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Federal Agency Charges for Reports Available Free Online

April 17, 2014 Comments off

Federal Agency Charges for Reports Available Free Online
Source: AllGov.com

The National Technical Information Service (NTIS) is something of a federal dinosaur, charging money for government reports that can be obtained elsewhere for free on the Internet.

Around since 1950, NTIS was set up as a clearinghouse for technical papers produced by the government. It has continued to sell these reports to the public even though many of them can be had for free through other agencies.

For instance, anyone interested in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s handy report on chemical hazards can order a free copy here. Or they can pay the NTIS $30.

Another example is Terrorism and Other Public Health Emergencies: A Reference Guide for Media, available for free from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The NTIS charges $16 for the report.

The agency has agreed to stop charging for reports produced by Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), one of Congress’ most vocal critics of government waste, after his office complained. But it will continue to require payment for reports produced by other lawmakers (presumably unless they, too, tell it to stop).

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Do You Live in a Food Desert?

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Do You Live in a Food Desert?
Source: Walk Score

A food desert is a neighborhood without access to healthy food. Why does this matter? Living in a food desert can lead to higher levels of obesity and other diet-related illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

Walk Score helps you make more informed decisions about where to live, like finding an apartment within walking distance of a grocery store.

Many cities are making access to healthy food part of their general plans. For example, Washington D.C.’s sustainability plan sets a goal of having 75% of residents within a 5 minute walk of healthy food.

But how many people can walk to a grocery store in 5 minutes?

Today, we’re announcing a new ranking of the best and worst U.S. cities for access to food based on our database of local places and our Travel Time API and ChoiceMaps technology.

Housing — In Search of Affordability

April 9, 2014 Comments off

In Search of Affordability
Source: Zillow

Across the United States, strong home price affordability has been recently eroded by a combination of rising home prices and mortgage rates. Some areas, particularly on the West Coast, have begun to look unaffordable compared to their historic norms, forcing some household to look to the periphery of urban areas in search of affordable homes.

At Zillow, we measure affordability by looking at how much of a person’s monthly income is spent on a mortgage payment. Historically in the United States, the median household would need to spend 22.1 percent of their income to afford the mortgage payments on the median home. This number fell dramatically during the housing recession, hitting a low of under 13 percent by the end of 2012.

Since then, both prices and interest rates have recovered, increasing the share of income needed to buy the median home to 15.1 (2013 Q4) percent nationwide – higher than in 2012, but still well below its historical average. This share of income is up from 15.0 percent reported in 2013 Q3 for the U.S. Looking forward, the U.S. is forecasted to remain more affordable than its historical average, as long as interest rates remain below 7 percent over the next year – an extremely likely scenario.

U.S. Beverage Results for 2013

April 4, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Beverage Results for 2013 (PDF)
Source: Beverage Digest

The challenging recent trends in the U.S. beverage business continued and worsened in 2013. Total liquid refreshment beverages (LRBs), which had grown modestly in recent years, were down last year. And the biggest category — carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) — which has declined in recent years, declined again with the rate of decline worsening. In 2013, LRB volume was down -1.6% compared to growth of +1% in 2012 and +0.8% in 2011. At least part of the deterioration was due to the worsening CSD performance. In 2013, the CSD category was down -3% vs down -1.2% in 2012 and down -1% in 2011. Also, the large bottled water category performed less strongly in 2013 than in 2012.

Diet Soft Drinks. As BD reported several times last year, diets CSDs are now struggling. At least some consumers seem to be shying away from the legacy diet sweeteners, according to sources. Last year, in this all-channel data, brand Coke way out-performed Diet Coke. Brand Pepsi out-performed Diet Pepsi. Mt. Dew out-performed Diet Mt. Dew. And Dr Pepper out-performed Diet Dr. Pepper.

Cola Wars. In the face-off between Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo, Coca-Cola out-performed in both CSDs and LRBs. Coke’s LRB volume was down -1.1% vs PepsiCo down -3.4%. In CSDs, Coke’s volume was down -2.2%. PepsiCo’s rate of decline was double that: down -4.4%. Coke also out-performed Dr Pepper Snapple in both CSDs and LRBs.

MLB Fan Cost Index® 2014

April 3, 2014 Comments off

MLB Fan Cost Index® 2014
Source: Team Marketing Report

The average Major League Baseball season ticket has increased by 2.0 percent to $27.93 for the 2014 season, according to the Team Marketing Report Fan Cost Index®.

This minor increase is part of a trend; last season, the average MLB ticket increased by 1.8 percent.

The year before that, there was no percentage increase. In 2010-11, tickets rose by a combined 2.7 percent. The Fan Cost Index (FCI) total, the average price to take a family of four to a game, increased by 2.3 percent to $212.46. The FCI is created by combining four non-premium season tickets, two beers, four soft drinks, four hot dogs, parking, two programs or scorecards, and two adult-size hats.

TMR uses season ticket pricing and the lowest full-size prices for the ancillary items, so if a team has an $8 beer and a $6 beer, TMR uses the latter to show how much, or how little, one can spend at a game.

2014 Payscale College ROI Report

March 26, 2014 Comments off

2014 Payscale College ROI Report
Source: Payscale

How do you measure the value of a college education? PayScale has the salary data to rank hundreds of U.S. colleges and universities based on total cost and alumni earnings. Find the best returns on investment by school type, location, major and more.

Top 100 Selling Drugs of 2013

March 25, 2014 Comments off

Top 100 Selling Drugs of 2013
Source: Medscape

Hypothyroid medication levothyroxine (Synthroid, AbbVie) was the nation’s most prescribed drug in 2013, whereas the antipsychotic aripiprazole (Abilify, Otsuka Pharmaceutical) had the highest sales, at nearly $6.5 billion, according to a new report from research firm IMS Health on the top 100 selling drugs in the United States.

Following levothyroxine as most prescribed were the cholesterol-lowering drug rosuvastatin (Crestor, AstraZeneca), the proton-pump inhibitor esomeprazole (Nexium, AstraZeneca), and the antidepressant duloxetine (Cymbalta, Eli Lilly).

Rounding out the top 10 most prescribed drugs in 2013 (in order) were the asthma drugs albuterol (Ventolin, HFA) and fluticasone propionate/salmeterol (Advair Diskus, GlaxoSmithKline), the antihypertensive valsartan (Diovan, Novartis), the attention deficit drug lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (Vyvanse, Shire), the antiepileptic pregabalin (Lyrica, Pfizer), and the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease drug tiotropium bromide (Spiriva, Boehringer Ingelheim).

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Cost of Adoption Update: 2012-2013

March 19, 2014 Comments off

Cost of Adoption Update: 2012-2013
Source: Adoptive Families Magazine

How much did it cost to adopt a child in 2012-2013? More than 1,100 families that adopted a child in 2013 or 2012 completed our survey on the cost of adoption (before adoption-related employee benefits or the adoption tax credit). We thank everyone who took the time to share their cost details!

  • Domestic adoptions, on average, cost less than international adoptions.
  • U.S. foster adoption is the least expensive adoption route, by a significant margin.
  • 78 percent of respondents who adopted from foster care receive an ongoing monthly subsidy. On average, these families reported receiving $707 per month.
  • For most adopters, the average total expenses were about $35,000.
  • 38 percent of domestic adopters had at least one “false start,” in which adoptive parents worked with one or more birthmothers before a match that succeeded. The majority (72%) of “false starts” cost less than $5,000.

See also: Timing of Adoption Update: 2012-2013

2013-14 Study of Online Education Opportunities

March 18, 2014 Comments off

2013-14 Study of Online Education Opportunities
Source: ApprovedColleges.com

The number of self-reported online schools totaled 3,311. However, the actual number of schools offering online programs currently stands at 1,243. This number will increase as our research continues.

2013 MINOR League Baseball Attendance Analysis

January 17, 2014 Comments off

2013 MINOR League Baseball Attendance Analysis (PDF)
Source: Number Tamer

+ Baseball’s Minor Leagues, in particular, those affiliated with the Major Leagues, were hit hard by the weather in 2013. Yet despite many more postponements than usual, especially early in the season, attendance held up quite well.

+ Combined attendance for NAPBL – known as ‘Minor League Baseball’ (Major League affiliated) leagues, and from those independent leagues who reported regular season attendance, was 48,262,074 in 2013, down 146,242 (0.3%) from 2012. Combined attendance rose 0.7% in 2012, and fell 2.9% in 2011, 0.1% in 2010, and 3.8% in 2009.

+ The 181 post-season NAPBL games, including the Mexican League, drew 701,216, an average of 3,874 per game. Mexican League teams averaged 10,149 per game in the playoffs. Attendance data was available for 45 independent league post-season games, and they drew 103,963, an average of 2,310. 10 NAPBL All-Star games drew a combined 67,782.

+ In 2013, there were 176 NAPBL teams that reported attendance, the same number as in 2012. There were 53 independent league teams reporting attendance, down from 55 teams in 2012. The independent North American League ceased operations after 2012. Some of its teams moved to the new United League or to the new Pacific Association.

See also: 2013 Preliminary Major League Baseball Attendance Review (PDF)

Tyndall Report — 2013 Year in Review (nightly newscasts)

January 15, 2014 Comments off

Tyndall Report — 2013 Year in Review
Source: Tyndall Report

2013 marks the year when ABC World News finally rejected the mission of presenting a serious newscast. ABC covered all four of the major domestic policy stories least heavily: the Budget debate, the Healthcare rollout, Gun control, and National Security Agency surveillance. Same with foreign policy: ABC spent least time on the civil war in Syria and its chemical weapons disarmament, the military coup in Egypt, and on Afghanistan.

Instead, ABC stepped up its coverage of Sports and Show Business, and highlighted morning-style reporters Ginger Zee (weather) and Paula Faris (personal finance tips). Weather aside, the only major stories that ABC covered competitively were True Crime — the George Zimmerman trial and Ariel Castro’s Cleveland hell house — and Celebrity: London’s baby prince. ABC’s newscast is now certifiably Disneyfied.

All three newscasts overcovered the Story of the Year. The pressure-cooker bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed only three people. Yet emotional video from the scene and an all-out manhunt in a grieving city made up for the lack of carnage.

In contrast to ABC, NBC’s DC Bureau was heavily used, housing four of the top eight correspondents, led by Tom Costello, a latterday Robert Hager. Yet it was CBS that covered both foreign policy and those four major policy debates in most depth. Unusually, Nancy Cordes, its lead Beltway correspondent, was based on Capitol Hill rather than at the White House.

The Most Newsworthy Man of the Year was Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who kept the Boston manhunt alive. The Woman was Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for botching Obamacare.

2014′s Gayest Cities in America

January 13, 2014 Comments off

2014′s Gayest Cities in America
Source: Advocate

The most LGBT-friendly places in America, according to our ever-rotating criteria, are some of what you expect, and a lot of what you don’t.

It’s not all piano bars, gender-specific music festivals, and giant disco houses (although we all love some of those things) that make these cities the gayest in America. You say you’re shocked Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City aren’t at the top of the list, this year and every year? What kind of fun would that be? (Spoiler alert: San Francisco comes in at No. 11.) This year’s criteria, designed to uncover the hidden factors that give a city its queer cred, include points for a city’s LGBT elected officials (and fractional points for the state’s elected officials), points for the percentage of the population comprised by lesbian-coupled households, a point for a gay rodeo association, points for bars listed in Out magazine’s 200 Best Bars list, a point per women’s college, and points for concert performances by Mariah Carey, Pink, Lady Gaga, or the Jonas Brothers. The raw score is divided by the population to provide a ranking based on a per capita LGBT quotient.

100 Most Influential People in US Defense

December 30, 2013 Comments off

100 Most Influential People in US Defense
Source: Defense News

The Defense News 100 Most Influential People in US Defense is back, but it’s a bit different from last year.

This year’s list focuses more on policy, budget and strategic issues, and less on personnel and veterans issues.

The list also includes a number of foreign leaders, notably the most influential person in US defense: Chinese Premier Xi Jinping. Since foreign leaders — including Xi, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and others — have such a strong impact on US defense spending, we felt it appropriate to include them on this list.

Another major change is including members of the Joint Chiefs Staff as individuals, as opposed to grouping them into a single entry. Service chiefs distinguish themselves and their services to varying degrees. All of the chiefs made the top third of the list.

There are more than two dozen other newcomers to this year’s list. Some are folks who didn’t make the cut last year, while others are people who have assumed positions of influence. A year ago, no one knew Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked classified descriptions of widespread US government spying. Now he’s a household name.

Some of the list’s biggest movers between 2012 and 2013 were people who left government or became key players in President Barack Obama’s administration.

The high cost of cheap chicken

December 20, 2013 Comments off

The high cost of cheap chicken
Source: Consumer Reports

When you shop at your favorite grocery store, you probably assume that the food on display is safe to take home. But in the poultry aisle, that simple assumption could make you very sick. Consumer Reports’ recent analysis of more than 300 raw chicken breasts purchased at stores across the U.S. found potentially harmful bacteria lurking in almost all of the chicken, including organic brands. In fact, we were conducting our research when news of the national salmonella outbreak linked to three Foster Farms chicken plants became public. In that case 389 people were infected, and 40 percent of them were hospitalized, double the usual percentage in most outbreaks linked to salmonella. (Read about sustainable alternatives when it comes to raising chickens and watch our video on the use of antibiotics in animals.)

What’s going on with the nation’s most popular meat? (Americans buy an estimated 83 pounds per capita annually.) Though 48 million people fall sick every year from eating food tainted with salmonella, campylobacter, E. coli, and other contaminants, “more deaths were attributed to poultry than to any other commodity,” according to an analysis of outbreaks from 1998 through 2008 by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Here’s what you should know before buying your next package of chicken.

How much teachers get paid — state by state

December 16, 2013 Comments off

How much teachers get paid — state by state
Source: Washington Post

How much do teachers across the United States get paid?

Here is data, state by state, collected from the National Center for Education Statistics by Jon Boeckenstedt, associate vice president at DePaul University in Chicago. The data are for 2013 and represent the estimated average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools. Boeckensted’s original map, here on the Higher Ed Data Stories blog, has information for earlier years, as well.

Executive Compensation at Private Colleges, 2011

December 16, 2013 Comments off

Executive Compensation at Private Colleges, 2011
Source: Chronicle of Higher Education

These data show the compensation received by 550 chief executives at 500 private nonprofit colleges in the United States during the 2011 calendar year.

For our analysis, we selected the private nonprofit baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral institutions with the 500 largest endowments, as reported to the U.S Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, or Ipeds. Some nonprofit universities don’t report the value of their endowments to Ipeds, and those were excluded from our analysis.

This group of institutions varies slightly from those of past years, when all institutions with more than $50-million in total expenditures were included.

Compensation data were compiled from the Internal Revenue Service’s Form 990, which is filed by most nonprofit entities. Some private nonprofit universities cite a religious exemption from filing the Form 990 and were therefore excluded from our analysis.

FACTBOX — Women’s rights in the Arab world

November 23, 2013 Comments off

FACTBOX — Women’s rights in the Arab world
Source: Thompson Reuters

Egypt is the worst country for women in the Arab world, closely followed by Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen, according to gender experts surveyed in a Thomson Reuters Foundation poll released on Tuesday.

Comoros, Oman, Kuwait, Jordan and Qatar came top of the survey, which assessed 22 Arab states on violence against women, reproductive rights, treatment of women within the family, their integration into society and attitudes towards a woman’s role in politics and the economy.

The results were drawn from answers from 336 gender experts invited to participate in an online survey by the foundation, the philanthropic arm of the news and information company Thomson Reuters, in August and September.

+ Complete poll results

Keep Up With Your Quants: An Innumerant’s Guide to Navigating Big Data

November 21, 2013 Comments off

Keep Up With Your Quants: An Innumerant’s Guide to Navigating Big Data (PDF)
Source: Harvard Business Review

We live in an era of big data. Whether you work in financial services, consumer goods, travel and transportation, or industrial products, analytics are becoming a competitive necessity for your organization. But as the banking example shows, having big data—and even people who can manipulate it successfully—is not enough. Companies need general managers who can partner effectively with “quants” to ensure that their work yields better strategic and tactical decisions.

Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013-2014

October 9, 2013 Comments off

Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013-2014
Source: Times Higher Education

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013-2014 powered by Thomson Reuters are the only global university performance tables to judge world class universities across all of their core missions – teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. The top universities rankings employ 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons available, which are trusted by students, academics, university leaders, industry and governments.

100 Most Influential People in Healthcare – 2013

September 18, 2013 Comments off

100 Most Influential People in Healthcare – 2013
Source: Modern Healthcare

This year’s ranking of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare includes 15 newcomers as well as seven leaders who have been on every list since it started in 2002.

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