Pius XII Memorial Library Government Information

Government Documents, the Federal Depository Library Program, and the Government Printing Office.

Pius XII Memorial Library Government Information header image 1

Poor Huddled Masses

July 10th, 2014 · No Comments


Plenty of yearning at the border; constantly in the news cycle and you can check the previous decades statistics online at the Department of Homeland Secuity webite. We in docs land like to step back a little further. For instance in table 129 of Statistical Abstract of the United States, Volumne 24, 1901, the total number of immigrants is reported to be 546,889 for the year 1888.  One of the footnotes is noteworthy,  “Immigrants from British North America and Mexico not reported.”  Seems that we had the same problem keeping track of visitors from South of the border 125 years ago as we do today.

→ No CommentsTags: Government documents

Green Hell (or Heaven)

June 6th, 2014 · No Comments


Colorado has taken the lead in legalizing the sale of marijuana and evils of the active ingredient have now been documented in the gray lady by the gray lady, Maureen Dowd. Not surprising the NYT column has ignited (ha ha) a small interweb firestorm. But the fact remains that cannabis sativa remains an illegal substance under federal law. The National Institute on Drug Abuse warns of  the effects of THC on teens, but researchers are caught in a legal catch-22 for now — can’t study what you can’t acquire (or smoke).

→ No CommentsTags: Government documents

Happy Trails

May 7th, 2014 · No Comments


Blue skies, nothing but blue skies… except for those pesky “chem-trails”  — woooo-weeee scary!!!  Actually they are dissipation trails formed by the heat of the exhaust of high altitude aircraft.  But what about the infamous “contrails” — naturally occurring? — no, but naturally NASA  can explain them.  Not a good thing for the environment since the trails’ “emissions include carbon dioxide, water vapor, nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons such as methane, sulfates (SOx), and soot and metal particles.”  But if you want to defy gravity and get from the left coast to the right coast quickly you have to pay the environmental cost.  As for environmental costs, this new report is more scary and real than “chem trails.”  Happy trails.

→ No CommentsTags: Agencies · Government documents · President/Executive

Phishing with Dynamite

April 9th, 2014 · No Comments


Procrastinators unite — maybe next week.  Taxes are due and the IRS wants you to beware of fraud and scams in your last minute filing frenzy. There is  a YouTube video warning about phishing scams and the  handy IRS  TaxScams/Consumer Alert service — good advice for anytime during the year.

→ No CommentsTags: Agencies · Government documents · Online

The Final Fashion Frontier

March 26th, 2014 · No Comments


Three proposed NASA “flight suits”  are  being presented to the public for approval via online voting. The selection process for the high fashion suits includes a 360 degree view of the spacesuits –the weightless wonders, sans sequins, in the void of space –include the Biomimicry , Technology, and the Trends in Society prototypes.  UPDATE — the winner is [Read more →]

→ No CommentsTags: Government documents

Back and There (and Back) Again

February 26th, 2014 · No Comments


UPDATE:  See this NYT article on Afghan elections. With U.S. withdrawal date approaching, it is informative to see how others have fared in a post-Afghanistan arena.  The most recent Afghanistan occupation was by the Soviets, 1979-1989 and Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) at Fort Leavenworth has a lengthy analysis on the military aspects of occupation  and withdrawal. PDF is here.
[Read more →]

→ No CommentsTags: Defense · Foreign news

Down Mexico Way

February 4th, 2014 · No Comments


It has been many a year since the debate over NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and Ross Perot’s oft-quoted cliche — “…giant sucking sound…”  is not about jobs (as Mr. Perot intimated) but money crossing the border — in both directions. This info-graphic “International Trade Between U.S. and Mexico,” from the Department of Commerce illustrates the flow of goods and services ($494 billion worth in 2012) across the southern border of the U.S.
Speaking of “sucking sounds,” wait until you see the  details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.

→ No CommentsTags: Agencies · Economy · Government documents

What is Past is Prologue

January 30th, 2014 · No Comments


The National Park Service, one of the jewels of the federal government, has a very interesting interactive photo exhibit displaying panoramic photographs from different eras side-by-side.

Viewing photographs of different eras in the national parks can give many insights on ecosystem processes, as well as simply change over time. The photographs associated with panoramic lookout photographs provide a window on the past, and an opportunity to compare to the present with changes to land forms and land cover.

→ No CommentsTags: Agencies · Government documents

Explosive Article

January 23rd, 2014 · No Comments


One of this librarian’s film touchstones is Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.  So the headline, “The Truths Behind Dr. Strangelove…” in the New Yorker lead me to the sidebar on the Sandia National Laboratories 2010 formerly classified movie,  Always / Never: The Quest for Nuclear Safety, Control, and Survivability. The  New Yorker article is here.

→ No CommentsTags: Agencies · Defense · Government documents · Online

Back Breaking Stats

January 9th, 2014 · No Comments


Follow the money is the mantra of the journalist; and where better to find the dough than the Medical-Industrial Complex as reported via the  Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). The findings, as reported by Duke University Medical Center researchers — are a pain the back –the most prevalent medical care consumers are the folks suffering back pain, 25 million sore backs are responsible for 90 billion in expenditures. Ouch.

→ No CommentsTags: Agencies · Economy · Government documents · Statistics

Flask and Furious

December 4th, 2013 · No Comments


Considering that over 30% of fatal traffic accidents involve drivers with a high BAC (blood alcohol content) it is only fitting to remind readers (thanks WPA) to not drink and drive (or text and drive).

→ No CommentsTags: Government documents · Library of Congress · Statistics

Content-Centric Focus

November 27th, 2013 · No Comments


If KFC is no longer associated with Kentucky, Fried or the Colonel, could it be that GPO will no longer be associated with “Printing”?  Davita E. Vance-Cooks, the GPO CEO, states in her bio that “…her focus has been to move GPO from a print-centric to a content-centric focus in the digital era…” Goodbye printing.

→ No CommentsTags: Government documents · Government Printing Office

Spot On (Or Not)

November 14th, 2013 · No Comments


The TSA is obliged to keep a close eye on travelers at the nation’s transportation hubs, but it seems they have a bogus method for identifying evil doers. According to the GAO (via Ars Technica) the 94 signs of suspicion are suspect. You can the GAO read the report here.

→ No CommentsTags: Agencies · Regulations

iTime YourTime THEtime

October 28th, 2013 · No Comments


Seems the time just keeps ticking away. It was only last century when the National Institute of Standards and Technology was started and how recent is the USNO  atomic clock?  How is it then that the latest iteration of everything i momentarily fouled up daylight savings time?

Time and time again , the best place to find timely facts is via government information.

→ No CommentsTags: Government documents

Front and Center

October 24th, 2013 · No Comments


As librarians we should always quiz the questioner to find out what is really wanted. For instance, “what is the geographic center of the U.S.?”  Simple question and the easiest answer is to hand over the little USGS  pamphlet Geographic Centers of the United States which succinctly verifies what we librarians always try to make clear…

“There is no generally accepted definition of geographic center, and no completely satisfactory method for determining it. Because of this, there may be as many geographic centers of a state or country as there are definitions of the term. The geographic center of an area may be defined as the center of gravity of the surface, or that point on which the surface of the area would balance if it were a plane of uniform thickness.”

…there are no simple answers.
[Read more →]

→ No CommentsTags: Agencies