, licenses, certificates, or work experiences. Here is an older but still relevant NCES report from 2015 – The Relationship Between Education and Work Credentials .

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Who Won What at the 2017 Emmy Awards

Here are the lists of the winners and the contenders.

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The House of Lords Explained

This centuries-old institution is highlighted in Customs and Traditions of the House of Lords. This brief but highly informative piece, supplemented by ample footnotes, traces the development of this deliberative body from its inception. Appendices delineating precedence and seating arrangements further bolster the usefulness of this document.

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NCAA and the Well-Being of Student Athletes

NJCU sponsored an extremely informative talk today by Dr. Brian Hainline, the NCAA’s chief medical officer, on the trends, data, and best practices that should be employed when dealing with the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of student-athletes who are  ambassadors from our university to the outside world. Here are some relevant links:

The Sports Science Institute of the NCAA, headed by Dr. Hainline, has many publications exploring the intersections of science, medicine, and sports.

This key article contains many of the points Dr. Hainline stressed in his presentation – A National Study on the Effects of Concussion in Collegiate Athletes and US Military Service Academy Members: The NCAA–DoD Concussion Assessment, Research and Education (CARE) Consortium Structure and Methods

PubMed Central contains almost 300 full-text articles on “ncaa medicine“; these articles are from only 2016-17! A search on “concussion sports” yields almost 600 full-text articles for the same time period.

The CARE Consortium “… endeavors to provide necessary infrastructure and scientific expertise to study concussion.” Please check its “Resources” and “Publications” tabs.

Here is a YouTube video of Dr Hainline discussing concussion and college sports; here is another one of him explaining what symptoms athletic officials should look for if they suspect a concussion.

The HEADS UP site from the CDC contains a plethora of useful information along with a credit-bearing training video for clinicians. Publications, reports, and fact sheets are here.

Please come here for the hundreds of bills and reports from Congress dealing with concussion.

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