Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Trends in Higher Education

The College Board just released a series of reports:

Trends in College Pricing 20 page report includes the latest information on tuition, fees, room & board and other expense.
Highlights: Published tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities rose at an average annual rate of 4.9% per year beyond general inflation from 1999-2000 to 2009-10, more rapidly than in either of the previous two decades. The rate of growth of published prices at both private not-for-profit four-year and public two-year institutions was lower from 1999-2000 to 2009-10 than in either of the previous two decades.

Trends in Student Aid - 20 page report has the latest data on grants, loans and other avenues to help pay for college.
Highlights:  2008-09, undergraduate students received an average of $10,185 in financial aid per full-time equivalent (FTE) student, including $5,041 in grant aid and $4,585 in federal loans. Graduate students received an average of $22,740 in aid, including $7,558 in grant aid and $14,598 in federal loans.

Education Pays - 48 page report shows private and public benefits of a college education

Monday, October 19, 2009

Useful Twitter Searches

From: Bates Information Services, www.BatesInfo.com/tip.html

Seeing the word "useful" next to the word "Twitter" might seem oxymoronic to some... kind of like jumbo shrimp or deafening silence. We forget that the main complaint of Twitter -- that the signal-to-noise ratio is so low -- can be said of the web as a whole. Go to ten web pages at random and see how few web pages are even remotely relevant to what you do. What differentiates the web from the Tweetosphere is the existance of robust finding tools. Search engines play that role in the general web, enabling us to avoid most of the web pages that would not interest us. Most Twitter interfaces overload new users with unfiltered tweets, leading sensible people to throw up their hands and walk away.

However, I have found several real-life uses for Twitter lately, with just the search feature on Twitter. Let me know what other ones you come up with.

Use one of the word-cloud generators (I use Search Cloudlet, an add-on for Firefox) and see what words are most frequently used in conjunction with a news event. I searched Twitter to see what words most frequently came up in the context of health care reform. Right now, the buzzwords are public option, doctors, congress and include. Interesting that insurance companies aren't being mentioned very frequently.

Monitor live news, as reported by people nearby. If, for example, I want to see if there's a jump in the mentions of the H1N1 virus near me, I might search for "swine flu" OR h1n1 near:denver within:25mi

Monitor mentions of your organization's names, particularly those when the tweet includes an outbound link. If I was monitoring Crocs, the shoe company, I might search for #crocs filter:links

Gather hightlights from a conference. Within a week of the conference, just search for the hashtag for the conference on the Twitter web site ( for example, I'll soon be speaking at Internet Librarian, which has #IL2009 as its "official" hashtag). Keep clicking the "Older" link at the bottom of the search results page until you have all the tweets on one screen. Copy and paste that to a word processor, and you can easily skim through it to see key ideas. In fact, take all the words and throw them into Wordle.net, which generates a word cloud from any body of text you give it. You'll see the dominant themes of the conference, and can identify the key speakers.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

New Report

The Center for Responsible Lending recently issued this 13 page report (PDF) titled, "Overdraft Explosion" . Bankdraft fees for overdraft protection has increased over 35 % in the past 2 years. At an average fee of $34 per overdraft, and over 50 million Americans  overdrawing their checking accounts at least once over a 12-month period, that adds up to over $24 billion in fees for the baking industry.

No wonder banks push this "service" to customers even though a survey says most would prefer a denial of service rather than overdraft protection.

Numbers and charts are included in this report.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Watch What You Wish For

This new movie/TV database is now in public beta. Jinni  will find movies/TV shows based on mood, plot, genres, time/period, place, audience, award winning.

Want someone to really listen to you? Sometimes it takes a machine. (from the get started video)

To celebrate their public beta launch Jinni will make a donation to Best Friends Animal Society for every person who signs up for their free registration.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Where is the money going?

Recovery.gov is tracking what agencies/organizations are getting stimulus money by state. They have a cool interactive map that allows you to search by zip to find local recipients.

Some general N.C. awards:

90 contracts - $80,465,108
1802 grants - $3,678,194,703
433 loans - $275,204,830
Total awards: 2325 - $4,033,864,641

Sugared Beverages, Obesity and Taxes

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has issued a new report titled: "Taxing sugared beverages would help trim state budget deficits, comsumers' bulging waistlines, and health care costs" (PDF)

The report contains a spreadsheet with numbers for the different states. Here are the numbers for North Carolina:

Budget Deficit (2010) & Potential Revenue from nickel-a-drink* Tax

FY 2010 Budget Gap          Annual New Revenue          
4,600,000,000                    220,000,000

New Revenue Share of Budget Gap - 4.78%                       

North Carolina's state obesity rate is 29 percent.

* A drink is defined as a 12 oz. serving

Monday, October 05, 2009


Trust for America's Health has a new report out saying that if 35 percent of the population gets the flu, 15 states could run out of hospital beds at the height of the flu season.

 That would be 3,227,845 North Carolinians. According to the report , 42,464 people in North Carolina may need to be hospitalized.

North Carolina is one of the 12 states that would be at 75 to 99 percent of their hospital bed capacity.

This is the part of the report that deals with North Carolina.

Code of Ethics

The Society of Professional Journalists has posted a Code of Ethics:
1. Seek Truth and Report It
2. Minimize Harm
3. Act Independently
4. Be Accountable

The SPJ Code of Ethics is voluntarily embraced by thousands of writers, editors and other news professionals. The present version of the code was adopted by the 1996 SPJ National Convention, after months of study and debate among the Society's members.

Sigma Delta Chi's first Code of Ethics was borrowed from the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1926. In 1973, Sigma Delta Chi wrote its own code, which was revised in 1984, 1987 and 1996.

Click the link above to read the entire code.