Saturday, August 04, 2012

NVAT: Good News About Bad News

It's so easy to get fixated on bad news ... explosions are showy than flowers growing ... that it's good to notice that in many ways things are just getting better quietly.
One way is increased access to information. While it is true that many things are kept secret, yet the sheer volume of information available to the average person is vastly greater today than at any time in history, an it's increasing.
I was moved to ponder this when I read the following from a website I follow for my free CLE work:
The Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) launched an interactive online tool that gives the public instant access to the largest collection of data on criminal victimization in the United States.
The NCVS Victimization Analysis Tool (NVAT) provides a direct and user-friendly way to work with 18 years of data about victims of crime. The tool makes it easy for people to find and use information from BJS’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).
The Quick Tables on the analysis tool’s home page allow users to view trends in violent and property crime at a glance. Users can also see estimates of the amount of crime reported and not reported to the police, and find tables of violent crime by victim-offender relationship. For more detailed analysis, users can create customized tables of national crime estimates, by year, type of crime, and other characteristics.
This dynamic web tool significantly enhances BJS’s ability to make crucial information more accessible to the public and bring data directly to users."
The tool can be found at /Now may you're interested in crime statistics, and maybe you're not. But if at some point you are, you don't have to file some sort of request for this information and wait weeks or months for a reply; you just go to the site and run a query, or perhaps parameterize one of your own. This is government being more efficient (setting up an online database is as much work as answering all those mail requests) and giving more information to We The People. Everyone wins ... so be happy!

Friday, August 03, 2012

If You Don't Know History, You Won't Know You're Repeating It!: A Review of Howard Zinn's A People's History of American Empire

We all know the saying "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it", variously attributed to Santayana and to Edmund Burke. Rarely do we reflect upon a few things that follow from this principle:
1. If history worked out well for you, you might want to keep on repeating it;
2. If you want to repeat parts of history that didn't work out so well for others, you might want to keep them from knowing it; and
3. If you're one of the "others" who don't know history, you won't know you're repeating it!

After World War Two, combat veteran-turned-historian Howard Zinn believe that We the People of the United States have big chunks of history that we would not repeat, if only we knew them. He took on the task of writing A People's History of the United States. After more than 20 years in print (and updates as recent as 2010), is still firmly among the top 1000 books purchased in America, according to Amazon.

In 2008, Zinn worked with artists to produce a graphic-based version of this history, entitled A People's History of American Empire, which I recently finished reading. It's all still well-researched history, but in a grown-up cartoon format that is very accessible. If you are willing to entertain the notion that some parts of our adventures abroad have not been presented to you in full, and that the reaction of "natives" to our efforts to "help" them may be founded in something you don't know, then this work is for you.

Because of its resemblance to a modern "graphic novel", you'll be able to share it with your teenager, too! I enjoyed it as a modern approach to learning history, suitable to those of us who think in pictures as much as in words. Recommended!

Bowgate LOL

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Square Grid Puzzle: How Many Squares Do You See?

How many squares do you see in this picture:
This puzzle has been going round the internet, and here's my analysis

I see 40:
  • 8 tiny ones, in two 2x2s
  • 18 regular (4x4 plus 2 in middle)
  • 4 2x2s one at each corner
  • 4 2x2s centered on each side
  • 1 2x2 in the middle
  • 4 3x3s one at each corner
  • 1 4x4
Ok, some people don't see why there's 9 2x2 squares. Here they are with color to help:
The first 4, that everyone sees
One in the middle, easily seen

2 more

And the last 2!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Meet-And-Green green websites....

My bloggy friend "Small Footprints" has a new idea for sharing green ideas: a "Meet & Greet Monday" where green bloggers can swap links. Check it out!

This week's links include:

1.Jen and Joey Go Green2.Canopy Avenue
3.Little Green Blog4.PLUS 2.4
5.The Greening Of Westford6.EcoGrrl
7.Eco Thrifty Living8.Groovy Green Livin
9.Almost All The Truth10.Green Gal
11.Our Tiny Earth12.All Natural Katie
13.Saving Our Trees14.ann nz
15.The Compost Bin16.Eco-Crap

This is a fun way to meet some new people and swap ideas!

4freeCLE: Your Free CLE Newsletter! July 29, 2012

4freeCLE: Your Free CLE Newsletter!
July 29, 2012
In This Issue
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Alumnoseia 4freeCLE hosts a page cataloguing free on-demand CLE here.

You can find dozens of hours of educational materials, most of which are accredited in multiple states. Whether you need a quick touch-up on a particular subject, or are cruising for credit to meet a deadline, on-demand lectures can serve you anywhere you can access the internet. In most cases, you can share them with associates and clients to make your practice more effective!

See for yourself at  
4freeCLE's On Demand CLE page.
And while you're at it, w
hy not
 with your colleagues and friends?They'll thank you for the professional help!

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