Archive for October, 2018

Just in Time for Halloween – “The World Bewitch’d”

This online exhibition from Cornell University examines the belief in witches that spread throughout Europe culminating in the killings of thousands of putative witches during the 16th and 17th centuries. Drawing on the largest collection of witchcraft works extant – Cornell University Library Witchcraft Collection – (of which 104 English-language works are online), pages from selected works are presented highlighting both the reception of witches and measures taken to suppress them.

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Online Primary Sources for American History: INF Treaty

President Trump has announced that the United States is going to withdraw from the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty or INF. This agreement eliminated all missiles that had a range of between 300 miles and 3,000 miles, effectively stripping the European Theater of Operations from the threat of missile attack, whether of a conventional or nuclear nature.

There have been some reports that Russia was not abiding by the letter of the law; see Russian Compliance with the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty: Background and Issues for Congress from CRS for an overview. Also, this proposed legislation – S.430 – Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty Preservation Act of 2017.

Although of recent historical vintage, there are indeed valuable primary sources of information for those wishing to visit this topic.

Firstly,  read the treaty in its entirety along with its informative narrative.

Secondly, examine the hundreds of documents that have been selected to explain the diplomatic process. These are found in the valuable Foreign Relations of the United States series, especially Soviet Union, October 1986-January 1989, Volume VI , and read the preface to this volume that points to additional relevant volumes in this ongoing documentary project.

Thirdly, consult the National Security Archive for its “briefing book” – The INF Treaty and the Washington Summit: 20 Years Later that contains additional sources, including some from the Soviet side. This wonderful site also has numerous entries on the predecessor negotiations as well.

Fourthly, drop by the Wilson Center’s digital collections that were culled from disparate entities that have an impact on the present topic.

Fifthly, visit Georgetown University’s digital video collection containing then-contemporary interviews of some of the major players/analysts of the time from both the academic and governmental perspectives.

Sixthly, peruse statements, addresses, interviews of President Ronald Reagan (who was a key participant in this treaty) housed at the American Presidency Project.

And lastly (because I can’t bear the thought of writing “seventhly”), watch the various Congressional hearings on the INF courtesy of C-SPAN.

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Prominent Authors Discuss the Power and Importance of Libraries

Rather than have we librarians as the only proponents of an institution universally respected, herewith are a dozen authors touting the influence of libraries.

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Gateway Tunnel Video

For those interested in watching this video that has been in the news of late, here it is. This project is part of a comprehensive infrastructure program vital to the area’s economic viability; the full plan can be seen here. This Amtrak: Overview is most informative.

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What We Know About Acute Flaccid Myelitis

Although still rare, the news media have been concentrating on the spread of this disease. This CDC page presents a plethora of data and resources on AFM. Over one hundred medical articles are freely available from PubMed Central; included are literature reviews and surveillance studies.

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UNESCO History Series

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), in an effort to counter the general levels of historical ignorance surrounding certain parts of the world, commissioned/sponsored multi-volumes works of history authored by native and non-native historians. (Here is a special issue of the UNESCO Courier focusing on this project.) These works have taken decades to produce; some of them are still ongoing.

At present, the following are freely available online:

Different Aspects of Islamic Culture

General History of Africa

History of Civilizations of Central Asia

History of Humanity (These are the volumes currently available in English) – vol. 3 (7th century BC – 7th century AD); vol. 5 (16th – 18th centuries); vol. 6 (19th century).

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Near-Term Effects of Climate Change

Many people have entered a space where they consider the ramifications of climate change in a future-world; however, the most recent report from the IPCC – Global Warming of 1.5 °C – shows that we have mere decades to ameliorate this situation.

A massive literature review reinforcing the various scenarios lends credence to this report, and puts climate change deniers in the unenviable position of having little to no research to substantiate their viewpoints.

As this report states:

“Warming of 1.5°C is not considered ‘safe’ for most nations, communities, ecosystems and sectors and poses significant risks to natural and human systems as compared to current warming of 1°C (high confidence) {Cross-Chapter Box 12 in Chapter 5}. The impacts of 1.5°C would disproportionately affect disadvantaged and vulnerable populations through food insecurity, higher food prices, income losses, lost livelihood opportunities, adverse health impacts, and population displacements (medium evidence, high agreement) {5.2.1}. Some of the worst impacts on sustainable development are expected to be felt among agricultural and coastal dependent livelihoods, indigenous people, children and the elderly, poor labourers, poor urban dwellers in African cities, and people and ecosystems in the Arctic and Small Island Developing States (SIDS)….” (Chapter 5, executive summary)

Not only does climate change affect the physical environment, but it also takes on toll on mental health. Please read: Climate Change and Mental Health (Union of Concerned Scientists); Climate Changes Mental Health (American Public Health Association); and Climate change and mental health: risks, impacts and priority actions (International Journal of Mental Health Systems).

 

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“If”

This title had a run of 175 issues before it was folded into Galaxy. It had a roster of impressive editors and under the direction of Frederik Pohl garnered three Hugos as best science fiction magazine. All the issues are online.

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NJ Guide to Property Taxes

No one likes paying them. This guide, however, offers some insight into the intricate process that arrives at what we pay on an annual basis. And in case you have forgotten, those of us in New Jersey pay the highest property taxes in the country.

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Where To Find Full Text Systematic Reviews

A great place to start is PubMed Central, a free database containing over five million articles in medicine and life sciences. Among these numerous articles is a sub-group devoted to systematic reviews. A very simple search garners almost 467,000 full text articles for this topic; using the advanced search allows for more fine-tuning of results. (Here is an example of “systematic review” and “autism”.)

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McNair Academic Named a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School

McNair Academic High School in Jersey City, already an institution that figures prominently in “best schools” lists, has added another achievement – it has been named a National Blue Ribbon School.

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“Amazing Stories”

Founded in 1926 by Hugo Gernsback, Amazing Stories is considered the first magazine solely devoted to publishing science fiction; it is still being produced today, although in a diminished state. (The site appears dormant as of late 2017.) More than 600 issues of this title, featuring the greats of science fiction, are available online in all their garish glory.

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MacArthur “Genius” Awards Announced. How Many Are From New Jersey?

Come here and find out.

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White House’s Counterterrorism Strategy Released

The White House has issued its National Strategy for Counterterrorism. Here is The New York Times take on this much-delayed policy statement.

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2019 World University Rankings

Considered the premier list of its type, this iteration allows you to filter by region/country, name, or subject. (I am glad to see four of my almae matres in the top 30.)

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National Security Reports – September 2018 Update

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Latest FBI Crime Statistics Released

The 2017 edition of this annual report has been released; much of its statistical data is widely used by the media and academic researchers. Also consult the Crime Data Reporter that offers continually updated facts and figures.

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Cyber Glossary

Compiled by the National Security Archive from disparate sources, this Cyber Glossary provides a wide-ranging guide to the terminology employed in this sector.

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Online Primary Sources for American History: Supreme Court Nomination Hearings

This Senate Committee on the Judiciary page has complete transcripts of all the hearings back to 1971 with the notable exception of Robert Bork, who, while nominated, was rejected by the committee; his hearings are here. And while official transcripts are not yet available for the Brett Kavanaugh hearings (that could take a couple of years), here are videos of the proceedings.

Numerous blog entries with multitudinous links can be perused for additional information.

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Online Primary Sources for American History: The Nomination Hearings of Clarence Thomas

With the heated controversy over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, it might do well to refresh our collective memories and re-visit an eerily similar process – the hearings on Clarence Thomas; videos of the hearings are also available. Here is an overview of this contentious hearing.

For those unfamiliar with the Supreme Court nomination process, many CRS reports provide ample elucidation.

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