Monthly Archives: November 2010

We Have Plenty of Gadolinium of Our Own, China, Thanks

Recently the news media have been buzzing about China’s decision to limit exports of rare earth elements (REE). REE are important ingredients in high-strength magnets, metal alloys for batteries and light-weight structures, and phosphors. These are essential components for many current and emerging alternative energy technologies, such as electric vehicles, photo-voltaic cells, energy-efficient lighting, and wind power. REEs are also critical for a number of key defense applications. Ninety-six percent of REE produced globally now comes from China.

Now a report ordered by Congress from the U.S. Geological Survey describes significant deposits of REE in 14 states, with the largest known REE deposits at Mountain Pass, Calif.; Bokan Mountain, Alaska; and the Bear Lodge Mountains, Wyo. This is the first-ever nationwide estimate of these elements.

 

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NRO Launches World’s Largest Satellite

Last Sunday, at 5:58pm, the USAF launched NRO LR-32, a secret US military spy satellite so massive that it required this Delta IV Heavy rocket to reach orbit.

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According to the National Reconnaissance Office‘s Director Bruce Carlson, NRO LR-32 is indeed "the largest satellite in the world." The NRO is dedicated to the design, manufacturing, and operation of all the United States reconnaissance satellites. No official information has been published, but it "is believed to be an eavesdropping satellite positioned high above the equator in geosynchronous orbit" with a antenna the size of a football field once it’s extended in orbit.

 

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Beware of Plagiarizing

Don’t get caught plagiarizing other’s ideas or words. You must differentiate your own thoughts from those that you read in other sources. Make sure to properly cite ideas you rely on to support  your arguments. "But I didn’t know I was plagiarizing …,"  is not an excuse.  For a brief outline on properly documentating your work check out the Library Compass.  

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What Do Flamenco, Turkish Oil Wrestling and Croatian Throat Singing Have in Common?

They were just added to the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, along with the gastronomic meal of the French, the Peruvian scissors dance and 42 other intangible heritage elements that concerned communities and States Parties consider require urgent measures to keep them alive.

Other UNESCO conventions endeavor to protect World Heritage sites, cultural diversity, and underwater cultural heritage.

UNESCO

 

Upcoming Changes to Lehman Library Hours

Regular semester hours will be in place only through next Tues, November 23rd.
 
Hours after that will be as follows:

Thanksgiving hours

  • Wednesday Nov. 24   9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (early closing)
  • Thursday – Friday Nov. 25-26th   CLOSED
  • Saturday Nov. 27  10:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. 

Extended hours begin Sunday Nov. 28th.

  • A later closing time for the Circulation Desk,
  • Study hall hours when Lehman is open with no services available

Hours Nov. 28th – Dec. 22nd

  Opens Circ Desk Closes Library Closes
Sundays 11:00 a.m. Midnight 4:00 a.m.
Mon.-Thurs 9:00 a.m. Midnight 4:00 a.m.
Fridays 9:00 a.m. 10:00 p.m. 4:00 a.m.
Saturdays 10:00 a.m. 10:00 p.m. 4:00 a.m.

 

Human Development Report 2010

Human Development Report 2010 – 20th Anniversary
The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development
HDR_2010_cover

For the first time, the Report looks back rigorously at the past several decades and identifies often surprising trends and patterns with important lessons for the future. These varied pathways to human development show that there is no single formula for sustainable progress—and that impressive gains can be achieved even without consistent economic growth.

Workshop – Digitizing, georeferencing, and creating new spatial layers

mapThis week Friday Eric Glass will lead a workshop on digitizing, georeferencing, and creating new spatial layers.

He’ll give an introduction to techniques for creating new spatial layers from various sources, particularly georeferencing and digitizing from paper and imagery.

This will be a very practical, ArcGIS-centric workshop and will consist of a short lecture followed by individual hands-on exercises using ArcMap in the EDS lab.

An introductory level knowledge of ArcMap is required to attend.

Register for the workshop.

Stat/Transfer Conversion Software is Available

Stat/Transfer is an easy to use software that allows you to convert a file from one format to another by choosing input and output formats from a list of over 20 formats. The formats include those used by our most frequently used software: SAS, Stata, SPSS, Matlab, and Excel.

Stat/Transfer is on 10  DSSC machines, those with a single 30" monitor, and on the lower level of the DSSC in EDS.  At these workstations Stat/Transfer can be found in the Program Menu within the "Quantitative Apps" folder.

If you can’t get access to one of these machines and are working with one of the standard statistical software packages, you still have options. Here are the options when working with either SAS, SPSS (PASW) or Stata:

  • all three can read and write delimited text files;
  • SAS can also read and write Excel and dBase files;
  • SPSS (PASW) can also read and write Excel, dBase, SAS, and Stata files.

If you need help with file conversion, visit the DSSC’s Electronic Data Service (EDS) lab

Please Let Us Know What You Think

You may have received an email or paper survey about Lehman Library and the Digital Social Science Center this week. Your feedback is valuable to us, so please take a few minutes to fill it out. It should take you about five minutes to complete the survey. Whether you received this survey via email or on paper at the library; please fill it out only once. If you have not received one and wish to participate, ask for a survey at the service desk at the the entrance to Lehman.

The Digital Social Science Center (DSSC), housed in Lehman Library, opened in spring 2009. The DSSC is a space that brings together people, technology, and information resources in an environment where students and faculty can work collaboratively, individually, or in consultation with a librarian and/or technology specialist. After over a year of service, we want to know how we’re doing. If you have any questions about the survey please email assessment@columbia.edu or ask a library staff member.

*Participation in this survey is voluntary. You may answer any or all of the survey questions, as you wish. Your confidentiality will be maintained, as the survey does not collect any information about you, other than your answers to the survey questions. Please fill out this survey only once. IRB-AAAD2783

Are These Official Federal Records??

AOTUS (the Archivist of the U.S.) blogged yesterday "Federal agencies’ Facebook posts, YouTube videos, blog posts, and tweets… are all of these Federal records?

Increasingly, Federal agencies are using web 2.0 and social media tools to quickly and effectively communicate with the public. These applications, sites, and tools encourage public participation and increase our ability to be more open and transparent. The informal tone of the content, however, should not be confused with insignificance. Agencies must comply with all records management laws, regulations, and policies when using web 2.0 and social media tools."

The National Archives is the place where America’s historical documents, like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Louisiana Purchase Treaty are stored and preserved, along with more mundane documents and records from all Federal agencies.

Should tweets receive the same respect and treatment?

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