No. 274 November 2005
MOONSHINERS AND NASCAR In the 1930s and 1940s, the men in many of America’s southern States who trafficked in illegal “moonshine” whiskey bought new cars at car dealerships. These individuals modified their “stock” cars to improve their speed and performance to enable them to out run the federal agents chasing them. With the new name, “stock car drivers” the moon shiners raced against each other for fun and excitement and stock car driving became an American sport. In 1948, Bill France of Daytona Beach form established the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). June 1949 was the first NASCAR Stock Car race in Charlotte North Carolina, and the first asphalt speedway opened in Darlington, South Carolina in 1950. Stock car racing is one of America’s national passions. Stock car racing was introduced to all foreign students studying English and Americans who don’t know about stock car racing. “NASCAR, An American Sport and Pastime” by Phyllis McIntosh, English Teaching Forum, V. 43, No. 4, pages 49-56 contains a brief introduction and history which also emphasizes an explanation of all the NASCAR jargon and concepts. This introduction and history helps the novice understand what is taking place and the text and explanation includes around many pictures and illustration of NASCAR racing. The article is found in many libraries under S 21.19:43/4 or on the English Teaching Form issued by the U. S. Department of State Office of English Language Programs for teachers of English as a foreign or second language has its own website address http://purl.access.gpo.gov/GPO/LPS3239.
GEOLOGIC MAPS The Rand McNally Road Atlas, AAA Highway maps, and one of the online map services are familiar to most Americans who travel the highways. Topographic Maps found in the Census Bureau website, and in TOPOZONE may be familiar to those had a need to know the physical layout of the Earth’s surface. Some people want to know about a specific area of land as to its hills, mountains, valleys, streams, or rivers. They want to know its precise location, access roads, and whether is on the side of a mountain or in a valley? Is the land area suitable for houses? Or for a county land solid waste facility? Can I have a basement in my house in Texas? What are the chances of land slides in occurring? What about earthquake hazards? Does my land include limestone or other valuable minerals? These and other questions about “what’s under the Earth” can be found in Societal Value of Geologic Maps, by Richard L. Bernknopf et al. issued as US Geological Circular 1111 in 1993 can be found in some libraries under I 19.4/2:111. This 53 page explains the “how and why” of the elements of information in geologic maps and how the geologic maps were used in the Loudoun County (Virginia) Pilot Study. Geologic Maps are related to the information in the Data Base for the Earth Sciences and how the part they play in Land Use Regulatory Decisions.
LUDWIG VON BEETHOVEN Most people who listen to classical music and especially Beethoven, have learned at some point, Beethoven became deaf while composing some of his final pieces. He had hearing problems and died at age 57 while experiencing years of a chronic debilitating illness. Beethoven had abdominal illness in his late teens, personality changes, and depression throughout his adult life. He died in 1827, of some unknown illness which has been a mystery until now. As Jay Leno quipped in his December 12, 2005 Tonight Show monologue, 178 years is a long time for laboratory test results. The Argonne National Laboratory researchers performed an x-ray analysis of one of Beethoven’s skull bone fragments and found a “toxic overload of lead.” Beethoven’s waited a long time for autopsy test results, from tests performed by a national research laboratory thousands of miles away. These results came from the Pfeiffer Treatment Center, and were compiled by Bill Walsh, Director of the Beethoven Research Project. This lengthy article with many details can be found in Argonne National Laboratory December 12, 2005 News Release Argonne researchers confirm lead as cause of Beethoven’s illness ( http://www.anl.gov/Media_Center/News/2005/news051206.html ). The release content includes links to three newspaper articles and to CBS and NBC news articles which provide some additional details. Now a Beethoven biographer can write a definitive biographical sketch of Beethoven’s health problems and death.
PERIODICALS REPLACEMENT IN ACADEMIA Hurricane Katrina is the most recent reminder of what natural disasters can mean for libraries. However, the flood which hit the North Dakota State University (NDSU) in 2000 is a landmark in cost recovery research, for university libraries. The NDSU Library lost its periodicals collection and as part of the Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) recovery assistance, FEMA contracted with the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress to provide cost estimates for the replacement of the NDSU periodical holdings. This may not be the first cost estimate for periodical replacement, but it was done by Library of Congress acquisition experts. The LC experts sought “replacement costs for in-stock items and for any other items they [the periodical suppliers] could obtain.” Researched from January 1 to March 31, 2001, the information will fairly current and would be a good starting point for anyone needing to replace any of the titles listed. Cost Estimates for the Replacement of Periodical Holdings, researched by Karen Berube and Glenn E. Curtis, issued by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, May 2001 is 65 pages long is found at http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/pdf-files/FEMA.pdf .
TRUNK HAZARDS STATISTICS Every passenger motor vehicle (PMV) has trunk, but they trunk size can vary in size, shape, capacity, and accessibility. In some cars, the trunk is accessible from the back seat with the push of a release button. This interior access feature has its advantages and allows the adventurous kid to gain access or exit the trunk from the back seat. The trunk lid (door) is the way in and out for every car and statistics show that cars and trunks are a major health hazard for kids under 14. The following study shows how and why kids get injured or killed in and around PMVs. Also it is hazardous for kids play in vehicles and near vehicles when they should not. There are also intentional or unintended incidents which involve kids and vehicles which can be classed as child abuse. The problem of kids and trunks has its own set of statistics. “Injuries and Deaths Among Children Left Unattended in or Around Motor Vehicles – United States, July 2000—June 2001” MMWR, Weekly, V. 51, No. 26, pages 570-572, http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5126a3.htm identifies the Federal agencies and private organizations in KIDS ‘N CARS http://www.kidsncars.org/ which monitor the PMV trunk injuries and the number of kids injured.
TRUNK LATCH RELEASE: DOES YOUR CAR HAVE ONE? In February 2001, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a report to Congress. Report to Congress on Motor Vehicle Trunk Entrapment is a progress report of what has resulted since the Congressional mandate in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. In June, 1998 the NHTSA was to study the benefits of a regulation to require the installation in a motor vehicle of an interior device to release the trunk lid. The safety hazard to be mitigated by an interior trunk release device is “motor vehicle trunk entrapment.” These are the words taken from the “Executive Summary” of Report to Congress on Motor Vehicle Trunk Entrapment. The Executive Summary is followed by five chapters, the June 3, 1999 Trunk Entrapment Report which presents the results of the initial research about the hazards of trunk entrapment. Finally, there is resulting Federal Motor Vehicle Standard about trunks. “National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 49 CFR Part 571, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Interior Trunk Release, Final Rule,” Federal Register, V. 65, No. 204, October 20, 2000, pages 63014-63021 (AE 2.106:65/2004). This Report to Congress National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Motor Vehicle Trunk Entrapment, issued in February 2000 is found at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/studies/Trunk/Index.html.
PAIN OF THE UNBORN Does the fetus feel pain during an abortion? The U.S. Congress House Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing on the pain of the unborn to examine the development of unborn children, their physiological reactions to painful stimuli, and their ability to experience pain. In addition, T The hearing also explored the constitutionality of laws requiring physicians to notify patients that their unborn child may experience pain. Some physicians from children’s hospitals testified that medical evidence suggests that unborn children are able to experience pain from 20 weeks of gestation, if not earlier. Other witnesses from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists testified that fetus does not feel any pain during the first 20 weeks. If House Bill (H.R. 356) become law, it would become the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act (H.R. 356) to ensure that women seeking an abortion are fully informed regarding the pain experienced by their unborn child. Although reading the witnesses’ graphic testimony about abortion procedures can be disturbing, what is surprising is that medical knowledge about the fetus does not include some definitive answer(s) about fetal pain. Pain of the unborn, Hearing before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Ninth Congress, first session, November 1, 2005 is 96 pages of interesting reading found as a PDF file at http://purl.access.gpo.gov/GPO/LPS66626 and in some federal depository libraries under SUDOC Y 4.J 89/1:109-57.
HOURS WORKED IN USA & EUROPE Did you ever think about the image of the average businessman or the lifestyle of Americans as compared to Latin Americans, Italians, Frenchmen, Englishmen, Spanish, or Germans? Many Latin American and European countries have “afternoon siestas” or “breaks” as part of their daily schedule. It is an obvious fact of life in the United States that “we Americans are hard workers.” There are probably many European workaholics, but there are many more “workaholics” in the United States than elsewhere. In 2004, Edward C. Prescott and W.P. Carey determined that “Americans now work 50 percent more than do the Germans, French, and Italians. This was not the case in the 1970s, when the Western Europeans worked more than the Americans.” The Colonists rebelled against King George because of the English taxation issue. As victors in the 18th century Revolutionary War, we won the right to self-taxation, and now in the 21st century the taxation issue has come to “haunt us” in yet another way. It seems Prescott and Cary think it is the “marginal tax rate on labor income” when combined with “labor supply” which causes Americans to work more that Europeans as discussed in “Why Do Americans Work So Much More Than Europeans?” Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Quarterly Review, V. 28, No. 1, July 2004, pages 2-13 is found as a PDF file at the Quarterly Review web page http://minneapolisfed.org/research/qr/
CONSUMER FRAUD Mr. P.T. Barnum, (1810-1891) the 19th Century showman who was part of the Barnum and Baily Circus fame made an observation about the gullibility of the American people. In his capacity as showman and businessman, he said “there is a succor born every minute.” Was he correct for his era, or our era? Maybe we can see if he his theory is correct today? All we have to do is get the population birth rate for his era and relate it to the number of people were victims of the fraudulent practices. Current research would involve some finding some recent fraud and birth statistics which will then include some mathematical calculations. Currently, there are two reports which will provide some current support for the theory that Barnum’s theory is true in the 21st century. The FTC Press Release FTC Releases Consumer Fraud Survey http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2004/08/fraudsurvey.htm shows that in 2003, “more than one-in-10 Americans fell victim to fraud.” This ration translates into “nearly 25 million adults –11.2 percent of the adult population.” The Press Release links to Consumer Fraud in the United States: An FTC Survey (August, 2004) which has about 170 pages of information about the complaints registered by Americans age 50 and older, who reported over $150,000,000 in fraud losses. This 2004 study of the “fraud against older consumers mirrors fraud against the population as a whole” and provides another year of consumer fraud statistics. The July 27, 2005 FTC Press Release FTC Testimony: Identifying and Fighting Consumer Fraud Against Older Americans http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/07/seniortest.htm introduces and provides links to the 2005 FTC reports sent to Congress: (1) ( Prepared Statement of the Federal Trade Commission… and (2) Fraud and Identity Theft Complaints Received by the Federal Trade Commission From Consumers Age 50 and Over: A Commission Staff Report). When combined, the content of these surveys provide ample information to determine if Barnum’s statement is still applicable: There is a succor born every minute. With today’s population and fraud data, research may show there are two succors born every minute.
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