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Missing Makers: How to Rebuild America’s Manufacturing Workforce

August 1, 2014 Comments off

Missing Makers: How to Rebuild America’s Manufacturing Workforce (PDF)
Source: Hope Street Group

The U.S. manufacturing workforce is aging rapidly, with half of the existing workforce only 10-15 years away from retirement.1 Yet, American manufacturing employers are struggling to build a pipeline of new workers. Some 600,000 positions are currently unfilled,2 and more than three million additional positions are due to open by 2020.

Meanwhile, the youth unemployment rate remains above 16%, with nearly four million 16-24 year olds looking for but unable to find work.4 Why does this gap continue to exist across many regions, and what challenges are preventing the U.S. education and workforce training systems from addressing these issues? How can manufacturing employers and workforce development practitioners most effectively invest in youth in their regions, so that more young people are aware of, interested in, and on the path to careers in manufacturing?

Hope Street Group and Alcoa Foundation set out to address these questions. In this report, we frame the systemic challenges that currently discourage able young people from entering manufacturing career tracks.

Hat tip: StemConnector.org

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A Guide to Regional Transportation Planning for Disasters, Emergencies, and Significant Events

August 1, 2014 Comments off

A Guide to Regional Transportation Planning for Disasters, Emergencies, and Significant Events
Source: Transportation Research Board

TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 777: A Guide to Regional Transportation Planning for Disasters, Emergencies, and Significant Events uses foundational planning principles, case studies, tips, and tools to explain implementation of transportation planning for possible multijurisdictional disasters, emergencies, and other major events. In addition to the guide, there is a research report and a PowerPoint presentation describing the entire project.

The comparative recall of Google Scholar versus PubMed in identical searches for biomedical systematic reviews: a review of searches used in systematic reviews

August 1, 2014 Comments off

The comparative recall of Google Scholar versus PubMed in identical searches for biomedical systematic reviews: a review of searches used in systematic reviews
Source: Systematic Reviews

Background
The usefulness of Google Scholar (GS) as a bibliographic database for biomedical systematic review (SR) searching is a subject of current interest and debate in research circles. Recent research has suggested GS might even be used alone in SR searching. This assertion is challenged here by testing whether GS can locate all studies included in 21 previously published SRs. Second, it examines the recall of GS, taking into account the maximum number of items that can be viewed, and tests whether more complete searches created by an information specialist will improve recall compared to the searches used in the 21 published SRs.

Methods
The authors identified 21 biomedical SRs that had used GS and PubMed as information sources and reported their use of identical, reproducible search strategies in both databases. These search strategies were rerun in GS and PubMed, and analyzed as to their coverage and recall. Efforts were made to improve searches that underperformed in each database.

Results
GS’ overall coverage was higher than PubMed (98% versus 91%) and overall recall is higher in GS: 80% of the references included in the 21 SRs were returned by the original searches in GS versus 68% in PubMed. Only 72% of the included references could be used as they were listed among the first 1,000 hits (the maximum number shown). Practical precision (the number of included references retrieved in the first 1,000, divided by 1,000) was on average 1.9%, which is only slightly lower than in other published SRs. Improving searches with the lowest recall resulted in an increase in recall from 48% to 66% in GS and, in PubMed, from 60% to 85%.

Conclusions
Although its coverage and precision are acceptable, GS, because of its incomplete recall, should not be used as a single source in SR searching. A specialized, curated medical database such as PubMed provides experienced searchers with tools and functionality that help improve recall, and numerous options in order to optimize precision. Searches for SRs should be performed by experienced searchers creating searches that maximize recall for as many databases as deemed necessary by the search expert.

Commitment to College Strong as Ever as Families Make Deliberate Decisions to Meet Cost, Says New Research from Sallie Mae and Ipsos

August 1, 2014 Comments off

Commitment to College Strong as Ever as Families Make Deliberate Decisions to Meet Cost, Says New Research from Sallie Mae and Ipsos
Source: Sallie Mae/Ipsos

Ninety-eight percent of families agree that college is a worthwhile investment, but the way they covered the bill last year changed, according to “How America Pays for College 2014,” a new national study from Sallie Mae and Ipsos. The annual study, now in its seventh year, found that while the average amount spent on college was consistent with prior years, families spent more out of pocket (42 percent of college costs) while overall borrowing (22 percent of college costs) was at the lowest level in five years. Low-income students, in particular, reduced their reliance on borrowed funds when paying for college last year.

Families used grants and scholarships to cover 31 percent of college costs, and contributions from relatives and friends paid another 4 percent.

Government Surveillance and Internet Search Behavior

August 1, 2014 Comments off

Government Surveillance and Internet Search Behavior
Source: Social Science Research Network

This paper uses data from Google Trends on search terms from before and after the surveillance revelations of June 2013 to analyze whether Google users’ search behavior shifted as a result of an exogenous shock in information about how closely their internet searches were being monitored by the U. S. government. We use data from Google Trends on search volume for 282 search terms across eleven different countries. These search terms were independently rated for their degree of privacy-sensitivity along multiple dimensions. Using panel data, our result suggest that cross-nationally, users were less likely to search using search terms that they believed might get them in trouble with the U. S. government. In the U. S., this was the main subset of search terms that were affected. However, internationally there was also a drop in traffic for search terms that were rated as personally sensitive. These results have implications for policy makers in terms of understanding the actual effects on search behavior of disclosures relating to the scale of government surveillance on the Internet and their potential effects on international competitiveness.

New From the GAO

August 1, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Manufactured Housing: Efforts Needed to Enhance Program Effectiveness and Ensure Funding Stability. GAO-14-410, July 2.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-410
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664589.pdf

2. Data Transparency: Oversight Needed to Address Underreporting and Inconsistencies on Federal Award Website. GAO-14-476, June 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-476
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664537.pdf

Decriminalizing Indoor Prostitution: Implications for Sexual Violence and Public Health

August 1, 2014 Comments off

Decriminalizing Indoor Prostitution: Implications for Sexual Violence and Public Health
Source: Social Science Research Network/National Bureau of Economic Research

Most governments in the world including the United States prohibit prostitution. Given these types of laws rarely change and are fairly uniform across regions, our knowledge about the impact of decriminalizing sex work is largely conjectural. We exploit the fact that a Rhode Island District Court judge unexpectedly decriminalized indoor prostitution in 2003 to provide the first causal estimates of the impact of decriminalization on the composition of the sex market, rape offenses, and sexually transmitted infection outcomes. Not surprisingly, we find that decriminalization increased the size of the indoor market. However, we also find that decriminalization caused both forcible rape offenses and gonorrhea incidence to decline for the overall population. Our synthetic control model finds 824 fewer reported rape offenses (31 percent decrease) and 1,035 fewer cases of female gonorrhea (39 percent decrease) from 2004 to 2009.

Shifting Views of Supreme Court’s Ideology among Liberals, Conservatives

August 1, 2014 Comments off

Shifting Views of Supreme Court’s Ideology among Liberals, Conservatives
Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

Overall views of the U.S. Supreme Court – and its ideology – have changed only modestly since last measured in April before the court’s end-of-term decisions, including the Hobby Lobby ruling that limits the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive requirement.

But among liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans there have been sizable changes in opinions of the court; more liberals now view the Supreme Court as conservative – and fewer conservatives view it as liberal – than did so just a few months ago.

Deloitte Survey: For Millennial Travelers, It’s the Experience That Counts

August 1, 2014 Comments off

Deloitte Survey: For Millennial Travelers, It’s the Experience That Counts
Source: Deloitte

Two-thirds (66 percent) of millennial high-frequency travelers rate “unique rewards” as an important factor when choosing a hotel loyalty program, compared with just 43 percent of their older counterparts, according to a new Deloitte study, Winning the Race for Guest Loyalty.

Three-quarters (75 percent) of millennial respondents also indicate they would remain loyal to a hotel brand even if they lost all their points and status, compared with two-thirds (66 percent) among other travelers.

Additionally, the types of program benefits millennial travelers expect are no longer solely points-focused. Overall, 68 percent of frequent travelers indicate that they consider themselves loyal to the program where they have accumulated the most points. However, millennials highly value “soft” benefits such as VIP treatments and exclusive experiences more than other groups. Two-thirds (66 percent) of millennials indicate that unique experiences matter, compared with half (50 percent) of frequent travelers in other age groups.

The study also revealed that the average millennial traveler checks 10 online sources before making a travel purchase, and trusts advice from strangers online more than their own friends and family. Roughly one-quarter (24 percent) of millennials check social media or customer review sites before booking a hotel, whereas only 16 percent check with family.

DHS OIG — Domestic Nuclear Detection Office Has Taken Steps To Address Insider Threat, but Challenges Remain

August 1, 2014 Comments off

Domestic Nuclear Detection Office Has Taken Steps To Address Insider Threat, but Challenges Remain
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General

We reviewed the efforts of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) to address the risk posed by trusted insiders. Our objective was to assess DNDO’s progress toward protecting its information technology assets from threats posed by its employees, especially those with trusted or elevated access to sensitive, but unclassified information systems or data.

Steps are underway to address and mitigate the insider risk at DNDO. Specifically, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Under Secretary of Intelligence and Analysis established an Insider Threat Task Force to develop a program to address the risk of insider threats for DHS, including DNDO. In addition, the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis has detailed a counterintelligence officer to DNDO to help mitigate espionage‐related insider risks. The DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis routinely briefs DNDO on counterintelligence awareness, including insider threat indicators. In addition, DNDO provides security awareness training to its employees and contractors regarding security‐related topics that could help prevent or detect the insider risk. In September 2013, the DHS Office of the Chief Security Officer began a comprehensive vulnerability assessment of DNDO assets, which includes identifying insider risks and vulnerabilities. The DHS Security Operations Center monitors DNDO information systems and networks to respond to potential insider based incidents. Finally, the DHS Special Security Programs Division handles and investigates security incidents, including those types attributed to malicious insiders.

Additional steps to address the insider risk at DNDO are required. Specifically, DNDO needs to implement insider threat procedures, upon receipt of policy issued by the DHS Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) that defines roles and responsibilities for addressing insider risks to unclassified networks and systems. DNDO also needs to provide documentation that clearly shows the effectiveness of controls or processes in place to detect and respond to unauthorized data exfiltration from DNDO unclassified information technology assets via email services provided by the DHS OCIO.

DNDO can strengthen processes and controls for its own technology infrastructure. They can disable portable media ports on controlled information technology assets where there is no legitimate business need. DNDO can apply critical security patches to these assets and perform periodic security assessments of controlled sites to identify any indication of unauthorized wireless devices or connections to DHS networks.

Lenders Note Impact of Higher FHA Fees

August 1, 2014 Comments off

Lenders Note Impact of Higher FHA Fees
Source: National Association of REALTORS®

The mortgage market was buffeted by a number of changes in 2013 and 2014 among them higher fees at the FHA. NAR Research’ s second Survey of Mortgage Originators includes questions about the impact of changes to the FHA program on consumers.

Since 2010, the FHA has increased the rates it charges for mortgage insurance. On average, responding lenders indicated that 5.7% of originations were lost because of the increase in FHA fees. The distribution clustered between a response of 1.1% to 2.0% and 6.1% to 7.0%. A loss of 5.7% in sales would correlate to roughly 200,000 to 250,000 home sales lost, near the mid-point of estimates NAR Research produced in April.

Review of Waste and Mismanagement at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board

August 1, 2014 Comments off

Review of Waste and Mismanagement at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Inspector General
From Transmittal Memo (PDF):

Attached is our final report detailing the findings of our investigation into allegations received from multiple whistleblowers alleging waste and mismanagement at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) , one of the components within the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Our investigation uncovered waste in the PTAB that persisted for more than four years (2009-13) and resulted in the misuse of federal resources totaling more than $5 million. The bulk of the wasted resources related to PTAB’s paralegals, who had insufficient workloads and considerable idle time during those years. Paralegals told the OIG that they engaged in a variety of personal activities including watching television; surfing the internet; using Facebook and other social media; washing laundry and cleaning dishes; and shopping online while in an official pay status.

PT AB managers, including its senior-most personnel, were aware of this problem but took little action to prevent such waste because they believed the problem would disappear once PTAB hired additional judges. We found that, by failing to report the significant waste incurred by the PT B when Paralegal Specialists were being paid to not work, numerous PTAB employees appear to have violated certain regulations and Department of Commerce policies.

Impact of Time of Presentation on Process Performance and Outcomes in ST-Segment–Elevation Myocardial Infarction

August 1, 2014 Comments off

Impact of Time of Presentation on Process Performance and Outcomes in ST-Segment–Elevation Myocardial Infarction
Source: Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes

Background—
Prior studies demonstrated that patients with ST-segment–elevation myocardial infarction presenting during off-hours (weeknights, weekends, and holidays) have slower reperfusion times. Recent nationwide initiatives have emphasized 24/7 quality care in ST-segment–elevation myocardial infarction. It remains unclear whether patients presenting off-hours versus on-hours receive similar quality care in contemporary practice.

Methods and Results—
Using Acute Coronary Treatment and Intervention Outcomes Network-Get With The Guidelines (ACTION-GWTG) database, we examined ST-segment–elevation myocardial infarction performance measures in patients presenting off-hours (n=27 270) versus on-hours (n=15 972; January 2007 to September 2010) at 447 US centers. Key quality measures assessed were aspirin use within first 24 hours, door-to-balloon time, door-to-ECG time, and door-to-needle time. In-hospital risk-adjusted all-cause mortality was calculated. Baseline demographic and clinical characteristics were similar. Aspirin use within 24 hours approached 99% in both groups. Among patients undergoing primary percutaneous coronary intervention (n=41 979; 97.1%), median door-to-balloon times were 56 versus 72 minutes (P<0.0001) for on-hours versus off-hours. The proportion of patients achieving door-to-balloon time ≤90 minutes was 87.8% versus 79.2% (P<0.0001), respectively. There were no differences attaining door-to-ECG time ≤10 minutes (73.4% versus 74.3%, P=0.09) and door-to-needle time ≤30 minutes (62.3% versus 58.7%; P=0.44) between on-hours versus off-hours. Although in-hospital all-cause mortality was similar (4.2%) in both groups, the risk-adjusted all-cause mortality was higher for patients presenting off-hours (odds ratio, 1.13; 95% confidence interval, 1.02–1.26).

Conclusions—
In contemporary community practice, achievement of quality performance measures in patients presenting with ST-segment–elevation myocardial infarction was high, regardless of time of presentation. Door-to-balloon time was, however, slightly delayed (by an average of 16 minutes), and risk-adjusted in-hospital mortality was 13% higher in patients presenting off-hours.

See: Time of arrival at hospital impacts time to treatment and survival of heart attack patients (EurekAlert!)
Hat tip: PW

Digital Forensics in the Mobile, BYOD, and Cloud Era

August 1, 2014 Comments off

Digital Forensics in the Mobile, BYOD, and Cloud Era
Source: Deloitte

Quick, decisive action is often crucial to determining the facts and protecting an organization’s interests, whether the impetus is suspected fraud, a whistleblower claim, a lawsuit, or a regulatory inquiry.

Organizations can strengthen their ability to address this diverse array of risks by establishing digital forensics as a standard procedure very early in internal investigations and making sure investigations encompass all possible data sources, while avoiding some potential pitfalls in forensics application.

“Digital forensics in the mobile, bring-your-own-device and cloud era” talks about the 3 potential pitfalls in digital forensics and how important it is to regard digital forensics as a standard procedure, and scope it in as early as possible in an internal investigation.

A History of Financial Aid to Students

August 1, 2014 Comments off

A History of Financial Aid to Students (PDF)
Source: Journal of Student Financial Aid

The history of financial aid in higher education covers a board range of philanthropic-, scholarship-, and loan-based approaches. This article comprehensively covers the history of American financial aid to students from influences of European medieval institutions to contemporary aid systems. A broad history of financial aid is covered, revealing an evolution from a system primarily based upon local philanthropic efforts, to a more formal system of scholarships and grants, to, finally, a complex federal system of loans. As the history of financial aid is chronologically covered, attention is paid to describing how financial aid policies and practices were a response to societal and political contexts of their times and how need- and merit-based philosophies have given way to political agenda-based philosophies of aid.

The Employment Situation — July 2014

August 1, 2014 Comments off

The Employment Situation — July 2014
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 209,000 in July, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 6.2 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, manufacturing, retail trade, and construction.

Both the unemployment rate (6.2 percent) and the number of unemployed persons (9.7 million) changed little in July. Over the past 12 months, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons have declined by 1.1 percentage points and 1.7 million, respectively.

Twelve things everyone should know about the European Court of Justice

August 1, 2014 Comments off

Twelve things everyone should know about the European Court of Justice (PDF)
Source: Centre for European Reform

The EU is a legal animal. The Union differs from other international bodies such as the UN or the Council of Europe in that it produces binding legislation. Member-states have to transpose into national law the agreements they make in Brussels or face litigation from the European Commission. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) sits at the heart of this shared law-making system. Its rulings are faithfully applied in 28 countries, comprising the world’s largest economic area. Hence it is arguably the most powerful international court.

EU — Customs action to tackle goods infringing Intellectual Property Rights – Frequently Asked Questions

August 1, 2014 Comments off

Customs action to tackle goods infringing Intellectual Property Rights – Frequently Asked Questions
Source: European Commission

As the EU’s 2020 Strategy underlines, the protection of IPRs is key to the EU economy. By giving people the incentive to be creative and innovative, IPRs foster economic growth, creating and protecting millions of jobs.

Right-holders can ask for customs action to protect their rights at the border. When they have a suspicion of an infringement, customs can detain the goods or suspend their release and inform the right-holder accordingly. The right-holder is given the opportunity to initiate court proceedings to determine the infringement, while the goods remain under customs control.

Pension Spending Supports 6.2 Million Jobs, $943 Billion in Economic Input

July 31, 2014 Comments off

Pension Spending Supports 6.2 Million Jobs, $943 Billion in Economic Input
Source: National Institute on Retirement Security

A new economic impact study finds that pension benefit expenditures provide important economic support to the economy, including more than $943 billion in total economic output and 6.2 million jobs in the United States.

Pensionomics 2014: Measuring the Economic Impact of Defined Benefit Pension Expenditures reports the national economic impacts of public and private pension plans, as well as the impact of state and local plans on a state-by-state basis. The study measures the economic ripple effect of retiree spending of pension benefit income, which typically is a stable source of income that lasts through retirement.

Deep-Sea Octopus (Graneledone boreopacifica) Conducts the Longest-Known Egg-Brooding Period of Any Animal

July 31, 2014 Comments off

Deep-Sea Octopus (Graneledone boreopacifica) Conducts the Longest-Known Egg-Brooding Period of Any Animal
Source: PLoS ONE

Octopuses typically have a single reproductive period and then they die (semelparity). Once a clutch of fertilized eggs has been produced, the female protects and tends them until they hatch. In most shallow-water species this period of parental care can last from 1 to 3 months, but very little is known about the brooding of deep-living species. In the cold, dark waters of the deep ocean, metabolic processes are often slower than their counterparts at shallower depths. Extrapolations from data on shallow-water octopus species suggest that lower temperatures would prolong embryonic development periods. Likewise, laboratory studies have linked lower temperatures to longer brooding periods in cephalopods, but direct evidence has not been available. We found an opportunity to directly measure the brooding period of the deep-sea octopus Graneledone boreopacifica, in its natural habitat. At 53 months, it is by far the longest egg-brooding period ever reported for any animal species. These surprising results emphasize the selective value of prolonged embryonic development in order to produce competitive hatchlings. They also extend the known boundaries of physiological adaptations for life in the deep sea.

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