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DHS OIG — OIG Finds Improved Conditions at Detention Centers for Alien Children

September 2, 2014 Comments off

OIG Finds Improved Conditions at Detention Centers for Alien Children (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General

The Office of Inspector General (OIG), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), today cited improved living conditions in the second in a series of reports on detention centers being used by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to temporarily house Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC).

The latest report is based on 60 unannounced site visits by OIG agents – to 41 CBP facilities and one other Federal site in Texas and New Mexico – conducted July 17 to August 20. The OIG’s findings are contained in a memorandum from Inspector General John Roth to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh C. Johnson (see attached).

+ Full Report (PDF)

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Categories: Uncategorized

CDC Director Releases After-Action Report on Recent Anthrax Incident; Highlights Steps to Improve Laboratory Quality and Safety

July 16, 2014 Comments off

CDC Director Releases After-Action Report on Recent Anthrax Incident; Highlights Steps to Improve Laboratory Quality and Safety
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report today that reviews the early June incident that involved the unintentional exposure of personnel to potentially viable anthrax at the CDC’s Roybal Campus. The report identifies factors found to have contributed to the incident; and highlights actions taken by the agency to address these factors and prevent future incidents. Based on a review of all aspects of the June incident, CDC concluded that while it is not impossible that staff members were exposed to viable B. anthracis, it is extremely unlikely that this occurred. None of the staff who was potentially exposed has become ill with anthrax.

While finalizing this report, CDC leadership was made aware that earlier this year a culture of non-pathogenic avian influenza was unintentionally cross-contaminated at the CDC influenza laboratory with the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of influenza and shipped to a BSL-3 select-agent laboratory operated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). There were no exposures as a result of that incident. The CDC influenza laboratory is now closed and will not reopen until adequate procedures are put in place. Further investigation, review, and action is underway.

As a result of these two incidents, CDC is issuing, effective immediately, a moratorium on the movement (i.e., transfer inside or outside the agency) of biological materials (i.e., infectious agents, active or inactivated specimens) from BSL3 or BSL-4 facilities. The moratorium will remain in place pending review by an advisory committee.

See also: CDC Media Statement on Newly Discovered Smallpox Specimens

Categories: Uncategorized

Contraction of Online Response to Major Events

June 26, 2014 Comments off

Contraction of Online Response to Major Events
Source: PLoS ONE

Quantifying regularities in behavioral dynamics is of crucial interest for understanding collective social events such as panics or political revolutions. With the widespread use of digital communication media it has become possible to study massive data streams of user-created content in which individuals express their sentiments, often towards a specific topic. Here we investigate messages from various online media created in response to major, collectively followed events such as sport tournaments, presidential elections, or a large snow storm. We relate content length and message rate, and find a systematic correlation during events which can be described by a power law relation—the higher the excitation, the shorter the messages. We show that on the one hand this effect can be observed in the behavior of most regular users, and on the other hand is accentuated by the engagement of additional user demographics who only post during phases of high collective activity. Further, we identify the distributions of content lengths as lognormals in line with statistical linguistics, and suggest a phenomenological law for the systematic dependence of the message rate to the lognormal mean parameter. Our measurements have practical implications for the design of micro-blogging and messaging services. In the case of the existing service Twitter, we show that the imposed limit of 140 characters per message currently leads to a substantial fraction of possibly dissatisfying to compose tweets that need to be truncated by their users.

Geo-located Twitter as proxy for global mobility patterns

June 18, 2014 Comments off

Geo-located Twitter as proxy for global mobility patterns (PDF)
Source: Cartography and Geographic Information Science (via MIT Senseable City Lab)

Pervasive presence of location-sharing services made it possible for researchers to gain an unprecedented access to the direct records of human activity in space and time. This article analyses geo-located Twitter messages in order to uncover global patterns of human mobility. Based on a dataset of almost a billion tweets recorded in 2012, we estimate the volume of international travelers by country of residence. Mobility profiles of different nations were examined based on such characteristics as mobility rate, radius of gyration, diversity of destinations, and inflow–outflow balance. Temporal patterns disclose the universally valid seasons of increased international mobility and the particular character of international travels of different nations. Our analysis of the community structure of the Twitter mobility network reveals spatially cohesive regions that follow the regional division of the world. We validate our result using global tourism statistics and mobility models provided by other authors and argue that Twitter is exceptionally useful for understanding and quantifying global mobility patterns.

TIGTA — IRS in Compliance with Requirements for Donating, Recycling Unneeded Computers

June 18, 2014 Comments off

IRS in Compliance with Requirements for Donating, Recycling Unneeded Computers
Source: Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
From email:

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) needs to improve its processes for disposing of unneeded computers, printers, and servers, according to a report publicly released today by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

TIGTA reviewed the accuracy of the disposal asset inventory and the IRS’s actions taken or planned to fulfill General Services Administration (GSA) requirements.

While the IRS is complying with GSA requirements to recycle or donate used information technology (IT) equipment, TIGTA found several areas for improvement. According to the report, the IRS needs to: improve documentation to ensure compliance with media sanitization guidelines; report any IT equipment that cannot be located to the Computer Security Incident Response Center as required; and improve documentation of disposal actions.

The IRS disposed of 63,031 desktop computers and 44,734 laptops between 2009 and 2012 through a combination of recycling and donating to schools. However, it does not effectively track which equipment is recycled or donated, making it difficult to measure compliance with GSA requirements.

TIGTA made eight recommendations to improve documentation of the removal of all data from IT equipment before it is donated and the equipment’s final destination, and the reporting of lost or stolen equipment. The IRS agreed with TIGTA’s recommendations and is taking actions to implement them.

Infographic Profiles State Government Tax Collection Trends

June 10, 2014 Comments off

Infographic Profiles State Government Tax Collection Trends
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

A new “Measuring America” infographic focuses on the sources of state tax revenue and on the 2012-2013 changes for each state. The infographic draws on the state tax collection statistics previously released on April 8 (http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/governments/cb14-62.html).

state_tax_900

Categories: Uncategorized

The career prospects of overeducated Americans

June 3, 2014 Comments off

The career prospects of overeducated Americans (PDF)
Source: National Bureau of Economic Research (preliminary draft)

In this paper we analyze career dynamics for the large share of U.S. workers who have more schooling than their peers in the same occupation. We use data from the NLSY79 combined with the CPS to analyze transitions into and out of overeducated employment, together with the corresponding effects on wages. Overeducation is a fairly persistent phenomenon at the aggregate and individual levels, with 66% of workers remaining overeducated after one year. Overeducation is not only more common, but also more persistent among blacks and low-AFQT individuals. Further, the hazard rate out of overeducation drops by about 60% during the first 5 years spent overeducated. However, the estimation of a mixed proportional hazard model suggests that this is attributable to selection on unobservables rather than true duration dependence. Finally, overeducation is associated with lower current as well as future wages, which points to the existence of scarring effects.

Categories: Uncategorized
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