Government Information

Patents began in the United States on this day today.

On July 31, 1790, the first patent in the United States was approved, with a signature from President George Washington. Samuel Hopkins had applied to patent his improved process for the making of pot ash and pearl ash (pot ash, or potash, is a source of soluble potassium, and even today is largely used in…

The Pike Expedition and Colorado.

On July 15, 1806, Zebulon Pike and his expedition party set off to explore the southern and western regions of the newly purchased Louisiana territory, setting out over two years after the Corps of Discovery struck out for the Pacific coast. Over the course of their journey, Pike and his fellows trekked into Colorado, where he…

Colorado, sunshine, and air pollution.

The absence of sunshine from Colorado this summer hasn’t escaped residents’ notice, nor even been ignored nationally. The New York Times printed a story about it today, comparing the recently-vacated haze (from forest fires in Canada) to the inversion, popularly known as “the Brown Cloud,” that used to plague Denver in the mid-to-late 20th century. The Colorado…

51 years of the Civil Rights Act.

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy issued a call for new civil rights legislation, motivated in large part by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s (SCLC) Birmingham campaign, led by James Bevel and Martin Luther King, Jr., among others. Kennedy’s assassination would prevent his making meaningful progress during his life, but in his first presidential address…

Happy birthday, GPO!

The U.S. government, as we in Government Information are fond of telling folks, is the largest publisher in the world, and the Government Publishing Office (GPO), is the engine driving that publication machine. Established by a joint resolution of Congress on this day in 1860, and originally known as the Government Printing Office, the GPO is…

Today in history: America meets the Statue of Liberty.

On this date in 1885, the Statue of Liberty arrived by boat in New York Harbor. Designed by Frederic Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel, the arrival of the Statue capped off one long phase of the project and began the final one: assembly. In the 1877 joint resolution empowering the president to select a…

How much do you know about time zones?

If you’re taking a trip of much distance this summer – whether driving or flying – there’s a good chance that trip’ll take you outside of the Mountain Time Zone. In the continental United States, there are four time zones: Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific. Alaska resides in the Alaska Time Zone, one hour further…

Today in history: the Supreme Court rules on Loving v. Virginia.

Loving v. Virginia was a landmark Supreme Court case concerning an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving, who had been sentenced to a year in jail, under the state’s 1924 Act to Preserve Racial Integrity. Their sentence had been suspended, on the condition that they move away from Virginia, and in 1964, after several years…

Radio in history.

Radio broadcasting began in the early years of the 20th century with the advent of AM radio transmitters and receivers. Commercialization of the service soon followed, and Congress passed the Radio Act of 1912 to make explicit its regulatory powers. The Commerce and Labor Department oversaw regulation until the passage of the Radio Act of…

Mosquito season.

In the spring and summer, more rain can mean more standing water, and more standing water often leads to more mosquitoes. Stay informed – the National Institutes of Health website features an article entitled, “How Mosquitoes Detect People.” The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment links to the state’s 2014 West Nile Virus report, as…