Gregory Vogt, publications specialist for NASA, says thatNASA provides educational posters for use as supplementary teachng tools. The posters are not available to the generalpublic, as was incorrectly stated in Sunday's Living Section
MATTHEW Lesko still believes in the free lunch.
"The federal government has probably financed at least one report on any given subject . . . somewhere a bureaucrat could be spending his or her career studying the very subject on whichyou need information. The truth is that help is obtainableon almost any topic and most of it is free or inexpensive -- if you know where to go," says Lesko in the introduction to "Something for Northing," (published by the Associated Press, 1980).
Matthew Lesko is chairman of Washington Researchers, a 6-year-old company which provides research servicesto private organizations and companies.
Lesko points outthat it's our tax money that finances these well-researchedreports but the government does not use our money to promote their research. As a result the public is often ignorant about what is available to them.
In the District, according to Lesko, is "the largest storehouse of facts, freebies, expertise and other benefits. Don't be afraid to call on them; you've already paid for the service with your taxes."
"Something for Nothing" provides advice on how to use that information bank, known as Capital Hill. For instance, the book tells you how to make use of the College Money Hotline.The hotline is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education (800-638-6700; in Maryland call 800-492-6602). Experts answering the pone tell you -- even if you're a middle or higher-income college student -- how to take advantage of the number of student grant and loan programs offered by the government.
Lesko also gives you ways to fight back. For instance, it's up to the Food and Drug Administration to make sure that cosmetics are "truthfully and informatively packagedand labeled." If you break out in hives, after applying a new face cream or you think that a product is mislabeled or unsanitary, report to to the Consumer Communications Director, FDA, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, Md. 20857.
Learn how to strike it rich by participating in the government oil and gas lottery. Some offer rights to extract oil and gas from federally owned land. To apply, write the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of Interior, 18th and C St. NW, 20402 or call 783-3238.
Discover a free plastic device that fits into the head of your shower and saves up to $40 a year in heatingbills -- "without a noticeable change in your water flow," claims the book. Write Technical Information Center, U.S. Department of Energy, P.O. Box 62, Oak Ridge, Tenn., 37830 orcall (615) 576-1301.
Keep the kids occupied next weekendwith free coloring booklets from the Water and Power Resources Service, U.S. Department of the Interior (343-4643); or the Office of Noise Abatement and Control, EPA (557-7695); or the Food and Nutrition Service's public information office(447-8077).The latter shows the nutritional value of foodin both English and Spanish.
For free posters that add style to a haphazard college dorm or create a gallery look inyour new condomenium, try writing or calling the following,says Lesko:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Community Affairs and Education Branch, 400 Maryland Ave. SW, Room 6052, 20546 (755-3350).
U.s. dEpartment of Energy, 1000 Independence Ave., Room GA343, 20585 (252-5568).
U.S. Department of Defense, The Federal Voting Assistance Program, Pentagon Room 1B457 20301 (694-4928).
National Clearinghouse on Aging, Office of Human Development Service, 330 Independence Ave SW, Room 4247, 20201 (245-0827).
National Archives and Records Service, GSA, 8th St. and Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 20408 (523-3164).
Office of Public Awareness, EPA, 401 M St. NW, Gallery 2, 20460 (755-0717).
Find your long lost uncle -- the rich one, remember? -- with help from the Social Security Administration. The book suggests writing to your missing person in care of the SSA, including as much personal information as possible, such as date of birth, last place of residence. If they can locate your person, they'll forward the letter. However they cannot reveal the current address.(Your rich uncle may want to stay "lost.") For additional information call your local SSA office or write SSA, Public Inquires, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 6501 Security Blvd., Baltimore, Md. 20235.
You can receive a free, long-playing 33 1/3 record on avariety of Mental Health Education Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 5600 Fishers Lane, Room 1517, Rockville, Md. 20857.
Should you discover that your illness -- whether mental or other -- is currently being studied by the National Institute of Health, you may be selected to receive free medical care. However, a doctor must refer you. To find out ifyour're "eligible" describe your symptoms in a letter to the institute: Office of the Director, The Clinical Center, Blge. 10, Room 1N212, NIH, Bethesda, Md. 20205.
Lesko also includes a section on recorded messages, ranging from the upcoming activities of U.S. Botanic Gardens to the Department of Energy's News in Spanish. And should you get frustrated making telephone calls, believing that nobody loves you, trycalling Dial-A-Story at the D.C. Public Library.
But beware, the line may be busy.