National Aviation Day – August 19

August 16, 2019

Man first took to the air in 1783 when Joseph-Michael and Jacques-Ètienne Montgolfier engineered the first hot-air balloon flights.

The Wright Brothers “Flying Machine,” the first powered airplane to execute controlled and sustained flight, gained world acclaim on December 17, 1903. In a world today replete with technological marvels that seem to emerge almost routinely, the wonders of yester-year appear commonplace. Yet without the courage and innovation of early air-pioneers and their revolutionary impact on air travel, we wouldn’t be where we are today – working toward exploring other worlds.

Aviation has advanced at an incredible speed of change.

To lift us out of a ho-hum attitude about the miracle of flight, National Aviation Day makes such a worthy national celebration. It takes place yearly on August 19 — Orville Wright’s birthday! Established in 1939, Franklin Roosevelt’s presidential proclamation marked Orville Wright‘s birthday as National Aviation Day (Mr. Wright, born in 1871, lived to enjoy that proclamation when first issued.)

Travel today by air continues to see major advancements. Everyday pilots and air travelers may be interested in the Aeronautical Information Manual: Official Guide to Basic Flight Information and ATC (Air Traffic Control) Procedures. This print subscription is designed to provide the aviation community with the most up-to-date fundamentals required for flying safely in the United States.

However, it’s the race to other planets that now captures our collective imagination. The first flights that lifted man off the earth began this journey. But who could imagine that the space race among the United States and Russia during the late fifties and sixties would be the scientific laboratory that has created so many incredible new products and wonder of scientific achievement?

Propeller-pushed air gave way to jet propulsion, then on to massive missiles with guidance capabilities beyond our wildest imaginations.

The ultimate ride to the ends of the universe has just begun!

The GPO Online Bookstore – Easy Access to Federal Publications

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

Sign up to receive promotional bulletin emails from the US Government Online Bookstore.

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

Visit our Retail Store: To buy or order 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, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up(s).

Order by Phone or Email: Call our Custoer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4:30 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.  Email orders to ContactCenter@gpo.gov

Find more than a million official Federal Government publications from all three branches at www.govinfo.gov.

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


National Aviation Day

August 18, 2016

August 19th is National Aviation Day, a yearly observance to celebrate the history and development of aviation. Another fun fact: the day is also Orville Wright’s birthday!

GPO makes available a wide range of Federal Government publications about flight.

First Flight: The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Airplane

024-005-01212-5Twelve seconds in the air turned into over 100 years of aviation progress. In December 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright stuck their first—and the world’s first—successful flight in a heavier-than-air, mechanically controlled machine. The sibling inventors behind the defining technology of the last century are the subject of this National Park Service handbook. In his forward, astronaut and former U.S. Senator John Glenn defers to the duo as the “first astronauts. Their initial short flight opened our quest to reach beyond the world we know. They were the first test pilots.” A foolhardy flying machine became a phenomena of human achievement. The Wright Brothers made their home above the world and consequently changed the world.

Logbook of the Signal Corps No. 1: The United States Army’s First Airplane (eBook)

Indeed the Wright Bros. invention changed the world. And changed the U.S. Army. This book tells the story of a self-taught aviator and his Wright flyer responsible for the launch of military airpower. In 1909, the U.S. Army Signal Corps paid $30,000 to Orville and Wilbur for a custom-made aircraft designated “Signal Corps No. 1.” A plucky young lieutenant with no prior flying experience was elected its sole operator. “Take plenty of spare parts,” a commanding officer told 1st Lt. Benjamin D. Foulois, “and teach yourself to fly.” Through industrious trial and error and long-distance guidance from the Wright Brothers, Foulois learned to fly the Army’s very first airplane. Read this book and then go visit the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in DC. There you will find the original Signal Corps No. 1, a beautifully restored piece of Army aviation history.

The Combat Edge

708-051-00313-5This quarterly publication of the Air Force’s Air Combat Command features articles and stories about flight safety. As aviation technology evolves to enhance combat capability, so must risk mitigation. Thus, ACC’s safety magazine looks to “foster a culture where Airmen strive for zero mishaps.” Developing this sort of discipline keeps safety standards high so that top guns can continue to “Aim High … Fly-Fight-Win.”

The Air Almanac for the Year 2016 (eBook)

008-054-00245-5For millennia, navigators have been using the stars to chart their course. Aircraft rely on similar celestial navigation. The Air Almanac contains astronomical data produced by The U.S. Naval Observatory in collaboration Her Majesty’s Nautical Almanac Office in the U.K. Published annually since 1941, this cosmic directory tabulates statistics at 10-minute intervals to a precision of 1 arcminute. Predictions include Greenwich hour angles; lunar rise and set times; sky diagrams for each month; charts for moon visibility and star positions; and sunrise, sunset, and twilight tables.

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.

 


60 Years of Tracking “Big Red One”

December 22, 2015

‘Twas Christmas eve 1955 when a misprinted Sears Roebuck & Co. newspaper ad directed kids to a top secret Soviet alert hotline instead of Santa’s direct dial. Wrong red phone! On the receiving end, an Air Force colonel played along and a team of Cold War-era serviceman became North Pole elves. And that’s how the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) eventually became the Santa tracking agency.

santatrackerimageNORAD is a bi-national U.S. and Canadian organization with the mission of aerospace warning and control in the defense of North America. But its most famous and favorite mission is watching the winter skies for the “big red one.” “Guarding What You Value Most: North American Aerospace Defense Command Celebrating 50 Years,” available thru GPO in hardcover and eBook editions, 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.”

That 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.

santahotlinewebSanta positioning updates were originally delivered over the radio and through the Santa Tracking hotline. In 1997, the operation joined the worldwide interwebs. A few years ago, NORAD teamed up with tech companies to release a set of free apps. If you download the tracking app, that ding from your phone could be a radar ping showing the globetrotting sleigh’s 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 bookstore. There’s a NORAD history publication there waiting for you. Unlike Santa, it requires no high-tech tracking.

How do I obtain Guarding What You Value Most: North American Aerospace Defense Command Celebrating 50 Years?

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: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


The Wright Stuff: Skies & World Transformed

December 16, 2015

They called Dayton, Ohio home and used the wind-shaped dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina as a lift off point. Both places were testing grounds, temporary assignments. For it was the unopened blue that beckoned them skyward and homeward. On December 17th, 1903, the Wilbur and Orville Wright stuck their first—and the world’s first—successful flight in a heavier-than-air, mechanically controlled machine. Twelve seconds in the air turned into over 100 years of aviation progress.

024-005-01212-5Those sibling inventors behind the defining technology of the last century are the subject of a National Park Service handbook entitled “First Flight, The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Airplane.” In his forward, astronaut and former U.S. Senator John Glenn defers to the duo as the “first astronauts. Their initial short flight opened our quest to reach beyond the world we know. They were the first test pilots.”

In ‘First Flight’, noted Wright biographer Tom D. Crouch recounts their bicycle shop beginnings, hometown life, and aeronautical experimentations. Full page maps and fold-outs tell of the history, visionaries, and mechanics of flight. Pull-out quotes decorate the margins, lending a first person feel to Wilbur & Orville’s story.

Eye witnesses thought the pair were foolhardy—a few spokes short of a wheel. Kitty Hawk resident Millie Daniels said, “A lot of folks thought the Wrights were a little touched, you know…they would  imitate the way birds flew…turn their arms like wings and run through the dunes while watching the gulls.” The birdie brothers weathered the pitch-and-roll of small gains and minor setbacks. In search of strong headwinds to propel their glider, they eventually moved their production from Ohio to the sand flats of the Outer Banks.

The iconic first flight of the Wright brothers in their 1903 Wright Flyer (Credit: NPS Wright Brothers National Memorial)

The iconic first flight of the Wright brothers in their 1903 Wright Flyer (Credit: NPS Wright Brothers National Memorial)

Pitched in tents battered by bitter nor’easters, the Wrights set out to beta test the product of their scientific inquiries. Several seasons of experiments led to design changes that led to repairs that led to reattempts. Finally, on a cold morning of perfect conditions, sustained human flight was achieved. On his first glide into the air, Orville remarked, “It was only a flight of twelve seconds, and it was uncertain, wavy, creeping sort of flight at best; but it was a real flight at last…”

A foolhardy flying machine became a phenomena of human achievement. The Wright Brothers made their home above the world and consequently changed the world.

How do I obtain First Flight?

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: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


Happy 25th Birthday, World Wide Web!

March 12, 2014

World Wide Web 25TH Anniversary logo. Happy 25 birthday, WWW, March 12 1989 to 2014Twenty-five years ago on March 12, 1989, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, wrote a paper proposing the system now known as the World Wide Web. (Left: 25 Years logo courtesy Marketing Magazine UK.) It was originally conceived and developed as an improved means for instantaneous information-sharing between scientists around the world.

From DOD’s ARPANet to an Internet

The Internet itself had actually started as a creation of the U.S. Government’s Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) together with U.S. universities. It was in response to the Cold War need for a backup communications method in case the traditional phone networks were knocked out. The resulting mainframe-to-mainframe computer network in 1969 was called ARPANet, the foundation for today’s Internet. (Read the History Channel’s history of the invention of the Internet here.) Soon, other organizations, mostly universities and military, created their own private networks. When the University College in London and the Royal Radar Establishment in Norway) connected to ARPANET in 1973, the term Internet was born.

In 1974, the first Internet Service Provider (ISP) was launched with the introduction of a commercial version of ARPANET, known as Telenet, thus expanding the availability of the Internet. After the introduction of a new protocol called TCP/IP by computer scientists Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn (called “The Fathers of the Internet”) in 1974, diverse computer networks could easily interconnect with each other, transforming the “Internet” into a truly global network by the end of the 1970s.

However, by 1990, frustrated CERN scientists were using the text-only Internet with its bulletin boards and limited mainframe messaging, but it was not user-friendly for either the end users or the publishers of content.

From a text-only Internet to a graphical World Wide Web

After Berners-Lee’s proposal received the go-ahead from his boss at CERN, he went on to write software in his spare time, creating the first World Wide Web server (“httpd”) and the first web client “WorldWideWeb.”

This “World Wide Web browser” was a WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) hypertext browser/editor that would install on their client (end user) computers, providing them with the first graphical interface for accessing Internet content (think of clicking on hyperlinks, viewing  photos and other graphical images, seeing text in different fonts, colors and sizes).

The World Wide Web was launched publicly on August 6, 1991, forever after providing the world a way to “browse the World Wide Web.”

Sir Tim Berners-Lee First World Wide Web Server 1990

Image: This NeXT workstation (a NeXTcube) was used by Sir Tim Berners-Lee in 1990-1 as the first Web server on the World Wide Web. Source: Wikipedia

In a guest blog post today on Google’s official blog, Sir Tim Berners-Lee explains the results of his World Wide Web idea:

In 1993, after much urging, CERN declared that WWW technology would be available to all, without paying royalties, forever.

This decision enabled tens of thousands to start working together to build the web. Now, about 40 percent of us are connected and creating online. The web has generated trillions of dollars of economic value, transformed education and healthcare and activated many new movements for democracy around the world. And we’re just getting started.

So, thank you, Sir Tim! The rest, as they say, is history.

Below is a timeline of Internet history from 1990 to 2007:

Internet timeline including World Wide Web and social media. Courtesy: Harbott.com

Internet timeline including World Wide Web and social media. Courtesy: Harbott.com

GPO’s History on the World Wide Web

GPO is joining in the celebration by commemorating our own moments in World Wide Web history:

1993:    The Government Printing Office Electronic Information Access Enhancement Act of 1993 was enacted (Public Law 103-40).

1994:    GPO Access launched (available by subscription; free to Federal depository libraries)

1995:    GPO Access became free to all users.

1995:    GPO began selling Government publications online with its “Sales Product Catalog” (now the site known as the U.S. Government Bookstore)

1996:    GPO’s Federal Depository Library Program Web site, “FDLP Administration,” launched (later named the FDLP Desktop and now FDLP.gov)

2000:    GPO’s kids’ site, Ben’s Guide to U.S. Government, launched.

Image: Home page of Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids as of March 12, 2014.

Image: Home page of Ben’s Guide to U.S. Government for Kids as of March 12, 2014.

2006:    The Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, launched.

2009:    GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) launched.

2010:    GPO entered the world of social media, first with the launch of its YouTube Channel.

2013:      GPO relaunches its newly redesigned U.S. Government Bookstore ecommerce site at http://bookstore.gpo.gov/.

BEFORE (U.S. Government Online Bookstore 2000):

US_ Government_Online Bookstore_Wayback-Machine_20000708

Image: Snapshot of the home page of the U.S. Government Online Bookstore http://bookstore.gpo.gov/ as of July 8, 2000. Source: Internet Archive Wayback Machine http://archive.org/web/

AFTER (U.S. Government Online Bookstore today in 2014):

Image: Today's U.S. Government Online Bookstore home page as of March 12, 2014.

Image: Today’s U.S. Government Online Bookstore home page http://bookstore.gpo.gov/ as of March 12, 2014.

To see how your favorite websites looked in years past, visit the Internet Archive Wayback Machine at http://archive.org/web/ which archives snapshots of web pages since the World Wide Web launched.

Federal Publications for the Digital Age

The U.S. Government Online Bookstore carries a number of Federal publications that highlight the triumphs and the challenges of the digital age.

A History of Army Communications and Electronics at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, 1917-2007 (Hardcover) or Ebook  ISBN: 9780160813597 or 9780160869105One interesting read is, “A History of Army Communications and Electronics at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, 1917-2007 (Hardcover) and eBook.” This book details ninety years of communications-electronics achievements carried out by the scientists, engineers, logisticians and support staff at Fort Monmouth, NJ. It’s a fascinating read, as it details communications ranging from homing pigeons to frequency hopping tactical radios!

YouTube War: Fighting in a World of Cameras in Every Cell Phone and Photoshop on Every Computer by US Army War College & Strategic Studies InstituteAlso check out “YouTube War: Fighting in a World of Cameras in Every Cell Phone and Photoshop on Every Computer,” from the U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute. This publication discusses the digital environment in which we live that enables terrorists to film and instantly share their attacks within minutes of staging them. It also describes possible courses of action for the Army and the U.S. military as they seek to respond to an enemy in this type of environment.

Computers Take Flight: A History of NASA's Pioneering Digital Fly-by-wire Project ISBN: 9780160914423You might also be interested in, “Computers Take Flight: A History Of NASA’s Pioneering Digital Fly-by-wire Project.” This book details the flight research project which validated the principal concepts of all-electric flight control systems now used on nearly all modern high-performance aircraft and on military and civilian transports.

These, and a wide array of other interesting publications on related topics, can be found by browsing the U.S. Government Bookstore under the “Computers and Electronics” category. In addition, the World Wide Web has made obtaining eBooks possible, so our wide selection of free and/or inexpensive eBooks for consumers, industry, academia, military, law enforcement, legal community and more would be worth viewing as well.

How can I get these technology-related Federal publications?

  • Shop Online Anytime: You can buy this eBook or any other eBook, as well as print publications (with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide) from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at http://bookstore.gpo.gov:
  • Order by Phone: You may also Order print editions by calling 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.
  • 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.
  • Visit a Federal Depository Library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. (Librarians: You can find the records for most titles in the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications or CGP.)

About the authors: Guest blogger Kelly Seifert, Lead Planning Specialist for GPO’s Library Services & Content Management Division, writes about the World Wide Web’s 25th birthday and the array of Government publications available on the topics of computers and electronics.

Government Book Talk Editor Michele Bartram. Bartram is Promotions and Ecommerce Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division in Washington, DC, and is responsible for online and offline marketing of the US Government Online Bookstore and promoting Federal government content to the public. A computer scientist and digital expert, Bartram remembers those early pre-WWW days using mainframe-based Internet and email and then using a web browser to “surf” the World Wide Web for the first time.


Federal Favorites: Our Best Selling Books of 2013

January 16, 2014

Ahhh…. It’s that time of the year again: Awards season! From the Golden Globes to the Academy Awards, red carpets abound with interviews of movie stars and other celebrities boasting about their best work during the past year.

We at the US Government Bookstore want to make sure our star publications and Federal agency publishers get their moment in the limelight, too. So, we are pleased to announce the winning publications that you, our readers, chose through your purchases over the past year: The US Government Bookstore Best Sellers of 2013!

Top-Government Books and Best-Sellers-of-2013 from the GPO US Government Online BookstoreHere are some of the more notable books, eBooks, posters and more that were winners in your eyes over the past year:

ART & TRAVEL

National Park System (Wall Map Poster)Americans love our national parks, so it’s no surprise the National Park System Wall Map Poster was a big hit.

Humanities-Magazine-2014-01Humanities is a bimonthly magazine published by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) which covers NEH sponsored research in the humanities and NEH programs and projects, as well as information on recent and upcoming NEH grants.

HISTORY

With the 150th anniversary and reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg last summer, The Gettysburg Campaign, June-July 1863 was a smash success (Read our post “Gettysburg, America’s Bloodiest Battle” for more information).

Perennial favorite Underground Railroad: Official Map and Guide (Read our post “The Underground Railroad Leaves its Tracks in History”) was joined by two publications commemorating 50th anniversaries:

Book Cover Image for Statistical Abstract of the United States 2012 (Paperback)Finally, the Statistical Abstract of the United States, the last official edition published in 2012 by the U.S. Census Bureau, contains a standardized summary of all official key statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States (Read our post: “Statistical Abstract and Print Mashups in a Digital Age”).

TREES & FORESTS

Book Cover Image for The Little AcornI won’t be going out on a limb to say that our customers definitely wanted to hug trees this year, as books about Trees & Forests topped the lists. Why Would Anyone Cut a Tree Down? and The Little Acorn are extremely popular books for children explaining about the uses and life cycle of trees.

Image for Timber Management Field BookHow to Prune Trees and How To Recognize Hazardous Defects in Trees for amateur and professional gardeners, landscapers and foresters alike, and the Timber Management Field Book serves as the most popular reference handbook for forestry professionals.

(Read our posts “Oh, say, can you tree? American Christmas tree traditions,” “Pruning Trees” and “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax Inspires Kids to Hug a Tree” for more information on these titles.)

BUSINESS AND LAW

A Basic Guide to Exporting for Small & Medium-Sized Businesses (10th Revised)International business entrepreneurs and would-be exporters have made A Basic Guide to Exporting: The Official Government Resource for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses a best-seller every year (Read our posts: “Exporting Made Simple and “Government eBooks Made Easy– and Sometimes Free” for more information).

Copyright Law of the United States in U.S. Code as of 12/2011Protecting intellectual property and privacy were extremely hot topics in 2013, making the Copyright Law of the United States and Related Laws and the Overview of the Privacy Act of 1974, 2012 Edition (extremely popular last year (Read our post: “The Privacy Act: What the Government Can Collect and Disclose about Youfor more information).

TRANSPORTATION AND NAVIGATION

TAstronomical Almanac for the Year 2014 and Its Companion the Astronomical Almanahe latest versions of the annual best-selling Astronomical Almanac for the Year 2014 (Combined Print plus Online Edition) and The Nautical Almanac for the Year 2014 are critical tools to aid commercial and private navigation by both air or water (Read our post: “Navigating by the Moon, Planets, and Starsfor more information).

Specifically for maritime navigation, Navigation Rules, International-Inland contains the latest international regulations for preventing Book Cover Image for FAA Safety Briefingcollisions at sea as well as the U.S. Inland Navigation Rules which have been in effect for all inland waters, including the Great Lakes.

The FAA Safety Briefing magazine provides updates on major Federal Aviation Administration rule changes and proposed changes, as well as refresher information on flight rules, maintenance air worthiness, avionics, accident analysis, and other aviation topics.

CITIZENSHIP AND CIVICS

Preparing to become a United States citizen and reaffirming knowledge of the American system of Government is extremely popular with our customers, and this year was no exception. Top civics and citizenship publications for 2013 included the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence (Pocket Edition) and materials for preparing for the U.S. Naturalization Test to become a United States citizen—

(Read our posts: “Quiz and History for Bill of Rights Day December 15”, “Quiz: Are you smarter than an 8th grade Civics student?”, and “Notable Documents 2009: Civics Flash Cardsfor more information on these products.)

Another patriotic publication that proved popular (Do you like the alliteration?:-) was Our Flag, which briefly describes the history of the American flag and sets forth the practices and observances appropriate to the display of Old Glory, was a top-seller.Book Cover Image for How Our Laws Are Made

The Congressional book, How Our Laws Are Made, provides citizens with a basic outline of the numerous steps of our Federal law-making process from the source of an idea for a legislative proposal through to its publication as a statute and becoming the “law of the land”.

HEALTH

Watching our weight and eating better were definitely on the minds of Americans this year as Diet & Nutrition books and posters were best sellers, including:

Book Cover Image for Special Operations Forces Medical HandbookHealthcare professionals turned often to the U.S. Government Bookstore for Physician References & Medical Handbooks, Medical & Health Research, and Military & Emergency Medicine publications in 2013. Top on the list were copies of the new Healthcare Law, as well as the Special Operations Forces Medical Handbook.

But also important were publications used to improve the quality of healthcare research and patient care and safety. These included the ORI: Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research  (also available in Packages of 50) which provides guidelines for Public Health Service-funded researchers, as well as the TeamSTEPPS patient care and safety training materials for healthcare personnel, such as the TeamSTEPPS Instructor Guide (Binder Kit) and TeamSTEPPS Pocket Guide that should be handed out to all healthcare personnel who attend TeamSTEPPS training.

SECURITY AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

Emergency management personnel and first responders responded strongly to the many great safety and emergency response publications on the U.S. Government Bookstore.  These books and pocket guides topped their “must have” list in 2013:

Specifically for dealing with Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) and Chemical-Biological-Radiological-Nuclear-Explosive (CBRNE) incidents, clean-up and response were these best-selling guides:

The importance of radio communications was underscored by the popularity of the United States Frequency Allocations: The Radio Spectrum Chart (Poster) of all assigned frequencies and the National Interoperability Field Operations Guide which contains radio guidelines for establishing or repairing emergency communications in a disaster area.

GOVERNMENT

Every year, the publications containing the President’s proposed Federal Budget for the upcoming fiscal year are on our best sellers list, and the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget publications followed this tradition. (Note: Stay tuned! The new Fiscal Year 2015 Budget publications will be coming out soon from the White House).

United States Government Manual 2013 lists all federal agenciesThe U.S. Government Manual, the ultimate handbook of all Federal agencies, was a hit as it is every year. Now you can get the new edition: United States Government Manual 2013 (Read about it on our Blog post:  “Understand How the U.S. Government is Organized”).

Other “Best of the Best” Government titles include:

How can I get these “Best-selling Books of 2013”?

  • Shop Online: You can purchase these publications from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov by clicking on the individual links above in this blog post. You may also click here to shop our entire “Best Sellers of 2013” collection.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Visit a Federal Depository Library: Search for one of these publications in a nearby Federal depository library.

About the Author: Government Book Talk Editor Michele Bartram is also Promotions and Ecommerce Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division in Washington, DC, and is responsible for online and offline marketing of the US Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov) and promoting Federal government content to the public. Assistance provided by Stephanie Jaeger, Sales & Marketing Coordinator for GPO’s Sales & Marketing Division that markets GPO’s publishing services to the Federal sector.


“Santa, We Got Your Six!” NORAD’s Santa Tracker Goes High-Tech

December 23, 2013

Tracking Santa call sign Big-Red-One on NORAD Santa Tracker RadarThis article is Part 2 of a two-part series on NORAD’s Santa Tracker by Government Book Talk and explores the fascinating technology NORAD uses today to keep the Abominable Snowman, the mean Mr. Grinch, and Jack Frost from spoiling Santa’s big flight on Christmas Eve.

“Click here to read the popular Part 1 article, “Tracking “Big Red One”: NORAD’s Secret Santa Mission” which tells the history of how a fortunate advertising mistake in 1955 and a colonel’s heartwarming response to kids led to NORAD tracking Santa Claus.

In the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)’s 58-year history of tracking Santa Claus (Santa’s call sign for NORAD is “Big Red One”), it has continued to innovate and expand its Santa-support mission with the addition of new technology. 2013 is no exception.

Background of NORAD’s Santa Tracker

In Part 1 of our @NORADSanta Tracker series, we learned that NORAD’s mission of defending North America was expanded to include tracking Santa Claus’ flight on Christmas Eve back in 1955.

Guarding What You Value Most: North American Aerospace Defense Command Celebrating 50 Years (available in Hardcover Print or as an eBook) is the terrific publication documenting NORAD’s illustrious 50+ years of  history and provides easy-to-follow timelines of key NORAD events along with copious color photographs, maps and snippets of history of this important organization.

The publication also proudly covers the history of its favorite mission— Santa tracking— stating:

“Today, 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.”

To learn what NORAD & NORTHCOM (USNORTHERN Command) do when they aren’t tracking Santa, you can also visit their Facebook page.

NORAD’s Santa Tracking Innovations

NORAD has been as busy as Santa’s workshop in 2013, updating their systems to provide the ultimate Santa tracking capability. In a November 27 press release, NORAD is ready to track Santa’s flight, NORAD cites some of these innovations:

From intelligence to weather, satellites to ships, missiles to manned aircraft, NORAD has a wide variety of technology and processes that are deployed to protect North America and support special missions like helping “Big Red One.”

Santa Drops in for a Sneak Peek

Santa dropped into the NORAD Command Center in September 2013 to get a sneak peek at some of the innovations. Said Santa during his visit:

NORAD Tracks Santa defines my sleigh as a versatile, all-weather, multi-purpose, vertical short-take-off and landing vehicle capable of traveling vast distances without refueling. My reindeer and I call it the world’s most magical gift transporter. Ho ho ho!”

Santa-on-NORAD-cargo-planeImage: Santa Claus drops in for a sneak peek of the Santa Tracker preparations on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, at the NORAD and USNORTHCOM headquarters at Peterson Air Force, Colo. Photo Credit: Michael Kucharek

Santa Tracker Test Flight Reveals NORAD Technology

On November 15, 2013, NORAD held a test flight incorporating all the technological know-how and innovations. During the test flight, NORAD personnel from the United States and Canada ran through checks of the technology, systems, processes and intelligence in place that are normally used to defend against threats but during Christmas are used to help Santa Claus complete his mission.

A video of this test flight that includes an overview of this impressive technology can be viewed for the first time in a NORAD Tracks Santa Command Center video of the Santa 2013 Test Flight.

NORAD-Command-Center-Test-Flight-VideoClick here to view the NORAD Command Center video of the Santa 2013 Test Flight on YouTube.

The NORAD team takes their Santa Mission seriously. 😉

In the comms [communications] check during the Santa test flight, we learn that the “Intel” [Intelligence] team verified that Jack Frost and Abominable Snowman would not interrupt Santa’s important journey on Christmas Eve. The Cyber team ensured that the “anti-Grinch viral” was in place to ensure the nasty green guy doesn’t steal Christmas this year via cyber-attack. And other NORAD personnel confirmed their assessment of the “load-bearing capacity for all rooftops that Santa will be landing on.

One of the more interesting tidbits is learning of the upgrades made to ground-based radar systems that can now detect heat signatures from smaller objects in the air, “like the heat generated from Rudolph the Reindeer’s red nose.

Fighter Jet Controversy?

Strangely, the use of a fighter jet escort for Santa has generated some controversy this year, even though this is part of the NORAD Santa Tracker tradition that has been in place for years.

NORAD tells kids of the fighter jets:

“Did you know Santa flies faster than starlight? He flies even faster than our fighter jets and slows down for our jets to come up beside him. They tip their wings to say hello, he always waves back and then is off again in the twinkle of an eye!”

However, with some new concerns on the part of a children’s advocacy group which said that the animated video on the NORAD Tracks Santa website “injects militarism into Christmas by showing fighter jets escorting Santa’s sleigh,” NORAD issued this statement on December 3, 2013:

Hi Folks,
We know there have been some questions about our #NORAD fighter jets escorting #Santa this year; this isn’t new. Every year we use our military satellites, radars, fighter jets and Santa Cams to track #Santa during his Yuletide journey. These are the same assets we use to provide homeland defense for North America every day of the year. We talk about this every year.

Each year, we look for ways to update the #NORAD Tracks #Santa program to keep it fresh and interesting. We have always showcased our military assets for tracking Santa on our sites. In fact, each year, the Canadian #NORAD Region (CANR), announces the names of the escort fighter pilots responsible for accompanying #Santa across Canadian skies.

We know for many families that #NORAD Tracks #Santa has become part of your Holiday Traditions. We know that is a huge honor and responsibility. We are proud to track #Santa each year!

NORAD-Santa-Tracker-Canadian-fighter-jet-pilots-2012You can see the two Canadian NORAD fighter jet pilots who were designated to escort Santa through North American airspace in 2012 (see minute 2:27 on the Headquarters NORAD Holiday Message 2012.)

Said the Canadian fighter jet escort pilots to Santa Claus:“We’re going to be your escort for this fantastic voyage… We’ve got your six.”

(Note: The Urban Dictionary defines this oft-used military phrase as follows:

“I got your six” basically means “I’ve got your back” or “I have you covered.” Comes from the old pilot system in which directions correspond to hours on the clock, where 12 o’clock is forward and 6 o’clock is behind. Thus anyone behind you is “at your six.”)

Santa Tracker Technology for Citizens on the Ground

Private citizens around the world can get into the Santa Tracker action as well. These new consumer-oriented innovations from NORAD and its over 55 private partners help you become part of the worldwide Santa Claus mission:

  • New Website: The newly redesigned NORAD Tracks Santa website, www.noradsanta.org, went live on Sunday, December 1, 2013, featuring a holiday countdown, daily games and activities, videos, music and more.  Beyond a new look, features such as a 3D globe and new interactive games take advantage of today’s modern web.  The site is available in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Chinese.
  • BING Maps and Cesium 3-D: Starting at 12:01 a.m. Mountain Standard Time on Dec. 24, website visitors can watch Santa make preparations for his flight through the Bing maps and Cesium technology to show a 2D or realistic 3D, interactive, real-time view of Santa’s journey.
  • Phone or Email: Then, at 4 a.m. MST (6 a.m. EST), trackers worldwide can speak with a live phone operator to ask about Santa’s whereabouts by dialing the toll-free number 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or by sending an email to noradtrackssanta@outlook.com.
  • OnStar: Americans and Canadians on the road won’t have to follow the North Star to see where Santa and his reindeer are on Christmas Eve.  Subscribers to the automobile emergency support service OnStar can press the OnStar button in their vehicles to find Santa’s location any time on Dec. 24. See how OnStar is helping NORAD track Santa on this video.
  • Santa Cams: NORAD’s newest “Santa Cams” will stream videos on the website as Santa makes his way over various locations in North America and all around the world.
  • Santa Tracker goes Mobile: Get the #NoradSanta apps from Windows, Android, iPhone & tablet by clicking here! Count down to Santa’s journey and more!

This video gives a history of how the Santa Tracker started in 1955 and some of the user technology.

Santa-Inspecting-Santa Cams at NORAD-Santa Tracker headquartersImage: Santa reviews the images from the new Santa Cams at NORAD headquarters. Source: NORAD.

Play Reindeer Games instead of War Games

NORAD Santa Tracker has a number of games and interactive features to help citizens become involved in the Santa tracking mission and enjoy the holiday season:

Santa-Village-Games-on-NORAD-Santa-Tracker-websiteClick to visit Santa’s Village on NORAD Santa Tracker and hear music and play games.


How can I get a copy of Guarding What You Value Most: North American Aerospace Defense Command Celebrating 50 Years, the wonderful hardcover book or eBook of 50 years of NORAD history chock full of color photos and anecdotes, including the Santa Tracker story?

About the Author: Government Book Talk Editor Michele Bartram is Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division in Washington, DC, and is responsible for online and offline marketing of the US Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov) and promoting Federal government content to the public.  She has been a faithful NORAD Tracks Santa fan for years!


Arming the Fleet: The Compelling Story of a Secret Navy Base in the Desert

November 7, 2013

Arlington Cemetery Veterans day posterIn honor of Veterans’ Day, we bring you a compelling story of China Lake, which answers the intriguing question, why would the U.S. Navy build a secret weapons base in the middle of the Mojave Desert? (Answer: It was the least likely place the enemy would look for a naval base!)

Nothing is more enjoyable than reading a well-written history book that brings to light the contributions of a highly secretive organization. Add in dozens of previously unpublished photographs and fascinating anecdotes of American technological innovation and ingenuity, and you have a real winner! Such is the case with the new fact and photo-filled publication about the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division or NAWCWD, entitled Arming the Fleet 1943-2011: Providing Our Warfighters the Decisive Advantage. The weapons systems developed by NAWCWD in China Lake have served generations of service members since World War II, and have undoubtedly saved many of our veterans’ lives

Government Book Talk invited Arming the Fleet author Wallace T. Martin, Deputy Director of the NAWCWD Business Development Office and expert in all things China Lake to give us the insider’s story about this book. Take it away, Wallace! Michele Bartram, Government Book Talk Editor-in-Chief

THE NAVAL BASE IN THE DESERT

Arming the Fleet: 1943-2011, Providing Our Warfighters the Decisive Advantage ISBN: 9780160917127 by Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division  NAWCWD Available from GPO Bookstore.Gpo.govArming the Fleet or “ATF” tells a compelling story of the secret city of China Lake, California, a secluded Navy base that is hidden in the middle of the vast Mojave Desert that has been quietly delivering “weapons that work” since 1943. The book also provides an inside look at Point Mugu, California, a DoD (Department of Defense ) premiere electronic warfare site and home of the world’s largest instrumented over-water range where most Navy targets are tested. Combined, these two internationally recognized historic sites comprise the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD), known also as “the WD” or “the Division”, an organization with a strong legacy in direct Warfighter support.

China Lake developed 75% of the air-launched weapons used during Vietnam and jointly developed 80% of those used during Iraqi Freedom— and the Center continues to arm the fleet into the future.

Jet with missiles from Page 25 of NAWCWD's Arming the Fleet: Providing Our Warfighters the Decisive Advantage 1943-2011 ISBN 9780160921612

WORLD FIRSTS

In the process of developing advanced weapons, the China Lake team has seen many of their technological inventions and innovations find application in the commercial world, helping to improve many fields including alternative energy, navigation, computing, medicine, automotive safety, communications, and industrial chemicals.

Along the way, the Division has been awarded over 1,600 patents, and the book documents 50+ world “firsts.” Below, are a few of these famous technological innovation firsts listed in the Arming the Fleet book:

  • First to patent new biofuel (renewable plant) technologies specifically designed to convert butanol into high-performance jet fuel
  • First subject search made by a digital computer – 43 years before “Google Search”
  • First to manage the Navy Navigation Satellite System “Transit” — Predecessor to today’s GPS
  • First body scanning technology – Predecessor to today’s MRI
  • First automatic air-bag sensors for automobiles
  • First stop-action video
  • First chemiluminescent “light sticks”
  • Non-nuclear components and testing for the first atomic bomb
  • First plastic bonded explosives
  • First air-to-air guided missile ever used in combat – Sidewinder
  • First successful anti-radiation missile –  Shrike, Predecessor to today’s HARM missile
  • First sea-based ballistic missile intercept
  • First U.S. aircraft rockets
  • First U.S. satellite launch – NOTSNIK
  • First lunar lander and Mars lander subsystems

Warhead and automobile air bag sensor from NAWCWD's Arming the Fleet: Providing Our Warfighters the Decisive Advantage 1943-2011 ISBN 9780160921612Image: ARMING WARHEAD TO DEPLOYING AUTOMOBILE AIR BAGS? In 1994, the Navy needed a means to accurately measure the distance traveled by the missile after launch, a computation necessary for arming the warhead firing device at a safe distance from the launch aircraft. NAWCWD China Lake engineers developed an extremely robust and precise micro-machined miniature accelerometer that was incorporated into several warhead SADs. The innovation proved so valuable, this device was later transitioned into millions of automobile crash-sensor air-bag-initiation systems by major foreign and domestic automobile manufacturers. It is also used for hundreds of other consumer and industrial applications and is marketed internationally. Photo Source: NAWCWD

COMBAT SUPPORT AND WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT

Page 120 Testing and Evaluation from NAWCWD's Arming the Fleet: Providing Our Warfighters the Decisive Advantage 1943-2011 ISBN 9780160921612ATF describes the Weapon Division’s significant role and quick response achievements in every major U.S. crisis from WWII to Iraqi Freedom – from Iwo Jima and Midway to Fallujah and Baghdad. In addition, the book identifies WD’s influence on more than 25 major weapons systems and tells the story about how many of today’s major weapons “in the news” got their start including Trident, Tomahawk, HARM, Standard Missile, and Sidewinder. Remarkably, most of the major technologies ever developed are still in fleet use today in one version or another.

Page_100-Unmanned Systems UxS from NAWCWD's Arming the Fleet: Providing Our Warfighters the Decisive Advantage 1943-2011 ISBN 9780160921612The book further documents the Division as a world leader in guided missiles, advanced weapons and systems, and complex software integration on tactical aircraft, energetic materials and subsystems. In addition, the Division is conducting RDT&E (Research Development Test & Evaluation) on over 25 varied unmanned aerial systems (UAV) which is a top-four strategic thrust area.

UNIQUE RANGES AND ONE-OF-A-KIND FACILITIES

High-tech work is performed at very unique ranges and facilities. Many are one-of-a kind, including:

  • World’s largest x-ray and live-fire facilities for massive Trident size motors
  • World’s largest weapons survivability laboratory with three high velocity airflow systems (HIVAS)
  • World’s largest fuze simulation arena
  • Second largest and fastest supersonic sled track in the world
  • Second largest photovoltaic plant (solar energy) in the DoD
  • Premiere DoD indoor Radar Reflectivity Laboratory
    • Far-field measurement capability covering the widest frequency range of any test facility in the U.S.
    • One of only a few DoD test centers capable of bistatic radar cross section testing
    • One-of-a kind outdoor radar cross-section range
    • One of only two large plasma coating systems (HiTUS) in the U.S.
    • Only U.S. electronic warfare open-air range

China Lake Naval Weapons Test Ranges from NAWCWD's  Arming the Fleet: Providing Our Warfighters the Decisive Advantage 1943-2011 ISBN 9780160921612

Image:Land and Sea testing ranges for NAWCWD China Lake

Other facilities include robotic prototyping, aircraft mock-ups, and one unique geothermal plant that converts natural heat from the earth into electricity, significantly reducing the Center’s total energy costs.

The enormous test ranges at China Lake are larger than the state of Rhode Island and the Sea Range at Point Mugu is expandable to 220,000 square miles.

COST-EFFECTIVE DIRECT WARFIGHTER SUPPORT

Arming the Fleet showcases the accomplishments of a creative and technically ingenious workforce –delivering weapons that work for more than 70 years.

More importantly for this era of tight budgets, ATF also provides an insider’s view as to how your taxpayer dollars are wisely spent in defense of our country. For example, in the 2005 BRAC congressional hearings, programs and capabilities from numerous other bases were transitioned to China Lake due to its extensive expertise and infrastructure. And on June 14, during the 1995 BRAC hearings, Secretary of the Navy John Dalton stated, “China Lake and Point Mugu [rate] number 1 and 2 in military value among all Navy activities.

This expanded third edition of Arming the Fleet is a high-quality publication of 208 pages, with a whopping 216 photos/graphics and over 1,000 indexed items, covering the Division from its founding through 2011. Anyone wanting to learn more about major milestones in U.S. Naval weaponry and technology “then and now” will find this book of great interest – not just “history.”

The legacy continues…

— Wallace T. Martin, Deputy Director, NAWCWD Business Development Office

Back cover from NAWCWD's  Arming the Fleet: Providing Our Warfighters the Decisive Advantage 1943-2011 ISBN 9780160921612

How can you obtain Arming the Fleet: 1943-2011, Providing Our Warfighters the Decisive Advantage?

  • Shop Online: Buy it online, 24/7, 365 days a year on the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website.
  • Order by Phone: Call our GPO 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 our Retail Store: Buy it 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, (202) 512-0132.
  • Find it in a Library: Search for it in a Library.

Wallace T. Martin, NAVAIR, author of NAWCWD's  Arming the Fleet: Providing Our Warfighters the Decisive Advantage 1943-2011 ISBN 9780160921612 About the Author and Guest Blogger:  Wallace T. Martin began initial research for Arming The Fleet in 2001, culminating in the first edition in 2004, followed by the second edition in 2008, and the third edition in 2011 – the only version distributed nationwide. The ongoing ATF product line includes the larger publication, a shorter Arming the Fleet Highlights, and a one-page NAWCWD Quick Facts. Since 2000, Martin serves as the Deputy Director, NAWCWD Business Development Office. In addition, since 2004, Martin has served as the lead WD technical writer and site coordinator for the 200-300 page annual Command History, as required by the Chief of Naval Operations. Martin has a passion for telling the WD story providing an insider’s view as to how taxpayers’ dollars are wisely spent in defense of our country. Martin has a B.S. degree in Business Administration – Management from California State University.  


The Constitution Annotated: The Pursuit of App-iness

September 17, 2013

follow-the-founding-fathers-david-bowman_computerIn preparing for this Constitution Day blog post, not only did I retake the civics quiz from last year’s Constitution Day post (see Quiz: Are you smarter than an 8th grade Civics student?), I also scrolled through my tablet last night, reading the Preamble to the Constitution and looking up related quotes. Then it occurred to me: if Founding Father George Washington had been alive today, would he have been a PC or an Apple guy? I’m betting our pragmatic First President would be a PC guy. I’m pretty sure innovator Thomas Jefferson would have been a stylish iPad man, and Benjamin Franklin, inventor of the bifocals, would probably be sporting Google Glasses now and tinkering with them.

Image: Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington. Original Illustration by David Bowman from his book “What Would the Founding Fathers Think?”

constitution-annotated-printWhat is clear is that our Founding Fathers were strategic thinkers who realized that a fully functioning republic needed a clear but flexible code of law that evolved with the Nation. Thus, they wrote the Constitution of the United States, which has stood the test of time with over two centuries of amendments and interpretations by all branches of the U.S. Federal Government.

CONAN for the Librarian (and Lawyers)

Since 1913, the Senate has directed that a publication be issued summarizing the current state of the Constitution to date, with all the amendments and the official interpretations, with the analysis today provided by the Library of Congress’ Congressional Research Service. This publication is called The Constitution of the United States of America, Analysis and Interpretation, popularly known as the Constitution Annotated or “CONAN” among the real insiders.

Constitution-of-the-US-Pocket-GuideIn addition, many Americans, including Members of Congress, buy a pocket print edition of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence to carry around with them at all times. (Click on image to the left.)

Constitution Goes Mobile and Online

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Constitution Annotated publication, and to celebrate it and Constitution Day, the Government Printing Office (GPO) not only issued the Centennial Edition in print, but has also worked with the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration and the Library of Congress to develop and launch both a new mobile app as well as a web publication that make analysis and interpretation of constitutional case law by Library experts accessible for free to anyone with a computer or mobile device.

The new resources, which include analysis of Supreme Court cases through June 26, 2013, will be updated multiple times each year as new court decisions are issued.  Legal professionals, teachers, students and anyone researching the constitutional implications of a particular topic can easily locate constitutional amendments, federal and state laws that were held unconstitutional, and tables of recent cases with corresponding topics and constitutional implications.

The new app and improved web publication will make the nearly 3,000-page “Constitution Annotated” more accessible to more people and enable updates of new case analysis three or four times each year.

Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks said,

“Through this collaborative project, the Library of Congress and GPO are providing the public with timely access to an enhanced, authenticated version of the “Constitution Annotated” through GPO’s Federal Digital System. This is another example of how GPO works with Congress, the Library and other agencies to meet the information needs of the American people in the digital age.”

Keeping our “Complex Machinery” in Working Order

On May 19, 1821, years after the Constitution was adopted, John Adams wrote in a letter to Thomas Jefferson that:

“A free government is a complicated piece of machinery, the nice and exact adjustment of whose springs, wheels, and weights, is not yet well comprehended by the artists of the age, and still less by the people.”

Even though our Founding Fathers could not have envisioned a digital future complete with the Internet and smartphones, the framework they put in place has been able to roll with the times. Americans know that our system is indeed a “complicated piece of machinery,” with our laws serving as the user manual, but tools like the Constitution Annotated– in print or now online or on your mobile device– now exist to help keep our machinery of democracy well oiled.

George-Washingtons-Annotated-Copy-of-a-Draft-of-the-U.S.-ConstitutionImage: Even George Washington annotated his copy of the Constitution! (seen left). Source: National Archives

How can I obtain The Constitution Annotated?

1) Buy the Print Edition of The Constitution of the United States of America, Analysis and Interpretation, Centennial Edition

2) Mobile app version of the Constitution Annotated

  • For Apple iOS Devices: Download the new Constitution Annotated app for iOS devices for free from Apple’s iTunes Store or via this direct link: http://beta.congress.gov/constitution-annotated/.
  • ·        For Android Devices: An Android version of this app is under development.

3) Constitution Annotated web publication on FDsys.gov

The Constitution Annotated web publication will be available on GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) www.fdsys.gov as a digitally-signed, searchable PDF that includes a linked table of contents, a linked table of cases, a linked index and GPO’s Seal of Authenticity on every page.

The new Constitution Annotated and a suite of constitutional resources can be viewed at http://beta.congress.gov/constitution-annotated/. The page features links to the app stores, an interactive table listing recent cases of high interest, a bibliography of Constitution-related primary documents in American history and tips for searching the Constitution Annotated on GPO’s website at www.gpo.gov/constitutionannotated.

About the Author: Government Book Talk Editor Michele Bartram is Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division in Washington, DC, and is responsible for online and offline marketing of the US Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov) and promoting Federal government content to the public.


NASA at 50… Plus 5

August 2, 2013

So many kids growing up in the United States dream of being astronauts, and flying through space. Many adult Americans can remember where they were when the Eagle landed, or when (sadly) the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded. You know you’re invested in American culture when you can successfully use the phrase, “Houston, we’ve had a problem” in a social conversation.

HoustonProblemImage: In NASA’s Mission Control in Houston, Texas, in April 1970, there definitely was a problem with the Apollo 13 mission. Here, the Gold Team, directed by Gerald Griffin (seated, back of head to camera), prepares to take over from Black Team (Glynn Lunney, seated, in profile) during a critical period of the Apollo 13 mission to save it– and all the astronauts on board– from disaster. Source: NASA. Read a first-hand account by Apollo 13 Commander, Jim Lovell, of all the “problems.”

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the reason why we have these touchstones in American culture.

NASA at 50: Interviews With NASA's Senior Leadership ISBN: 9780160914478On July 29, NASA celebrated the 55th anniversary of its founding in 1958; the agency has been doing its job passionately for the last fifty-five years.

When NASA hit its fiftieth anniversary, NASA issued commemorative volumes in 2009. NASA at 50: Interviews With NASA’s Senior Leadership takes a look at the new direction senior management wants to guide the agency towards after its first successful half-century.

It really is interesting for readers to look back at NASA’s storied past on this memorable occasion. NASA added to this retrospective  with the companion volume, NASA’s First 50 Years: Historical Perspectives. However, space exploration fans will be eager to learn more about NASA’s future as well as its past, and that’s the purpose of this book.

NASA's First 50 Years: Historical Perspectives; NASA 50 Anniversary Proceedings ISBN: 9780160849657Since NASA’s fiftieth anniversary “found an agency in the midst of deep transition” as Steven Dick, NASA’s chief historian noted, the interviews in NASA at 50: Interviews With NASA’s Senior Leadership review the high points in that transition. Obviously, there’s solid coverage of the end of the Space Shuttle Program, but the text also covers senior management’s thoughts on their work with the new project called Constellation. Constellation includes multiple elements, such as the new launch vehicle Ares I, a human capsule named Orion, and the lunar lander Altair.

The two reporters from NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Rebecca Wright and Sandra Johnson, interviewed twenty-four members of senior NASA management to get their perspectives and subject matter expertise on the various program agendas planned for the coming years. The authors included questions directed to the general public more than you might suspect. For example, “Why would you encourage anyone to work for NASA?”, and “Do you find that aeronautics will continue to be a part of NASA in its future?” would appeal to anyone who is interested in working for NASA in years to come; the answers are given in plain, accessible language. Portraits of the interview subjects and an extensive index are included. Policy specialists, aerospace engineers, aerospace engineering and physics students and space exploration fans will all enjoy and take value from NASA at 50: Interviews With NASA’s Senior Leadership.

Coming Home: Reentry and Recovery From Space ISBN: 9780160910647Another book for aeronautics and space exploration fans to explore while celebrating NASA’s fifty-five years is Coming Home: Reentry and Recovery From SpaceIt’s mainly a historical perspective of the technical aspects of shuttlecraft re-entry and recovery after landing. Although the authors used really plan, direct language when writing, the concepts covered are fairly high-level aeronautics for non-professionals to understand. For example:

“Even the CEV, a program that returns to a capsule concept with a blunt-body ablative heat shield and parachutes (or perhaps a Rogallo wing) to return to Earth (or perhaps, the ocean), proved a challenge for engineers” (p. x).

It’s probable that this volume would mainly be of interest to aeronautics and electrical engineers and physicists, or students or policy analysts of those fields, whose area of interest is space exploration. Since the language is so simple, though, I could imagine an ambitious high-school student who is interested in space reading this too, although she or he might need to research some of the tougher concepts (e.g., ablative in any sense other than grammatical cases). Coming home with a safe reentry and recovery was certainly of interest to the Apollo 13 crew!

If you do choose to celebrate NASA’s fifty-fifth anniversary, maybe the best celebratory method (in addition to eating cake) is to read more about NASA. Find out their next steps, and cheer them on in their quest to further science by:

“Explor[ing] the earth, solar system and universe beyond; chart[ing] the best route of discovery; and reap[ing] the benefits of Earth and space exploration for society” (About NASA, Web site).

How can I find these NASA publications?

You can find all the books mentioned here at the GPO Online Bookstore. While you’re at it, you might want to pick up a set of five full-color NASA bookmarks: NASA Space Shuttle Bookmarks: Atlantis, Challenger, Columbia, Discovery, Endeavour to keep your place in these books. Just like party favors, right?

  • 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 our Retail Store: Buy them 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, (202) 512-0132.
  • Find them in a Library: Search for them in a Library.

Federal Depository Librarians:

About the author(s): Our guest blogger is Jennifer K. Davis from GPO’s Library Services & Content Management Division that supports the Federal Depository Libraries Program (FDLP). Editor: Government Book Talk Editor-in-Chief and , GPO Promotions & Ecommerce Manager, Michele Bartram.


Steve Jobs and our Innovation Nation

October 11, 2011

Last week we lost one of America’s great geniuses of innovation, Apple’s founder and CEO, Steve Jobs.

I can remember each time I first used one of Apple’s products. While working for IBM as a systems engineer right out of college and working with both mainframe systems and some not-always-so-friendly early PC operating systems (remember DOS?), I got to use a friend’s Macintosh and was blown away by how easy it was to use. Fast forward through the introduction of the iPod; iTunes online music and apps store; the iPhone—the first touchscreen smartphone; and now the iPad, first touchscreen tablet; and we now have a world that couldn’t conceive of life without Steve Jobs’ innovations.

One of Jobs’ secret to success was treating Apple as an idea and business incubator to continually research and fund what could possibly be the “next great thing” in the future, but was still only a germ of an idea from some engineer or scientist.

The Federal Government as an Incubator of Innovation

Like Apple, one of the key roles of the US Federal Government is to serve as an incubator of innovation.

Here at GPO, for example, we are embracing innovation by producing eBooks, digital downloads, information portals and databases in response to the changing needs of our increasingly digital society, which have been driven in part by Apple inventions introduced by Steve Jobs.

Most of the work products from the Federal Government can be and are used freely by private industry or other areas of Government to spur their own innovations. From statistics to research, processes to products, the Government has provided the seeds to innovation for American industry throughout the years.

Looking through our recent catalog on the US Government Bookstore website, I came across these publications which provide examples of innovation both within the Federal Government and in partnership with the private sector:

 
  • Spinoff Innovative Partnerships Program 2009, provides an in-depth look at how NASA’s initiatives in aeronautics and space exploration have resulted in beneficial commercial technologies in the fields of health and medicine, transportation, public safety, consumer goods, environmental protection, computer technology and industrial productivity.  Some innovation spinoffs over the years include:
    • lightweight breathing system adapted for firefighters;
    • Teflon-coated fiberglass fabric for astronaut spacesuits is now used as a permanent roofing material for buildings and stadiums;
    • remote-controlled robotic arms are now being used for robotic surgical operations; and
    • artificial heart pump based on the design of NASA’s space shuttle main engine fuel pumps.
    • You can get a print copy of this book now at the US Government Bookstore or find it in a library.
 
 

About the Author:  I am Michele Bartram, Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division.  My duties include marketing for the US Government Online Bookstore (Bookstore.gpo.gov) and promoting Federal government content to the public. Due to the retirement of Jim Cameron, my duties now also include taking the helm as Blogger for Government Book Talk. I have been in the Internet marketing and ecommerce field for over 15 years.

We at GPO wish Jim all the best in his retirement, and will continue to do our best to spotlight the amazing variety of Government publications and their impact on ourselves and our world – and have fun while doing it.

 



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