The U.S. Government’s Santa-Tracking Mission

December 19, 2016

‘Twas Christmas eve 1955 when a misprinted Sears Roebuck & Co. newspaper ad directed kids to a Soviet alert hotline instead of Santa’s direct dial. The top secret hotline that was used only in national emergencies to alert the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) if the USSR attacked. Wrong red phone!

Old Norad Tracks Santa posterOn the receiving end, U.S. Air Force Col. Harry Shoup, CONAD’s director of operations, grabbed the red emergency phone and braced for an imminent attack. Instead, a little 6 year-old boy’s voice trembled over the phone, “Are you really Santa Claus?” Shoup, thinking it was a prank, barked, “Would you repeat that?” The little voice started to cry, then hesitantly asked, “Is this one of Santa’s elves, then?”

Soon the phone began ringing off the hook with kids wanting to gab with Santa. Col. Shoup played along. He even turned his team of Cold War-era radar operators into North Pole elves—they scanned monitors for indications of Santa on the move. And that’s how the U.S. Government got into the business of Santa tracking.

Today, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD, CONAD’s successor) is a bi-national U.S. and Canadian organization tasked with aerospace warning and control. As a frontline in homeland defense, its slogan is “Deter, Detect, Defend.” But its most famous and favorite mission is watching the winter skies for the “big red one,” much as it has done since Col. Shoup answered the phone over 60 years ago.

NORAD Celebrating 50 Years bookGuarding What You Value Most: North American Aerospace Defense Command Celebrating 50 Years,” available thru GPO, touches upon how NORAD triangulates Kris Kringle’s course. The publication proudly states that “using the same technology used to perform their day-to-day mission— satellites, high-powered radars and jet fighters— NORAD tracks Santa Claus as he makes his Yuletide journey around the world.”

NORAD’s sleigh of different high-tech systems is used to read Rudolph’s infrared nose signature, capture high-speed video around the globe, and provide Santa and his reindeer with a NORAD fighter pilot escort. Fun fact to impress people at your holiday party: satellites and radar once clocked Santa’s flying delivery cart at 100 times faster than the Japanese bullet train.

santa-sleighSanta positioning updates were originally delivered over the radio and through the Santa Tracking hotline. In 1997, the operation leapt onto the internet. A few years ago, NORAD teamed up with tech companies to release a set of free apps. If you download the tracking app, you can receive notifications of the Santa’s globetrotting whereabouts.

Want to track jolly St. Nick and his sleigh-pullers on Christmas Eve? Visit NORAD’s multilingual Santa site. It’s soundtracked with some pretty groovy holiday music, too. And while clicking around, do visit GPO’s Online Bookstore and check out that NORAD history publication there waiting for you. Unlike Santa, it requires no high-tech tracking.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS PUBLICATION?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


Great Gift Ideas from the Federal Government – Check Out Our New Holiday Catalog

November 25, 2016

us_holiday_2016_catalog_final_coverThis year consider giving family and friends reading options from publishers across the Federal government. From insightful commentary on how America is reacting to world hot spots, to glorious posters of our nation’s art collection and natural beauty, to fun educational kits for the kids.

Open up the GPO Holiday Catalog and find a few treasures, many of which are incredibly low priced “stocking stuffer” gift ideas.

Enjoy your holidays and learn a lot too!

HOW DO I OBTAIN THE HOLIDAY CATALOG?

You can click on the link or image above to view or print the catalog. Or, click on the Holiday Catalog 2016 collection  below to shop publications in our catalog online.

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Ed Kessler is a Promotions Specialist in GPO’s Publication and Information Sales program office.


College Prep from the U.S. Government

November 4, 2016
President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Higher Education Act. Lady Bird Johnson, Congressman Jake Pickle, and others look on. LBJ Library photo by Frank Wolfe

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Higher Education Act. Lady Bird Johnson, Congressman Jake Pickle, and others look on. LBJ Library photo by Frank Wolfe.

On November 8th, 1965, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Higher Education Act. A part of LBJ’s Great Society domestic agenda, the legislation authorizes the administration of Federal student aid programs. GPO employees printed the original legislation and now make it digitally available on govinfo.

In addition, GPO makes available a number of free Department of Education eBooks that place real answers in the hands of college and vocational school-bound students. A bit of good guidance can make those first steps toward college more surefooted.

My Future, My Way: First Steps Toward College

9780160930959The Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid folks have assembled this ePub to frame some big, scary college planning questions without oversimplifying them. It’s arranged in a series of prompts, mythbusters, and graphics. It features a nifty comparison of vocational, technical, and professional career choices as well.

This booklet tackles the “when should I begin thinking of college?” and “what can a college education do for me?” and “how will I pay for college?” FAQs. As is often the case when undertaking something new, school kids might not even know which questions to ask. Give them a tailor-made activity book like My Future, My Way and post-high school success will be a bit more achievable.

College Preparation Checklist

college-prep-checklist_page_01This checklist is really a to-do list. It breaks down the college planning timeline into elementary, middle, and high school subsections; each subsection details what to do, when to do it, and who can help. It’s full of sensible suggestions about more than just which classes to take. Comprehensive college prep is “also about developing the skills that will help you succeed in college and life.” Things like money planning, time management, test scores, and scholarships all have a place in the balance between studying and having fun.

The College Preparation Checklist is certainly not designed to replace traditional guidance counseling. The goal here is to get any student considering college to start asking questions now that will make career planning less intimidating.

Funding Your Education: The Guide to Federal Student Aid

funding-your-education_page_01If planning for college is a towering task, then paying for college can be an even bigger challenge. This concise electronic brochure highlights the types of federal student aid and steps to remember when applying for aid. With this resource, the Office of Federal Student Aid aims to “ensure that all eligible individuals can benefit from federally funded financial assistance for education or training beyond high school.”

Getting ready for the post-secondary world may seem daunting but with these Department of Education resources, students don’t have to do it alone.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


What to Read This National Diabetes Month

November 1, 2016

diabetes_blogNovember is National Diabetes Month, a spotlight on a disease that affects tens of millions of Americans. Approximately 1 out of every 11 Americans lives with diabetes. It’s one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. And it has rung up enormous health and financial costs over past decades. Diabetes impacts everyone and it can affect anyone.

U.S. Government agencies are working hard to slow the growing epidemic of diabetes and pre-diabetes. GPO makes available two Government resources designed to educate different segments of the population about diabetes management and prevention.

Coyote and the Turtle’s Dream

017-001-00577-1This Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Native Diabetes Wellness Program young adult picture book discusses diabetes and wellness in American Indian/Alaska Native communities. Tender vignettes and sweeping illustrations serve as a diabetes teaching tool for young readers.

Animal and human residents of a small reservation town weave tales that combine tribal wisdom with health promotion tips. The message: eating healthy traditional foods and being active can help people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. A lot of native youth and tribal leaders contributed to this important work—and it shows.

65+ in the United States

803-005-10065-1The world population is aging. Persons 65 years or older are expected to grow to be 21.7% of the U.S. population by 2040. This U.S. Census Bureau report examines a range of health trends among this growing population, including the alarming prevalence of diabetes. It devotes an entire chapter to diabetes, a health risk among older people that has as much to do with lifestyle as it does with genetics.

As President Obama reminds us in his 2016 National Diabetes Month proclamation, “Every year, too many Americans experience the consequences of diabetes.” He continues, “let us work to show every individual living with diabetes that they are not alone, and let us continue strengthening our investment in the fight against this disease.”

To learn more about this year’s National Diabetes Month, visit NIH’s National Diabetes Education Program website.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


A New Guide for the American Diet

September 15, 2016

001-000-04771-0Americans, your dietary guidepost for the next four years is here! The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Dietary Guidelines for Americans is now available through GPO. It’s designed to help folks “improve their overall eating patterns — the complete combination of foods and drinks in their diet.” Plainly put, it’s a plan for eating better.

In this latest edition of HHS and USDA’s twice-a-decade nutrition publication, you’ll see terms like “nutrient-dense” and “food pattern” over and over again. That isn’t just trendy jargon to impress policymakers and health professionals. The words have real meaning, and they represent a shift in thinking about the way Americans should eat.  That is, “people do not eat food groups and nutrients in isolation but rather in combination”—people eat food in patterns.

eat-carrot-peaDietary Guidelines doesn’t just prescribe what to eat, it reminds us why to eat. Science tells us that healthy eating patterns “can help prevent chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.” Improved nutrition staves off disease. And when Americans make healthy choices in their daily lives, the long-term benefits support a healthier next generation.

001-000-04771-0_dietary-guidelines-for-americans-2015-2020-003

Click on image to enlarge.

And now, snack on a few science-based recommendations:

  • There’s more than one way to pattern and adapt your eating. Dietary Guidelines provides examples of healthy eating patterns,
  • Nutrient-dense foods are only nutrient dense if they’re made with little or no added solid fats, sugars, refined starches, and sodium. So, cut down on those things,
  • Find new ways to sneak more veggies into dishes you already prepare,
  • Women, limit yourself to one drink per day. Men, your limit is two,
  • Lifelong healthy eating begins with small changes.

If you want a handy takeaway message, it’s this: make small dietary shifts and follow a healthy, lifetime eating pattern that combines a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Or simpler yet, eat for the long run, eat to live.

Update: The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, is now available in a variety of convenient digital formats compatible with mobile phones, tablets, and e-readers.

See all the available formats for the Dietary Guidelines.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS PUBLICATION?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


Great Lessons in Small Packages—Tree Books for Kids

August 30, 2016

Great things do come in small packages! In the case of this blog post, the small packages are children’s books that bring to life the themes of growth and nature. GPO makes available two colorfully-illustrated, nature-based publications from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that are ideal for parents and educators, too!

The Little Acorn

001-001-00687-4We usually think of acorns as the staple snack of squirrels. And that they are. In the case of this delightful storybook from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, an acorn can also represent the magic of growing up.

The Little Acorn is written from the perspective of a foraging squirrel who buries an acorn near a stream. As it occasionally checks back on the oak nut, the squirrel bears witness to the tree’s growth amid seasonal and ecological changes. Spring rains, summer heat, and autumn winds condition the baby oak. Its thirsty roots stretch out and it learns that all living things need water to grow.

What starts as a tiny seed encased in a tough shell eventually transforms into a “big, beautiful oak tree…dropping little acorns of its own.”

Why Would Anyone Cut a Tree Down?

001-000-04759-1Sometimes it is necessary to cut trees. Trees have lifecycles—they sprout, mature, grow old, die—and their seeds can be planted to grow new trees. For a renewable resource like trees to healthily propagate, diseased or hazardous trees must be cut down and removed. What sounds like severe measures is actually a good thing for the environment.

This U.S. Forest Service publication teaches kids that “people need to cut some trees down, but that is not the end of the story.” It explores various uses for wood from cut trees—such as materials for construction, nutrients for fresh soil, and stumps for new shoots. The book also includes a note to adults about the basics of tree care.

Cutting down a tree is a form of caring for that tree. It makes room for more life in the exchange of another. Eighteenth century botanist Carl Linnaeus said it best when he wrote “if a tree dies, plant another in its place.”

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE PUBLICATIONS?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


Teaching our Children about Making Healthy Food Choices

August 15, 2016

Maintaining good health and nutrition has become a major issue for many families in the United States. Today, many Americans are lacking in physical activity and proper nutrition, either because of their sedentary lifestyles, or because they are “too busy.” As a result of this, the frequency of making healthy food choices has diminished.

Discover MyPlate: Emergent Readers - A MyPlate MealTherefore, it is important that children learn early on about the importance of nutrition, fitness and the well-being of their bodies. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service has created Discover MyPlate: A MyPlate Meal, an eBook that serves as a meal and fitness guide for children. It includes fun interactive games about nutrition, to help introduce the development of healthy food choices and physical activity lifestyles to young readers.  The child-friendly material and age appropriate games and activities will help children learn healthy habits effortlessly.

The USDA has also created a Teacher’s Kit curriculum to assist educators in the teaching of nutrition and fitness to their students. There are a number of books featured in the kit, including in the Discover MyPlate series, to teach children the importance of every food group and its relevance to one’s health. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service has done an exceptional job in their efforts of creating a child-friendly approach to nutrition and fitness.

Owning this eBook is easy, you can download it for free on the U.S. Government Bookstore website. Summer is here and the Discover MyPlate: A MyPlate Meal series are perfect reads for you and your children to become educated on the importance of nutrition and fitness.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS FREE RESOURCE?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Alyssa Doughty is an intern in GPO’s Publication and Information Sales program office.


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