Thursday, August 9, 2018

Launch to the Sun

On Saturday, NASA will launch the Parker Solar Probe (named after Dr. Eugene Parker, who is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago).
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2018/nasa-s-parker-solar-probe-is-about-to-lift-off
"Nestled atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy-one of the world's most powerful rockets-with a third stage added, Parker Solar Probe will blast off toward the sun with a whopping 55 times more energy than is required to reach Mars. About the size of a small car, it weighs a mere 1,400 pounds."
The spacecraft's path through the corona allows it to observe the acceleration of the very solar wind that Parker predicted, right as it makes a critical transition from slower than the speed of sound to faster than it.
The mission will last seven years, and the probe will complete twenty-four orbits of the sun (as well as "flying by" Venus seven times).
How close will it get to the sun? About 3.8 million miles.
Further reading about the sun:
The Sun as a Star
NAS1.21:450
Exploring the Sun: Solar Science Since Galileo
523.709 HUF
The Dynamic Sun
NAS1.86:SU7/2002/CD
Mysteries of the Sun
NAS1.86:SU7/5/DVD


Paulette Harding
Reference Services

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The GRU

picture from Wikipedia




On July, 13, 2018, the Department of Justice announced indictments against 12 GRU officers "for committing federal crimes that were intended to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election."
Link to the indictments: https://www.justice.gov/file/1080281/download
and the press release: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/grand-jury-indicts-12-russian-intelligence-officers-hacking-offenses-related-2016-election
When most Americans think of Soviet/Russian intelligence activity in our country, they primarily think of the state security services, the KGB (Committee for State Security) and its main post-Soviet successor, the FSB (Federal Security Service).  Some of the most famous and effective Soviet/Russian intelligence operations in the United States, however, have involved an organization few Americans have heard of, one dubbed "the neighbors" by their KGB/FSB rivals: the Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravlenie (GRU), the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Armed Forces General Staff: Soviet/Russian military intelligence.  From the recruitment of State Department official Alger Hiss in the 1930's, to the Cuban Missile Crisis, to the 2016 election-related hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the GRU has played an important yet overlooked role in many of Moscow's most influential intelligence activities in this country.
It has employed tools of the digital age in cyberspace.  One of the most ambitious and effective hacking organizations, dubbed APT-28, or "Fancy Bear" is believed to be run by the GRU.  According to US Government and private analysts, it was Fancy Bear that conducted the 2016 election-related hacks here in the US, directed at the DNC and other political targets.
On December 29, 2016, the Obama Administration sanctioned the GRU "for tampering, altering, or causing a misappropriation of information with the purpose of effect or interfering with the 2016 U.S. election process."
Sources:
"Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections." Office of the Director of National Intelligence. January 6, 2017.
https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ICA_2017_01.pdf
CIA. Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room.
https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/
Cold War International History Project: Venona Project and Vassiliev Notebooks Index and Concordance.
https://www.wilsoncenter.org/article/venona-project-and-vassiliev-notebooks-index-and-concordance
Fact Sheet: Actions in Response to Russian Malicious Cyber Activity and Harassment. White House Office of the Press Secretary. December 29, 2016
https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/12/29/fact-sheet-actions-response-russian-malicious-cyber-activity-and
FBI FOIA Vault: Alger Hiss' FBI File.
https://vault.fbi.gov/alger-hiss-1
Wilson Center Digital Archive: Vassiliev Notebooks.
http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/collection/86/vassiliev-notebooks
Paulette Harding
Reference Service Department



Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Remembering the Attack on the Aleutian Islands

Remembering the Attack on the Aleutian Islands


While most people know something about the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, few are aware of the Japanese attack and invasion of Alaska's Aleutian Islands from June 3 to 7, 1942.  Attu is the westernmost of the Aleutian Islands and one of the Near Islands.  On Attu Island, the Japanese captured 42 residents of Attu, including the Island's school teacher.  Forty people were transported to Otaru, Hokkaido, Japan. They were held as prisoners of war from September 1942 until 1945.  Twenty-one people died during their internment, including four babies, born in Japan.  In 2012, the National Park Service published Nick Golodoff's Attu Boy (I 29.2:AT 8/3). Golodoff was six when his family was captured and sent to Japan.  This book combines transcriptions of the oral histories of Attu survivors with Golodoff's memoir.  Sadly, during the war, Golodoff's village was destroyed, and the United States Government opted to annex the island for military purposes.  The Aleuts were not allowed to return.


Today, Attu is part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument and the Alaska National Maritime Wildlife Refuge.  To learn more about the experience of the native people, check out the National Park Service's publications, Aleutian Voices: Forced to leave, the removal of the Unangax of Unalaska, 22 July 1942 (I 29.165:2/1) and Lost Villages of the Eastern Aleutians: Biorka, Kashega, Makushin (I 29.2:AL 2/2).


In June 1942, the United States launched its first offensive in the Pacific, the Aleutian Campaign.  From June 1942 to May 1943 Japan held the Island of Attu.  The Battle of Attu took place May 11-30, 1943.  With Canadian support, U.S. forces defeated Japanese forces in what was the second deadliest battle in the Pacific Theater.  More than 3,000 Japanese and Americans died fighting in Attu.  Attu: the Forgotten Battle, by John Haile Cloe, explores the battle and its impact on the Island.  Aleutian Islands (D 114.7/5:AL2) from the U.S. Army Center of Military History provides an overview of the Aleutian Islands Campaign.  Major Fleet-Versus-Fleet Operations in the Pacific War, 1941-1945 (D 208.210:22/2016), a publication of the Naval War College, explores three major naval operations of World War II initiated by imperial Japan that resulted in the battles of the Coral Sea, Midway/Aleutians, and the Philippine Sea.


For additional reading, check out Aleutians Campaign, June 1942-August 1943 (D 201.2:AL 2) and Battle for the Aleutians: a brief illustrated history (I 49.2:AL 2/2)




Paulette Harding
Reference Services

Thursday, March 1, 2018

FAFSA is open!


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available for the 2018-2019 school year.  Procrastinating can cost you.  Illinois awards financial aid on a first-come first-served basis.

Completing the FAFSA on the web is the application methods that provides the quickest results.  Poplar Creek Public Library main and branch libraries have the worksheet available to assist in gathering information necessary to fill in the form.  First obtain an FSA ID from the U.S. Department of Education.  If you and/or your parent already applied for financial aid in a prior academic year, the same FSA ID will be used to complete this year too.

Even if you think you will not qualify for federal grants, most states and many colleges also use the form to award grants and scholarships.  And it's required to take out any federal student loans, which are cheaper and safer than private market loans.

If you have any questions regarding the financial aid application process, contact an ISAC (Illinois Student Assistance Commission) Call Center Representative by calling 800-899-ISAC (4722). English and Spanish-speaking counselors are available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Are you looking ahead to the next tax year?  Most taxpayers will be impacted by tax reform legislation PL 115-97.  Most changes take effect January 1, 2018.  Tax returns filed during the spring of 2018 (for the tax year 2017) are not included.  However, knowing about these changes now will help you prepare/plan for the your 2018 return.

Check the Internal Revenue news post at IRS Newsroom to check the 2018 withholding tables.

Most tax filers will pay using a new tax bracket. 
Pre-TCJA rates:
10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35%, and 39.6%
Rates under TCJA:
10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, 37%

In 2017, taxpayers claimed a personal exemption for themselves, their spouses and each qualifying child/relative if applicable.  Each exemption reduced tax liability. Under the new law, personal and dependent exemptions are eliminated from 2018 through 2025.

Through 2025, the maximum child tax credit changes from $1,000 to $2,000 per qualifying child.
Also, there is a new $500 nonrefundable credit for dependents who do not qualify for the child tax credit (over 17 years old).

Standard deductions associated with filing status will increase in 2018 through 2025:
$12,000 for single
$18,000 for head of household
$24,000 for married filing joining

Some deductions claimed on Schedule A "itemized deductions" have been eliminated, limited or modified.

The penalty for failure to obtain health care coverage will be eliminated beginning in 2019. Taxpayers who did not have coverage in 2017 or in 2018 will owe a penalty for those years unless they qualify for an exemption.

Because of all the changes, taxpayers should read up on the new legislation and/or consult their tax professional for next steps.


Paulette Harding
Reference Services Department

Monday, February 5, 2018

Voter Registration for the March 20, 2018 General Primary Election

The last day to register to vote through a deputy registrar is Tuesday, February 20, 2018.  Please contact the Library to check that a deputy registrar is available to assist you.  Two pieces of identification will be needed to register. Sample of IDs


On February 21, 2018, "grace period" registration is open for Cook County residents.  Our closest registration location is the Streamwood Village Hall at 301 East Irving Park Road, Streamwood, IL, 60107.  Bring two pieces of identification to register and then you must be ready to vote at that time.  Grace Period registration and voting continues from February 21, 2018 to March 19, 2018.


Paulette Harding
Reference Services Department

Friday, February 2, 2018

Medicare 2018

The Social Security Administration unveiled its cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2018. Retirees who want to know how COLA will effect their benefits should check their statement or go online.

For more information on the upcoming changes, take a look at some of these publications.

Medicare & You 2018
US Department of Health & Human Resources

How Social Security Will Change in 2018 
Mary C. Hickey

Medicare Announced its Premiums for 2018. Here's what you need to know.
Philip Moeller

What's New for Medicare in 2018?
Deena Bunis

5 Medicare Changes for 2018
Dan Caplinger


Paulette H.
Reference Services Manager