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Daily Archives: September 5, 2013

Predicting Recessions in Real-Time

Predicting Recessions in Real-Time: Mining Google Trends and Electronic Payments Data for Clues, Greg Tkacz  -Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics, St Francis Xavier University. September 2013
“Many official economic indicators are released with a time lag, released infrequently and often require revision. In this Commentary , I discuss new sources of electronically recorded data that are both timely and reflect the real-time intentions of millions (or billions) of agents. Specifically, I consider whether Google searches and the growth of electronic payments variables, such as debit and credit card transactions, would have predicted the 2008 – 2009 recession. Not too long ago, Canadian empirical macroeconomic researchers would have to wait two months for the release of the monthly National Accounts in order to update their models and forecasts. However, in the last 10 years to 20 years, technological innovations have resulted in vast amounts of other data being recorded electronically and stored. New data series are now being generated at a rate faster than analysts can study them. Due to the emergence of Google as the dominant search engine, its search-term usage can provide a snapshot of current group interests in numerous issues, such as economics, politics, health, etc. In principle, if many people are entering the same economic search terms, this could provide a clue about changing conditions, such as the onset of a recession. I find that the usage of Google search terms “recession” and “jobs” could have predicted the recession up to three months in advance of its onset. However, since Google query data are only available from 2004, the time span studied in this Commentary is very short in the context of business cycles. Consequently, our study should be viewed as illustrative of the potential uses of electronic data. I also highlight the benefits and pitfalls that users of Google data may encounter in the context of economic monitoring.”

Explaining Extreme Events of 2012 from a Climate Perspective

“Human influences are having an impact on some extreme weather and climate events, according to the report Explaining Extreme Events of 2012 from a Climate Perspective released September 5, 2013 by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Scientists from NOAA served as three of the four lead editors on the report. Overall, 18 different research… Continue Reading

GPO Posts President Nixon’s Watergate Grand Jury Testimony Transcripts

“GPO and the National Archives provide public access to the transcripts of President Richard Nixon’s Watergate grand jury testimony. The collection includes 26 recently opened files from the National Archives’ Records of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force including transcripts of President Nixon’s grand jury testimony of June 23-24, 1975.” Continue Reading

GPO Makes Available Post JFK Assassination Audio Tape Recordings

“Audio tape recordings of conversations that took place after the Kennedy assassination are available at GPO and the National Archives. November 22, 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The audio tape recordings are of conversations between various individuals in Washington, DC, Air Force One pilots, and officials on… Continue Reading

Pew – Anonymity, Privacy, and Security Online

Anonymity, Privacy, and Security Online by Lee Rainie, Sara Kiesler, Ruogu Kang, Mary Madden Sep 5, 2013 “A new survey finds that most internet users would like to be anonymous online, but many think it is not possible to be completely anonymous online. Some of the key findings: 86% of internet users have taken steps… Continue Reading

Guardian – US and UK spy agencies defeat privacy and security on the internet

James Ball, Julian Borger and Glenn Greenwald – NSA and GCHQ unlock encryption used to protect emails, banking and medical records: “US and British intelligence agencies have successfully cracked much of the online encryption relied upon by hundreds of millions of people to protect the privacy of their personal data, online transactions and emails, according to top-secret documents revealed by former contractor Edward… Continue Reading

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination in Employment

CRS – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination in Employment: A Legal Analysis of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Jody Feder, Legislative Attorney; Cynthia Brougher, Legislative Attorney. July 15, 2013 “Introduced in various incarnations in every congressional session since the 103rd Congress, the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA; H.R. 1755/S. 815) would prohibit discrimination based… Continue Reading

Job Patterns for Minorities and Women in Private Industry

Job Patterns for Minorities and Women in Private Industry (EEO-1) “As part of its mandate under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requires periodic reports from public and private employers, and unions and labor organizations which indicate the composition of their work forces by sex… Continue Reading