An hour in my life in government information…

This morning I was considering what to blog about. I thought about a couple of recent White House reports, the National Climate Assessment on climate change, and Not Alone:  The First Report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, but those seemed kind of obvious. As I waited for the bus, though, I started to think about all the ways government information relates to daily life. So I decided to see how many government publications and web pages I could find related to my morning activities. I searched in a variety of places, including the Catalog of Government Publications, USA.gov, and Wisconsin.gov. Here’s a sampling of what I found.

I had blueberry muffins and orange juice for breakfast. If you search USA.gov, you’ll come up with some recipes, like this one featured on the USDA’s SNAP-Ed Recipe Finder page. I wanted to get a little more off the beaten path, though; I found this in the CGP: “Mechanisms involved in the beneficial effects of blueberries on neuronal aging and behavior … annual report.”   I confess, I buttered the muffins. Turns out there is a USDA publication How to Buy Butter, from 1995, and several Wisconsin depositories have it in print.

I was sad to learn of Maya Angelou’s death (it was the first item in the top-of-the-hour radio newscast this morning).  Deep down, I saw her as so full of life that I thought she’d live forever.  Among the countless profiles of and interviews with her, one appeared in the book Voice of American Interviews with Eight American Women of Achievement, by Chantal Mompullam, published in 1985 by the United States Information Agency (SuDoc number IA 1.2:V 87/8).  It’s also available in full view in HathiTrust.  The book also features interviews with Grace Hopper, Betty Friedan, Nancy Landon Kassebaum, Mary Calderone, Helen Thomas, Julia Montgomery Walsh, and Nancy Clark Reynolds.

By the end of the day, the White House blog had paid tribute to Dr. Angelou.

Heading outside, I tried to determine whether I’d need an umbrella today. (I should’ve checked the National Weather Service before I left home!) Dane County experienced some flash flooding last night. Both ReadyWisconsin and Ready.gov have information on flash flooding. If you ever have to use flood insurance (and I hope you don’t), check out the National Flood Insurance Program.

I passed by a blooming lilac bush on my way to the bus stop. Most of the year, I commute to work by bus, as I did today, but with the longer days and warmer weather, I plan to bike often. I can find out a lot about how people commute to work in my area and the nation by consulting the Census Bureau’s page on Commuting.

The radio program I listened to as I waited for the bus was considering Egypt’s elections. There’s a plethora of information on Egypt on or linked to this State Department Country Fact Sheet.  page. Lots of other publications came up when I searched the CGP for the key word “Egypt,” including several hearings. In 2005, the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe had a briefing on The Meaning of Egypt’s Elections and Their Relevance to the Middle East : October 12, 2005. It wasn’t on quite the same topic, but an April 2014 publication from the Law Library of Congress, Egypt: Pending Charges Against Mohammed Morsi, also caught my eye.

As my bus approached campus, I saw Megabus headed for Minneapolis. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation lists intercity bus service in Wisconsin at its Long Distance Intercity Bus Service page. The DOT also has a Wisconsin Get-Around Guide, which has not only intercity bus information (and a map of routes), but links to local transit companies around the state.

And all of this is before I even got to work!…

Now I issue the challenge to you, my colleagues.  What government information can you find related to some part of your day?

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