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NIST Releases Draft Community Resilience Planning Guide for Public Review

April 27, 2015 Comments off

NIST Releases Draft Community Resilience Planning Guide for Public Review
Source: National Institute of Standards and Technology

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today issued a draft guide to help communities plan for and act to keep windstorms, floods, earthquakes, sea-level rise, industrial mishaps and other hazards from inflicting disastrous consequences.

NIST is requesting public feedback on the draft Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure, which Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Acting NIST Director Willie May unveiled during a workshop at Texas Southern University in Houston today.

The official first version of the guide will be released this fall and updated periodically as new building standards and research results become available and as communities gain experience using the guide and recommend improvements.

New topical fire report: Fire Risk in 2011

April 27, 2015 Comments off

New topical fire report: Fire Risk in 2011 (PDF)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

The risk from fire is not the same for everyone. In 2011, 3,415 deaths and 17,500 injuries in the U.S. were caused by fires. These casualties were not equally distributed across the U.S. population and the resulting risk of death or injury from fire was more severe for some groups. This topical fire report explores why different segments of society are at a greater risk from fire.

Fact Sheet: Hunger and mass incarceration

April 27, 2015 Comments off

Fact Sheet: Hunger and mass incarceration (PDF)
Source: Bread for the World Institute

People in prison are more likely to have struggled with hunger and poverty before entering prison. This puts them at high risk for returning to conditions of hunger and poverty after prison.

International Federation of the Phonographic Industry publishes Digital Music Report 2015

April 27, 2015 Comments off

IFPI publishes Digital Music Report 2015
Source: International Federation of the Phonographic Industry

Revenues from digital music services match those from physical format sales for the first time, according to IFPI’s Digital Music Report, published today.

Digital revenues rose 6.9 per cent to US$6.9 billion, representing 46 per cent of all global music sales and underlining the deep transformation of the global music industry over recent years. The industry’s overall global revenues in 2014 were largely unchanged, falling just 0.4 per cent to US$14.97 billion (US$15.03 billion).

The new report shows an industry in continuing transition, with consumers embracing the music access models of streaming and subscription. Another steep increase in subscription revenues (+39.0%) offset declining download sales (-8.0%) to drive overall digital revenues, while the number of paying users of subscription services rose 46.4 per cent to an estimated 41 million.

Subscription services are now at the heart of the music industry’s portfolio of businesses, representing 23 per cent of the digital market and generating US$1.6 billion in trade revenues.

New Report Identifies Possible Next Steps in U.S. Energy Development

April 27, 2015 Comments off

New Report Identifies Possible Next Steps in U.S. Energy Development
Source: American Geosciences Institute

The U.S. energy portfolio changes over time. Scientific and technologic advances related to hydraulic fracturing have dramatically increased the supply of U.S. oil and gas; because of this, a methane economy – in which natural gas provides the leading share of primary energy consumption – is now a possible scenario for U.S. energy development. In a report released by the American Geosciences Institute (AGI), the social, political, technical and environmental components of a methane economy are identified. The report also addresses how industry, government and the public might best work together to advance common energy goals.

The report is based on the inaugural AGI Critical Issues Forum where experts were asked to consider whether a natural gas-dominant economy is achievable in North America and if such an economy would be desirable. In this forum, U.S. geoscientists, economists and environmental experts identified barriers and enablers to such an economy. They reviewed geological, infrastructural, technological, and financial factors that may affect future gas supplies and the demand for natural gas. The experts also considered the environmental, health, and safety factors that may have a significant effect on the development of natural gas.

One of the conclusions of the report is that social license granted by consensus public opinion – at the national, state and local levels – can be either a substantial enabler or barrier to a methane economy, and its importance cannot be overstated.

A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America’s Brightest Students

April 27, 2015 Comments off

A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America’s Brightest Students
Source: Acceleration Institute

A Nation Empowered provides an update to the watershed work initiated by A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students.

A Nation Deceived informed us of research-based practices for challenging academically talented youth. A Nation Empowered tells the story of how well we have applied what we have learned.

The purpose of A Nation Empowered is to inform educators, parents, and policy makers of current research on acceleration, how that information has been applied to educational policy throughout the nation, and how educators can use the findings to make decisions for their brightest students.

Suicide Postvention in the Department of Defense

April 27, 2015 Comments off

Suicide Postvention in the Department of Defense
Source: RAND Corporation

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has been struggling with increasing rates of suicide among military personnel for the past decade. As DoD continues to implement new programs and examine its policies in an effort to prevent military personnel from taking their own lives, it is important to assess its current responses to suicide and to identify opportunities to enhance these programs and policies. Unfortunately, there is little scientific evidence on how best to respond to suicides, how to ensure that surveillance activities are managed appropriately and that loss survivors are given sufficient support to grieve, how additional suicides can be prevented, and how to honor and respect the decedent and his or her loved ones. At the same time, there are many resource guides intended to provide recommendations for organizations (mostly schools) in responding to suicides. A review of the existing scientific evidence on postvention (responses to prevent additional suicides in the aftermath of a suicide) and guidance for other types of organizations provides potential insights for DoD, however. Complemented by the perspectives of those most intimately touched by military suicide — the family and friends of those who have died — these sources may help DoD formulate its guidance in a practical and sensitive way.

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