Friday, October 29, 2010

Climate change: How do we know?

From NASA:

Earth has warmed since 1880. Most of this warming has occurred since the 1970s, with the 20 warmest years having occurred since 1981 and with all 10 of the warmest years occurring in the past 12 years. Even though the 2000s witnessed a solar output decline resulting in an unusually deep solar minimum in 2007-2009, surface temperatures continue to increase.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

2010 Corruption Perceptions Index

Transparency International(TI) defines corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. This definition encompasses corrupt practices in both the public and private sectors. The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranks countries according to the perception of corruption in the public sector. The CPI is an aggregate indicator that combines different sources of information about corruption, making it possible to compare countries.

The 2010 CPI draws on different assessments and business opinion surveys carried out by independent and reputable institutions. It captures information about the administrative and political aspects of corruption. Broadly speaking, the surveys and assessments used to compile the index include questions relating to bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds, and questions that probe the strength and effectiveness of public sector anti-corruption efforts.

For a country or territory to be included in the index a minimum of three of the sources that TI uses must assess that country. Thus inclusion in the index depends solely on the availability of information.

Perceptions are used because corruption – whether frequency or amount – is to a great extent a hidden activity that is difficult to measure. Over time, perceptions have proved to be a reliable estimate of corruption. Measuring scandals, investigations or prosecutions, while offering ‘non-perception’ data, reflect less on the prevalence of corruption in a country and more on other factors, such as freedom of the press or the efficiency of the judicial system. TI considers it of critical importance to measure both corruption and integrity, and to do so in the public and private sectors at global, national and local levels. The CPI is therefore one of many TI measurement tools that serve the fight against corruption.

The United States ranked 22nd, 4th in the Americas.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Before they vote: Send Them a Postcard

Want to make sure your friends and family are informed about just who they're voting for in the upcoming midterms?

With an unprecedented amount of money flowing into this year's midterm elections, help your friends and family follow the money by sending a customized postcard or three right from this website - no stamps necessary - about the elections happening in their community.

Each postcard will show the industries and organizations that contribute the most to the candidate (or candidates) you choose. Make it personal by writing a note to tell your friend or family member about why you want them to see the money and influence this political season.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

ACLU Report Calls On FCC To Protect Internet Openness

Protecting the Internet against content discrimination by broadband carriers is crucial to protecting First Amendment rights in the age of modern technology, the American Civil Liberties Union said in a new report on network neutrality. In the report, "Net Neutrality 101," the ACLU urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to create strong policies that prevent Internet gatekeepers from exploiting their role for private gain. The report characterizes the need for "net neutrality" as a leading free speech issue of our time.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Election-Related Spending by Political Committees & Non-Profits Up 40% in 2010

Report Prepared for a Conference on the Impact of Citizens United
Jointly Sponsored by the Campaign Finance Institute and the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs

One part of the 2010 election spending story is based on publicly reportable activities. Non-party independent campaign spending in congressional elections is up by a very noticeable 73% in mid-October 2010, compared to the same time in 2008. In these reports, support for Republicans has nearly tripled from the mid-October level for 2008. There has already been more independent spending and electioneering in 2010 than in the full election cycle of 2008 – and this is before the traditionally heavy-spending final weeks of the campaign.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Top 10 Financial Blogs for College Students

Criminal Justice Degrees Guide recently published an article, Top 10 Financial Blogs for College Students that dovetails well with articles published recently here.

This was sent to me by a representative of the organization. Which reminds me: if you come across some interesting or intriguing or insane data that you think others might be interested in, please e-mail me. The contact info is at the bottom of the sidebar.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Male versus female pay

Payroll By Gender: Who Makes More Money

Who's bringing home the bacon?
In 1970, 4% of married women earned more than their husbands.
Today, it's 22%.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Which State Is Smartest?

For the second consecutive year, Vermont has earned the title of the nation’s Smartest State. This honor was announced today in Education State Rankings 2006-2007, a new reference book from Morgan Quitno Press, a Lawrence, Kansas-based independent research and publishing company. At the opposite end of the scale, Arizona repeated as the lowest ranking state in the fifth annual survey.

New York ranked 16th, down six slots from the last study. See all the results, as well as the methodology, HERE.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

World Statistics Day

The United Nations General Assembly designated Oct. 20, 2010, as the first-ever World Statistics Day to highlight the role of official statistics and the many achievements of national statistical systems. Statistical organizations throughout the world will celebrate World Statistics Day at the national and regional level. The census, the U.S. Census Bureau and 13 other principal federal statistical agencies together have been collecting statistics about the nation's people, economy and society since 1790.

Here are some statistics, including statistics about statistics.

VIDEO: Statistics All Around Us on YouTube

World Statistics Day page

Monday, October 18, 2010

2009 American Community Survey Brief Series

The U.S Census Bureau is pleased to announce the release of twelve more reports from the American Community Survey (ACS) Brief series for 2009. These short reports cover a wide range of topics:

Public Transportation Usage among U.S. Workers: 2008 and 2009
Property Value: 2008 and 2009
Rental Housing Market Conditions Measures: 2009
Labor Force Participation Rate for Selected Age Groups: 2008 and 2009
Employment Status of Married-Couple Families by Presence of Own Children under 18 Years: 2008 and 2009
Public Assistance Receipt in the Past 12 Months for Households: 2008 and 2009
Science and Engineering Degrees: 2009
The Place of Birth of the Foreign-Born Population: 2009
Nativity Status and Citizenship in the United States: 2009
Year of Entry of the Foreign-Born Population: 2009
The Population with Haitian Ancestry in the United States: 2009
People Who Spoke a Language Other than English at Home by Hispanic Origin and Race: 2009

An initial set of seven reports was released on Sept. 28, 2010.

You can access all reports HERE.

Friday, October 15, 2010

U.S. finally enters top gender equality ranking

The United States rocketed from 31st place to 19th this year in a report that ranks gender equality the world over. This is the first time the U.S. has entered the Global Gender Gap Report's top 20, and this sudden progress mainly comes from economic participation and political empowerment (although, the empty bar graph for "Years with female head of state" is rather depressing). In terms of economic participation and opportunity, we rank sixth in the world. The two other areas considered by the report: educational attainment and health.

The real stars of the report, however, are the four Nordic countries dominating the list: Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

More HERE.
Global Gender Gap Report 2010 - Saadia Zahidi video (2:29).

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New York State Archives and Library announce new Saturday hours

The New York State Library and New York State Archives will institute new Saturday hours beginning on October 16th. Saturday hours of operation at the two facilities, located on the 7th and 11th floor of the Cultural Education Center (CEC) at the Empire State Plaza in Albany, will be from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free public parking will be available in the Madison Avenue parking lots adjacent to the CEC. Directions and parking information is available on the New York State Museum website.

This new policy for expanded access does not affect the hours of the New York State Museum, which is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
However if a major holiday (e.g. July 4th, Memorial Day, Veterans Day) falls directly on a Saturday, the Library and Archives will not be open (checking their websites is advised for such holidays).

The New York State Library has served New Yorkers, New York State government and researchers from throughout the United States for more than 190 years. It is the largest state library in the nation and the only state library to qualify for membership in the Association of Research Libraries. The Library's research collection of more than 20 million items includes major holdings in law, medicine, the social sciences, education, American and New York State history and culture, the pure sciences and technology.

The New York State Archives identifies, preserves, and makes available more than 200 million records of colonial and state government dating back to 1630 that have enduring value to the public and private institutions and to all the people of the Empire State and the nation.

Handbook of New York State and Local Taxes: October 2010

The Handbook of New York State and Local Taxes provides a general descriptive overview of the taxes which New York State and its local governments impose, and is revised periodically to reflect recently enacted law changes. It does not include non-tax revenue sources such as motor vehicle fees and the Lottery. Instead, it focuses on taxes, especially those administered by the Department of Taxation and Finance.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Transportation fatalities dropped, pipeline & marine deaths rose in 2009

Source: National Transportation Safety Board

Transportation fatalities in the United States decreased by 9.2 percent in 2009 from 2008, according to preliminary figures released today by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The data indicate that transportation fatalities in all modes totaled 35,928 in 2009, compared to 39,569 in 2008. Although highway, rail, aviation, deaths declined, pipeline and marine fatalities showed an increase.
Pipeline fatalities increased by six (8 to 14), with an increase in both categories - gas pipelines and liquid pipeline operations.

Marine deaths increased from 783 to 817, with the vast majority occurring in recreational boating (736). Other marine categories, including cargo transport and commercial fishing, showed increases as well, although commercial passenger vessels showed a slight decrease.

Highway fatalities, which account for nearly 95% of all transportation deaths, decreased from 37,423 in 2008 to 33,808 in 2009. In fact, highway fatalities decreased in all categories including motorcycle fatalities (down 16 percent) which had been on the rise in recent years.

Aviation deaths decreased from 574 to 538. Nearly 90% of aviation fatalities occurred in general aviation accidents (471), but they still represented a decrease from the previous year (494).

Rail fatalities decreased 4% from 781 to 751. The vast majority of these fatalities were persons struck by a rail vehicle.

More HERE.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

GSA Per Diem Rates

From Hill

If you’re wondering how much your next vacation or business trip might cost you – or you want to compare possible domestic locales by cost – have a look at the U.S. General Services Administration’s Per Diem Rates website.

The site was designed to show Federal employees the limits they have on spending each day for lodging, meals, and other incidental costs (local transportation, etc.). Typically the rates given reflect mid-range prices, not luxury or budget options.

While not designed for the non-Federal business traveler -- nor for the holiday traveler -- the figures on the site can at least be a start in setting a sample budget. Note that the rates given often vary by season, reflecting high-season and off-season price variations in certain locales (think Martha’s Vineyard, Colorado’s Rocky Mountains). Thanks to the Los Angeles Times for the tip!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Business quotes

Every month, Forbes magazine has a page of quotes at the back of the magazine - "Thoughts and Quotes on the Business of Life". Here's the link to the online database.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

HRVH Historical Newspapers website launch

The Southeastern NY Library Resources Council is pleased to announce the launch of a new website, HRVH Historical Newspapers , part of the Hudson River Valley Heritage (HRVH) service. The Kingston Daily Freeman is the first newspaper to be included in this new digital newspaper repository and was completely digitized for the years 1903 to 1912. The entire contents of the newspaper issues can be searched by word and browsed by date. Complete issues of the newspaper can be viewed by full page or individual articles can be highlighted and viewed. This collection will be invaluable to historians, family researchers, teachers and students.

HRVH Historical Newspapers is the product of a two year demonstration project supported in part by Federal Library Services and Technology Act funds, awarded to the New York State Library by the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. Using this grant and other New York State funds, SENYLRC created images and digitized 2,974 issues and 26,341 pages of The Kingston Daily Freeman from microfilm and print issues of the newspaper. The Kingston Library supplied copies of the microfilm and the City of Kingston Historian provided 106 year old print copies of the newspaper for this project.

HRVH Historical Newspapers is freely available for public use. The goal is to have the newspaper site linked from as many library websites and portals as possible so that people know that this resource is available for them to use for their research.
The vision for HRVH Historical Newspapers is to provide access to digitized copies of historical newspapers from the Hudson River Valley region of New York State. New titles added to HRVH Historical Newspapers will be based on a number of factors, such as regional significance, the availability of paper issues or master negative microfilm copies of the newspaper, and available funds.

Feel free to share this information.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Prison Mortality

Although access to this research (which appeared in the August 2010 issue of Demography) is restricted, the astounding results published in the article, "Incarcerating Death: Mortality in U.S. State Correctional Facilities, 1985-1998," are worthy of attention. In the article, Vanderbilt University sociologist Evelyn J. Patterson compares the mortality rate of men in state correctional facilities with the rate of men who are not in prison. She discovers that imprisoned black men have a lower mortality rate than black men who are not in prison. After controlling for firearm and motor vehicle deaths, the mortality rate for imprisoned black men is still lower. The reason, suggests Patterson, is that imprisoned black men have greater access to basic health care than their counterparts outside prison walls.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Small Nonprofits in Danger of Losing Their Tax-Exempt Status

From Guidestar:

"Time is running out for small nonprofits facing loss of tax-exempt status because they have not filed Form 990-N or Form 990-EZ for three consecutive years. The deadline for the IRS's one-time filing relief program is October 15, 2010. After that, nonprofits that (1) are required to file a 990 and (2) whose filings are at least three years in arrears will automatically lose their exemptions. To regain tax-exempt status, they will have to apply to the IRS all over again, a process that can take several months and requires payment of fees."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Every county in the US

For $4, one can purchase an MS EXCEL Spreadsheet that lists every county in the United States (3,136 of them) followed by all cities and towns (25,097 of them). Both lists are alphabetical by State and county/city within each State. Each listing includes the population from the 2000 census. (The current population of each can be found on the Census Bureau's web site.)

Launch of New York First (Gov. David Paterson)

My Fellow New Yorker:
I am proud to announce the launch of New York First (, an innovative business website geared toward the needs of companies within New York State and those who are considering relocating here. Until now, anyone looking for information on the State’s economic development programs would have to contact every agency in the State. With New York First, the full scope of what our State offers its entrepreneurs and potential corporate partners can now be found at one centralized, easy-to-navigate website.
New York First brings new clarity, efficiency, and transparency to the State’s economic development efforts. This new site also offers an “Experts on Demand” guarantee. Any email or phone call will receive a response from Empire State Development staff within twenty-four business hours. I’m confident this site will act as a catalyst for long-term business growth, jobs, and prosperity in New York, building on my Administration’s larger efforts to make New York THE State for doing business. For more information about New York First, please enjoy an introductory video with an overview of the website and a demonstration on how to fully utilize it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Degrees in business conferred

Degrees in business conferred by degree-granting institutions, by level of degree and sex of student: 1955–56 through 2006–07

Immigration Statistics

New Releases

Characteristics of Persons Naturalizing in the United States Between 1980 and 2008, September 2010 (PDF 2 pages, 218 KB) This Fact Sheet provides information on the changes in social, demographic, and economic composition of new citizens during the 1980 to 2008 period.

2009 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, August 2010 (PDF 112 pages, 4.91 MB)
The Yearbook is a compendium of tables that provides data on foreign nationals who, during the specified fiscal year, were granted lawful permanent residence, were admitted into the United States on a temporary basis, applied for asylum or refugee status, or were naturalized. The Yearbook also presents data on immigration law enforcement actions.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Are You Better Off than Your Parents Were?

For Americans under the age of 55, the answer is no. It is not just the Great Recession that has set us back, either. Rather, the recession has unmasked the long-term decline in our standard of living. Yet most of us continue to assert that we are better off than our parents were at the same age. Even those of us with doubts are likely to blame our problems on the recession and assume any setbacks are temporary. How wrong we are.

Let's take a look at what has happened to our standard of living. To do that, we must dive deeply into the numbers--an effort that requires navigating the backwaters of the Census Bureau's voluminous online presence. It is tedious work, which is why you rarely see the revealing comparisons that you are about to read...

Also at the site:
Who Has High Incomes?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Media Industry: Broadcast/Entertainment

Media sources from the U Penn library. Not all will be available online to non-affiliated folks, but it is a good bibliography, and some links are accessible.

2010 Census Decennial Newsletter Issue 5 - New York Region

Please enjoy the latest (and final) edition of the wonderful 2010 Census Decennial Newsletter for the NY Region.

You can view and share it as a digital edition here.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cities With the Highest Credit Scores in America

Do you live in a city with the highest credit scores in America? And if you do, does it matter when you go to get a loan?

Experian, one of the three major credit reporting bureaus, released a new feature called (You can also get to it under the “Credit Education” button on the company’s main website.) The site lists the U.S. cities with the highest and lowest credit scores. The scores are based on the Vantage credit scoring model, which runs from about 500 to 990. Credit scores from 900 to 990 are top credit scores, or Grade A. Scores from 800 to 899 are Grade B. Credit scores from 700 to 799 are Grade C, and so on.

Not that many consumers are familiar with the Vantage credit scoring model. Most are more familiar with the credit score scale created by Fair Isaacs Corporation (called a FICO score), range from 300 to 850. According to Credit Karma, in August, 2010 the average American’s credit score was 667 on the FICO scale....

Cities With The Highest (Average) Credit Scores:

1.Minneapolis, MN – 787
2.Madison, WI – 785
3.Cedar Rapids, IA – 781
4.Green Bay, WI – 780
5.San Francisco, CA – 780

More HERE.

The cities listed in New York State (with average debt):
766 Rochester, $24,536
765 Albany, $23,945
762 New York City $24,478
757 Buffalo $23,331
755 Syracuse $23,217

I should note that the mapping associated with this product is TERRIBLE. While Albany is more or less correct, Syracuse shows up in the middle of the Adironacks, Rochester is up near where Watertown actually is located, and Oswego is much closer to where they placed Buffalo.