Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Factors Affecting Former Residents' Returning to Rural Communities

This study reports on reasons for returning and not returning to small-town America and the impacts that return migrants make on their home communities. Interviews at high school reunions show that return migrants are primarily motivated by family considerations. They use skills and experiences acquired elsewhere to start businesses and fill leadership positions.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Sources of Increasing Differential Mortality Among the Aged by Socioeconomic Status

This paper uses data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to explore the extent and causes of widening differences in life expectancy by socioeconomic status (SES) for older persons. We construct alternative measures of SES using educational attainment and average (career) earnings in the prime working ages of 41-50. We also use information on causes of death, health status and various behavioral indicators (smoking, drinking, and obesity) that are believed to be predictors of premature death in an effort to explain the causes of the growing disparities in life expectancy between people of high and low SES.

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Racial/Ethnic Differences in Mental Health Service Use among Adults

Reports estimates of mental health service utilization among adults in the U.S. within different racial/ethnic groups. Highlights include past year utilization, prescription psychiatric medication use, outpatient and inpatient mental health service, and more.
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

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New Report: Women’s Role in U.S. Media: Still Dismal? Getting Stronger?

The report is based on new and original research that finds that the media landscape is still dominated by male voices and male perspectives. Taken together, the 49 studies are a snapshot of women in media platforms as diverse as news, literature, broadcast, film, television, radio, online, tech, gaming, and social media.
Source: Women's Media Center
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The Income-Achievement Gap and Adult Outcome Inequality

This paper discusses various methods for assessing group differences in academic achievement using only the ordinal content of achievement test scores. Researchers and policymakers frequently draw conclusions about achievement differences between various populations using methods that rely on the cardinal comparability of test scores. This paper shows that such methods can lead to erroneous conclusions in an important application: measuring changes over time in the achievement gap between youth from high- and low-income households. Commonly-employed, cardinal methods suggest that this “income-achievement gap” did not change between the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth (NLSY) 1979 and 1997 surveys. In contrast, ordinal methods show that this gap narrowed substantially for reading achievement and may have narrowed for math achievement as well. In fact, any weighting scheme that places more value on higher test scores must conclude that the reading income-achievement gap decreased between these two surveys. The situation for math achievement is more complex, but low-income students in the middle and high deciles of the low-income math achievement distribution unambiguously gained relative to their high-income peers. Furthermore, an anchoring exercise suggests that the narrowing of the income-achievement gap corresponds to an economically significant convergence in lifetime labor wealth and school completion rates for youth from high- and low-income backgrounds.
Source: Federal Reserve Board

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“They’re blowing up my phone”: Group Messaging Practices Among Adolescents

While group messaging has become popular, particularly among adolescents, it has not yet been explored in the HCI literature. We interviewed 48 adolescents, aged 15-24, who use group messaging regularly. We present a framework for understanding the types of groups they communicate with according to three dimensions: focus, membership, and duration. We also present findings about factors influencing their choice of group messaging tools and the problems they have managing multiple group threads using multiple tools. We explore the problem of notification overload and users’ strategies for managing frequent notifications. We describe one approach of “social alerting, ” when group members notify one another directly, rather than rely on app notifications. We relate our findings to prior work and offer design suggestions to address the challenges our participants faced in managing frequent group notifications.
Source: Microsoft Research

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Exploring the Economic & Employment Challenges Facing U.S. Veterans

From the Executive Summary
Working with our partners University of Southern California’s Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families, we have identified several important themes in this research that will guide our programs for vulnerable veterans in the future:
  • The need for “civilian basic training” that helps veterans transition to post-military life and workplaces
  • Benefits of veteran peer programs
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) remains a leading predictor of veteran unemployment.
  • Employment programs should help all veterans, including those with other than honorable discharges and involvement in the justice system

Source:Volunteers of America

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How Rich Will China Become?

China’s impressive economic growth since the 1980s raises the question of how much richer it will become over future decades. Its growing share of the world economy affects other national economies. Understanding the future course of the Chinese economy is therefore important for both fiscal and monetary policymaking in the United States and elsewhere.

Using fundamental growth theory, data from China and from Korea and Japan’s similar “miracle” growth experiences, we provide a suggestive calculation for China’s future per capita income. Our ballpark estimate is that China’s per capita income relative to that of the United States will grow by a factor of two to three over the next half-century.
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

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National Healthcare Quality & Disparities Report

Each year since 2003, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has produced the National Healthcare Quality Report and the National Healthcare Disparities Report. These reports to Congress are mandated in the Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-129). Beginning with the 2014 reports, findings on health care quality and health care disparities are integrated into a single document. The new National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report (QDR) highlights the importance of examining quality and disparities together to gain a complete picture of health care. The QDR provides a comprehensive overview of the quality of health care received by the general U.S. population and disparities in care experienced by different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. The report is based on more than 250 measures of quality and disparities covering a broad array of health care services and settings.
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

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Thursday, July 09, 2015

Legal Responses to Health Emergencies

This report contains discussions of the regulations addressing health emergencies in 25 jurisdictions, including countries from six continents, the European Union, and the World Health Organization. All surveys included in this report review government structures tasked with delivering public health protection, relevant legislative frameworks for addressing health emergencies, and the powers of government institutions in times of health crises and their ability to mitigate the consequences of such crises. Analyses of the regulation of such issues as disease surveillance and notification systems are also provided.
Source: Law Library of Congress

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Cognitive Aging: Progress in Understanding and Opportunities for Action (2015)

Cognitive Aging assesses the public health dimensions of cognitive aging with an emphasis on definitions and terminology, epidemiology and surveillance, prevention and intervention, education of health professionals, and public awareness and education. This report makes specific recommendations for individuals to reduce the risks of cognitive decline with aging. Aging is inevitable, but there are actions that can be taken by individuals, families, communities, and society that may help to prevent or ameliorate the impact of aging on the brain, understand more about its impact, and help older adults live more fully and independent lives. Cognitive aging is not just an individual or a family or a health care system challenge. It is an issue that affects the fabric of society and requires actions by many and varied stakeholders. Cognitive Aging offers clear steps that individuals, families, communities, health care providers and systems, financial organizations, community groups, public health agencies, and others can take to promote cognitive health and to help older adults live fuller and more independent lives. Ultimately, this report calls for a societal commitment to cognitive aging as a public health issue that requires prompt action across many sectors.
Source: Institute of Medicine via National Academies Press

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From Warriors to Guardians: Recommitting American Police Culture to Democratic Ideals

In this paper, the authors advocate for a recommitment to democratic ideals within law enforcement to combat the culture and mindset that officers are warriors at war with the people they are sworn to protect. While most law enforcement leaders recognize that creating stronger human connections and community engagement will lead to improved public safety and more effective crime fighting, law enforcement agencies lack a commitment to increasing community trust.
Source: National Insitute of Justice

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The Poor Get Prison: The Alarming Spread of the Criminalization of Poverty

Poor people, especially people of color, face a far greater risk of being fined, arrested, and even incarcerated for minor offenses than other Americans. A broken taillight, an unpaid parking ticket, a minor drug offense, sitting on a sidewalk, or sleeping in a park can all result in jail time. In this report, we seek to understand the multi-faceted, growing phenomenon of the “criminalization of poverty.”

In many ways, this phenomenon is not new: The introduction of public assistance programs gave rise to prejudices against beneficiaries and to systemic efforts to obstruct access to the assistance.
This form of criminalizing poverty — racial profiling or the targeting of poor black and Latina single mothers trying to access public assistance — is a relatively familiar reality. Less well-known known are the new and growing trends which increase this criminalization of being poor that affect or will affect hundreds of millions of Americans. These troubling trends are eliminating their chances to get out of poverty and access resources that make a safe and decent life possible.

In this report we will summarize these realities, filling out the true breadth and depth of this national crisis.
Source: Institute for Policy Studies

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Political Realism: How Hacks, Machines, Big Money, and Back-Room Deals Can Strengthen American Democracy

Political Realism: How Hacks, Machines, Big Money, and Back-Room Deals Can Strengthen American Democracy” builds on political realism, an emerging school of thought that is characterized by respect for transactional politics and by skepticism toward idealistic political reforms. In our era of intense polarization and gridlock, Jonathan Rauch asks: How can political home truths – truths our grandparents took for granted – help modern politicians negotiate, compromise, and govern?
Source: Brookings Institution

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The Rise of Partisanship and Super-Cooperators in the U.S. House of Representatives

It is widely reported that partisanship in the United States Congress is at an historic high. Given that individuals are persuaded to follow party lines while having the opportunity and incentives to collaborate with members of the opposite party, our goal is to measure the extent to which legislators tend to form ideological relationships with members of the opposite party. We quantify the level of cooperation, or lack thereof, between Democrat and Republican Party members in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1949–2012. We define a network of over 5 million pairs of representatives, and compare the mutual agreement rates on legislative decisions between two distinct types of pairs: those from the same party and those formed of members from different parties. We find that despite short-term fluctuations, partisanship or non-cooperation in the U.S. Congress has been increasing exponentially for over 60 years with no sign of abating or reversing. Yet, a group of representatives continue to cooperate across party lines despite growing partisanship.
Source: PLoSOne

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How Fox News Changed American Media and Political Dynamics

The creation of Fox News in 1996 was an event of deep, yet unappreciated, political and historical importance. For the first time, there was a news source available virtually everywhere in the United States, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with a conservative tilt. Finally, conservatives did not have to seek out bits of news favorable to their point of view in liberal publications or in small magazines and newsletters. Like someone dying of thirst in the desert, conservatives drank heavily from the Fox waters. Soon, it became the dominant – and in many cases, virtually the only – major news source for millions of Americans. This has had profound political implications that are only starting to be appreciated. Indeed, it can almost be called self-brainwashing – many conservatives now refuse to even listen to any news or opinion not vetted through Fox, and to believe whatever appears on it as the gospel truth.
Source: Social Science Research Network

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