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Daily Archives: July 9, 2014

Controversial Pesticides Linked to Bird Declines

Brandon Keim – Wired: “Evidence continues to mount that a highly controversial class of pesticides blamed for widespread bee declines is also harming other creatures, perhaps catastrophically.In a study of neonicotinoid pesticides and bird populations in the Netherlands, biologists found a close and troubling link. As neonicotinoid levels rose in streams, lakes and wetlands, populations of insect-eating birds declined. The pesticides appear to have eliminated the insects on which they rely. “These insecticides appear to be having more profound effects than just killing our pollinating insects,” said ecologist Caspar Hallmann of Radboud University in the Netherlands, an author on the new study, published today in Nature…Across North America, birds that live in or migrate through agricultural areas arein precipitous decline. And while an analysis like the new study would be difficult to conduct here—there are no long-term, large-scale datasets of environmental neonicotinoid levels across the U.S. and Canada—neonicotinoid pollution levels are routinely found that exceed the new study’s .0194 ppb limit…The researchers also point out that, aside from eliminating their food supply, the chemicals may also be poisoning birds—not necessarily killing them outright, but rather weakening them. That remains an area in urgent need of more research, they said, and something for government regulators to consider.”

European ATM Security Team Faud Report – ATM Card Scimming

“EAST [European ATM Security Team] has just published its second European Fraud Update for 2014. This is based on country crime updates given by representatives of 19 countries in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), and 3 non-SEPA countries, at the 33rd EAST meeting held at the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at Europol in The… Continue Reading

Altruism, Happiness, and Health: It’s Good to Be Good

Stephen G. Post – International Journal of Behavioral Medicine 2005, Vol. 12, No. 2, 66–77: “Altruistic (other-regarding) emotions and behaviors are associated with greater well-being, health, and longevity. This article presents a summary and assessment of existing research data on altruism and its relation to mental and physical health. It suggests several complementary interpretive frameworks, including evolutionary  biology,… Continue Reading

Forward Secrecy Brings Better Long-Term Privacy to Wikipedia

EFF – “Wikipedia readers and editors can now enjoy a higher level of long-term privacy, thanks to the Wikimedia Foundation’s rollout last week of forward secrecy on its encrypted connections. Forward secrecy is an important Web privacy protection; we’ve been tracking its implementation across many popular sites with our Encrypt the Web Report. And though it may sound… Continue Reading

Work Plan ongoing and planned audit and evaluation projects – IG

“The Work Plan presents the audits and evaluations that the Office of Inspector General (OIG) is conducting to assist the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in fulfilling their respective missions. Our statutory mandates are our highest priority, and with our remaining resources, we focus… Continue Reading

Young First-Time Mothers Less Likely to be Married, Census Bureau Reports

“The percentage of young first-time mothers who are married is dropping, according to Fertility of Women in the United States: 2012, a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. In the early 1990s, at least half of all first births to mothers younger than age 23 occurred in marriage. Since 2005, more young mothers were cohabiting… Continue Reading

New GAO Reports – ATF, Export-Import Bank, DOD Human Capital, Improper Payments, NOAA Aircraft

BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, FIREARMS AND EXPLOSIVES: Enhancing Data Collection Could Improve Management of Investigations, GAO-14-553: Published: Jun 30, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 9, 2014. EXPORT-IMPORT BANK: Information on Export Credit Agency Financing Support for Wide-Body Jets, GAO-14-642R: Published: Jul 8, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 9, 2014. HUMAN CAPITAL: DOD Should Fully Develop Its Civilian Strategic Workforce Plan to Aid Decision Makers, GAO-14-565: Published:… Continue Reading

Lifting the Veil on the U.S. Bilateral Repo Market – NY Fed

Adam Copeland, Isaac Davis, Eric LeSueur, and Antoine Martin: “The repurchase agreement (repo), a contract that closely resembles a collateralized loan, is widely used by financial institutions to lend to each other. The repo market is divided into trades that settle on the books of the two large clearing banks (that is, tri-party repo) and trades… Continue Reading

Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee, June 17-18, 2014

“The Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Open Market Committee on Wednesday released the attached minutes of the Committee meeting held on June 17-18, 2014. A summary of economic projections made by Federal Reserve Board members and Reserve Bank presidents for the meeting is also included as an addendum to these minutes. The minutes for each… Continue Reading

Financial Literacy Results – OECD

“PISA’s first financial literacy assessment shows the extent to which 15-year-old students have the financial knowledge and skills needed for the demands of today’s world. Finance is part of everyday life for many 15-year-olds, who are already consumers of financial services, such as bank accounts. As they near the end of compulsory education, students will… Continue Reading