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Good to Know…Week of July 25, 2011


HEALTH CARE
When Tobacco Does a Body Good: Pharma-Planta Uses GMO Tobacco Plants to Fight HIV
Cigarettes
cause a nearly endless amount of health problems–heart disease, lung
cancer, and asthma are just a few of the more common issues triggered by
the tobacco-filled sticks. But while cigarettes may have overwhelmingly
negative health effects, don’t write off tobacco entirely; the plant
might just help protect people from HIV.

To read this article, go to: FastCompany.com


ETHICS

Memo Offers Glimpse of a House Ethics Panel Rocked by Its Own Ethics Troubles
The House Ethics Committee has long been criticized for its slow-moving and opaque operations—a criticism that was underscored late last year, when two attorneys working on the case against Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters were suddenly suspended and the committee’s chief counsel resigned shortly thereafter.

To read this article, go to: Propublica.org


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

UN Chief Says Sustainable Development Top Priority
GENEVA (AP)–Global development that reduces poverty but preserves the environment for future generations will be the top priority during Ban Ki-moon’s second five-year term as U.N. secretary-general, he said Tuesday.

To read this article, go to: Google.com

For the First Time, Developing Countries Spending the Most on Renewables
Spending on renewable energy is at an all-time high around the world, and in some of the poorest places on Earth, it may mean leapfrogging over dirty power sources in favor of clean ones.

To read this article, go to: FastCompany.com

FEDERAL DEBT
Citing Federal Debt, Moody’s Warns Five States
The credit ratings agency said Maryland, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia all could be downgraded from their prized AAA credit rating if the federal government does not raise its debt ceiling within the next few weeks. Though 15 states overall have the top credit rating, Moody’s said these five states depend more heavily than the others on federal spending or borrowing, and therefore are more vulnerable to sudden changes in economic confidence.

To read this article, go to: Stateline.org

SOCIAL MEDIA
6 GOP Presidential Candidates Debate on Twitter
The first Twitter presidential debate Wednesday offered what some might consider a welcome milestone in political discourse: It was the first debate in which you couldn’t hear the politicians speak.

To read this article, go to: San Francisco Chronicle

Twitter TownHall Reveals That GOP ‘Debates’ Require No More Than 140 Characters
Yesterday’s historic Twitter debate lived up to standards of modern presidential debating–which speaks poorly about the quality of our so-called “debates.”

To read this article, go to: FastCompany.com

How Many Governors are Using Social Media?
Not long ago state governments were ambivalent about using social media to connect with citizens. Those days are over, if the use of the most popular sites by the nation’s governors is any guide. Some 47 of the 50 governors are using Facebook and Twitter, according to a recent Stateline examination of these services; 27 are using the photo-sharing service Flickr and 37 use YouTube. Of course, status updates and tweets are often the work of staffers, not the governors themselves.

To read this article, go to: Stateline.org

New App Connects Social Media Users with Municipal Services
A new Facebook application is making it easier for citizens to report problems and request services from local governments.

To read this article, go to: GovTech.com

TECHNOLOGY
OMB Sets Guidelines for Telework Security
“Telework is only as effective as the technologies used to support it, which is why it is critical for agencies to take immediate action to ensure that their employees are properly equipped,” Jacob “Jack” Lew, director of OMB, said in the memo. “If not properly implemented, telework may introduce new information security vulnerabilities into agency systems and networks.”

To read this article, go to: GovExec.com

The False Cries and Fog of ‘Cyber War’
Carl von Clausewitz wrote about what has since been called the “fog of war,” saying, “the great uncertainty of all data in war is a peculiar difficulty because all action must, to a certain extent, be planned in a mere twilight ….”

To read this article, go to: GCN.com

DOD Stuck in IT ‘Stone Age,’ Top Pentagon Official Says
If the Defense Department can’t keep up in implementing new technology, it stands to lose the competitive advantage on the battlefield, a top DOD top official said July 19.

To read this article, go to: GCN.com

Mobile Investigation App Helping Bring Criminals to Justice
A new mobile application is allowing law enforcement agencies to access public records and information in the field through tablet devices and smartphones. It’s also helping put criminals behind bars.

To read this article, go to: GovTech.com

New FBI Biometric Database will Help Feds Nab Undocumented Immigrants
A July 6 FBI internal fact sheet that an immigrants rights coalition obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, says, “IDENT/IAFIS interoperability under Secure Communities is part of a larger FBI/[Criminal Justice Information Services] Next-Generation Identification initiative,” adding that “[Secure Communities] is the first opportunity for [law enforcement agencies] to fully and accurately identify suspects in their custody and gives them a head start on NGI.”

To read this article, go to: NextGov.com

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