Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Nanotechnology-Related Activities in Every U.S. State

Source: Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies

Every state can now lay claim to the nanotechnology revolution.

Data released last month by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) highlights more than 1,200 companies, universities, government laboratories, and other organizations across all 50 U.S. states and in the District of Columbia that are involved in nanotechnology research, development, and commercialization. This number is up 50 percent from the 800 organizations identified just two years ago.

While many of the original “Nano Metro” clusters—areas with the nation’s highest concentration of nanotechnology companies, universities, research laboratories, and organizations—have maintained their prominence in the field, areas such as Boston have moved up in the rankings, while others, such as Raleigh, N.C., have broken into the top-ranked locations for the first time.

+ Map
+ Analysis (PDF)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fatal work injuries down

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

A total of 5,071 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2008, down from a total of 5,657 fatal work injuries reported for 2007. While the 2008 results are preliminary, this figure represents the smallest annual preliminary total since the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program was first conducted in 1992. Final results for 2008 will be released in April 2010.

Based on these preliminary counts, the rate of fatal injury for U.S. workers in 2008 was 3.6 fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, down from the final rate of 4.0 in 2007.

+ Full Report

Monday, September 28, 2009

Consumer Protection Board "Ask The Expert"

Consumers from across the State are invited to take advantage of the New York State Consumer Protection Board’s (CPB) upcoming Home Improvement Ask the Expert Call-In Day which will take place on September 30, 2009 from 9AM until 2 PM. This free public service program is designed to empower New Yorkers with information and direction as they contemplate small or large home repair and/or improvement projects. New Yorkers with home improvement questions, concerns and problems may call our “Ask the Expert,” toll-free number, at 1-888-351-4648.
As the fall and winter seasons approach, home improvements and repairs are once again on the minds of New Yorkers. Under Governor Paterson, the CPB has created home improvement resources and worked toward stronger consumer protections to prevent scam victimization.
Last year, the CPB created its online “Ask the Expert” program to make it easier for people to obtain answers to home improvement questions. Given its success, we are expanding the project to enable people who may be “Internet-shy” or who have questions which are too difficult or time-consuming to explain in an e-mail to speak to a “live” professional.
Thanks to the generosity of WMHT, the Capital Region’s public television station which is hosting the call bank, New Yorkers will be able to direct their inquiry to home improvement professionals whose areas of expertise include, but are not limited to: kitchen and bath remodeling, plumbing, heating, A/C, sheet metal installation and servicing, construction management, site development, window/door installation, home building, energy-efficiency, home improvement funding for low-income consumers, and improvements on historical buildings.
To bring this event to the people of the State of New York, the CPB is partnering with public and private entities including WMHT, the New York State Builders Association, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, and the Preservation League of New York State.
We are looking forward to helping many New Yorkers who are seeking to preserve the equity in their homes and protect their wallets. Therefore, I am asking your assistance in sharing this information with your colleagues, family, friends and acquaintances. Those who need information before then, may check the Ask the Expert page of the CPB’s website at, or may e-mail their question to us at
Thank you for your interest and support. Together, we can make our phones ring off the hook on September 30th and serve many consumers around the State.

More Walkable Homes Are Worth More

Source: CEOs for Cities

Though housing values are still slow to rebound from the collapse of the real estate market, a new analysis from CEOs for Cities reveals that homes in more walkable neighborhoods are worth more than similar homes in less-walkable neighborhoods, pointing to a bright spot in the residential real estate market.

The report, “Walking the Walk: How Walkability Raises Housing Values in U.S. Cities” by Joseph Cortright, analyzed data from 94,000 real estate transactions in 15 major markets provided by ZipRealty and found that in 13 of the 15 markets, higher levels of walkability, as measured by Walk Score, were directly linked to higher home values...

Walkability is defined by the Walk Score algorithm (, which works by calculating the closest amenities – restaurants, coffee shops, schools, parks, stores, libraries, etc. – to any U.S. address. The algorithm then assigns a “Walk Score” from 0-100, with 100 being the most walkable and 0 being totally car-dependent. Walk Scores of 70+ indicate neighborhoods where it’s possible to get by without a car.

By the Walk Score measure, walkability is a direct function of how many destinations are located within a short distance (generally between one-quarter mile and one mile of a home). The study found that in the typical metropolitan area, a one-point increase in Walk Score was associated with an increase in value ranging from $700 to $3,000 depending on the market. The gains were larger in denser, urban areas like Chicago and San Francisco and smaller in less dense markets like Tucson and Fresno.

+ Full Report (PDF)
I should note that I find the WALK SCORE measure deeply flawed, as it does not seem to take into account obstacles such as interstate highways. It may only be 1.3 miles from Corporate Woods to the Madison Theater in Albany, but one is not going to walk over I-90 to get there.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Taxpayer Voluntary Disclosure Program Strikes Gold

New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Acting Commissioner Jamie Woodward today announced the first year results of the department's Voluntary Disclosure Program - a unique statutory program that provides amnesty-like benefits to delinquent taxpayers who reveal tax obligations unknown to the state and who voluntarily become tax compliant.

Between July 1, 2008 and July 1, 2009, ...541 taxpayers completed the application process, filed their back tax returns and paid the state $31,333,864. Another 1,305 taxpayers accepted into the program have executed agreements and are in the process of preparing returns for their delinquent taxes.

To view the entire document please visit here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Well, THAT is Disturbing

Interviews Suspended After Census Worker Bill Sparkman Found Hanged

The FBI is investigating whether Bill Sparkman, 51, was the victim of anti-government sentiment. His body was found near a cemetery in Clay County (KY) Sept. 12 with the letters "Fed" scrawled in his chest.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Immigrant Population Falls in California, Nationwide

From Hispanic Business:

The number of foreign-born immigrants in California dropped by 1.6 percent, to 9.9 million. Nationwide, it dipped by about 0.1 percent, to just under 38 million, or around 12.5 percent of the American population.
The figures came from the annual American Community Survey, in which Census officials base their conclusions on a sample of 3 million questionnaires.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Science and Engineering Indicators

Someone looking for average expenditure on Research and Development by industry should consider Science and Engineering Indicators. SEI "is first and foremost a volume of record comprising the major high-quality quantitative data on the U.S. and international science and engineering enterprise. SEI is factual and policy-neutral. It does not offer policy options and it does not make policy recommendations. SEI employs a variety of presentational styles—tables, figures, narrative text, bulleted text, Web-based links, highlights, introductions, conclusions, reference lists—to make the data accessible to readers with different information needs and different information-processing preferences."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rockefeller Institute Report Shows Smaller Gambling Jackpot for States

State and local government revenues from authorized gambling operations declined by 2.8 percent from 2008 to 2009, marking the first time those revenues have declined in over three decades, according to a new report issued today by the Rockefeller Institute. Data on the decline come as states continue to examine casinos, video-lottery terminals and other gambling operations as potential sources of new revenue — with 25 or more states considering such proposals in the past year.

“The historical tendency for revenues from existing gambling operations to grow at a significantly slower pace than other state revenues may hold important lessons for states as policymakers consider further expansion of casinos, racinos and other gambling activities,” write the report's authors, Lucy Dadayan and Robert B. Ward. “Expenditures on education and other programs will generally grow more rapidly than gambling revenue over time. Thus, new gambling operations that are intended to pay for normal increases in general state spending may add to, rather than ease, long-term budget imbalances.”

To read the report, visit the Institute's Web site.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Statewide County, Municipal Payrolls Added to SeeThroughNY

The names and salaries of more than 179,000 people who worked for New York's county, city, town and village governments in 2008-09 were posted today in a searchable database at SeeThroughNY, the transparency website sponsored by the Manhattan Institute's Empire Center for New York State Policy.

For the full text of this press release and a copy of the report summarizing average wages on a regional basis, click here.

Contact: Lise Bang-Jensen, 518.434.3100

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Employer Health Benefits 2009 Annual Survey

This annual survey of employers provides a detailed look at trends in employer-sponsored health coverage, including premiums, employee contributions, cost-sharing provisions, and other relevant information. The survey continued to document the prevalence of high-deductible health plans associated with a savings option and included new questions on health risk assessments. The 2009 survey included 3,188 randomly selected public and private firms with three or more employees (2,054 of which responded to the full survey and 1,134 of which responded to an additional question about offering coverage). Researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation, the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, and Health Research & Educational Trust designed and analyzed the survey.

Here's the bottom line: If the cost of health care continues to rise as fast as it has over the past five years, by 2019, your average American family will be paying $24,180 per year for their policy. If rates continue to rise as rapidly as they have over the past five years, you're looking at $30,803. The current number is $13,375.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Views of Religious Similarities and Differences

Muslims Widely Seen As Facing Discrimination in Pew poll

Eight years after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Americans see Muslims as facing more discrimination inside the U.S. than other major religious groups. Nearly six-in-ten adults (58%) say that Muslims are subject to a lot of discrimination, far more than say the same about Jews, evangelical Christians, atheists or Mormons. In fact, of all the groups asked about, only gays and lesbians are seen as facing more discrimination than Muslims, with nearly two-thirds (64%) of the public saying there is a lot of discrimination against homosexuals.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

H1N1 Preparedness Guide for Small Businesses

WASHINGTON— Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the availability of a preparedness guide designed to assist small businesses in planning for the possibility of an H1N1 flu outbreak this fall.

"Small Business owners should take the time to create a plan, talk with their employees and make sure they are prepared for flu season," said Mills. "For countless small businesses, having even one or two employees out for a few days has the potential to negatively impact operations and their bottom line. A thoughtful plan will help keep employees and their families healthy, as well as protect small businesses and local economies."

Outbreaks of H1N1 flu are occurring now across the country and will likely coincide with the return of seasonal flu this fall and winter. The preparedness guide offers small business employers tools and information to help them plan for and respond flexibly to varying levels of severity of an H1N1 outbreak— which may lead to increased absenteeism, and, if the outbreak becomes more severe, may include restricted service capabilities and supply chain disruptions.

Employers are encouraged to put strategies in place now to protect their employees and their businesses in advance of the fall flu season. Included in the preparedness guide are tips on how to write a continuity of operations plan, steps for keeping employees healthy, frequently asked questions about the 2009 H1N1 flu and a list of additional resources that employers can access online.

To download the booklet please visit

Monday, September 14, 2009

Director Groves Response to Bob Barr's Criticism of Census in Schools Program

I wish Groves had taken on some of Barr's otherb peculiar points, especially with regard to the ACS.

Census goes too far with children by Bob Barr
8:55 am September 8, 2009,

Child labor has been officially illegal in the United States since the late 1930s; that is, except for the U.S. Census Bureau. The bureau is embarking on a massive, well-funded plan to use schoolchildren in grades k-12 across the country to serve as salespersons for the 2010 census.
In recent decades, the census has become more than the counting of people the Constitution envisioned. It has morphed into a multibillion-dollar project, backed by thousands of bureaucrats and designed to gather for Uncle Sam as much information on as many people as possible. In one respect, this phenomenon is a not-unexpected outgrowth of the natural tendency of government to increase and retain power. As the amount of taxpayer dollars flowing into and out of the federal government has
expanded exponentially in recent years, so also has the carrot-and-stick the feds employ to pressure states and local communities to do its bidding. Thus, the census is now marketed to states, counties, cities, families and even individuals as a way for the benevolent government to make sure everyone gets their “fair share” of federal largesse.
Viewed thusly, it is perhaps understandable the government has decided that limiting itself to a single, decennial census is inadequate. Enter the perennial census. Now, in addition to the required decennial census, we have the “American Community Survey,” which includes page after page of probing questions about income, employment, driving habits, household appliances and much more.
Apparently the process of gathering all this “vital” information is just too much for the overburdened government to handle, so the Census Bureau brainiacs have decided to tap into America’s vast labor reserve — our schoolchildren.
While the government used schools to a limited extent in the 2000 census, the bureau’s new program, called “2010 Census: It’s about us,” takes “us” to a new level. Students in all grades would study the census using government-provided materials. They would discover the “value” of the census to their families and to their communities. They would engage in “celebrations” about the census; and would be given take-home materials with which to “encourage census-related conversations at home.”
Public schools will be easy to reach and enlist in this program; but the bureau recognizes that for maximum impact, private schools and even home-schooling parents need to be brought on board. Therefore, the official Web site includes in its plan getting materials to all private schools and even home schoolers via the Internet. Parent-teacher associations are encouraged to become “official partners.”
The government says it wants to “encourage students to collect data on their own,” but under this program it will be teaching young children how to be government collectors of information. The bureau even has plans to enlist Sesame Street characters to enhance the learning experience of becoming a government snoop.
The feds increase the likelihood of squeezing every bit of information possible out of everyone filling out the census form by reminding us that failure to comply can be considered a criminal offense. With this in mind, perhaps the administration will be deputizing the new cadre of junior bureaucrats.
This truly is no laughing matter, and parents across the country should stop this thinly veiled effort to teach their children the fun of gathering information for the government. At a minimum, parents should keep their children home from school during “Census in Schools Week” (to occur sometime between January and March 2010, according to the “It’s about us” Web site). There are any number of conversations that ought to occur around the family dinner table that are far more important than why government-funded programs are so vital and why we should happily give to
the government all the private information it wants.

The following response was posted on the Atlanta Journal Constitution's site by Director Groves in response to Bob Barr's blog today criticizing the 2010 Census and the Census Bureau's Census in Schools program:

"Local school districts choose to teach Census in Schools lessons to help children learn math, geography, social studies, and science as well as the fact their Constitution was the first in world history to use a census to empower the governed over their government. The Census is the one civic moment that involves each and everyone of us, especially the children, who are historically undercounted in every census since the first in 1790. Census In Schools enjoys strong bipartisan support from Congress and educators because it teaches children about the American Constitution. Article I, Section II of the Constitution mandates a decennial Census to ensure the fair and equitable apportionment of political representation. We are raising awareness of every person in America, adults, children, and the elderly included, that the Census is coming next March and that it is one of the shortest in history. It is just 10 questions and takes about 10 minutes, and only Census Bureau employees will be collecting the forms, not children."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

New Census Data On Uninsured Americans

The number of uninsured individuals rose from 45.7 million in 2007 to 46.3 million in 2008. This increase of 0.6 million would have been much worse without a growth in government-provided insurance of 4.4 million, including a 3.0 million increase in coverage under Medicaid. In contrast, employment-based coverage declined by about 1.1 million, from 177.4 million in 2007 to 176.3 million in 2008.


Friday, September 11, 2009

A World of Meters

Worldometers is "part of the Real Time Statistics Project, which is managed by an international team of developers, researchers, and volunteers with the goal of making world statistics available in a thought-provoking and time relevant format to a wide audience around the world."

Other real time meters
U.S. National Debt Clock

Misery Index

Cost of War

Thursday, September 10, 2009

From Farm to School

A Guide and Directory for Schools, Institutions, Organizations and Farmers for Buying and Selling Local Meat and Produce in the Hudson Mohawk Region (30 pp, PDF). This resource assists schools, institutions, organizations and farmers when buying and selling local meat and produce in this region. Revised August 2009.

Although this publication targets the greater Capital District of NYS, it might contain valuable information for rural clients in other parts of the state.

There are more useful items on the Cornell Cooperative Extension website. Click on "Resources" in the left column, and then click on "Publications."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The college degree

Someone asked, "What do you suggest as the best resource to get a listing of every community college in the US that offers a computer science degree?"

Try the College Navigator from the Dept of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. There is an overall category for computer science programs since they are called different things at different institutions. You can export the search results into a spreadsheet.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The State of the American Worker 2009

Source: American Enterprise Institute

+ Americans still display a high degree of satisfaction with their jobs. In August 2009, 50 percent of employed people told Gallup pollsters that they were completely satisfied with their jobs, and another 37 percent were somewhat satisfied.

+ The level of job satisfaction stands out even more because other polls in this collection show that economic anxiety has risen considerably. In 2009, for example, 31 percent told Gallup they were worried about being laid off, up from 15 percent in 2008. Twenty-seven percent were worried that their hours would be cut back, almost double the 2008 number (14 percent). Forty-six percent reported being worried that their benefits would be cut, up from 27 percent last year.

+ People are even more anxious about the possibility that someone in their family or someone else they know personally will lose a job in the next six months. Sixty percent told RBC/Ipsos interviewers that this was likely in a late July-early August 2009 poll.

+ One thing the vast majority of Americans are not worried about is that their job will be shipped overseas. Only ten percent replied that they were worried this year. Since Gallup began asking this question in 2003, no more than 12 percent have ever been worried that their job will be shipped overseas.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Washington Monthly College Guide and Rankings - 2009

Unlike U.S. News and World Report and similar college guides, this one asks not what colleges can do for you, but what colleges are doing for the country. Are they educating low-income students, or just catering to the affluent? Are they improving the quality of their teaching, or ducking accountability for it? Are they trying to become more productive—and if so, why is average tuition rising faster than health care costs? Every year we lavish billions of tax dollars and other public benefits on institutions of higher learning. This guide asks: Are we getting the most for our money?
National University Rankings

Liberal Arts College Rankings

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

High Tech by NAICS and SIC Code

Occasionally, I've gotten questions about "technology" or "high tech". While we can get reports, there is no one business code that encompasses such a broad category.

The AeA, formerly the American Electronics Association, "uses 45 SIC codes to define the high-technology industry." The organization recognizes that "these 45 SIC codes do not comprehensively cover the entire high-tech industry as the structure of the SIC system is limited. In an effort to produce solid statistics, AeA's definition consists of SIC codes that fall into three broad categories -- high-tech manufacturing, communications services, and software and computer-related services. It does not include broad categories if the high-tech portion does not represent a clear majority. Also, AeA's definition does not include many 'related' industries, such as biotechnology, engineering services, and research and testing services."

Likewise, "the 49 NAICS codes that AeA has chosen for its definition of high tech." The BLS ALSO has its list of NAICS Codes here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Children of Immigrants: National and State Characteristics

Source: Urban Institute

Up-to-date state information on children of immigrants is essential for social policies that affect children and families. This brief, accompanying the Urban Institute’s interactive Children of Immigrants Data Tool, describes the national and state characteristics of children of immigrants based on recent American Community Survey data. Since children of immigrants account for almost a quarter (24 percent) of children under age 5, their share in the school-age population will increase, with important implications for education policy. In addition, children of immigrants’ poverty and low-income rates vary across states, highlighting the importance of state and local policies in promoting children’s well-being.

Also visit the interactive Children of Immigrants Data Tool for comprehensive information on the characteristics of children of immigrants nationwide and for individual states and the District of Columbia.