Friday, February 27, 2015

Identity Theft Tops FTC’s Consumer Complaint Categories Again in 2014

Identity theft topped the Federal Trade Commission’s national ranking of consumer complaints for the 15th consecutive year, while the agency also recorded a large increase in the number of complaints about so-called “imposter” scams, according to the FTC’s 2014 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, which was released today.
Imposter scams – in which con artists impersonate government officials or others – moved into third place on the list of consumer complaints, entering the top three complaint categories for the first time. The increase in imposter scams was led by a sharp jump in complaints about IRS and other government imposter scams. Debt collection held steady as the second-most-reported complaint.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Women’s History Month: March 2015

National Women’s History Month’s roots go back to March 8, 1857, when women from New York City factories staged a protest over working conditions. International Women’s Day was first observed in 1909, but it wasn’t until 1981 that Congress established National Women’s History Week to be commemorated the second week of March. In 1987, Congress expanded the week to a month. Every year since, Congress has passed a resolution for Women’s History Month, and the President has issued a proclamation.
161 million    
The number of females in the U.S. as of December 2013. The number of males was 156.1 million.Source: Monthly Postcensal Resident Population: 7/1/2013 – 12/1/2013 <>
2 to 1
At 85 and older, the approximate ratio by which women outnumbered men in 2013 (4.0 million to 2.0 million). 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

March 2: A Great Day for Reading!

What better day to promote children’s literacy than Dr. Seuss’s birthday, March 2? It’s the last day for schools to apply for $1,000 needs-based awards to buy books, and the first day for kids to enter a $10,000 scholarship competition.
And it’s a great day for upping your kids’ interest in books year-round. Read Across America Day, a National Education Association event, aims to do just that. The NEA site offers:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

2014 Housing Vacancy Survey Annual Statistics

These statistics provide vacancy rates, homeownership rates and characteristics of units available for occupancy for the U.S., regions, states and the 75 largest metropolitan statistical areas. Data for all geographies are available both quarterly and annually. Homeownership rates are also tabulated by age of householder for the U.S. and regions and by race/ethnicity of householder and by family status for the U.S. In addition, estimates of the total housing inventory and percent distributions of vacant for-rent and for-sale-only units are available for the U.S. and regions.

Monday, February 23, 2015

FRASER - the Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research

Here are additions to FRASER since its relaunch in October 2014. FRASER - the Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research - has added thousands of new items to its free digital library of economics and banking history and offers a wealth of primary and secondary sources for economics and history researchers, and now offers integration with the citation manager Zotero.

Highlights of the new additions include:

* Bulletin of the Bureau of Labor Statistics from the late 1800s through the early 1920s, including historic reports on women and minority labor conditions

* Annual Reports of the FDIC from the first issue in 1934 through 2013

* Publications of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, including the magazine Econ Focus, the research journal Economic Quarterly, and more than 300 working papers

* Policy statements and speeches of the presidents of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, 1914 - present

* Thousands of additional statistical releases from the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, 1914 - present

Find FRASER at Follow @FedFRASER on Twitter for updates on new collections and items added, interesting photos and documents, and glimpses into US economic history. FRASER librarians are also available at for reference questions.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

How the Census Bureau classifies political and statistical geographic entities

Here's the link to the video recording of a lecture that Michael Ratcliffe, Census Bureau, gave two years ago in a distance learning class organized by Cornell. The topic concerns how the Census Bureau classifies political and statistical geographic entities.

The first 1 hour and 25 minutes are Michael's presentation, and the remainder is second half of the class in which Lars Vilhuber, Cornell, deals with citations in scholarly work—especially citing data. If metadata is your thing you may want to view that lecture as well.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Map of 73 Years of Lynchings

From the New York Times:

The most recent data on lynching, compiled by the Equal Justice Initiative, shows premeditated murders carried out by at least three people from 1877 to 1950 in 12 Southern states. The killers claimed to be enforcing some form of social justice. The alleged offenses that prompted the lynchings included political activism and testifying in court.

Friday, February 20, 2015

8 Million Metric Tons of Plastic Dumped Into World’s Oceans Each Year

We’ve been hearing for years about all the plastic that is going into our oceans, creating enormous gyres, washing up on beaches, threatening marine life and marine ecosystems in ways we don’t even know yet. A study last year called Valuing Plastic by the Plastic Disclosure Project and Trucost, estimated plastic caused about $13 billion in damages to marine ecosystems each year—and noted that that estimate was probably low, given what we don’t know yet.

A new study, Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean, published in the journal Science last week, estimated that plastic debris washing into the ocean from 192 coastal countries reached somewhere between 4.8 and 12.7 million metric tons in 2010. That’s enough to cover every foot of coastline in the world.

More from Nation of Change.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities in public transportation

Injuries and illnesses to bus drivers endanger not only their lives but also the lives of their passengers. In 2013, approximately 5,780 transit and intercity bus drivers experienced a days-away-from-work injury or illness while on the job.

This article from the Bureau of Labor Statistics explores occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities to bus drivers and urban transit workers and examines how individual transit systems are collecting and analyzing their own employee safety data. The findings reveal that mass transit systems have taken steps to protect their employees from harm on the job and that injuries and illnesses to bus drivers and urban transit workers have declined in recent years.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New EPA Regulations Would Ban Most Woodstove Models

From the Schoharie News:

For many in the area, woodstoves are a vital source of primary or secondary heat. The ample forests and thriving timber industry of Upstate New York provide a somewhat inexpensive and always available fuel.

However, for many residents dependent on the heat source this winter, things could change rapidly. The EPA is phasing in a five year program intended to reduce soot particulates in the air over the next five years...

Within 60 days of the February 3rd decision all new non-EPA approved stoves must produce 4.5 grams of particulates or less. The EPA will allow all current woodstove stock to be sold through the end of the calendar year.

The EPA is also including an enforcement mechanism to ensure the rules are being followed... 

It is estimated that 80% of current wood stoves would not meet the current regulation. While current stoves are not included for destruction, New York state is going above and beyond. The state joined with several others calling similar EPA moves inadequate and together are suing for more stringent regulations on outdoor and indoor wood boilers.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015

World Report 2015 is Human Rights Watch’s 25th annual review of human rights practices around the globe. It summarizes key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide, drawing on events from the end of 2013 through November 2014.

The book is divided into two main parts: an essay section, and country-specific chapters.

Individual country entries, each of which identifies significant human rights issues, examines the freedom of local human rights defenders to conduct their work, and surveys the response of key international actors, such as the UN, the European Union, the US, and various regional and international organizations and institutions.

See the full report HERE.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Finding publicly traded companies, filtered by state,

To find publicly traded companies filtered by state, check out NASDAQ's lists of companies by state. Lists of companies can be filtered by name, region, and industry. You can also search by stock exchange (NASDAQ, NYSE, AMEX) and by market cap.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine's Day 2015: Feb. 14

Valentines Day
Expressing one’s love to another is a celebrated custom on Valentine’s Day. Sweethearts and family members present gifts to one another, such as cards, candy, flowers and other symbols of affection. 
Opinions differ as to who was the original Valentine, but the most popular theory is that he was a clergyman who was executed for secretly marrying couples in ancient Rome. In A.D. 496, Pope Gelasius I declared Feb. 14 as Valentine Day. 
Esther Howland, a native of Massachusetts, is given credit for selling the first mass-produced valentine cards in the 1840s. The spirit continues today with even young children exchanging valentine’s cards with their fellow classmates.
Number of U.S. manufacturing establishments that produced chocolate products in 2012, employing 37,998 people. California led the nation with 152 of these establishments, followed by New York, with 119. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns: 2012, NAICS code (31135) <>
Number of U.S. establishments that manufactured nonchocolate confectionary products in 2012. These establishments employed 20,419 people.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Which President Was Driven to Congress in Al Capone’s Armored Limousine?

Answer: Franklin Roosevelt! The Secret Service needed a car to drive President Roosevelt to Congress to make his speech on Pearl Harbor the day after the attack. The Treasury Department had impounded Al Capone's armored car years earlier, so they decided that was the safest transportation.

To celebrate President’s Day (February 16) and George Washington’s birthday (February 22), put together a list of resources, activities, and lesson plans.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Long Island's Future: Economic Implications of Today's Choices

The Long Island Index released a report suggesting ways to improve Long Island’s economy and housing options. Accompanying the report is an interactive map that Steven Romalewski, Director, CUNY Mapping Service, and the team at the CUNY Graduate Center developed that provides historical context for the report, showing demographic change throughout Long Island over a 40 year period: 1970-2010.

The report is available at the Index’s website and the interactive maps are available here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

That website John Oliver told you about: how much money Big Pharma has given your doctor?

On This Week Tonight, watch John Oliver eviscerate the stunningly corrupt practices of Big Pharma. This IS journalism. In the piece, he directs people to Open Payments, which is "a federal program that annually collects and makes information public about financial relationships between the health care industry, physicians, and teaching hospitals.

"The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) collects information from manufacturers of drugs and devices about payments and other transfers of value they make to physicians and teaching hospitals. These payments and other transfers of value can be for many purposes, like research, consulting, travel, and gifts. CMS will be making this data publicly available each reporting year.

In other words, in the words of Mark Evanier, "you can look up your doctor and see how much loot he's taken and from whom."

Monday, February 9, 2015

What is the best source for US house electoral data by districts?

One of the sources of House of Representative election data is the House website. However there's only data from 1920-2010. This citation is on a list from the Library of Congress.

The Federal Election Commission has data from 1982 through 2012.

There are other sources that involve paying for the information.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Every Country's Highest Valued Export

Which export makes your country the most money? Today's map comes from Simran Khosla at Global Post, who used data from the CIA Factbook to label each country by its highest valued export.

See the maps atMental Floss.

Friday, February 6, 2015

State Government Revenues Exceed Expenditures in 2013

State Government Finances
New Government Finance Statistics from Annual Survey of State Government Finances and Annual Survey of Public Pensions
      Total state government revenue rose by 16.3 percent, from $1.9 trillion in 2012 to $2.2 trillion in 2013, according to the latest findings on state government finances from the U.S. Census Bureau.  
      Nearly three-quarters of that increase (73.9 percent) is attributable to the growth in insurance trust revenue, which grew by 89.7 percent, from $255.8 billion in 2012 to $485.2 billion in 2013, and is comprised mostly of pension systems administered by state governments. These insurance trust figures reflect the market value of investments, meaning that they are affected by fluctuations in capital markets and not solely by governments’ fiscal policies.Total expenditures for state governments were $2.0 trillion, an increase of 1.2 percent from 2012.
      “Unlike in 2012, total revenues exceeded total expenses,” said Kevin Deardorff, chief of the Census Bureau’s Economy-Wide Statistics Division.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

American War and Military Operations Casualties: Statistics

From Congressional Research Service via Federation of American Scientists

This report provides U.S. war casualty statistics. It includes data tables containing the number of casualties among American military personnel who served in principal wars and combat actions from 1775 to the present. It also includes data on those wounded in action and information such as race and ethnicity, gender, branch of service, and cause of death. The tables are compiled from various Department of Defense (DOD) sources.

Wars covered include the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam Conflict, and the Persian Gulf War. Military operations covered include the Iranian Hostage Rescue Mission; Lebanon Peacekeeping; Urgent Fury in Grenada; Just Cause in Panama; Desert Shield and Desert Storm; Restore Hope in Somalia; Uphold Democracy in Haiti; and the ongoing Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Operation New Dawn (OND), and Operation Inherent Resolve.

For the more recent conflicts, starting with the Korean War, the report includes additional detailed information on types of casualties and, when available, demographics.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Census Bureau planning to discontinue the production of all 3-year ACS data

The Census Bureau is planning to discontinue the production of all 3-year American Community Survey data, according to their budget justification document:

"The Census Bureau proposes to terminate permanently the “3-Year Data” Product. The Census Bureau intended to produce this data product for a few years when the ACS was a new survey. Now that the ACS has collected data for nearly a decade, this product can be discontinued without serious impacts on the availability of the estimates for these communities."

See page 110 of 190, or page CEN-106 of US Census Budget estimates for FY 2016.

The elimination of the 3-yr ACS data products must be approved by OMB before it becomes official.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Literally every goat in the United States

From the Washington Post, where there is an interactive map:

There were 2,621,514 goats in the United States as of 2012, the year of the most recent USDA Agricultural Census. If America's goats were their own state, its population would be larger than that of Wyoming, Vermont, D.C. and North Dakota -- combined.

You might say that goats are having a moment. NPR's new-ish blog on "stories of life in a changing world" is called "Goats and Soda," a nod to the animal's ubiquity in many parts of the developing world. Closer to home, goats are being used in urban areas to trim grass and control brush.

[There were 506 goats in Albany County, NY but none in the Bronx, alas.]

Monday, February 2, 2015

Our Eroded Mental Healthcare System

Americans like to talk about crises. Well there’s a massive crisis that’s being overlooked.
In our own heads, our schools, on our streets, and in our jails.

61.5 million American adults experience mental illness in a given year
13.6 million have serious mental illness:
Major depression
or Bipolar disorder
60% of which have an unmet need for mental healthcare

More from HERE.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Effects of High Cholesterol on the Body

Our bodies need healthy levels of cholesterol to function. Cholesterol is a fatty substance made by the liver and distributed throughout the body. It allows our bodies to make vitamin D and hormones, and makes up bile acids. We also get less than 25 percent of our body’s cholesterol from the foods we eat, especially animal fats.

High cholesterol means you have a lot more cholesterol in your blood than you need. Most people who have high cholesterol don’t have any obvious symptoms. A simple blood test can tell you if you have high cholesterol. If you do have high cholesterol, dietary changes, exercise, and targeted medications can help lower it and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

See more at Heathline