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NSF YouTube channel

science nation

“Document” of the Day: National Science Foundation YouTube channel. “NSF is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense. NSF funds a significant proportion of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities.

Craig Hase at The The Scout Report (March 27, 2015 — Volume 21, Number 12) says of the channel:

Nearly 13,000 viewers have subscribed to the National Science Foundation’s YouTube channel. It’s not a secret why. These well-produced and often poignant presentations have managed to pack so much into such a small space. Nearly all the videos clock in at less than four minutes. Many of the clips are just two or three minutes long so readers can easily learn about the birth of planets, the details of the tropospheric ozone, and the wonders of biomedical engineering – all within the timespan of a quick coffee break. The hundreds of available videos are broken into categories such as Computer Science, Brain Research, and Education, among others. Whether you are looking for an interesting tidbit to add to your lecture on Geoscience or you are simply curious about conservation efforts in Central Africa, there is much to enjoy here.

DOTD: Propaganda Posters at NARA

Document of the Day: The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has some propaganda posters from the the U.S. Information Agency online.

  • Propaganda Posters Distributed in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, ca. 1950 – ca. 1965. NARA. Record Group 306: Records of the U.S. Information Agency, 1900 – 2003.

    The Publications Division and its predecessor compiled these posters as a central reference source for visual propaganda distributed through the agency’s regional centers in Manila, Beirut, and Mexico City to populations worldwide. Posters were designed to promote U.S. political, cultural, and economic values, to expose alleged Communist falsehoods, threats, and crimes, and to strengthen understanding of and support for U.S. objectives in the Cold War.

Posters available online include The American Library Book Fair (Beirut), and The Spacemobile (New Zealand).

Thanks to Engadget which says of the Spacemobile poster:

Back when the US was in a race against Russia to send the first humans out there, NASA actively toured schools to spread word about what it does. That traveling unit of NASA employees is called the Spacemobile, and the image above is one of its posters. Yup, this really was from the golden age of space travel and not part of the agency’s vintage poster project. It was dated February 26th, 1965 to be exact, and it was used during the Spacemobile’s tour of New Zealand, as co-sponsored by the country’s Department of Education.

Beyond the Numbers

Document of the day: Beyond the Numbers at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The wonderful Scout Report a the University of Wisconsin-Madison, highlighted this gem in its most recent newsletter. The Scout’s description says it all:

For readers who love stats and facts, Beyond the Numbers, which is published biweekly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, will provide hours of fresh insights on a range of topics. The home page always features the latest update, as well as three recent articles (available in PDF format), such as “Understanding health plan types: What’s in a name?” However, the real meat of the site can be found by browsing the Archive, which takes readers to topics dating all the way back to 1996 when the feature was first published. The archives can be browsed in chronological order. They can also be searched utilizing seven distinct themes, including employment & unemployment, global economy, regional economics, and others.

You can subscribe to the Scout Report here.

Warmest Year Ever

Document of the Day. According to NOAA (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), “The year 2014 was the warmest year across global land and ocean surfaces since records began in 1880.”

This website has Maps and Time Series, tables and graphs and lots of references.

Usage-Based Pricing of Internet Service

Document of the Day

U.S. Government Accountability Office. 2014. FCC Should Track the Application of Fixed Internet Usage-Based Pricing and Help Improve Consumer Education. Mark Goldstein, GAO–15–108: Published: Nov 24, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 2, 2014.

GAO found that mobile providers employ usage-based pricing (UBP) more commonly than fixed. Under UBP, providers can charge varying prices, change connection speeds, or take other actions based on Internet data consumed.

According to the literature, providers facing limited competition could use UBP to increase profits, potentially resulting in negative effects, including increased prices, reductions in content accessed, and increased threats to network security. Several researchers and stakeholders GAO interviewed said that UBP could reduce innovation for applications and content if consumers ration their data.

Because prices can vary based on usage, it may be important that consumers be informed about data. GAO found that some tools offered by fixed providers to educate consumers regarding data can be confusing. For example, some provider estimates vary on data consumed for the same type of content

While FCC is collecting data regarding fixed UBP, it is not using this data to track UBP use…. As a result, … it may not know if UBP is being used in a way that is contrary to the public interest and, if so, take appropriate actions.

GAO recommends FCC: (1) work with fixed providers to develop a voluntary code of conduct to improve consumer communication and (2) make use of existing data to track fixed Internet UBP and its effects on consumers nationwide. FCC said it will monitor complaints and provider plans to determine if a more proactive approach is needed. GAO continues to believe that better communication is warranted. FCC agreed to use existing data to analyze UBP issues.