Archive for July, 2018

When We Get To Mars, What Will We Live In?

NASA sponsored a competition for 3-D printed structures to be erected on Mars preceding an actual mission. Here are the five winners along with brief videos explaining their different processes/buildings. This article – A Home Away from Home – goes over some of the “nuts and bolts” of constructing habitations on the Red Planet.

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Cost of Going to College in New Jersey

Based on 2016/17, this interactive feature shows the true cost of attending college in New Jersey, not the publicly quoted tuition. See where NJCU ranks (among the best values once again for net tuition). As stated in the article “New Jersey City University and Rutgers-Camden were also among the most affordable schools, based on a review of aid, average tuition paid and tuition paid by income level.”

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The Under-35 Movers and Shakers in New Jersey

Here is a listing of the top 100 millennials in New Jersey; they encompass all political parties and represent a wide array of opinions and sectors.

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Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s Writings/Opinions

Thanks to this CRS guide, we have online access to many of his publications. And this CRS publication “…provides tabular listings of 306 cases in which Judge Kavanaugh authored a majority, concurring, or dissenting opinions.”

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2018/19 New Jersey School Aid: Winners and Losers

The recently enacted state budget calls for increases in state aid to many school districts; however, some districts will experience a cut in state support. Come here to find out how each county or school district has fared. Here is an informative article on the process.

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Full Text Transcript and Video of President Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference

I am a firm believer in accessing the original (primary) source at all times; here is both a full-length video and an unedited transcript of this event. Reactions to President Trump’s statements can also be read/viewed.

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Recent/Updated CRS Reports on Supreme Court Nominations

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Online Primary Sources: Anglo-Saxon Charters

Charters are royal instruments that confer upon towns, institutions, or individuals certain rights and privileges along with concomitant obligations and duties. These documents form hierarchical relationships that span centuries and have survived societal upheavals in their many guises. Anglo-Saxon charters are among the earliest written sources we have concerning events in England during what can be justifiably called turbulent times. Think Danes, Viking raiders, Frisians, Norsemen, the occasional cross-border forays of Scotch and Welsh, not to mention the Irish. England during this time was not a united country but was divided into a multitude of separate entites; i.e. Wessex, Mercia, Northumbria, East Anglia to name but a few. Therefore these charters bear witness to this beginning of England.

The first systematic compilation of charters was undertaken by John Kemble, whose six-volume work – Codex diplomaticus aevi saxonici – was recognized for the remarkable work that it was. Over years, more charters were found, but there was never a complete re-inventory of these works until the 20th century with the publication of Peter Sawyer’s 1968 work Anglo-Saxon Charters: an Annotated List and Bibliography – a truly comprehensive catalog. However, despite the utility of both of these monumental works, they do have a drawback for the modern reader – Kemble’s, except for the introduction and headnotes, presents the charters in their original language of Latin while Sawyer directs researchers to the original Latin manuscripts whether in archives or printed facsimiles. This is not to fault either work because neither was designed to offer translations. But there is hope.

The Electronic Sawyer is a revised and expanded list of the 1968 guide that presents through its Browse feature multiple access points to the 1800+ charters listed, including translations of many of these manuscripts. These renderings allow us to more fully understand the machinations and power struggles that were endemic in England during this time frame. A very valuable resource.

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U.S. Immigration Policy

With all the confusing and contradictory pronouncements emanating from Washington, it would do all of us well to read A Primer on U.S. Immigration Policy from CRS. Reliable, verifiable data on immigration to this country can be found at Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States.

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Was There Russian Interference in U.S. Elections?

The intelligence community was tasked with this investigation, and in January 2017, a declassified version of its report – Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections– was made public.  The classified version of this ICA (Intelligence Community Assessment) was given to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for review; its report was recently published. Some of the conclusions reached:

“Russian efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow’s longstanding desire to undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations1.

  • The Committee found that this judgment was supported by the evidence presented in the ICA. Since its publication, further details have come to light that bolster the assessment.
  • The ICA pointed to initial evidence of Russian activities against multiple U.S. state or local electoral boards. Since the ICA was published, the Committee has learned more about Russian attempts to infiltrate state election infrastructure, as outlined in the findings and recommendations the Committee issued in March 2018.”(4)


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Cryptocurrency Regulations

Of late, cryptocurrency has been a topic that one cannot avoid. The Law Library of Congress has issued a survey of how various countries oversee this exchange medium. A brief overview with links to enabling legislation and commentaries are provided for each entry; more detailed examinations of selected countries are found at its Regulation of Cryptocurrency in Selected Jurisdictions.

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2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book Now Available

This annual publication, utilizing government and non-government sources, gauges the well-being of this country’s children. As with previous iterations, there is slow progress in improving the various conditions in which children exist, whether it is the education sector, the health sector, or other socio-economic indicators. Of troubling concern to this authors of this work is the risk of undercounting during the 2020 census:

“The nation is at high risk of another sizable undercount of young children. Congress has underfunded the Census Bureau for the last six years, which has caused delays….”(12) In addition, the Bureau cancelled field tests in areas without good internet access and as the 2020 census will be done primarily online, the process will jeopardize an accurate count in communities of color where internet access is slow/limited. This coupled with the addition of a citizenship questions may further imperil a correct count.

Data is also available for individual states; here is New Jersey.


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One Million Images Freely Available from ArtStor

ArtStor has aggregated numerous public access collections containing a million images and made them available for free. Advanced searching allows you to narrow your searches to a manageable selection. Well worth perusing.

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National Security Reports – June 2018

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