No. 271 August 2005
WHY GASOLINE PRICES HIT A NEW HIGH. When the first gasoline burning vehicles appeared on America’s streets about 100 years ago, the American vehicle owners became aware of gas prices and availability. The consumer’s concern about gas prices and availability changed to worry and uneasiness in 1973 when America was found to be dependent on imported petroleum from OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) countries. The foreign supply, America’s demand, and a variety of other economic conditions were causing frequent rises in the price of a limited supply of gasoline. The oil crisis of the 1970s showed America it must rely on the more expensive foreign oil, and the fact that the weather and political factors in OPEC countries can ultimately affect gas pump prices. Federal, state, and local taxes, and “clean fuel” requirements, and new oil pipeline transportation technologies, when they breakdown, also affect cost of gasoline at the pump. As the news media talks have always about storms in the United States and their affect on the crop harvests, and if something happens to the American refineries, it will that affect the price of gas at the pump. Current questions about the gasoline prices can be found in Gasoline Price Changes: the Dynamic of Supply, Demand, and Competition, (issued 2005) is 135 pages of explanation introduced by the July 4, 2005 Press Release FTC Releases Report on “Gasoline Price Changes: the Dynamic of Supply, Demand, and Competition” (http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/07/gaspricefactor.htm ) which also provides a link to the PDF publication.
WEIGHT LOSS ADS EXPOSED IN FTC 2004 SURVEY From January to May 2004, the FTC conducted its Weight-Loss Advertising Survey for 2004. The FTC examined weight-loss ad claims in television, radio, and print advertisements for dietary supplements, topical creams, and diet patches. This 2004 Survey was a follow-up to a similar 2001 Survey. The 2004 Survey also analyzed ads in broadcast and cable television (including infomercials), radio, magazines, newspapers, supermarket tabloids, and free standing inserts from February to May 2004. The 2004 Survey also included a 2002 ad measurement instrument called the Red Flag Initiative. Developed in November 2002, the “Red Flag Initiative” consists of seven criteria or “false claims.” An ad found to be making one (or more) of the false claims qualify it to be classed as deceptive and misleading. A comparison of the results of the two surveys shows that the number of false weight-loss ads has been reduced by about 50 percent since 2001. The FTC goal is the further reduction of the remaining ads by encouraging the media to recognize and screen out clearly false weight-loss ads. 2004 Weight-Loss Ad Survey: A Report From the Staff of the Federal Trade Commission (April 2004) is introduced by April 11 FTC Press Release FTC Releases Result of Weight-Loss Survey http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/04/weightlosssurvey.htm, The Press Release provides a link to this Report and to the Red Flag – Bogus Weight Claims brochure (http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/redflag/index.html) and the Red Flag Criteria.
CAN’T SEE THE FOREST FOR THE TREES? Those forest scientists who can see America’s forests, tell us: “It is estimated that in 1630 the area of forest land in the United States was just over 1 billion acres or about 46 percent of the total land area. … During the last half of the 19th century, an average of 13 square miles of forests was cleared every day for 50 years. … By 1907, the forests declined to an estimated 379 million acres, covering only about 34 percent of the United States. … In 2002, forests cover 249 million acres or 33 percent of the land area of the United States.” In 37 pages of text, charts, bars, graphs, maps, and statistics, you can learn about forest ownership, forest age and composition, forest timber products, forest recreation, forest health, forest insects, invasive species, forest wildlife, water supplies, forest fires, forest diseases, and the role forest carbon plays in the carbon cycle. This April 2004 edition of U.S. Forest Resource Facts and Historical Trends by W. Brad Smith and David Darr (FS-801) is found at the Forest Service Inventory and Analysis Library publications page (http://fia.fs.fed.us/library/briefings-summaries-overviews/ ). This 37 page brochure is taken from the National Report on Sustainable forests – 2003 (FS-766) issued in February 2004 and may be in some depository libraries (A 13.2: SU 8) and on the Forest Service website http://purl.access.gpo.gov/GPO/LPS54647 and http://www.fs.fed.us/research/sustain/ . In May 2004, a companion Data Report – A Supplement to the National Report (FS-766A) was issued. This is the latest analytical look at America’s forests which will enable you to see the forests and learn about the trees.
YOUR RIGHTS & CHECK 21 The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency(OCC), on August 2, 2005 issued press release NR 2005-75 OCC Releases Consumer Advisory: “Writing a Check: Understanding Your Rights.” http://www.occ.treas.gov/toolkit/newsrelease.aspx?Doc=MXQWV6IO.xml The publication The advisory, “Writing a Check: Understanding Your Rights discusses the different ways checks can be processed and what each check cashing process means for the consumer. Many checks are now being processed electronically, which may mean that funds are taken from consumers’ bank accounts more quickly than before. As a result, it is even more important that consumers are careful to assure that they have enough money in their accounts to cover checks at the time they write them. In addition, consumers may be surprised to learn that when checks are processed electronically, the original paper check is not required to be preserved and is often destroyed instead of being returned to the consumer. The advisory also discusses the different laws and regulations governing check transactions, how consumers’ rights may vary depending on how a check is processed, and how consumers may resolve a problem if something goes wrong.” Writing a Check: Understanding Your Rights http://www.occ.treas.gov/consumer/checkwriting.htm is the way checks are written, handled, and processed electronically because of “Check 21.” Check 21: Q's and A's http://www.occ.treas.gov/consumer/check21.htm is another OCC title which provides everything which should be known by anyone who writes checks. Check 21: Q’s and A’s begins: “Recently, you may have received a notice from your bank about "Check 21." Check 21 is a federal law that is designed to modernize the way that banks process checks.” Did you get a notice? Do you know enough about the changes to correct a problem(s) you may have with the new Check 21 procedures?
SPORTS ECONOMICS: AN INTERACTIVE EDUCATION Peanuts & Crackerjacks: Economics of Pro Team Sports (http://www.bos.frb.org/peanuts/leadpgs/intro.htm ) is a very unique interactive website created by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. It is an educational tool designed for high school economics and social studies classes. Do you like to watch team sports, i.e. baseball, football, basketball, and hockey? Even if you don’t consider yourself a sports fan, but want to get an education about the “economic why and how” of sports, then taste this Peanuts & Crackerjacks (P&C) site. P&C was designed for teachers of high school economics and social studies. The P&C site includes a game plan, Instructions, rules of play, a Sign-up sheet, a Teachers Guide, and Game Requirements which provide all the computer software/hardware specifications needed to play. The Sports Page http://www.bos.frb.org/peanuts/sptspage/inning1.htm which has all the answers is the beginning point to learn about sports economics. The content of the Sports page and the Innings, explain why and how team sports are a blend of athletics, business, and entertainment. There is information about the history of each team sport, as a sport and a business. The team sports are unique, yet their similarities enable one fan to crossover and follow all four. These team sports are like big companies which provide an entertainment product. The team owners are business men, and athletes are the performers who earn big salaries to entertain the fans. It is the sports fans that pay the bills when they consume the Pro Sports Products. There is “Resources” which is a list of the publications which provided the information used to tells us all about “Peanuts & Crackerjacks.”
MILITARY CASUALTIES STATISTICS AND NAMES SOURCES To quote the Summary on page 2 (of American War and Military Operations Casualties: Lists and Statistics, Updated July 13, 2005, by Hanna Fisher, Report RL32492 http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL32492.pdf ): “This report is written in response to numerous requests for war casualty statistics and lists of war dead. It provides tables, compiled by sources at the Department of Defense, indicting the number of casualties among American military personnel serving in principal wars and combat actions.” Covered are all the declared wars from the Revolution to the Persian Gulf War. All military actions including the Iran Hostage Rescue Mission are included through the 2005 Operation Iraq Freedom action. On page 20 of the current edition, “Additional Sources of Statistics” lists the three websites where (1) additional historical statistical tables, (2) NARA Southeast Asia Combat Area Casualties Current File Data, and (3) Women in Military Service to America data can be found. There are also “Selected Sources of Published Lists of Names of War Dead.” This section lists the titles of the printed volumes and websites where the Names of the Dead and Missing for World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraq Freedom. In some cases there are military casualties who are prior to World War II, in the above sources. For this information at a state level, there is a list of the Contacts in the State’s Adjutant General’s Office for each of the 50 States, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This current resource will be updated as needed. Look for the latest information in the latest edition.
STARDUST & CHEMICAL ELEMENTS CREATION Do you know how our 110 chemical elements were created? Element No.92 Uranium is naturally occuring. “Transuranium elements” Nos. 93-110 as we know them, are radioactive and "man-made." These were synthesized in the laboratory from uranium or other post-uranium elements through nuclear reractions. However, the "Transuranium elements" now synthesized in the laboratory may one day be identified as existing in outer space as do Neptunium and Plutonium. This leaves elements Nos. 1 through 91, on the Periodic Chart, which were not “created” by men? How did the other chemical elements come into existence? When the Big Bang occurred about 14 billion years ago, the universe contained only hydrogen and helium. The interactions of stars added neutrons to hydrogen and helium to create the all chemical elements such as iron, gold, silver that we know today. Nucleosynthesis, the process which adds neutrons to hydrogen and helium takes place deep inside red giant stars and is of two kinds. “The s-process is the slow neutron-capture process which may last 10,000 years or more. The more violent rapid neutron-capture “r-process” nucleosynthesis occurs in supernovae, possibly within a matter of seconds.” The answers as to how the naturally occurring chemical elements 1 through 91, found on the Periodic Chart, were formed from the basic elements of hydrogen and helium are found by studying the dust grains emitted by exploding stars. Grains of star dust emitted into space billions of years ago and now collected by NASA space probes. Researchers reach to the skies to reveal secrets of the stars by Steve Koppes in Logos, V. 20, No. 1, Winter 2002, 2 pages http://www.anl.gov/Media_Center/logos20-1/stars01.htm and http://www.anl.gov/Media_Center/logos20-1/stars02.htm published by the Argonne National Laboratory and cited as the Stardust Studies at Argonne, University of Chicago website.
VEGETABLES, FRUITS, FISH: AMERICA’S MOST FREQUENTLY CONSUMED What are your choices of the 20 most frequently consumed raw fruits, vegetables, and fish in the United States? What are you choices and what is the latest nutrient information for each selection? All packaged food has labels, which identify the nutrient values of those foods. The nutrient information of any food is determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the food label content is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To provide the consumer with the latest nutrition information the USDA and other contributors provided the revised data for updating the nutrient data of 18 vegetables, 12 fruits, and 10 fish. The updated information was then presented as part of the FDA’s “proposal to amend and update its voluntary nutrition labeling regulations by updating the names and nutrition labeling values for the 20 most frequently consumed raw fruits, vegetables, and fish in the united States.” The Nutrient information for all these vegetables, fruits, and fish are found in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Part 101 and the proposed updating information is found in “Food and Drug Administration, 21 CFR 101, Food Labeling; Guidelines for Voluntary Nutrition Labeling of Raw Fruits, Vegetables, and Fish; Identification of the 20 Most Frequently Consumed Raw Fruits, Vegetables, and Fish; Reopening of the Comment Period,” Federal Register, v. 70, No. 63, pages 16995-17004. Do you know the names of the most frequently consumed vegetables, fruits, and fish?
Back to Philip’s page
March 30, 2006