The Office of Consumer Affairs
January 1998 Report
DOC Consumer-Related Activities
The following agencies are included in this report:
-- About 43 percent of America's 10.3 million preschool children received primary care from relatives other than their mothers in the fall of 1994.
-- Grandparents and other nonparental relatives provided about 35 percent of the primary care for Black preschool children, compared to 21 percent for White children.
-- About 21 percent of White or Hispanic preschoolers received care from a nonrelative, either in the child's home or in the provider's home. Only 15 percent of Black preschoolers received care from nonrelatives.
-- Ten percent of preschoolers in poor families received primary care from their mothers who were working for pay in the home or away from home.
For questions about the data, contact Lynne Casper (301-457-2416). For more information, see Who's Minding Our Preschoolers? Fall 1994 (Update), P70-62. For ordering information, contact Customer Services (301-457-4100). The Internet address is: http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/childcare.html.
-- Nevada's population grew by 4.8 percent from 1996 to 1997, followed by Arizona with a 2.7 population growth.
-- Other fast-growing states were Georgia and Utah, whose populations grew by 2.1 percent each, and Colorado, 2.0 percent.
-- A growth rate of 1.6 made the West the fastest-growing region. The South was second at 1.3 percent, followed by the Midwest at 0.5 percent and the Northeast at 0.2 percent.
For questions about the data, contact Greg Harper (301-457-2441). The Internet address is: http://www.census.gov/population/www/estimates/statepop.html.
Underlining the importance of electronic commerce, the ITA has dedicated its entire January 1998 issue of Business America to this dynamic area. Among the many subjects that are dealt with in this issue are the effects of electronic commerce on such fields as retailing, travel and tourism, banking, insurance, telemedicine, direct marketing, and entertainment, and on such issues as authentication technologies, intellectual property protection, privacy, and transparency.
The January issue of Business America also contains an announcement of a conference that ITA is organizing entitled "Electronic Commerce in International Trade: A Conference and Dialogue on Global Policy Developments and U.S. Business." It will take place on May 19, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the U.S. Department of Commerce auditorium.
Covered in detail are historical and current methods of shellfish harvest and culture, harvest data, and preparation of cooking methods. Besides the well-known species of clams, oysters, scallops, and mussels, other mollusks reviewed include abalones, conchs, snails, whelks, periwinkles, cockles, and many others (cephalopods are generally not covered). Copies of the three volumes are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh,, PA 152-7954; 202-512-1800.
WWVB, the low-frequency standard time and frequency radio station operated by NIST's Time and Frequency Division, has doubled its broadcasting power to 23 kilowatts, increasing the range of the extremely accurate time signal that can be used to automatically set the correct time in clocks, watches, VCRs, cars, and electronic gear of all kinds.
Controlled by the NIST atomic clock in Boulder, Colorado, WWVB had previously operated at 10 kilowatts for more than three decades. WWVB transmits its time signal on a frequency of 60 kilohertz from a site near Fort Collins, Colorado. It is not audible and requires special receivers to decode.
The power upgrade improves WWVB's signal strength over the entire continental United States. This permits the use of less expensive receivers and antennas. Even radio-controlled wristwatches can now maintain accurate time. And now, manufacturers of various appliances, instrumentation and electronic devices can consider installing miniature receiver-clocks in their products.
Over the next year, a second high-powered transmitter and antenna will be brought online to double WWVB's total power once again (to between 40 and 50 kilowatts) and provide additional reliability. When both transmitters and antennas are in operation, they can operate at less than maximum rated power. This greatly extends their life and reduces the chances of outages due to equipment failure.
Several alternative refrigerants and options are examined by the 16 papers in the proceedings. Detailed in these papers are each refrigerant's ozone-depletion potential, direct global warming potential, system efficiency, safety (such as flammability and toxicity) and cost.
Conference chair Piotr Domanski, a group leader in NIST's Building Environment Division, called the conference a "dialogue among professionals." He said, "The conference presented the options for the next century and determined that there is no perfect refrigerant. Trade-offs between different refrigerants and technologies are unavoidable."
-- IRS Tax Forms: Most Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax forms, tax form instructions and IRS publications are available from http://www.fedworld.gov/taxsear.htm on the FedWorld Information Network. The documents are available in three different computer formats, including the well know Adobe Acrobat, or PDF format. These files can be viewed and printed using either Windows or Macintosh computers.
-- GOV.Research_Center™: The NTIS and the National Information Services Corporation (NISC) have signed a joint-venture agreement to develop a new online service offering a convenient, single access point to valuable Federal government information. This new service, known as the GOV.Research_Center, will combine NTIS' research databases with NISC's software technology. It can be accessed at http://grc.ntis.gov and offers direct, reasonable priced access to well-known Federal government-sponsored research databases including: the NTIS Bibliographic Database, AGRICOLA, AGRIS, the Energy Science and Technology Database (ESTD), the Federal Research in Progress (FEDRIP) Database, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSHTIC) Database, and the Registry of Toxic Substances (RTECS) Database. Subscriptions to each individual database will be available. Additional Federal government data sources will be offered in the near future. The new subscription service will be entirely Web-based and provide information professionals with easy, worldwide access. Scientists, engineers, and researchers will find NISC's powerful search software enables both broad-based as well as refined search and retrieval capabilities.
-- Turbulence - A Little Bumpy Air(AVA20011VNB1NEN, $140 plus a handling fee) To minimize the risks of turbulence-related injury to passengers, a Federal government/industry team has produced training materials which emphasize the importance of clear communications between dispatcher, cockpit, and cabin. The three producers are Macdonnell Douglas, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Air Transport Association. The training program includes a 345-page illustrated manual and a 26-minute video. It gives pilots and other aviation professionals a heightened awareness of weather conditions that can cause turbulence, pointers on how to avoid it, and ways to minimize risk in unavoidable encounters with turbulence. It also highlights other procedures which will promote safety.
-- Cleaning Up the Nation's Waste Sites: Markets and Technology Trends-- (PB96-178041NEN, $44 plus a handling fee)--Nearly a quarter of a million U.S. sites with potential contamination from hazardous waste and petroleum products are identified in a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. The study includes invaluable information on site characteristics, market size, and other factors and is backed by liberal use of charts for quick grasp of demand. The estimated cost for all future work is about $187 million or higher. With information provided in the report, technology vendors, developers and investors, and Federal government officials can assess the demand for cleanup services. From that assessment, they may better identify business opportunities and plan technology research and development efforts.