New Jersey’s Economic Future

This new report from McKinsey and Company – Reseeding the Garden State’s economic growth: A vision for New Jersey – discusses the main factors that should fuel the state’s growth and employment future: encouraging the growth of young companies (incubators); infrastructure; workforce profiles; and growth incentives. Highlighting programs from other states (Virginia and Maryland) as well as a German university model, along with informative “exhibits” (exhibits 8-11 present a great amount of New Jersey-centric information) comparing New Jersey to other states and the nation, this brief report makes it obvious that New Jersey’s future can be bright, given the abundance of developing sectors in the state. The paper concludes by stating: “It will take dedicated efforts by the private, social, and public sectors—and the involvement of us all—to make the Garden State a growth leader again.All stakeholders can take encouragement from the experience of other states that have faced all the same challenges and hurdles—and remember the unique strengths that can make New Jersey a growth leader.”(25)




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Recent Congressional Hearings On Security

There have been well over 100 hearings so far this year; transcripts for most of them can be found here.

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200 Years Ago: Jane Austen’s Death

Jane Austen, considered by many to be as great a wordsmith as Shakespeare, died at the age of 41, unacknowledged as a great writer. The Jane Austen Society of North America has a marvelous site that covers a vast array of resources dealing with her works both in published and manuscript forms. Her letters can be found in volumes 11 and 12 of The novels and letters of Jane Austen (1915) and in Jane Austen’s Letters To Her Sister Cassandra and Others (2d ed, 1952).


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Are Sugar-Free Foods Good For You?

If you read this article from the Canadian Medical Association Journal, you won’t think so. Its interpretation reads thusly: “Evidence from RCTs [randomized controlled trials] does not clearly support the intended benefits of nonnutritive sweeteners for weight management, and observational data suggest that routine intake of nonnutritive sweeteners may be associated with increased BMI and cardiometabolic risk.”


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U.S. Army Campaigns of World War I

This new series from The Center of Military History provides 70+ page overviews of this country’s involvement in The Great War. Each monograph is supplemented by graphic content and bibliographies of recent secondary sources. Titles published so far include:

The Mexican Expedition 1916-1917 and Joining the Great War April 1917 – April 1918. Another seven volumes are listed; you can come here to see when new ones are produced.


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50 Years Ago: 1967 Newark Riots

As described in the State of New Jersey 2014 Hazard Mitigation Plan, the Newark riots were: “The worst civil disturbance incident to occur in New Jersey happened in 1967 in Newark. The event was fueled by police brutality, political exclusion of African Americans, urban renewal, inadequate housing, unemployment, and poverty.”(5.14-3)

Relevant sources include:

1967 Newark Riot Timeline; Newark: The Slow Road Back (1987 NJN documentary on the aftermath); The Lilley Commission Reports and Hearings (“The hearing transcripts of the [New Jersey] Governor’s Select Commission on Civil Disorder (Lilley Commission) offer first hand accounts from over a hundred witnesses to the events that have come to be known as the Newark riots or civil disorders.”); Newark Evening News reports on the riots (Newark Public Library); Riots, Civil and Criminal Disorders : hearings before the United States Senate Committee on Government Operations, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Ninetieth and Ninety-First Congresses (25 volumes, 1967-70); Photographs from The Star-LedgerPhotographs (Getty Images); full text dissertations on this; and The Newark Uprising of 1967 (Seton Hall University).



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Is Coffee Good For You?

If you believe the current news reports/interpretations of two studies (abstract of the first study; abstract of the second study), yes. However, this BBC article written in response to these studies presents a more nuanced approach to what is presented in the media. To say that the controversy over the benefits or drawbacks of coffee consumption is a contentious one is an understatement; a simple literature review of “coffee benefits” in a medical database yields 810 results for the past year alone!

This 1682 publication – The natural history of coffee, chocolate, thee, tobacco, in four several sections: with a tract of elder and juniper-berries, shewing how useful they may be in our coffee-houses ; and also the way of making mum, with some remarks upon that liquor –  makes some salient points supportive of both sides, giving us an indication of how long this dispute has been around:

“…As for the qualities and nature of Coffee, our own
Countryman, Dr Willis, has publilh’d a very rational
Account, whofe great Reputation and Authority are of
no fmali force; he fays, that in feveral Headachs, Diz-
zinefs. Lethargies, and Catarrhs, where there is a grofs
habit of Body, and a cold heavy Conflirution, there
Coffee may be proper, and fuccefsful; and in thefe cafes
he fent his Patients to the Coffee-Houje rather than to the
Apothecaries Shop: but where the temperament is hot
and lean, and active, there Coffee may not be very agree-
able, becaufe it may difpofe the Body to inquietudes…”(10)

That the aforementioned coffee houses were seen as less than healthful places   (on so many levels) can be found in these ballads dating from the 17th century.

A fascinating 1792 history of coffee, replete with sources (though source citation is a bit weak), is A treatise concerning the properties and effects of coffee ; beginning on page 41, you can find a list of benefits and harms of this beverage.

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