Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Revolting Index, from the WSJ

 From Introducing the Revolting Index, by Alen Mattich, of the Wall Street Journal blog The Source:

"Who’s next? Amid the wave of rebellion and revolution sweeping across North Africa, investors and autocrats are spending a lot more time these days looking over their shoulders.

To that end I’ve produced an index of likely candidates for (un)civil upheaval on the basis of three equally-weighted criteria: social unfairness; propensity to revolt; and a trigger, in this case the share that food makes up as a percentage of household final expenditure."

The author uses three different data sources for his unfairness index, all of which are useful for other purposes as well:

1) Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index

2) The Human Development Index, from UNDP

3) The Gini Index, which measures the degree of inequality in the distribution of family income in a country — Mattich uses the figures in the latest CIA World Factbook

For determining propensity to revolt, Mattich used another three indicators: median age, unemployment rate and GDP per capita. He doesn’t cite his sources but all are available from databases like UNdata, EIU Country Data and the OECD iLibrary.

The final element, the trigger, was derived from the U.S. FDA’s Global Food Security program.

Take a look at the results!

 

Geocoding Workshop This Friday

geocodeGeocoding can be described as the process of translating addresses or other unique locations into spatial data, assigning coordinates and plotting them on a map. The process can seem deceptively easy given how easy it is to plot an address using any of the numerous services such as Google Maps, Yahoo, etc.


That said, understanding what goes on under the hood and using that information can make a big difference on the accuracy of the results when performing geocoding in your own projects, especially if you are working with hundreds or even millions of addresses.

Understanding how to properly format your data, choosing the best base layer or road network based on the precision needed or date of the data, as well as taking advantage of tools in ArcGIS to help clean your data can make a big difference.

This Friday’s hands-on workshop on geocoding will help to understand how the geocoding process works and offer suggestions on making the right decisions throughout the whole process.

Register for the workshop

Geocoding Workshop This Friday

geocodeGeocoding can be described as the process of translating addresses or other unique locations into spatial data, assigning coordinates and plotting them on a map. The process can seem deceptively easy given how easy it is to plot an address using any of the numerous services such as Google Maps, Yahoo, etc.

That said, understanding what goes on under the hood and using that information can make a big difference on the accuracy of the results when performing geocoding in your own projects, especially if you are working with hundreds or even millions of addresses.

Understanding how to properly format your data, choosing the best base layer or road network based on the precision needed or date of the data, as well as taking advantage of tools in ArcGIS to help clean your data can make a big difference.

This Friday’s hands-on workshop on geocoding will help to understand how the geocoding process works and offer suggestions on making the right decisions throughout the whole process.

Register for the workshop

What’s Up With This Construction Site? Let me Check My Phone

 

New York City’s Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the use of Quick Response or QR codes (which are something like a smartphone-readable barcode) on building permits, to provide New Yorkers with easy access to information related to buildings and construction sites throughout the city.

Smartphone users who scan a QR code on a construction permit in New York, according to a press release from the mayor’s office, will get “details about the ongoing project – including the approved scope of work, identities of the property owner and job applicant, other approved projects associated with the permit, [and] complaints and violations related to the location.”

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The QR codes will link users to a mobile version of the Department of Buildings Information System, and will give them the option to click a link that will initiate a phone call to the city’s 311 phone service, where they can register a complaint about noise, safety or other concerns.

As permits at 975,000 building and construction sites that already have them are replaced, they will have QR codes added; all New York City permits are expected to have QR codes by roughly 2013.

FY 2012 Preliminary Budget for NYC

 

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg yesteray presented a Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Preliminary Budget and an updated four-year financial plan. The Mayor outlined a plan to close a $4.58 billion deficit with no tax increases for New Yorkers and without additional cuts in City-funded services. The plan relies on $5.2 billion in savings generated though nine rounds of deficit closing actions taken by City agencies, additional tax revenues that reflect the City’s continually improving economy and $600 million in actions taken at the State level.

See the video, read the press release, or view the budget presentation slideshow.

 

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Bureau of Labor Statistics – Labor Force Statistics

 

BLSLooking for statistics on the labor force, including current and historical unemployment rates?  Check out the Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, including tables on employment status, characteristics of the employed/not employed, and minimum wage earnings.

FY 2012 Federal Budget Released

 

President Barack Obama released the fiscal year 2012 budget on February 14. The budget proposed by the President includes $3.7 trillion in spending. The New York Times has explored where all that money will go, but you can look at all the budget documents yourself, 1996-present, at FDSys, the official web site for the Government Printing Office, which also produces the print version of the budget each year. For other information on the Federal budget process, take a look at the Libraries’ subject guide, The Budget Process.

 

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Directory of Development Organizations

Looking for information on development organisations? Listing 65,000 development organizations, the Directory of Development Organisations provides a "source of reference for development practitioners, researchers, donor employees, and policymakers who are committed to good governance, sustainable development and poverty reduction, through: the financial sector and microfinance, trade and business development services, rural development and appropriate technology, private sector development and policy reforms, legislation & rule of law and good governance, community development and social protection, gender equality and participation, environment and health, research, training and education."

 

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The Statistical Abstract of the United States

Did you know that West Virginia is ranked #1 among US States in home ownership? Guess which state ranks last?

abstractsSearch the Statistical Abstract of the United States  as a guide to information from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and many other Federal agencies, and private organizations. Published since 1878, the Abstract is "the authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States."

 

150th Anniversary of the Foreign Relations of the United States

 

The Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State,

announces the 150th anniversary of the Foreign Relations of the United States series.

The Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series presents the
official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy
decisions. The series began in 1861 and now comprises more than 430
individual volumes. The FRUS series provides an indispensible resource for
American citizens and others around the world who seek to understand U.S.
foreign policy and strategic planning, international relations, economic
affairs, and transnational social and cultural developments. The Foreign
Relations series represents a longstanding effort to inform the public about
governmental decision making while also protecting essential national
security interests.

Both Lehman and Butler Libraries have extensive print holdings for FRUS,

at JX 233 .A3. Columbia students and faculty have online access to the entire

run of 430 volumes via our subscription to Hein Online.

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