Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Where Are They Now? A Description of 1992-93 Bachelor's Degree Recipients 10 Years Later

"Using data from the 2003 Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (B&B:93/03), this report provides an overview of the status of 1992–93 college graduates 10 years after graduation. The report presents highlights of these college graduates’ lives in 2003 in five areas—education after the bachelor’s degree, labor force participation, opinions about their undergraduate education, family status, and civic participation. In addition to presenting a basic profile of graduates’ lives in 2003, the report is also intended as a broad introduction to the kinds of data available in B&B:93/03. A table compendium with five sections corresponding to the five areas above provides additional detail about how graduate characteristics are associated with the highlighted outcomes as well as related experiences in each area. The estimates in this report represent about 1.2 million bachelor’s degree completers from 1992–93" Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Download full PDF report | Link to NCES download site

Friday, October 27, 2006

Professor Qualities and Student Achievement

“This paper uses a new administrative dataset of students at a large university matched to courses and instructors to analyze the importance of teacher quality at the postsecondary level. Instructors are matched to both objective and subjective characteristics of teacher quality to estimate the impact of rank, salary, and perceived effectiveness on grade, dropout and subject interest outcomes. Student fixed effects, time of day and week controls, and the fact that first year students have little information about instructors when choosing courses helps minimize selection biases. We also estimate each instructor’s value added and the variance of these effects to determine the extent to which any teacher difference matters to short-term academic outcomes. The findings suggest that subjective teacher evaluations perform well in reflecting an instructor’s influence on students while objective characteristics such as rank and salary do not. Whether an instructor teaches full-time or part-time, does research, has tenure, or is highly paid has no influence on a college student’s grade, likelihood of dropping a course or taking more subsequent courses in the same subject. However, replacing one instructor with another ranked one standard deviation higher in perceived effectiveness increases average grades by 0.5 percentage points, decreases the likelihood of dropping a class by 1.3 percentage points and increases in the number of same-subject courses taken in second and third year by about 4 percent. The overall importance of instructor differences at the university level is smaller than that implied in earlier research at the elementary and secondary school level, but important outliers exist.”
Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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Scholarship Advice for New Law Professors in the Electronic Age

The article suggests that the legal academy is in a time of transition between promotion and tenure rules based on traditional methods of publication and contemporary electronic and interdisciplinary possibilities for publication. While a number of articles contain recommendations for newer law professors about the process of scholarship, most of those articles are between five and twenty years old and do not address publishing in the age of blogs, expedited reviews, electronic submissions, and open-access databases.

The substance and length of what law professors write, the formats in which they do so, and the fora in which they publish are evolving. This article breaks new ground in offering advice for those who have recently joined the academy on how to comply with promotion and tenure guidelines while taking advantage of publishing opportunities in the electronic age. Although it gives special emphasis to newer faculty and to issues raised by modern technology, the article is not limited to those sorts of issue. Professors who have been writing for years may find some useful nuggets about citation practices regarding blogs, the impact of recent law review limits on article length, electronic methods of browsing journals and articles in other disciplines, access to government documents, and posting on open-access archives.

Source: Social Science Research Network

Link to download site

Findings from the NAWL 2006 National Survey on Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms.

"The Survey, which was completed by a majority of the nation’s 200 largest law firms, was designed to collect accurate data concerning the leadership status of women lawyers in private practice." Source: National Association of Women Lawyers

Download PDF Report | Link to association website

Media Industry Facing Biggest Upheaval Since Gutenberg: Media Consumers Morphing into Media Makers

The advance of innovative information and communication technologies has triggered a fundamental upheaval in the media industry. The technology is reforming the conventional media model. The media mix will become more varied; interactive and personalised offers are taking root and finding their ideal milieu on the web. Newspapers, radio stations and TV broadcasters will have to reposition themselves if they want to remain attractive in the media industry with the arrival of the Web 2.0. This will include seeking new distribution channels and considering e.g. pay-per-view programming and innovative forms of advertising. Source: Social Science Research Network

Link to download site

Documents Shed New Light on Pentagon Surveillance of Peace Activists

"Documents released by the American Civil Liberties Union reveal new details of Pentagon surveillance of Americans opposed to the Iraq war, including Quakers and student groups. The documents show that the Pentagon was keeping tabs on non-violent protesters by collecting information and storing it in a military anti-terrorism database." Source: American Civil Liberties Union

DOD response to ACLU of Georgia (Georgia, California and Texas protests)-PDF
DOD response to ACLU of Florida-PDF
DOD response to ACLU of Washington(AFSC protests in Massachusetts and Ohio)-PDF

Link to Site

Hate Crime Statistics

"According to statistics released today by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 7,163 criminal incidents involving 8,380 offenses were reported in 2005 as a result of bias toward a particular race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, or physical or mental disability. Hate Crime Statistics, 2005, published by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, includes data from hate crime reports submitted by city, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies throughout the Nation." Source: U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation

Link to online data

Democrats Hold Double-Digit Lead in Competitive Districts

With less than two weeks to go before the midterm elections, the Democrats not only continue to maintain a double-digit advantage nationally, but also lead by the same margin in the competitive districts that will determine which party controls the House of Representatives. Nationally, the Democrats hold a 49%-38% lead among registered voters, and a nearly identical 50%-39% lead among those voters most likely to cast ballots on Nov. 7. Source: Pew Research Center for the People and the Press

Download PDF Report | Link to online summary

Lack of Competition in Elections Fails to Stir Public

Most Have Heard Little or Nothing about Redistricting Debate

The concern among some politicians and political experts over the lack of competitiveness in U.S. elections is generally not shared by the public. Moreover, voters appear to lack a clear sense of whether the elections in their own House districts are competitive or not.

The public is only dimly aware of the debate over how boundaries are drawn for legislative districts. Just 10% of Americans say they have heard a lot about this issue ­ compared with 89% who have heard little (38%) or nothing (51%) about it.

Source: Pew Center for People and the Press

Download PDF Report | Link to online summary

2003–04 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study

Undergraduate Financial Aid Estimates for 12 States: 2003–04

This E.D. TAB presents selected findings about the price of attendance and the types and amounts of financial aid received by in-state undergraduates enrolled in public 2-year, public 4-year, and private not-for-profit 4-year institutions during the 2003–04 academic year in 12 selected states. It is based on the undergraduate data in the 2003–04 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:04), a nationally representative survey of postsecondary students. In addition to providing national estimates, the NPSAS:04 survey was designed to provide representative samples of undergraduates in public 2-year, public 4-year, and private not-for-profit 4-year institutions in 12 states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Tennessee. Prior NPSAS studies have not been representative at the state level. For the in-state undergraduates in each of these 12 selected states, the tables in this E.D. TAB show the average tuition and fees and total price of attendance, the percentages of undergraduates receiving various types of financial aid and the average amounts received, the average net price of attendance after financial aid, average financial need and remaining need after financial aid, cumulative student loan amounts, earnings from work while enrolled, and other aspects of financing an undergraduate education. Tables of comparable national totals limited to in-state undergraduates in public 2-year, public 4-year, and private not-for-profit 4-year institutions in the 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico are also provided to allow for comparisons of undergraduate financing patterns in each of the 12 selected states and the entire nation. Source: National Center for Education Statisitcs

Download PDF Report | Link to site

Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2003 U.S. datafile is now available for downloading

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an assessment (begun in 2000) that focuses on 15-year-olds' capabilities in reading literacy, mathematics literacy, and science literacy. In the United States, this age corresponds largely to grade 9 and 10 students. PISA also includes measures of general or cross-curricular competencies such as learning strategies. PISA emphasizes skills that students have acquired as they near the end of mandatory schooling. PISA is currently being administered every three years. PISA 2000 focused on reading literacy, PISA 2003 focused on mathematics literacy, and in 2006, PISA will focus on science literacy. In addition, PISA 2003 reported on problem-solving skills.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics.

Link to datafile directory

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Call for Papers Persuasive 07

Can a web site persuade you to be politically active? Can a mobile phone motivate you to exercise more? Does instant feedback on gasoline use change how people drive? Do online rating systems inspire people to behave better online?

PERSUASIVE 07 will focus on how digital technology can motivate and influence people. This event will bring together researchers, designers, and developers interested in computers designed to change human attitudes and behaviors in positive ways.

Key themes of PERSUASIVE 07 include health, education, sustainability, productivity, social relationships, trust, ethics and more. Technologies of interest include web sites, mobile phones, video games, and electronic devices, among others.

Academics and practitioners are invited to submit their work for presentation at PERSUASIVE 07 at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California on April 27-28, 2007.

Link to site

A Harvard Panel Tackles the News Blues

Twenty years ago, when Harvard University’s Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy was founded, there were no bloggers, podcasts, or Fox News Channel. Reporters didn’t have email addresses, letters to the editors were hand written, and telephones were plugged into walls.

But even back in 1986, there was a growing sense of a seismically changing news business and of a widening chasm between the journalism profession and the public.

When journalists, academics, and dignitaries gathered at Harvard on Oct. 13-14 to celebrate the Shorenstein Center’s 20th anniversary and to evaluate the current media landscape, those core issues had been magnified exponentially by the sweeping technological change of the past two decades.

“What has fundamentally changed is the fragmentation of the audience,” noted panelist Bill Kovach, founding chairman of the Committee of Concerned Journalists. “That’s what everybody is struggling with.”

Kovach and his fellow panelists spoke before a packed house (as well PBS “Frontline” cameras) at an Oct. 14 Shorenstein seminar. Their topic, designed as a discussion of journalism’s role in American civic discourse, had a simple title: “Media and Democracy.” Source: Project for excellence in Journalism

Link to online article
| Watch video of event

Who Votes, Who Doesn't, and Why

"They vote ­ but not always. Compared with Americans who regularly cast ballots, they are less engaged in politics. They are more likely to be bored with the political process and admit they often do not know enough about candidates to cast ballots. But they are crucial to Republican and Democratic fortunes in the Nov. 7 midterm elections.

They are the intermittent voters: Americans who are registered to vote but do not always make it to the polls. They differ significantly from those who vote regularly. For one thing, they're less likely to be married than are regular voters. Intermittent voters also are more mistrustful of people compared with those who vote regularly. They also are less angry with government, though no less dissatisfied with President Bush than are regular voters, according to a survey conducted Sept. 21-Oct. 4 among 1,804 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press in collaboration with the Associated Press." Source: Pew Research Center for the People and the Press

Download full PDF Report | Link to online summary

Evangelicals and the GOP: An Update

Strongly Republican Group Not Immune to Party's Troubles

"White evangelical Protestants have become one of the most important parts of the Republican Party's electoral base, making up over one-third of those who identify with the GOP and vote for its candidates. The party's political fortunes depend, in large part, on retaining the solid support of the evangelical community. But evangelicals, like other voters, have been affected by the broader wave of voter disillusionment with President Bush and the Republican Party. Evangelicals remain the party's most supportive group, but at levels significantly diminished from where they were in the 2002 and 2004 elections." Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

Link to Online Report

Trade Promotion Authority and Fast-Track Negotiating Authority for Trade Agreements: Major Votes

This report profiles significant legislation, from 1974 to the present, concerning presidential trade promotion authority (also referred to as TPA) for trade agreements. TPA was previously known as fast-track trade negotiating authority for the President. This report identifies significant bills and resolutions that had floor votes. Also included is a list of floor votes on implementing legislation for trade agreements, from 1979 to the present; these bills were passed under expedited procedures by Congress and signed by the President. For further discussions of TPA or fast-track legislative activity, the report lists CRS reports and Internet resources. This report will be updated as legislation warrants. Source: Congressional Research Service

Download PDF Report
| Link to online summary

aiwan-U.S. Political Relations: New Strains and Changes

"The status of Taiwan is a key issue for U.S. foreign policy and a critical point of contention in U.S. relations with China, which claims sovereignty over Taiwan. The U.S. policy framework for Taiwan was laid down in 1979 when Washington severed official relations with the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan and instead recognized the People's Republic of China (PRC) as the legitimate Chinese government. The basics of that policy shift -- the Taiwan Relations Act, the 3 U.S.China communiques, and the so-called "six assurances" toward Taiwan -- remain in place today. But many other factors have changed dramatically. The PRC itself is a rising global economic power scarcely resembling the country it was at the Nixon opening in the 1970's. U.S. economic and political relations with the PRC have expanded and become more diverse, playing a more complex role now than they did then in U.S. calculations of its own interests. The PRC's military has grown as well, with much of its strategic planning focusing on a Taiwan contingency. Taiwan, once an authoritarian one-party government under martial law, has become a fully functioning democracy." Source: Congressional Research Service.

Download PDF Publication | Link to online Summary

We Want Our Town Back!: Housing Discrimination and Exclusion

"What had transpired demographically during the 1980s, therefore, was not an increase in the number of Mexicans in the community as the school records alone suggested, but rather a shift in the composition of the Mexican segment of the
population. It had gone from a population of adult migrants–including those who lived in the community year-round–to one of families. This demographic shift corresponded with the reduction in ethnic tensions that so many residents, both Anglo and Mexican, had perceived and described."
Source: Center for Chicano Studies. Center for Chicano Studies Working Paper Series. U.C. Santa Barbara

Download PDF Publication | Link to eScholarship Repository

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Copynorms: Copyright and Social Norms

"Social norms regarding the copying, distribution, and use of expressive works (copynorms) are essential to understanding how copyright law affects society. By mitigating how stringently copyright owners and users actually enforce and observe copyright law, copynorms - whether those of librarians or file sharers - moderate, extend, and undermine the effect of copyright law. Yet, scholarship and public policy debates all too often overlook this phenomenon. This paper addresses this gap in the literature." Source: Berkeley Center for Law and Technology. Law and Technology Scholarship

Download PDF Report
| Link to eScholarship repository

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Does Television Cause Autism?

Abstract: Autism is currently estimated to affect approximately one in every 166 children, yet the cause or causes of the condition are not well understood. One of the current theories concerning the condition is that among a set of children vulnerable to developing the condition because of their underlying genetics, the condition manifests itself when such a child is exposed to a (currently unknown) environmental trigger. In this paper we empirically investigate the hypothesis that early childhood television viewing serves as such a trigger. Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey, we first establish that the amount of television a young child watches is positively related to the amount of precipitation in the child’s community. This suggests that, if television is a trigger for autism, then autism should be more prevalent in communities that receive substantial precipitation. We then look at county-level autism data for three states – California, Oregon, and Washington – characterized by high precipitation variability. Employing a variety of tests, we show that in each of the three states (and across all three states when pooled) there is substantial evidence that county autism rates
are indeed positively related to county-wide levels of precipitation. In our final set of tests we use California and Pennsylvania data on children born between 1972 and 1989 to show, again consistent with the television as trigger hypothesis, that county autism rates are also positively related to the percentage of households that subscribe to cable television. Our precipitation tests indicate that just under forty percent of autism diagnoses in the three states studied is the result of television watching due to precipitation, while our cable tests indicate that approximately seventeen percent of the growth in autism in California and Pennsylvania during the 1970s and 1980s is due to the growth of cable television. These findings are consistent with early childhood television viewing being an important trigger for autism. We also discuss further tests that can be conducted to explore the hypothesis more directly. Source: Johnson Graduate School of Management
Cornell University

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| Link to download site

Manager Race and the Race of New Hires

Abstract: "Using personnel data from a large U.S. retail firm, we examine whether the race of the hiring manager affects the racial composition of new hires. We exploit manager changes at hundreds of stores to estimate models with store fixed effects. We find significant effects of manager race and ethnicity. First, all non-black managersi.e., whites, Hispanics, and Asianshire more whites and fewer blacks than do black managers. The differences between non-black and black managers are especially large in the South. Second, in locations with large Hispanic populations, Hispanic managers hire more Hispanics and fewer whites than white managers." Source: Center for Responsible Business. Working Paper Series. Paper 35. U.C. Berkeley

Download PDF Report | Link to eScholarship Repository

Monday, October 16, 2006

Cool Tool: Book Burro

Official description:

Book Burro is a Web 2.0 extension for Firefox and Flock. When it senses your are looking at a page that contains a book, it will overlay a small panel which when opened lists prices at online bookstores such as Amazon, Buy, Half (and many more) and soon whether the book is available at your library.

Customized by entering your zipcode, Book Burro lists libraries nearby that own the book you’re looking for as well as prices for other online stores such as Powell’s and Alibris.

Link to download site.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Economic Impact of the Nation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities

"The purpose of this study was to document the economic role of the nation’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) by estimating the short-term economic impact that each of these institutions has on their local communities. In this study, short-term economic impact was defined as the change in overall economic activity in the institutions’s community that is associated with four important categories of college/university-related expenditures, salaries, other institutional expenditures, and the expenditures of undergraduate and separately, graduate and professional students attending the institution. The IMPLAN (Impact Analysis for Planning) Professional Version 2.0 modeling system was used to build regional models for each of the 101 HBCUs in the 50 states and the District of Columbia and to calculate multipliers for estimating the HBCUs’ impact in terms of output, value-added, labor income, and employment. These multipliers were applied to each institution’s salary, staff, enrollment and expenditure data from the 2001 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey. In 2001, the combined initial spending associated with the nation’s 101 HBCUs totaled $6.6 billion. Public HBCUs accounted for 62 percent of the total amount. The total economic impact of the nation’s HBCUs was $10.2 billion with 35 percent due to the multiplier effect. This amount would rank the collective economic impact of the nation’s HBCUs 232nd on the Forbes Fortune 500 list of the United States’ largest companies (Fortune Magazine, 2006). Additionally, the total employment impact of the 101 HBCUs included 180,142 total (initial and induced) full- and part-time jobs in 2001. The report includes templates that can easily be used to update impact estimates for subsequent years as new IPEDS data become available." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Download PDF Report | Link to site

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My Brother’s Keeper: Growing expectations confront hospitals on community benefits and charity care

"Any hospital with an emergency department is in the business of community benefit. Unlike other corporations, hospitals don't have the luxury of picking and choosing their preferred charity. Charity chooses them. However, in an era of increased emphasis on corporate responsibility, hospitals must review their role in community benefit. This starts with its largest component, charity care, but extends to a whole range of activities and reporting mechanisms. This paper is an update to the PwC's 2005 Acts of Charity report that framed the difficulties that hospitals face delivering and reporting charity care. This report seeks to expand on the previous research in the three key areas of reporting, pricing, and business relationships. My Brother's Keeper provides strategies for hospitals to mitigate current challenges in order to more fairly and efficiently provide and report community benefit. Hospitals must look at these issues holistically if they are to be their brother's keeper." Source: Price Waterhouse Coopers

Download PDF Report | Link to site

Acts of Charity: Charity Care Strategies for Hospitals in a Changing Landscape

"Hospital charity care provides millions of the uninsured with free care but courts, government regulators, and community leaders are now questioning the value that society derives from this community benefit. This comprehensive report by PwC's Health Research Institute examines the developing charity care issue, discusses key findings and recommendations and provides strategies for succeeding in this evolving environment."
Source: PriceWaterhouseCoopers

Download PDF Report | Link to site

How Religious are America's College and University Professors?

"At a moment when sociologists of religion are busy reassessing secularization theory in general – the thesis, subscribed to by all the founders of the discipline, that modernity inevitably brings with it a decline in the power of religion to shape people’s public and private lives – it is worth reconsidering as well the secularization of American higher education. This short essay takes a step in this
direction by answering a straightforward question: How religious, if at all, are America’s college and university professors? To gain traction on the matter, we analyze data from a nationally-representative survey carried out earlier this year of professors in all fields and types of higher education institutions. Although the focus of the survey was professors’ political attitudes, we included a number of standard measures of religiosity as well. We find that, on the whole, professors are indeed less religious than other Americans. However, there is substantial variation in religiosity from discipline to discipline and across types of institutions, and it is hardly the case that the professorial landscape is characterized by an absence of religion. The essay begins with an overview of our methodology, moves on to summarize key findings, and concludes by considering implications for future research. In the short space we have here, we can offer only an exploratory analysis of our data, but we think that even the descriptive statistics are interesting." Source: SSRC Working Paper

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Does Public Funding for Higher Education Matter?

Abstract: "This study uses panel data to examine the direct link between state funding and graduation rates at four-year institutions. When other factors are held constant, a $1,000 increase in state appropriations per FTE student at four-year public institutions is associated with about one percentage point increase in graduation rates. This positive link appears to hold for all research/doctoral, master’s, and baccalaureate institutions. In addition, there is evidence that a slow increase (or a decrease) in state funding seems to be associated with a fast increase in the tuition rate charged at four-year public institutions, which likely result in a negative impact on graduation rates further. Simply put, there is no such a thing as free lunch when it comes to graduation rates at public higher education institutions." Source: Cornell Higher Education Research Institute

Download PDF Working Paper

Foundation Center Releases Latest “FC Stats”

"FC Stats is a free online resource developed by the Foundation Center's Research Department. It provides users with ready access to a wealth of statistical data on U.S. private and community foundations and their funding patterns. FC Stats currently offers thousands of data tables available only from the Foundation Center. These tables and ranked lists provide the most frequently requested types of summary financial data on foundations at the national, state, and major metropolitan-area levels, as well as detailed data on funders and funding patterns by subject area, type of support, population group, and geographic focus. FC Stats is produced from the Center's research database, the authoritative national statistical data source on grantmaking foundations." Source: Foundation Center

Link to online database

November Turnout May Be High

Democrats Hold Enthusiasm, Engagement Advantage
"Turnout in the 2006 midterm election may well be higher than normal, given the level of interest expressed by voters. Today, 51% of voters say they have given a lot of thought to this November's election, up from 45% at this point in 2002 and 42% in early October of 1998. Even in 1994 ­ a recent high in midterm election turnout ­ just 44% of voters had thought a lot about the election in early October." Source: Pew Research Center

Download PDF Report | Link to site

Research and Debate -- Walking the City: Manhattan Projects

Although walking projects have been undertaken all over the world, each selection here is distinct, representing a particular kind of undertaking. Together, the projects shed light on the territorial practices of laying claim to the postmodern city,and suggest ways of embracing and rethinking urban landscapes. Walking has captured the imagination of artists and writers in a variety of ways, places and eras. A contemporary way of thinking about walking, begun in the early twentieth century with dada and the Surrealists, and continued by the Situationists, is as a subversive activity. But the idea of subversive walking also obscures its ordinariness. Elsewhere I have described how ordinary walking practices might lead designers and citizens toward a greater aesthetic and social vision.2 Here I describe how these particular walking projects work as territorial practices. Source: Places: Vol. 18: No. 1 [via U.C. eScholarship Digital Repository]

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Economic Outcomes of High School Completers and Noncompleters 8 Years Later

"This Issue Brief uses data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88) to compare the economic outcomes of high school completers at three different points in time with the outcomes of individuals who did not complete high school. Differences by sex and the type of credential earned are also examined. The findings suggest that individuals who completed high school within 6 years generally had more favorable economic outcomes than their counterparts who completed high school later or not at all. However, differences in economic outcomes were most prominent between males and females even after controlling for the timing and type of high school credential earned." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Download PDF Report | Link to site

Friday, October 06, 2006

Rentometer: Compare rent prices and property

Similar to the demographic report using Google maps I posted about last month, Rentometer gives you data on the rental housing prices in a particular area. Rentometer will give you an idea of the range of comparable rents in the geographic area and displays sites on a Google Map.

Link to site

Pew Backgrounder: Riding the Waves of "Web 2.0"

More than a buzzword, but still not easily defined

"Whatever language we use to describe it, the beating heart of the internet has always been its ability to leverage our social connections. Social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook and Friendster struck a powerful social chord at the right time with the right technology, but the actions they enable are nothing new. A trip to the Geocities homepage on the "Wayback Machine" circa December 19, 1996 (courtesy of The Internet Archive) yields this decidedly quaint statement from the company: "We have more than 200,000 individuals sharing their thoughts and passions with the world, and creating the most diverse and unique content on the Web."7 Replace "200,000" with "100 million" and you could almost imagine this sentence appearing on the MySpace homepage."
Source: Pew Research Center

Link to online report

Iraq Looms Large in Nationalized Election

Congressional Race Unchanged After Foley's Resignation

Pew's latest nationwide survey finds 58% of the public saying that the U.S. military effort in Iraq is not going well, and a 47% plurality believes the war in Iraq is hurting, not helping, the war on terrorism. The poll finds extensive public awareness of a leaked intelligence estimate suggesting that the war is spawning more terrorism. More than third of Americans (35%) say they have heard a lot about the intelligence report, and these people are much more likely than others to say the war in Iraq is hurting the war on terror. Source: The Pew Research Center for People and the Press

Download PDF Report | Summary of Findings | Topline Questionnaire

The Changing Landscape of American Public Education: New Students, New Schools

"Examining data for the decade of most concentrated change--between the 1993-94 and 2002-03 school years-- this report finds that Hispanics accounted for 64% of the students added to public school enrollment. Meanwhile, blacks accounted for 23% of the increase and Asians 11%. White enrollment declined by 1%.
During that same period, 15,368 schools, with an enrollment of 6.1 million in 2002-03, were opened. Nearly half, 2.5 million, of the students attending the new schools were white and meanwhile white enrollment in older schools dropped by 2.6 million. In contrast, about two-thirds of the increase in Latino enrollment was accommodated in older schools." Source: Pew Hispanic Center

Download PDF Report | Link to online Summary

Low-income consumers, though less aware of genetically modified foods, are concerned and want labels

Consumer attitudes about genetically modified foods have been reported in a number of studies in recent years, but little attention has been paid to the awareness and attitudes of low-income consumers. While land-grant universities and public health departments have targeted these consumers for nutrition education, it is not clear what their attitudes are, or how the subject should be addressed in education programs such as those offered by Cooperative Extension. We conducted focus groups with low-income consumers in California during spring and summer 2002. Their awareness of genetically modified foods was low, but ethical and safety concerns were fairly high; and they wanted genetically modified foods to be labeled. Consumer and nutrition education programs targeted at low-income consumers should address emerging food technologies.
Source: California Agriculture: Vol. 57: No. 3

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Differential Mortality, Uncertain Medical Expenses, and the Saving of Elderly Singles

Abstract: People have heterogenous life expectancies: women live longer than men, rich people live longer than poor people, and healthy people live longer than sick people. People are also subject to heterogenous out-of-pocket medical expense risk. We construct a rich structural model of saving behavior for retired single households that accounts for this heterogeneity, and we estimate the model using AHEAD data and the method of simulated moments. We find that the risk of living long and facing high medical expenses goes a long way toward explaining the elderly's savings decisions. Specifically, medical expenses that rise quickly with both age and permanent income can explain why the elderly singles, and especially the richest ones, run down their assets so slowly. We also find that social insurance has a big impact on the elderly's savings. Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

Download PDF Report
| Link to online abstract

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Berkman Luncheon Series and archive

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard hosts a series of informal luncheons and other meetings so that fellows and visitors can share the results of their research. You can watch/listen live or download past events from the archive. Past talks have included:

Podcasting and New Media in Education

Africa's Internet and Communications Infrastructure

Doc Searls on The Giant Zero

Source: Berkman Center

Link to site | Link to archive

Dot-Com Bubble, Part II? Why It's So Hard to Value Social Networking Sites

"Less than three years after emerging from nowhere, the hot social networking website MySpace is on pace to be worth a whopping $15 billion in just three more years. Or is it?

Is the much smaller Facebook, run by a 22-year-old, really worth the $900 million or more Yahoo is reported to have offered for it? Maybe. Or maybe this is Dot-Com Bubble, Part II, with MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and the other new Internet phenoms destined for oblivion when the fad fades." Source: Knowledge@Wharton

Read entire article online
| Download article as PDF

Smithsonian Photography Initiative

"The Smithsonian Photography Initiative is devoted to the presentation and study of [13 million] photographic images, viewing photography as an art form, a record keeper, and a cross-disciplinary medium that encompasses science, history, popular culture, and more. Beyond offering more information about where to find photography collections throughout the Smithsonian, our website aims to be an educational tool, serving anyone who wishes to study, explore, and enjoy photographs of many kinds."

You can search the collections, log in, tag, and share your favorites.

Source: Smithsonian

Link to site

Bloggers Hit the Campaign Trail at What Cost?

"The very title of the new book by liberal Daily Kos blogger Markos Moulitsas—Crashing the Gate—reflects the blogosphere’s jaundiced view of the insider political establishment: it’s a “Beltway Mafia” composed of interest groups, political consultants, and journalists.

According to many bloggers, the dreaded mainstream media, (or MSM) have failed to reflect the voices and needs of citizens and are really just another establishment interest group. Consequently, the blogosophere has assumed the mantle in many eyes as the more authentic independent watchdog providing checks and balances on corrupt and well-entrenched institutional power. There is little doubt it has injected more voices into the public debate.

But with the crucial 2006 political season now entering the homestretch, bloggers are taking an increasingly active role in several key races, and that raises a new troubling question. Are bloggers straying from their self-proclaimed roles as critics and scrutinizers of the establishment and becoming instead de facto appendages of political campaigns?" Source: Project for Excellence in Journalism

Read rest of online report