Take a look at this theory.
If you are going to make posts consisting 100% of content cut directly from another website I think it would be courteous to acknowledge the source as being the USGS http://interactive2.usgs.gov/faq/list_faq_by_category/get_answer.asp?id=148
Are USGS web sites subject to copyright? If so, then their content shouldn’t be cut and pasted here anyway.
Most US Government websites (USGS, NOAA included) are ‘public domain’. Here’s the quote from the USGS website ( http://www.usgs.gov/info_policies.html )
Copyrights and Trademarks
USGS-authored or produced data and information are considered to be in the U.S. public domain. While the content of most USGS Web pages is in the U.S. public domain, not all information, illustrations, or photographs on our site are. Some photographs, images, and/or graphics that appear on USGS Web sites are used by the USGS with permission from the copyright holder. These materials are generally marked as being copyrighted. To use these copyrighted materials, you must obtain permission from the copyright holder under the copyright law.
A similar notice exists on NOAA ( http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/ngdcinfo/privacy.html )
As required by 17 U.S.C. 403, third parties producing copyrighted works consisting predominantly of the material produced by U.S. government agencies must provide notice with such work(s) identifying the U.S. Government material incorporated and stating that such material is not subject to copyright protection. The information on government web pages is in the public domain unless specifically annotated otherwise (copyright may be held elsewhere) and may therefore be used freely by the public.
So… like my quotes above (with link attribution), it’s ok to use the info freely. I second Niko’s comment that all such info should have the attribution.
Plus we could fill Chris’s disk allocation really fast just cutting and pasting stuff from other websites with no added value. What’s the point of doing that?
It’s probably better use of resources to provide a link to the information to let people read it themselves. The content here is better as comment on other content. Unique/new comment on other material is often as interesting as the original content.