This Week's Facts:
USGS Celebrates 125 Years
This year marks the 125th anniversary of the U.S. Geographical Survey (USGS) topographical map program. The USGS has been the primary civilian mapping agency in the country since 1879, although mapping efforts have been around since the earliest formation of the nation. The most commonly known map is the 1:24,000-scale map, also known as the 7.5-minute quadrangle topographic map. The series set out to cover the entire area of the United States in detail. It was completed in 1992 and was replaced by The National Map, a collaborative effort between the USGS and other federal, state and local agencies.
New US Topo maps are available digitally and are arranged in the traditional 7.5-minute format. Viewers can add and remove data layers, zoom in and out and even print the maps in usable formats. These maps have a variety of uses, whether one wants them for recreational purposes or even emergency response. For an interesting history of topographic mapping in the United States, be sure to check out this timeline from the USGS. The website also provides historic photographs detailing mapping projects in the West.
Friday Facts Editorial Team:
The holidays are the perfect time for families and friends to celebrate and enjoy time spent together, but it can be very hectic if you’re traveling by car. The Indiana Department of Transportation’s TrafficWise program helps to improve safety and help drivers across Indiana’s highways avoid traffic congestion. TrafficWise has been expanded to include updated reports for all State roads, U.S. highways and Interstates around the state. Travelers can check construction projects, accidents, and other travel headaches online or by calling 1-800-261-ROAD (7326). Real-time traffic data and cameras are available for the Indianapolis Metropolitan area, Northwest Indiana near Gary, and Southern Indiana and the Louisville area. While you’re traveling, remember to check the large Dynamic Message Signs that will alert you to traffic events and , if necessary, plan an alternate route. Enjoy the holidays with safe travel and know before you go!
Visit the Centers for Disease Control’s Family Health: College Health and Safety website for advice on how to help students stay healthy during college. Review valuable tips such as getting regular physical activity, eating a balanced diet, thinking positively, getting vaccinations and check-ups, and developing friendships. Preview the kinds of issues that happen when college students are away from home, often for the first time: Eating disorders and Diet changes, Fatigue and Sleep Deprivation, Mental Health (Stress, Anxiety, Depression), Relationships & Sexual Violence, Substance Abuse (Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco), and STDs. There are also many related links on the right side of the webpage, including a College Health Podcast and Spring Break health tips. Encourage your colleagues, friends, and family to pay attention to college-age issues and feel free to direct them to the list of hotlines at the bottom of the webpage.
More from the CDC
The Centers for Disease Control also provides a Health Data Interactive website with tables of national statistics on infants, children, adolescents, adults, and older adults. Use the Getting Started resource for an orientation to locating and working with tables online as well as offline. The data available comes from a wealth of sources including the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, National Health Interview Survey, and Population Estimates Program; and the National Vital Statistics System.
The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management website has a History Mystery Examiner newspaper and website to help kids explore the history of public lands. Enjoy The Mystery of Butch and Sundance, The Mystery of the First Americans, The Ghost Town Mysteries, and Mysterious Lighthouses and Light Beacons. Each history mystery contains a case file. As it is “opened,” you try to answer Case File Questions about each topic. Each file contains clues about where to go in the History Mystery Examiner newspaper to find an answer. What was it like to live during the Pliestocene? To find out, request a copy of Volume 2 of the Examiner, The Mystery of the First Americans, using this online form. In addition, you can “open” the online case file. Find educational opportunities like Have you seen a 10,000 bill? inside the Butch and Sundance case file, which shows an image of the bill and encourages readers to solve its own mystery.
On December 5, 2009, five American artists will receive the Kennedy Center honors for 2009: Mel Brooks, composer Dave Brubeck, opera singer Grace Bumbry, Robert De Niro and Bruce Springsteen. Each year, a different group of artists is chosen to receive this award and a gala is held in their honor. The individuals are chosen based on their “lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts.” The type of art is not important – recipients can be musicians, actors, or dancers. Past winners include Aretha Franklin, Alan Alda and Yo-Yo Ma. In addition to the honor of the award itself, winners are able to nominate new recipients in successive years. The Kennedy Center Board of Trustees is also responsible for nominating people. The recipients will receive their awards on Saturday, December 5 at a State Department dinner hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The 32nd-Annual Gala in honor of the recipients will take place at the Kennedy Center Opera House and will be broadcast on CBS at 9:00 EST on Sunday, December 6.