Tag Archives: government documents

Tracking Santa

From the Government Book Talk Blog by Chelsea Milko:

“Twas Christmas eve 1955 when a misprinted Sears Roebuck & Co. newspaper ad directed kids to a top secret Soviet alert hotline instead of Santa’s direct dial. Wrong red phone! On the receiving end, an Air Force colonel played along and a team of Cold War-era serviceman became North Pole elves. And that’s how the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) eventually became the Santa tracking agency.

NORAD is a bi-national U.S. and Canadian organization with the mission of aerospace warning and control in the defense of North America. But its most famous and favorite mission is watching the winter skies for the “big red one.”

Different high-tech systems are used to read Rudolph’s infrared nose signature, capture high-speed video around the globe, and provide Santa and his reindeer with a NORAD fighter pilot escort. Fun fact to impress people at your holiday party: satellites and radar once clocked Santa’s flying delivery cart at 100 times faster than the Japanese bullet train.

Santa positioning updates were originally delivered over the radio and through the Santa Tracking hotline.  A few years ago, NORAD teamed up with tech companies to release a set of free apps. If you download the tracking app, that ding from your phone could be a radar ping showing the globetrotting sleigh’s whereabouts.

Want to track jolly St. Nick and his sleigh-pullers on Christmas Eve? Visit NORAD’s multilingual Santa site,  but be careful – you just might have difficulty getting the little ones to bed!

Happy Halloween

Halloween is upon us, as is the annual loss of Daylight Savings Time – an extra hour of sleep!. Dating back thousands of years, Halloween has evolved into a celebration characterized by child-friendly activities, such as costumes, trick-or-treating and carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns.  Take a look at”Halloween by the numbers” brought to you by the U.S. Census Bureau. Did you know that 50,900 acres of pumpkins were harvested in the U.S. in 2013, with a total estimated production value of $149.9 million? New York state ranked 5th in pumpkin production. All this and more at the Census Bureau website

Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA Detention and Interrogation Program

The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) makes available the official and authentic digital and print versions of the Report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program, together with a forward by Chairman Feinstein and Additional and Minority Views (Senate Report 113-288).

This document comprises the declassified Executive Summary and Findings and Conclusions, including declassified additional and minority views. The full classified report will be maintained by the Committee and has been provided to the Executive Branch for dissemination to all relevant agencies.

The digital version is available on GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys). Colgate will receive the paper copy later.

Farewell Richard Nixon

Hard to believe that 40 years ago, Richard Nixon resigned as President of the United States. Too young to remember the brouhaha? Read all about it by searching our catalog by subject for Nixon or Watergate. Follow the news as it happened by searching our ProQuest Historical Newspapers database.

Gain some perspective by reading books authored by Nixon and by reading and listening to current retrospective news reports in LexisNexis Academic.

We have a display of government documents surrounding Nixon’s possible impeachment in the new books area (more are available online in ProQuest Congressional and in LASR), the Government Printing Office has made available Nixon grand jury records, and the Nixon Presidential Library finished releasing tapes covering Nixon’s presidency.

But Watergate and impending impeachment were not all of Nixon’s legacy.
Read materials by Nixon by doing an author search in our catalog, looking at the Public Papers of the President (Case Ref Document AE 2.114: ), or browsing the Nixon materials at the American Presidency Project.

Happy anniversary Civil Rights Act

With the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) is making the official, digital version of the law available on the agency’s Federal Digital System (FDsys). The Civil Rights Act, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 2, 1964, prohibited segregation and discrimination in schools, public places and activities, and employment practices. GPO employees produced the original document 50 years ago. Today, GPO serves as the digital information platform for the Federal Government, making information available on FDsys, a one-stop site to authentic, published Government information. GPO continues to add historical content like the Civil Rights Act and Warren Commission Report to FDsys.

Want to read the paper copy? The text begins on page 241 of volume 78 of United States Statutes at Large . Our copy is in LASR

Academics in Congress

Who would have thunk it? Two professors from Randolph Macon College, Dave Brat and  Jack Trammell, will face off in this year’s congressional race in the 7th district of Virginia. The higher education community is watching and so can you. Follow the race (and others!) at our Elections subject guide and at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The good folks at the Chronicle got to thinking, “how often does this happen? So they turned to the authoritative biographical source about Congress: the
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, available both in paper and online. The Biographical Directory not only contains short biographies of our representatives, but also the apportionment  of congressmen and information about each congress (date, executive officers, officers of the House and Senate). The Chronicle mined the data and developed a sortable table of academics who have served in Congress.

By what stop there? Check out other resources about “our tax dollars at work” in Washington. Search our catalog by subject heading United States Congress Biography for more books and check out the reference collection about Congress which has more fascinating facts about Congress. My personal favorite:  Vital Statistics on Congress, available both in print and online.

Happy reading!

RIP Pete Seeger and Ralph Kiner

It’s been a tough week for some of my favorite people (and I’m dating myself with this post).

I didn’t know Kiner (1922-2014) as a baseball player, but as the New York Mets announcer. I cannot tell a lie, my family jumped ship from the Yankees to the Mets, early on in their career, so Kiner was a familiar voice in our household. Read Kiner’s memoir, Baseball forever: reflections on 60 years in the game and listen to the NPR story about him from this morning.

I grew up with Pete Seeger’s (or at least when I was old enough to choose my own music). He was part of the early movement to clean up the Hudson River, using the sloop Clearwater as an education tool (I’m from Hyde Park). His entire life, Seeger was unafraid of the consequences of his beliefs, getting blacklisted after testifying before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. We have the full text in ProQuest Congressional, as well as the Committee report about him. Listen, read, and view the music he made popular, and read more about him.

Perhaps Seeger said it best in his most famous song, made popular by the Byrds: “to everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn, turn”.

Senate resolution to authorize Military force against Syria

As the U.S. Congress debates the possibility of the United States using military force against Syria for their use of chemical weapons, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) makes the authentic, digital version of the Senate resolution available on the agency’s Federal Digital System (FDsys). As reported by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on September 6, the resolution’s title is:  S. J. Res. 21 PCS, Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against the Government of Syria to Respond to Use of Chemical Weapons.  GPO authenticated the document by digital signature.

Track the debate in Congress on this resolution and others by checking on Thomas, which will link you to debates, resolutions, and more.

Hydrofracking Maps and Counter-Maps

Are you interested in the current debate over hydrofracking and shale gas in the Marcellus Shale?  If so, we have a new guide to maps and interactive mapping websites.  It provides links to both sides of the debate as well as government, academic, and media map resources.

Thanksgiving Fun Facts

A reprise of our traditional (hopefully) post about Thanksgiving.

Soon many of you will be fleeing campus to the comfort of home and the traditional American Thanksgiving feast. Although we tend to think of Thanksgiving as a harvest celebration dating back to Plymouth Colony, it was actually created by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 (See Statutes at Large vol. 13, appendix, p. 749; also online at Library of Congress). It was under Roosevelt (FDR) that Thanksgiving became the fourth Thursday of the month (see Statutes at Large vol. 55, p. 862), not meandering between the fourth and the fifth, in order to increase time to shop. So I guess we have him to “thank” for Black Friday!

For fun facts about Thanksgiving, go to the U.S. Census Bureau website. For example, it is expected that 248 million (yes, million) turkeys will be raised in the U.S. this year, with Minnesota leading the way, with an estimated 46.5 million. However, that won’t be enough to fill our needs for the entire year. Between Jan and July 2011, we imported $7.8 million worth of live turkeys, primarily from Canada.

Interested in knowing where all that traditional Thanksgiving food comes from? Check out the Where does Thanksgiving Grow poster (created by Linda Zellmer of Western Illinois University), with maps of the production in the U.S. of various Thanksgiving foods. And, finally, if you are traveling, travel safe, both leaving and coming back! Yumm, visions of pumpkin pie!!!!