Friday, January 31, 2014

Timid About Fair Use?

Visual arts professionals, including art historians, let real and perceived fears about copyright law get in the way of their work, finds a new report from the College Art Association. And while the fundamentally visual nature of their discipline raises particular concerns among scholars of art, artists, editors and museum curators, experts say their fears are shared across academe -- although some disciplines have worked to develop codes to help scholars navigate the murky waters of fair use.

"The visual arts communities of practice share a common problem in their confusion about and misunderstanding of the nature of copyright law and the availability of fair use," reads the report, called "Copyright, Permissions, and Fair Use Among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities." "Their work is constrained and censored, most powerfully by themselves, because of the confusion and the resulting fear and anxiety."
In addition to a lack of clarity of about what is fair use -- the section of copyright law allowing for non-licensed use of copyrighted material for commentary and other "transformative" purposes -- arts professionals fear the costs, in time and dollars, of seeking out permission for licensed use, the report says.

Read more from Inside Higher Ed

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Capitalizing the first letter of each beginning word in a line of poetry is traditional, if not contemporary and common. Historically, this is how poetry has been distinguished from other art forms when rendered on the page, and writing it this way is still often taught in elementary and secondary schools. In scholarship, of course, it is de rigueur that one be careful to note this capitalization, and to reproduce it faithfully when quoting.

In professional contemporary letters, however, the waters have been muddied. As a reaction to tradition, with plenty of examples even within the tradition, American poets often stopped capitalizing their lines beginning loosely with the second half of the 20th Century, a period generally associated with free verse. The abandonment of this particular custom has become the ready practice, so much so that contemporary readers now encountering capitalized first words in lines may find them startling.

Why poets even did this has essentially been lost to us, beyond the historicity of being able to say that poets just always did this. The original truth of its why may be as simple as housekeeping--poetry like this, prose like that. Or it may reside in some nobler ambition, such as attempting to reflect a studied anticipation at the great orator's next line. If the line was delivered in appropriately dramatic fashion, the capital letter in this circumstance became a cue to the reader that a deep breath was taken at this place.

More from Alberto Rios of Arizona State University.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

More Americans Have Died From Domestic Gunfire Than All Wars In U.S. History

Let’s start with the number: 1,384,171.

1,38,171 people have died in the most devastating war fought by Americans. Which war, you ask? World War I? World War II? The Civil War?

None of the above. This number is from the war being fought on the streets, in the neighborhoods, private homes, schools, and work places of the United States of America. Deaths by gunfire. Domestic gun deaths perpetrated by criminals, the mentally ill; enraged husbands, angry children, and some by unfortunate accident or suicide. And the number only reflects gun death statistics since 1968.

More from AddictingInfo.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

E-Reading Rises as Device Ownership Jumps

The proportion of Americans who read e-books is growing, but few have completely replaced print books for electronic versions.

The percentage of adults who read an e-book in the past year has risen to 28%, up from 23% at the end of 2012. At the same time, about seven in ten Americans reported reading a book in print, up four percentage points after a slight dip in 2012, and 14% of adults listened to an audiobook.

Though e-books are rising in popularity, print remains the foundation of Americans’ reading habits. Most people who read e-books also read print books, and just 4% of readers are “e-book only.” Audiobook listeners have the most diverse reading habits overall, while fewer print readers consume books in other formats.

More from Pew Internet HERE and HERE.

Monday, January 27, 2014

What's driving K-12 school costs?

New York’s annual budget battles over state aid to public education have taken on a new urgency in the wake of the Great Recession and the 2011 enactment of a law empowering local voters to cap property taxes. Education spending advocates are emphasizing local budget constraints they say have been created by the tax cap and by Governor Cuomo’s limit on school aid increases. The statewide teachers’ union has even gone so far as to assert that the governor and Legislature “have put New Yorkers on a starvation diet.”1

Public schools statewide retrenched, eliminating thousands of staff positions in the four years following the economic downturn, yet their expenses continued rising at a pace few could sustain. The latest State Education Department (SED) data highlight two important trends:

More from Empire Center.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Twitter Users' Diversity Becomes an Ad Selling Point

For most of its rather short life, Twitter Inc. rarely mentioned that its user base is more racially diverse than U.S. Internet users as a whole. Now, as a newly minted public company needing to generate revenue, it is moving to capitalize on its demographics.

As a newly minted public company, Twitter is constantly looking at new revenue streams. Its latest quest: Capitalize on demographics.

In November, Twitter hired marketing veteran Nuria Santamaria to a new position as multicultural strategist, leading its effort to target black, Hispanic and Asian-American users.

Together, those groups account for 41% of Twitter's 54 million U.S. users, compared with 34% of the users of rival Facebook and 33% of all U.S. Internet users, according to Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project.

Ms. Santamaria says advertisers want to know more about racial and ethnic minorities on Twitter, from basic numbers to the languages in which they tweet. Last month, Twitter began showing ad agencies data from a coming report saying that Hispanics tweet more often than other users and activity among them rises when the conversation is about technology.

More from The Wall Street Journal.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Trickle-down economics is the greatest broken promise of our lifetime

The richest 85 people in the world have as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion – or half the world's entire population – put together. This is the stark headline of a report from Oxfam ahead of the World Economic Forum at Davos...

If one subscribes to the charitable view that neoliberal philosophy was simply naive or misguided in thinking that "trickle down" would work infinitely, then evidence that it doesn't, should be cause for concern. It is a fundamental building block of supply-side economic theory – the tool of choice these past few decades for those in charge to make adjustments. The realisation that governments have been pulling at economic levers which, for some time, have been attached to nothing, should be a wake-up call to the deepest sleepers.

Even if one subscribes to the cynical view that the elite knew what they were doing all along, observing that the "rising tide" is lifting fewer and fewer boats and leaving more and more to rot in the sediment – both at a personal and national level – must make most wonder "am I in the right boat and is it big enough?" Concentration is rampant. Credit Suisse estimates that the world will have 11 trillionaires within two generations.

More from The Guardian.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

One-Quarter of Adults Hold Educational Credentials Other Than an Academic Degree

The U.S. Census Bureau reported today that in fall 2012, more than 50 million U.S. adults, or one in four, had obtained a professional certification, license or educational certificate apart from a postsecondary degree awarded by colleges and universities. This is the Census Bureau’s first-ever report on this topic.

Among the adults included in the report, 12 million had both a professional certification or license and an educational certificate; 34 million had only a professional certification or license; and 7 million had only an educational certificate.

“Getting an academic degree is not the only way for people to develop skills that pay off in the labor market,” said Stephanie Ewert, a demographer with the Census Bureau’s Education and Social Stratification Branch and co-author of the report, Measuring Alternative Educational Credentials: 2012.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Infographic Highlights U.S.-Canada Trade

The Department of Commerce has released a new infographic, International Trade Between U.S. and Canada, which celebrates the world's largest and most comprehensive trading relationship. It illustrates the top U.S. imports from and exports to Canada and presents an annual time series of data on trade between the two neighbors. The time begins shortly after the start of an agreement between the U.S. and Canada in January 1990 to share import data to be used as the other country’s export data.

Monday, January 20, 2014

New York Census Records, some before there was a USA

The mission of CENSUS FINDER is to provide access to all available census records online. This includes both free and paid subscriptions. Our census directory can be found below.

Friday, January 17, 2014

America is in love with its libraries

From Boing Boing:

The Pew Internet and American Life Project released a new report entitled How Americans Value Public Libraries in Their Communities (PDF), that shows a very large majority of Americans value libraries, viewing them as critical to their communities and vital to providing services that ensure equality of opportunity for people who would otherwise be at a terrible disadvantage in life.

This is in contrast to a few privileged blowhards who've opined that the library is an obsolete institution in the age of the Internet -- and worse, an unaffordable luxury in a time of austerity and recession. The mission of libraries is to help the public navigate information and become informed -- a mission that is more important than ever.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Where In The World Is The Best Place For Healthy Eating?

The Dutch are known for their lax drug laws, tall statures and proficient language skills.

Perhaps we should add stellar eating habits to that list, as well.

The Netherlands ranked as the easiest country in the world in which to find a balanced, nutritious diet, the advocacy group Oxfam reported Tuesday.

France and Switzerland shared the second slot. And Western Europe nearly swept the top 20 positions, with Australia just edging into a tie for 8th.

Where did the U.S. land?

More from NPR.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Study Finds White Americans Believe They Experience More Racism Than African Americans

There’s a saying that “the new racism is to deny that racism exists.” If that is the case, it may explain a study conducted by researchers from Tufts University’s School of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Business School. Their findings claim that self-described white Americans believe they have “replaced blacks” as the primary victims of racial discrimination in contemporary America.

The authors say that their study highlights how the expectations of a “post-racial” society, predicted or imagined in the wake of Barack Obama’s presidency, has far from been achieved.

The study finds that while both Caucasian and African Americans agree that anti-black racism has decreased over the last 60 years, whites believe that anti-white racism has increased. Moreover, the study finds that the majority of Caucasians believe that anti-white racism is a “bigger problem” than what African Americans face.

More from Political Blindspot.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cities Where Wages Haven't Kept Pace with Rising Housing Costs

Many Americans – particularly renters – saw housing costs steadily climb in recent years. At the same time, wages remained relatively flat for most segments of the workforce, meaning families spend a greater share of their incomes on housing instead of food, health and other necessities.

Nationally, for slightly more than half of rental households, monthly gross rent costs last year accounted for 30 percent or more of household income -- the general rule-of-thumb maximum that families should not exceed. For homeowners with a mortgage, about a third of households reported housing-related costs surpassing the 30-percent standard, according to Census estimates.

More from Governing.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Jewish Surnames Explained

Ashkenazic Jews were among the last Europeans to take family names. Some German-speaking Jews took last names as early as the 17th century, but the overwhelming majority of Jews lived in Eastern Europe and did not take last names until compelled to do so. The process began in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1787 and ended in Czarist Russia in 1844.

In attempting to build modern nation-states, the authorities insisted that Jews take last names so that they could be taxed, drafted, and educated (in that order of importance). For centuries, Jewish communal leaders were responsible for collecting taxes from the Jewish population on behalf of the government, and in some cases were responsible for filling draft quotas. Education was traditionally an internal Jewish affair.

Until this period, Jewish names generally changed with every generation.

More from Slate.

Friday, January 10, 2014

40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World

If you’re a visual learner like myself, then you know maps, charts and info graphics can really help bring data and information to life. Maps can make a point resonate with readers and this collection aims to do just that.
Hopefully some of these maps will surprise you and you’ll learn something new. A few are important to know, some interpret and display data in a beautiful or creative way, and a few may even make you chuckle or shake your head.

See more at A Sheep No More.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Almost One in Three Americans Were Poor at Least Two Months from 2009 to 2011

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 31.6 percent of Americans were in poverty for at least two months from 2009 to 2011, a 4.5 percentage point increase over the prerecession period of 2005 to 2007. Poverty was a temporary state for most people; however, 3.5 percent of Americans were in poverty for the entire three-year period.

The report, Dynamics of Economic Well-Being: Poverty, 2009-2011, traces a sample of U.S. residents through the Survey of Income and Program Participation — statistics are presented by various demographic and socio-economic characteristics, and statistical comparisons are made to data collected from 2005 to 2007.

“When people see poverty statistics, they often think these are people who were poor during an entire period,” said Ashley Edwards, a poverty analyst with the Census Bureau’s Social, Economic and Housing Statistics Division. “This survey allows us to investigate how individuals moved into and out of poverty during and immediately following the most recent recession, while making comparisons to the earlier three-year period immediately leading into the recession.” According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the last recession spanned from December 2007 to June 2009.

Poverty was a persistent condition for many

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

November 2013 Global Temperature Was Hottest On Record

November 2013 was the warmest November since modern temperature record keeping began in 1880, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced in its latest State of the Climate report, which summarizes climate-related news from around the world.

With a combined land and ocean surface temperature of 56.6 degrees Fahrenheit, November 2013 also was the 345th consecutive month – and the 37th November in a row – with a global temperature higher than the 20th century average, the NOAA report added.

Higher-than-average monthly temperatures were reported on nearly every continent around the world, including much of Europe and Asia, coastal Africa, Central America and central South America, as well as in the North Atlantic Ocean, southwest Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean.

Russia experienced its warmest November since national weather records began in 1891, as some parts of the country like Siberia and the Arctic islands in the Kara Sea recorded temperatures more than 14 Fahrenheit degrees higher than the monthly average.

At the same time, cooler-than-average temperatures were reported in parts of North America – especially in the southeastern U.S. – as well as in northern Australia and southwest Greenland. No record cold monthly temperatures were reported.

More from The Weather Channel.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Makeover for Maps

Like many designers, Eric Rodenbeck has had a long relationship with bar graphs and pie charts. He just thinks they are a little old school for today’s data-filled world.

Mr. Rodenbeck has experimented with animation, three-dimensional maps that show the height of buildings by color changes and a representation of how photos spread on Facebook that looks like ice crystals forming on a car window. He’s even tried to characterize in a graphic how people were communicating in back channels at business conferences, with the biggest talkers at the center of a series of circles.

He is, in short, trying to rethink how data is presented.

More from the New York Times.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Restless America: state-to-state migration in 2012

From Vizynary:

Approximately 7.1 million Americans moved to another state in 2012. That’s over 2.2% of the U.S. population. The United States has a long history of people picking up and moving their families to other parts of the country, in search of better livelihoods. That same spirit of mobility, a willingness to uproot oneself, seems alive and well today based on the visualization of migration patterns above.

The visualization is a circle cut up into arcs, the light-colored pieces along the edge of the circle, each one representing a state. The arcs are connected to each other by links, and each link represents the flow of people between two states. States with longer arcs exchange people with more states (California and New York, for example, have larger arcs). Links are thicker when there are relatively more people moving between two states. The color of each link is determined by the state that contributes the most migrants, so for example, the link between California and Texas is blue rather than orange, because California sent over 62,000 people to Texas, while Texas only sent about 43,000 people to California. Note that, to keep the graphic clean, I only drew a link between two states if they exchanged at least 10,000 people.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Prison Populations and State Incarceration Rate Data

Federal and state authorities accounted for more than 1.6 million prisoners at the end of 2010. That’s about 497 sentenced prisoners per 100,000 residents – a rate that varies greatly throughout the country.

Data shows prison populations and incarceration rates for each state. Statistics are compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

More from Governing.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

International Migrants by Country

According to the United Nations Population Division, an international migrant is someone who has been living for one year or longer in a country other than the one in which the person was born. International migrants include many foreign workers, international students, refugees and their descendants. For a complete analysis, read the full report.

More from the Pew Research Center.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Most Important Economic Stories of 2013—in 44 Graphs

Maybe it's just me, but the last few years are getting tough to tell apart. Imagine a quiz question:

Name that year where we threw obstacles in the recovery's way, but kept growing slowly; where Europe avoided both a disaster and a solution to its mess; and where China kept growing over 7 percent, but didn't rebalance its economy like it said it wants.

You'd be right to guess 2013. You'd also be right to guess 2012, 2011, or 2010.

More from The Atlantic.