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Friday Facts: Government Information You Can Use

This Week's Facts:

-GPO Partners with Apple to Offer Federal eBooks

-State Police Offers Tips for Safer College Experience

-NASA Ballons Provide Important Data on Atmosphere & Environment

-Federal Agencies Offer Weather Alerts to Mobile Devices

Protect Yourself from West Nile Virus

Facts You Should Know to Protect Yourself from West Nile Virus

Recent weather conditions in Indiana and across the United States have caused an appearance of mosquito-borne diseases such as Eastern Equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, and West Nile Virus. Mosquitoes carrying the virus have been found in 67 Indiana counties, compared with 34 counties in 2011. The Indiana State Department of Health  (ISDH) urges Hoosiers to protect themselves from the various forms of encephalitis:  Eastern equine Encephalitis (EEE), La Crosse encephalitis virus (LACV), St. Louis encephalitis, The West Nile Virus, and Dengue. The ISDH has a map that shows instances of encephalitis by type and county.  Click here to learn more about arbo-viral encephalitis, including its cause, what it is, and symptoms.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also has information about encephalitis and other resources to keep you and your family safe.

Friday Facts Editorial Team:

Katharine Springer
State Data Center Coordinator

Kim Brown-Harden
State Documents Coordinator

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GPO Partners with Apple to Offer Federal eBooks

Government Printing OfficeThe next time you and your patrons visit iTunes, you’ll be able to download Adele, Trey Songs, the Rolling Stones and the GPO! The U.S. Government Printing Office has signed an agreement with Apple to sell Federal eBooks.  Various titles are available in eBook format for the iPad, iPods, eReaders, PCs, and Macs when running the iTunes store app.

The GPO is the Federal Government’s primary resource for producing, cataloging, indexing, authenticating, and preserving the official information products of the U.S. Government in both digital and print formats. You can read the latest budget information, hearings, debates, etc. anywhere your portable device takes you. For more information about the GPO’s partnership with Apple, read the news release.

State Police Offers Tips for Safer College Experience

State Police: College Safety TipsMany Indiana students are entering college for the first time or returning to colleges and universities in Indiana and all over the country. Going to college can be exciting and a little scary for both students and parents. The Indiana State Police (ISP) has College Safety tips to keep students safe in the dorms, on campus, or whenever they are alone. Here are a few examples for keeping safe and having a more positive college experience. If you’re living in the dorms: Keep your dorm room locked when the room is unoccupied, if you are in the room alone, or sleeping. Keep your keys with you. Don’t let anyone make copies of your keys and don’t leave them out and accessible. Don’t leave valuables (wallet, checkbook, jewelry, laptops, etc.) in open view. Keep drapes/blinds closed when changing clothes.  While walking on or around campus: Never walk or jog alone at night. Never hitchhike or offer rides to strangers. Have your car or house key in hand and ready as you approach your vehicle or home. These and other valuable tips are on the Indiana State Police website. College can be a wonderful time and can be a time of great freedom. Remember to always be safe and smart to enjoy your college experience.  

NASA Ballons Provide Important Data on Atmosphere & Environment

NASA Balloons are Fun For All AgesSure – most people know what a balloon is, how it works, and what it does. But did you know that they can be used for science? The National Air and Space Administration (NASA) maintains a facility in Palestine, Texas just for scientific balloons. The Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF) is managed by the Physical Science Lab of New Mexico State University. According to the facility’s website, scientists use data collected during balloon flights to help answer questions about the universe, atmosphere, the Sun, and the space environment, like "How did the universe, galaxies, stars, and planets form and evolve?" and "Are there Earth-like planets beyond our solar system?" You can view different types of balloons used in experiments, access the schedule of flights, and see other countries where CSBF has flown experiments on its website.

Federal Agencies Offer Weather Alerts to Mobile Devices

Wireless Emergency Alers on Your Mobile DevicesThe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is soon launching weather emergency alerts to your mobile devices. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are emergency messages sent by authorized government authorities through your mobile carrier.

Government partners include local and state public safety agencies, FEMA, the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Weather Service.

You will be able to sign up for weather-related emergency alerts through your mobile carrier. The alerts will include extreme weather warnings, local emergencies requiring evacuation or immediate action, AMBER alerts and Presidential alerts during a national emergency. The alerts will look like a text message, but will include a special tone and vibration, both repeated twice.

You can also receive alerts based on your phone’s current location. While most older phones are not WEA-capable, new mobile devices are. For information about which mobile devices are WEA-capable, please visit or contact your wireless carrier.

This article is brought to you as a courtesy of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) via the blog.


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