BioSense Program Redesign


The BioSense Program provides local, state, and federal partners a timely regional and national picture of trends in disease syndromes and situation awareness. BioSense is in the midst of a redesign that shifts the program's focus to meet the needs of stakeholders and end users in state and local health departments, CDC programs, hospitals, and other federal programs (i.e. DoD and VA) to improve regional and national coverage.

At a recent Forum hosted by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), state and local health practitioners expressed their desire to more easily access social media data. The Now Trending Challenge was created to help fill this need.

New Industry Commitments to Give 15 Million Households Tools to Shrink Their Energy Bills

submitted by Gavin Starks



New Industry Commitments to Give 15 Million Households Tools to Shrink Their Energy Bills

Washington, D.C. -- Responding to President Obama’s call for an “all-of-the-above” strategy to help consumers reduce their energy costs, the Administration announced today that nine major utilities and electricity suppliers will commit to providing more than 15 million households access to data about their own energy use with a simple click of an online “Green Button.”  By providing consumers with secure, easy-to-understand information about how they are using energy in their households, Green Button can help them reduce waste and shrink bills.

Proceedings for the 2011 Community Health Resiliency Workshop are Now Available



Thank you for attending the 2011 Community Health Resiliency Workshop; your participation helped make this event a success!

Material from the workshop is now available for download in the attachment below, and at:


The Community Health Resilience Workshop Coordination Team

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How the Legal Assault on Obama’s Health Law Went Mainstream


People walk in front of the Supreme Court as others form a line, Saturday, March 24, 2012. | AP Photo

by Josh Gerstein - - March 25, 2012

When President Barack Obama signed the health care bill two years ago, the legal challenges to the law were widely belittled as long shots — at best.

But as the cases head to the Supreme Court this week, what looked to many like far-out legal arguments to undo “Obamacare” don’t seem so zany anymore.


Exercise 24: Using Social Media for Crisis Response

submitted by Samuel Bendett - By George H. Bressler, Murray E. Jennex & Eric G. Frost

“Can populations self-organize a crisis response? This is a field report on the first two efforts in a continuing series of exercises termed Exercise 24 or X24. These exercises attempted to demonstrate that self-organizing groups can form and respond to a crisis using low-cost social media and other emerging web technologies.”


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California Struggling to Prepare Quake Early Warning System

submitted by Samuel Bendett


Workers fix subway lines that were damaged after an earthquake was felt in Mexico City on Tuesday, March 20. (Associated Press / March 19, 2012)

By Hector Becerra and Sam Allen, Times Staff Writers - - March 22, 2012

The state spends a fraction of what countries like Mexico and Japan spend on their systems. One reason for the lack of interest, experts say, is that California has not experienced a catastrophic quake in more than a century.

U.S. Water Shortages Loom

Waters shortages are evident in this Colorado River reservoir // Source:

submitted by George Bressler

Homeland Security News Wire - February 24, 2012

More than 1 in 3 counties in the United States could face a “high” or “extreme” risk of water shortages due to climate change by the middle of the twenty-first century, according to a new study in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) journal  Environmental Science & Technology.

The new report concluded that 7 in 10 of the more than 3,100 U.S. counties could face “some” risk of shortages of fresh water for drinking, farming, and other uses. The study includes maps that identify the counties at risk of shortages.

You’re Invited! “Match Making” in the Biofuels Value Chain at USDA

submitted by Albert Gomez - March 19, 2012

On March 30th, the Department of Agriculture, is hosting a “match making day” at USDA, to promote connections between agricultural producers of energy feedstocks (and their related businesses) with biorefiners seeking to produce biofuels for commercial sale and consumption. Officials from the U.S. Department of Navy, U.S. Department of Energy, and the Federal Aviation Administration will attend, make presentations and answer questions.

As we move forward as a nation, identifying and implementing an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, there are key relationships that will determine our success in the effort to develop and deploy aviation biofuels.  The objectives of this match making session will be to improve awareness and increase understanding of the biofuels supply-chain links between those involved in feedstock production and the processors of that feedstock into biofuels.  This includes logistical challenges, potential roles of service providers, and potential pitfalls.

Keystone XL Pipeline Could Cost More Jobs Than It Creates

by Gina-Marie Cheeseman - - March 19, 2012

The proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline would carry oil extracted from Alberta, Canada’s tar sands through six states: Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Although many proponents of the pipeline make a big deal about the jobs it would create, the six states would only gain about 20 permanent pipeline operation jobs, according to a report by Cornell University’s Global Labor Institute. Meanwhile, the agricultural and tourism sectors that are already major employers in those states would be affected greatly by a major spill.



Dwindling Resources Trigger Global Land Rush


Caudalosa workers clean up mining tailings in Peru's Opamayo River. - Credit:Milagros Salazar/IPS

by Stephen Leahy -

UXBRIDGE, Canada, Mar 1, 2012 (IPS) - A global scramble for land and mineral resources fuelled by billions of investment dollars is threatening the last remaining wilderness and critical ecosystems, destroying communities and contaminating huge volumes of fresh water, warned environmental groups in London Wednesday.

No national park, delicate ecosystem or community is off limits in the voracious hunt for valuable metals, minerals and fossil fuels, said the Gaia Foundation’s report, "Opening Pandora's Box". The intensity of the hunt and exploitation is building to a fever pitch despite the fact the Earth is already overheated and humanity is using more than can be sustained, the 56-page report warns.

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An Official American Thoracic Society Workshop Report: Climate Change and Human Health

Proceedings of the American Thoracic Society - March 15, 2012

Worldwide increases in the incidences of asthma, allergies, infectious and cardiovascular diseases will result from a variety of impacts of global climate change, including rising temperatures, worsening ozone levels in urban areas, the spread of desertification, and expansions of the ranges of communicable diseases as the planet heats up, the professional organization representing respiratory and airway physicians stated in a new position paper released today.

The paper is published online and in print in the Proceedings of the American Thoracic Society.

An Official American Thoracic Society Workshop Report: Climate Change and Human Health

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The Future of Nuclear Energy

submitted by Samuel Bendett

Homeland Security News Wire - March 9, 2012

While the lessons of the 11 March 2011 Fukushima disaster are being absorbed, the United States is moving forward with nuclear power; for the first time since 1978, the U.S. National Regulatory Commission has approved two new plants; the $14 billion facilities will be built just outside Augusta, Georgia

Last March, the world watched closely as Japan struggled to contain a series of equipment failures, hydrogen explosions, and releases of radioactive materials at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

The historic tsunami following the 9.0-magnitude earthquake destroyed the reactors’ connection to the power grid, causing them to overheat. Hundreds of people were exposed to increased levels of radiation. Thousands more were evacuated. Japanese officials have since declared the plant stable, but the cleanup will be expensive and is expected to take decades.

Kony2012: The Rise of Online Campaigning

A social media campaign to shine a light on Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony has attracted ire of its own after critics attacked its methods. Is using Facebook and Twitter to promote change pointless, or the natural extension of our social media habit?

by Kate Dailey - BBC News - March 9, 2012

On Monday, the California-based nonprofit Invisible Children released an online 30-minute documentary about Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord Resistance Army (LRA). "We want to make him famous," they said. "Not to glorify him, but so that his crimes would not go unnoticed."

It worked.


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Infrastructure Security, Disaster Planning “Super Map” Developed

submitted by Samuel Bendett


I-COP stacks multiple flows of information into a single picture // Source:

Homeland Security News Wire - March 7, 2012

A U.S. Marine stationed at the Quantico base in Virginia has developed sophisticated mapping software that can give users full situational awareness of their surroundings in real-time.

The Installation Common Operational Picture (I-COP), developed by Marine specialist Michael Lisovich, is essentially a “super map,” taking in a torrent of data streams from emergency dispatch reports to weather forecasts, traffic reports, and security system alerts.

Pete Streng, Quantico’s director of operations, said the tool, which is accessible online, essentially provides users with up to the minute information on everything around the base, allowing officials to make fast, informed decisions.

InsideNovareports that Streng contacted Lisovich several years ago requesting a system that would give officials a better grasp of the base’s critical infrastructure system.

Flu Strain Identified in 2 Calvert County Deaths


A health worker leaves the Lusby home of an 81-year-old woman who died from respiratory illness on March 1.

by Tim Persinko - - March 7, 2012

Lab testing identified the same strain of influenza in two of the three victims who died with respiratory sickness last week in Calvert County.

The county's health department has been investigating a cluster of illnesses that led to three deaths in Lusby, MD, near the Calvert Cliffs nuclear facility.

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Health said on Wednesday afternoon that Influenza H3, a strain of Influenza A that has been circulating this season, was found in two of the cases.



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