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Beige Book Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions By Federal Reserve District January 2017

Overall Economic Activity – “Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicated that the economy continued to expand at a modest pace across most regions from late November through the end of the year. Manufacturers in most Districts reported increased sales with several citing a turnaround versus earlier in 2016. Growth in the energy industry was mixed; two Districts reported weakness in coal production but others reported improvements in coal, oil, or gas activity. Most Districts said that non-auto retail sales had expanded, but several noted that sales over the holiday season were disappointing and reports in more than one District suggested that growth in e-commerce had come at the expense of bricks-and-mortar retailers. All Districts reported varying degrees of growth in employment and a majority described their labor markets as tight. Residential construction and sales were generally mixed, although San Francisco reported strong real estate market activity throughout the 12th District. Financial conditions were stable. Firms across the country and industries were said to be optimistic about growth in 2017.”

First-Ever Online Data Tool Allows City Leaders to Examine Health of Their Urban Populations

Pilot City Health Dashboard Launched by NYU School of Medicine’s Department of Population Health, NYU Wagner, the National Resource Network & the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation “Over 80 percent of the United States population lives in urban areas. Yet city leaders seeking to make health improvements have lacked a standardized tool to understand and benchmark… Continue Reading

Comparison of Medicare Provisions in Recent Bills and Proposals to Repeal and Replace Affordable Care Act

Kaiser Family Foundation: “Repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a top priority of the Trump Administration and the Republican leadership, and is a prominent issue on the agenda of the 115th Congress. The ACA includes many provisions affecting the Medicare program, and lawmakers have taken different approaches to the ACA’s Medicare provisions.… Continue Reading

2016 marks three consecutive years of record warmth for the globe

“With a boost from El Nino, 2016 began with a bang. For eight consecutive months, January to August, the globe experienced record warm heat.  With this as a catalyst, the 2016 globally averaged surface temperature ended as the highest since record keeping began in 1880, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). The… Continue Reading

Free for All: NYPL Enhances Public Domain Collections For Sharing and Reuse

New York Public Library – “Today we are proud to announce that out-of-copyright materials in NYPL Digital Collections are now available as high-resolution downloads. No permission required, no hoops to jump through: just go forth and reuse!  The release of more than 180,000 digitized items represents both a simplification and an enhancement of digital access to a… Continue Reading

Impending extinction crisis of the world’s primates: Why primates matter

Impending extinction crisis of the world’s primates: Why primates matter. Science Advances 18 Jan 2017: Vol. 3, no. 1, e1600946 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600946. “Nonhuman primates, our closest biological relatives, play important roles in the livelihoods, cultures, and religions of many societies and offer unique insights into human evolution, biology, behavior, and the threat of emerging diseases.… Continue Reading

UK Report – Better Information for Better Government

Better Information for Better Government. 18 January 2017. Cabinet Office Digital Records and Information Management Team, working in collaboration with The National Archives and Government Digital Service. “Managing information is critical for good government. Internally, information is the foundation of effective analysis and policy making. It provides the evidence to support decision making and it… Continue Reading

Paper – Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election

Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election. Hunt Allcott, New York University and NBER, Matthew Gentzkow, Stanford University and NBER. January 2017. “We present new evidence on the role of false stories circulated on social media prior to the 2016 US presidential election. Drawing on audience data, archives of fact-checking websites, and results… Continue Reading

Pew – Trump, Clinton Voters Divided in Their Main Source for Election News

“In the coming days, Americans will follow a single event across a variety of media channels: the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States. If the public’s media habits during the campaign are any indicator, it is likely that Trump and Hillary Clinton voters will be learning about the inauguration… Continue Reading

Obama Administration Digital Transition – Continuing to Follow Officials on Social Media

“Over the past eight years, the President, the First Lady, and the Obama White House have used social media and technology to engage with people around the country and the world on the most important issues of our time. From the very beginning, our mission has been to reach people on the channels and platforms… Continue Reading

Welcome to the new CIA Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room

“The CIA’s declassified database is now online. Thanks to a MuckRock lawsuit and Mike Best’s diligence, you can now read over 13 million pages of Agency records – Back in December, we wrote about how the CIA would be placing its previously-inaccessible CREST database online. The move was a response to our lawsuit, handled pro… Continue Reading

EPA released its annual Toxics Release Inventory

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today its annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis, which shows releases of toxic chemicals into the air fell 56% from 2005-2015 at industrial facilities submitting data to the TRI program.  In Florida, the analysis shows a 56 percent decrease of reported chemical releases from 2005 to 2015…The report shows… Continue Reading