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Daily Archives: March 10, 2014

‘Seed libraries’ try to save the world’s plants

Kevin Hartnett, “Abasic principle of any library is that you return what you take out. By that standard, the new scheme at Hampshire College’s library is a roll of the dice. Since last November, librarians have been lending out packets of seeds, allowing people to plant them, and checking them back in if—and only if—the borrower manages to grow thriving plants in the meantime. The Hampshire College project is part of a small but growing group of “seed libraries” across the country, local centers that aim to promote heirloom gardening and revive a more grass-roots approach to seed breeding. The circulating-library model might seem like a strange fit with gardening. When you check out books and DVDs, you’re supposed to bring them back so others can use them, but with seeds, there’s a strong chance nothing will come back at all. And, in a world where fruit and vegetable seeds are available for just a few dollars a packet, free seeds aren’t a pressing need most places. But libraries have another goal as well, archiving and preserving knowledge. On this front, seed libraries see themselves as an important part of a bigger movement, to bring the issue of global plant diversity down to the community level, where many believe it belongs.”

Gallup: U.S. Uninsured Rate Continues to Fall

“The percentage of Americans without health insurance continues to fall, measuring 15.9% so far in 2014 compared with 17.1% in the fourth quarter of 2013.  These data are based on more than 28,000 interviews with Americans from Jan. 2-Feb. 28, 2014, as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. With only a few weeks remaining in… Continue Reading

Monthly Budget Review for February 2014

“The federal government ran a budget deficit of $379 billion for the first five months of fiscal year 2014, CBO estimates, $115 billion less than the shortfall recorded in the same span last year. Revenues are higher and outlays are lower than they were at this time a year ago. Without shifts in the timing… Continue Reading

Pinterest Posts First Transparency Report

Pinterest Blog: “Every company that stores information — from banks to phone companies to email providers — must respond to requests for that information from folks like law enforcement agencies, courts, and others. We think it’s important that you know about these requests. That’s why we’re publishing our first transparency report, covering the six months… Continue Reading

New York Fed Study Examines Economic Strain in Euro Area Periphery

Matthew Higgins and  Thomas Klitgaard: “Countries in the euro area periphery borrowed heavily from abroad in the years leading up to the sovereign debt crisis, largely to finance increased consumption and housing investment. When the crisis hit in 2010, capital flight by private investors forced these countries to bring domestic spending back into line with domestic incomes—the same adjustment… Continue Reading

Employment Background Checks

FTC, EEOC Offer Tips for Employers and Job Applicants – “Hiring decisions are among the most important choices for any employer, but the process can be complex. For the first time, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have co-published two short guides on employment background checks that explain the rights… Continue Reading

New GAO Reports – Countering Overseas Threats, DOD Business Systems Modernization, Military Education, Telecom

COUNTERING OVERSEAS THREATS: Gaps in State Department Management of Security Training May Increase Risk to U.S. Personnel, GAO-14-360: Published: Mar 10, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar 10, 2014. DOD BUSINESS SYSTEMS MODERNIZATION: Air Force Business System Schedule and Cost Estimates, GAO-14-152: Published: Feb 7, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar 10, 2014. JOINT PROFESSIONAL MILITARY EDUCATION: Opportunities Exist for Greater Oversight and Coordination of Associated… Continue Reading

Record 10.7 Billion Trips Taken On U.S. Public Transportation In 2013

“In 2013 Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation, which is the highest annual public transit ridership number in 57 years, according to a report released today by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). This was the eighth year in a row that more than 10 billion trips were taken on public transportation systems… Continue Reading

The Justice Index: Facts and a Conversation

“Every person seeking justice deserves a chance to be heard. Extraordinary efforts by courts, legal aid services, legislators and activists make that possible. The Justice Index presents, for the first time, clear and detailed pictures of the scope of the work being done and where more is needed.  The Justice Index was created by National Center for… Continue Reading

BLS Monthly Labor Review, February 2014

Millennials and the pay gap 03/05/2014 Determining the employment effect of raising the minimum wage 02/05/2014 Is the inheritance boom changing the distribution of wealth in the United States? 02/05/2014 Are daughters’ labor force decisions influenced by their mothers’ employment history? 01/07/2014 Foreign aid: history, theories, and facts 01/07/2014 Continue Reading