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CRS — Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2014 (September 15, 2014)

October 29, 2014 Comments off

Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2014 (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

This report lists hundreds of instances in which the United States has used its Armed Forces abroad in situations of military conflict or potential conflict or for other than normal peacetime purposes. It was compiled in part from various older lists and is intended primarily to provide a rough survey of past U.S. military ventures abroad, without reference to the magnitude of the given instance noted. The listing often contains references, especially from 1980 forward, to continuing military deployments, especially U.S. military participation in multinational operations associated with NATO or the United Nations. Most of these post-1980 instances are summaries based on presidential reports to Congress related to the War Powers Resolution. A comprehensive commentary regarding any of the instances listed is not undertaken here.

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CRS — Heritage Areas: Background, Proposals, and Current Issues (September 8, 2014)

October 28, 2014 Comments off

Heritage Areas: Background, Proposals, and Current Issues (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Center)

Over 30 years, Congress has established 49 national heritage areas (NHAs) to commemorate, conserve, and promote areas that include important natural, scenic, historic, cultural, and recreational resources. NHAs are partnerships among the National Park Service (NPS), states, and local communities, where the NPS supports state and local conservation through federal recognition, seed money, and technical assistance. NHAs are not part of the National Park System, where lands are federally owned and managed. Rather, lands within heritage areas typically remain in state, local, or private ownership or a combination thereof. Heritage areas have been supported as protecting lands and traditions and promoting tourism and community revitalization, but opposed as potentially burdensome, costly, or leading to federal control over nonfederal lands. This report focuses on heritage areas designated by Congress (not other entities) and related issues and legislation.

How Was Life? Global Well-being since 1820

October 28, 2014 Comments off

How Was Life? Global Well-being since 1820
Source: OECD

How was life in 1820, and how has it improved since then? What are the long-term trends in global well-being? Views on social progress since the Industrial Revolution are largely based on historical national accounting in the tradition of Kuznets and Maddison. But trends in real GDP per capita may not fully re­flect changes in other dimensions of well-being such as life expectancy, education, personal security or gender inequality. Looking at these indicators usually reveals a more equal world than the picture given by incomes alone, but has this always been the case? The new report How Was Life? aims to fill this gap. It presents the first systematic evidence on long-term trends in global well-being since 1820 for 25 major countries and 8 regions in the world covering more than 80% of the world’s population. It not only shows the data but also discusses the underlying sources and their limitations, pays attention to country averages and inequality, and pinpoints avenues for further research.

The How Was Life? report is the product of collaboration between the OECD, the OECD Development Centre and the CLIO-INFRA project. It represents the culmination of work by a group of economic historians to systematically chart long-term changes in the dimensions of global well-being and inequality, making use of the most recent research carried out within the discipline. The historical evidence reviewed in the report is organised around 10 different dimensions of well-being that mirror those used by the OECD in its well-being report How’s Life? (www.oecd.org/howslife), and draw on the best sources and expertise currently available for historical perspectives in this field. These dimensions are:per capita GDP, real wages, educational attainment, life expectancy, height, personal security, political institutions, environmental quality, income inequality and gender inequality.

From Scan to Print: 3D Printing as a Means for Replication

October 9, 2014 Comments off

From Scan to Print: 3D Printing as a Means for Replication
Source: HP Labs

Replication, or making exact copies with consistent results, is at the heart of manufacturing. It is used in mass production of all kinds of items, from foodstuff to cars, from houses to books. But it is also used to reproduce already existing objects. In the 18th and 19th centuries plaster casting was used to bring the wonders of the world to private collections and museums. In the cast court of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, a life sized replica of Trajan’s column [1] can be admired. The combination of a 3D scanner and printer offers the possibility of a new way to make a three dimensional copy of an existing object. Whereas in a plaster cast, where high fidelity is achieved by creating a physical mould from the original object, scanning does not require physical contact to the original. This can be an advantage when the object is fragile, but can lead to loss of fidelity during the reproduction process. We discuss the difficulties in achieving a truly high fidelity copy of even simple objects when a scanner and 3D printer are used for object replication.

Eleanor Roosevelt as “Ordinary” Citizen and “Expert” on Radio in the Early 1950s

September 23, 2014 Comments off

Eleanor Roosevelt as “Ordinary” Citizen and “Expert” on Radio in the Early 1950s
Source: Sage Open

Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the United States, used radio to communicate on a wide variety of issues that she felt the American public, and women in particular, should know or think about. She had been a radio pioneer, broadcasting from the 1920s onward and starting with her own radio show in 1932. By the 1950s, radio as a technology began facing increasing competition from television. Yet, as a medium to reach mass audiences and women in particular, radio continued to play a vital role. From October 1950 until August 1951, Eleanor Roosevelt together with her son Elliott hosted a daily show on the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) called The Eleanor Roosevelt Program. Focusing on this 1950-1951 program, this article seeks to examine the way in which Mrs. Roosevelt communicated with her listeners and successfully blended that which at first sight might seem opposites: the domestic with the global, the informal mode of address with the serious topics, the public with the private, and the ordinary woman’s view with that of the expert international stateswoman.

Art and Judaica Looted by Nazis from Jews Still Largely Unidentified; Review of 50 Countries Shows Little Progress Despite International Pacts

September 12, 2014 Comments off

Art and Judaica Looted by Nazis from Jews Still Largely Unidentified; Review of 50 Countries Shows Little Progress Despite International Pacts
Source: Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference)

Claims Conference President Julius Berman announced that a new report shows that 15 years after the first international agreement regarding restitution of Nazi-era looted art, most countries have made little progress toward returning stolen cultural items to their rightful owners. A survey of 50 countries by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) and the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) shows that two-thirds of the nations that have endorsed agreements regarding research, publicity and claims for Nazi-era looted art have done little or nothing to implement those pacts.

The Claims Conference/WJRO reviewed activity over the past 15 years regarding the identification of artworks, Judaica, and other cultural property plundered from Jews by the Nazis and their allies.While there have been some positive developments since the 2009 Prague Holocaust Era Assets Conference, only one-third of the participating nations have made major or substantial progress towards implementing the Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art (endorsed by 44 countries in 1998) and the Terezin Declaration (endorsed by 47 countries in 2009). All of the countries are signatories to the Code of Ethics for Museums of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), which calls upon museums to establish the full provenance of items in their collections, but only a minority of museums has actually implemented this Code.

Soldiers, Spies and the Moon: Secret U.S. and Soviet Plans from the 1950s and 1960s: Declassified Documents Reflect the Covert Side of Lunar Programs

September 9, 2014 Comments off

Soldiers, Spies and the Moon: Secret U.S. and Soviet Plans from the 1950s and 1960s: Declassified Documents Reflect the Covert Side of Lunar Programs
Source: National Security Archive

Forty-five years ago, astronaut Neil Armstrong took his “one small step” for mankind, becoming the first person to set foot on the moon. The program that resulted in that historic event — managed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) — had been a very public one ever since its announcement by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. Even the Soviet government had publicized aspects of its own effort.

But there were also highly secret elements to the U.S. and Soviet schemes, which are the subject of today’s National Security Archive posting of previously classified records. The documents focus on three topics — early U.S. military plans, including the possibility of conducting nuclear tests in space, the use of the moon to reflect signals for military or intelligence purposes, and U.S. intelligence analyses and estimates of Soviet missions and their intentions to land a man on the lunar surface.

The posting includes:

  • Army and Air Force studies from 1959 – 1961 on the creation of a military lunar base, with possible uses as a surveillance platform (for targets on earth and space) and the Lunar Based Earth Bombardment System (Document 1a, Document 1b, Document 3, Document 4).
  • A study on the detonation of a nuclear device on or in the vicinity of the moon (Document 2).
  • The use of the lunar surface to relay signals from Washington to Hawaii and from U.S. spy ships (Document 15).
  • Collection of Soviet radar signals after they bounced off the moon — a technique known as Moon Bounce ELINT (Document 11, Document 14).
  • The U.S. theft and return of a Soviet space capsule during an exhibition tour (Document 13).
  • A 1965 estimate of Soviet intentions with regard to a manned moon landing (Document 5).
  • Several analyses of Soviet Luna missions, including Luna 9 — the first mission to result in a soft landing on the moon (Document 6, Document 7, Document 8, Document 10, Document 16).
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