Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fun video :)

Students and faculty of the University of Washington's Information School (and Nancy Pearl!) do their version of Lady Gaga's 'Poker Face':

Thanks, Jessamyn West.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ah, great movements sometimes hit snags

Life of Brian by Monty Python is, in the humble opinion of this Classics geek, one of the funniest movies ever (although Monty Python and the Holy Grail is up there, too, I prefer Life of Brian, and not just for the full frontal nudity.)

It makes all those years of studying ancient history and languages worth it just to get all the jokes. I've embedded the link to the 'Romans Go Home' segment before. This one is of the zealots' planning session. Several YouTubers have likened it to a Tea Party meeting. :)

Dennis Hopper on art

It's good to see someone who appreciates art not just for the investment, or air of sophistication that can be derived from collection, but really, because he likes art and finds in it inspiration that can be applied to his own life. Dennis Hopper is best known for the film Easy Rider, something I've never seen but was very much iconic in my mother and father's generation. The actor and director died today of advanced prostate cancer. I only saw two of his films--True Grit and Speed--but I certainly knew the name. (Believe it or not, I have neither seen Rebel Without a Cause or Apocalypse Now, both major motion pictures and true classics. That's something I should probably change.)

Here's more on his life, and death:
Dennis Hopper's influential career came full-circle

Privatisation of education and the great capitalist experiment

A very interesting post about the need for core skills and how they got lost in the technology-laden curriculum of an experimental school.

In Philadelphia, Microsoft 'School of The Future' Is A Disaster For The Kids. Why The Rush To Privatize?

It's well worth a read. Again, thanks Buffy for sharing.

Interesting ticker

This is making the rounds. Thanks to Buffy for sharing. It's neat to compare the various interactions and uses of mobile devices and the Internet. Plus there's the sheer amount of sharing of content that is going on. It's just another reason to make sure our patrons have information literacy, as Steve points out on his blog, as it becomes increasingly important to connect through technology.

Comforting volunteers

Special lady for each Arlington soldier: Volunteers honor troops and make sure none is buried alone
Joyce Johnson remembers the drums beating slowly as she walked with her girls from the Old Post Chapel, behind the horse-drawn caisson carrying the flag-draped casket of her husband.

She remembers struggling to maintain her composure as she stared at his freshly dug grave, trying not to dwell on the terrible sight in the distance — the gaping hole in the Pentagon where he had so proudly worked.

The three-volley salute. Taps. The chaplain handing her a perfectly folded flag. The blur of tributes.

And then a lady stepped forward, a stranger, dressed not in uniform but in a simple dark suit. She whispered a few words and pressed two cards into Johnson's hands.

"If there is anything you need ..."
What a wonderful thing to do for the grieving, and for those who otherwise would otherwise be buried alone, without anyone to attend their last rite of service.

A grim milestone indeed

Texan is GI death 1,000 in Afghan war: 'He always wanted to die for his country,' brother says
The 1,000th American serviceman killed in Afghanistan had already fallen once to a hidden explosive, driving his Humvee over a bomb in Iraq in 2007. The blast punched the dashboard radio into his face and broke his leg in two places.

Marine Cpl. Jacob C. Leicht didn't survive his second encounter with a bomb this week. The death of the 24-year-old Texan born on the Fourth of July marks a grim milestone in the Afghanistan war.

Leicht, who spent two painful years recovering from the Iraq blast, was killed Thursday when he stepped on a land mine in Helmand province that ripped off his right arm. He had written letters from his hospital bed begging to be put back on the front lines, and died less than a month into that desperately sought second tour.
To his family, I hope the fact that he lived and died as he wanted to brings you comfort. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Stuck in my head all day

Yes, one more Joan Baez version of a traditional song. Bear with me, I'm on a folk song kick.

Tell your story of becoming and being a librarian!

Check out Librarian Origins, the survey, at:

Whether you're a first-year circ clerk or a retired library administrator, Librarian Origin Stories wonders how you joined our merry guild. It's a worldwide exploration of the experiences and backgrounds of all who work to keep these wonderful places humming.

You can be as private as you want; the online survey offers several flavors of anonymity. And if you like, you can request results when you finish the short questionnaire.
I took (and enjoyed) the survey...how about you?

An advocate speaks out

You might remember me telling you I'd checked out This Book is Overdue: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All. Marilyn Johnson, the author, expresses her opinion on the cutbacks in the Queensborough library system in this video. According to Terry Balliard, of LISNews:
If the plan goes through, many branches would be closed outright or kept open less than half of the week. More than 400 library employees, some in the system since 2000, have been given layoff notices, effective in mid-August. Johnson learned first-hand how bad things were when she spoke to Queens Library employees on May 25. Later that day, a rally was held at City Hall, during which the police kept hundreds of library supporters waiting on the sidewalk, and let them in five at a time.
This sort of thing is happening all around the country. Ironically, in trying oeconomic times libraries (and librarians) are needed more than ever, but cities and counties do not seem to think of that when trying to find ways to trim budgets. Instead, they see libraries as an easy mark. Who would miss books, after all? Yes, libraries are about books, but they are about so much more. I wish more executives and councils realised that.

Thanks, Ms Johnson, for your support. Now, how about the rest of us? What can we do to save our libraries?

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Barring any unforeseen problems, I'm going to get to go to the Joan Baez concert. I talked to my boss about working another day that week instead. The ticket should reach me in a few days (I just had them mail it--I don't trust e-mail links and printers to always work or such tickets to be accepted) and I did pay $7 to insure the ticket so if I can't go, or it's lost, etc., I can get my money back. I got a seat down near the front. Yay!

Infinitesimal odds, but deadly just the same

Man dies of uterine cancer linked to transplant: Doctors doubted disease could spread to him through donated kidney
Vincent Liew waited five years for the kidney that was supposed to change his life. Instead, the organ ended it.

The kidney came from a woman who had uterine cancer, but she and doctors didn't know it. Once her disease was discovered after the transplant, Liew's doctors highly doubted it could spread to him.

But in seven months, Liew was killed by cancer that his autopsy linked to the transplant. His death, the subject of a medical malpractice trial in which closing arguments were scheduled for Thursday, is believed to be the only reported instance of uterine cancer apparently being transmitted by transplant, medical experts say.
Men can and do get breast cancer, of course, but this is so very unusual it's one for the books. It's important to realise that there's a very low chance of getting a disease from a transplant--in 2007 just 23 out of 28,000 recipients contracted anything, just over half of them dying. But according to the article more than 107,000 people are currently awaiting an organ, lives that could be saved with a transplant. Although screening is done, the detailed results of an autopsy are rarely available in the short window of time between removal of the organ and transplantation. Mr Liew was informed of a chance of the cancer being transmitted, but it was such a small risk he chose to keep the organ. Within a few months, he was dead. The only room for malpractice I can see is that for some reason it took two months for the surgeon to be notified of the cancer found in the donor. Otherwise, it sounds like something no one could have actually predicted as probable. Still, it's sad that he died when the organ was to give him a new lease on life.

Not surprising to me

Heavy girls likelier to have sex early: They're also less prone to use birth control, study shows

Certainly in terms of self-esteem, overweight and obese girls tend to have lower self-images than others, and that puts them at risk for being pressured to have sex without preparing properly for birth control. The need to feel special and to have external validation is common among people with low self-esteem. If someone gives a girl with low self-esteem attention, I think she will be more likely to latch onto them emotionally and do whatever it takes to keep them with her. That's certainly my experience. I didn't lose my virginity until I was a sophomore in college, at 18, but I had such low self-esteem that I really gave my brain over to the first person who said he loved me and felt I had to marry him to be a 'good girl'. I left the marriage 6 months in (but after 6 years together) because I finally came to my senses.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Do you Google yourself regularly?

Okay, it sounds vaguely obscene, but many of us do it, and for good reason, because potential employers, mates, and a variety of other people do it, too. Besides, you should always be aware of how you present yourself and know what people are saying about you. Which brings us to this:

More of us are checking our online ‘reputations': Pew study finds that younger Net users are more diligent about doing so

Contrary to assumptions that young people don't care about privacy, they're actually much more savvy about it than their elders. I always like the Pew studies--they're interesting and provide a glimpse into how the Internet is really experienced.

I cannot imagine growing up without a single book of my own

Kids More Likely to Own a Cellphone Than a Book, Study Finds
A survey of 17,000 U.K. children between the ages of 7 and 16 found that while 86% owned a cell phone, only 73% said they owned a book. The NLT believes a child's access to books has a direct effect on their reading ability, finding that 80% of children reading at their expect levels have their own books. Conversely, the same can only be said for just 58% of children not reading up to par with their age group.
Now, reading isn't limited to books. But access to books does have an effect on literacy. As far as the article goes, somehow I don't think the all of the other 27% without books were necessarily getting books from the library. The connexion between exposure to print and developing literacy is the reason I run our hospital's early literacy project (Reach Out and Read, part of a national initiative), which gives out free books to children 6 months through 5 years old in the hopes that they will have a library of their own before starting school. Parents are encouraged to read and share books with their child.

I just can't imagine not having a book of my own. Don't get me wrong, I embrace things like e-readers and multi-format stories, etc., but there's nothing that can truly replicate an experience with a book. You can cuddle up with a Kindle on the couch, but it's not going to smell like good old paper. I love going into libraries and bookstores, not only because I am surrounded by knowledge, but because the smell is very welcoming, and the books invite you to open them. (Conversely, I've always associated the smell of fabric shops with allergies, most likely to the wool or sizing chemicals; I like fabric shops, but have to get past that association. Books, however, have wonderful associations for me.) Now it's easy to be sucked into a electronic format with video, text, and sound, but it's a completely different experience.

Thanks to Buffy Hamilton for sharing the link.

A song of the Famine

I wrote of the Irish Famine memorial in New York City the other day. Here is my favourite song about the time...this version is by the Clancy Brothers and Robbie O'Connell (the latter of whom is the one who sings).

This is a version with Mick Moloney--with lyrics included:

Thanks, Bill, for having introduced the song to me so many years ago.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I hope I can go

Quite by accident today I cam across a concert I'd dearly love to go to, at a reasonable price. It's Joan Baez at the Lexington Opera House on July 20th. The best tickets are $49.99, which is rather good. I've loved her music from childhood. I even think I can make it home on the bus that night--the concert starts at 7:30 pm. The only snag? One of my store co-workers is off that week for a vacation and my boss has put 'no one else off' on the days that week. But I'll talk to her...maybe if I work on Monday or Thursday (my regular days off) she'll let me go. Wish me luck.

But wasn't it fun?

I can aver that I only played it for about 10 seconds at work; the rest was at home. But there's plenty who gobbled up work time with the intricate doodle from Google that celebrated the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man.

The Tragic Cost of Google Pac-Man – 4.82 million hours

Google Pac-Man eats up work time

If you didn't get a chance to play or didn't get a great enough score to satisfy you, you can find a static page for it at: http://www.google.com/pacman/. It even has the between-level bits where Pac-Man chases the ghosts across the screen. I've gone to level three. How about you?

Did you remember your towel today?

I didn't actually, but I love the idea behind Towel Day, celebrated each May 25th in honour of Douglas Adams, creator of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series of books. For more information, check out: Today is Towel Day. Don't forget your towel! And if you haven't read the books, please consider getting drawn into the best romp through the universe ever. And they're certainly worth a re-read if, like me, you haven't picked them up in awhile. In the meantime, be sure to grab your towel. You never know when your home planet will be destroyed by aliens reading bad poetry.

Monday, May 24, 2010

I never saw the 1990s cartoon

but I really enjoyed the 'Prince Valiant' comic strips growing up. Granted, I liked anything Arthurian. My favourite modern tellings of Arthurian myth are Mary Stewart's Merlin series [beginning with The Crystal Cave] and Gillian Bradshaw's Down the Long Wind trilogy [beginning with The Hawk of May]. My favourite fantasy series with Arthurian elements in it is Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising sequence. As for pre-modern accounts, there is of course Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur and the Welsh mythology text the Mabinogion, which has older accounts of Arthur tales.

An interesting series that YKWIA told me about, 'Merlin', mixes up a lot of Arthurian elements to appeal to the younger set, but nevertheless seems entertaining. (This doesn't bother YKWIA as much as such anachronisms as potatoes.) The first season appeared here in the US on NBC (making it the first British programme to be shown on a major network in the US in over 30 years, according to Wikipedia), and the second is running on SyFy; in Britain the second finished its run and a third has been commissioned. In it Merlin is a young man in Uther Pendragon's kingdom, and magic is banned. He is basically Arthur's keeper, but he also learns magic from Gaius, who was once a great sorcerer. YKWIA has the first season on DVD and I hope to get a little free time to watch the episodes. Oh, and Uther Pendragon is played by Anthony Stewart Head. :) You should check it out on DVD or there are of course the bootlegged episodes on YouTube.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Thanks YKWIA for showing me this:

Main news story that piqued my interest today

A friend was watching the news and this came on. Interested as I am in all things British, all I can say is oh, my.

Fergie ‘sorry’ after trying to sell access to prince: Newspaper filmed Duchess of York offering to open doors for $720,000

Years after Vietnam, effects still linger from Agent Orange

Agent Orange's catastrophic legacy still lingers: 3 million Vietnamese exposed to chemical suffered illnesses, country says
Her children are 21 and 16 years old, but they still cry through the night, tossing and turning in pain, sucking their thumbs for comfort.

Tran Thi Gai, who rarely gets any sleep herself, sings them a mournful lullaby. "Can you feel my love for you? Can you feel my sorrow for you? Please don't cry."

Gai's children — both with twisted limbs and confined to wheelchairs — were born in a village that was drenched with Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. She believes their health problems were caused by dioxin, a highly toxic chemical in the herbicide, which U.S. troops used to strip communist forces of ground cover and food.

American veterans exposed to Agent Orange suffer from a variety of ailments, sometimes crippling. There are links to birth defects in their children such as spina bifida (one reason I'm glad I was born before my father went to Vietnam). But in Vietnam itself, many more people were exposed to the herbicide, and there are many birth defects that may be linked to it. The American government provides some aid to the cleanup of dioxin and help to those who were affected by it, but insists that a causal relationship has not been established when dealing with the Vietnamese even for the illnesses for which it pays benefits to former servicemen exposed to the chemical.
"American and Vietnamese Agent Orange victims haven't been treated the same way, and it's not fair," said Tran Xuan Thu, secretary general of the Vietnam Agent Orange Victims Association, whose suit against the U.S. manufacturers of Agent Orange in 2005 was rejected by a U.S. court. "It's not in keeping with the humanitarian traditions of the United States. I hope the American people will raise their voices and ask their government and the chemical companies to take responsibility."

I'm a history geek, too, of course

Copernicus reburied in Poland
The remains of Nicolaus Copernicus, the 16th century astronomer who first theorized that the earth revolved around the sun, were reburied on Saturday in the cathedral of Frombork in northern Poland.

Scientists have been examining Copernicus’s skull and leg bones since they were discovered by archaeologists three years ago in an unmarked grave in the cathedral. Testing revealed that the body was of a 70 year old man, and that he had a broken nose, which would have the same age and condition of the Polish scientist when he died. Furthermore, DNA taken from teeth and bones matched hairs that were found in one of his books, and they ultimately concluded that they had found Copernicus.

This is so nifty cool...

I am an Aegyptology geek, what can I say. :)

57 tombs with mummies found in Egypt: Archaeologists say discovery throws new light on religion

I talked briefly to my grandmother today

She was lying down for a bit because she didn't feel very well. She sounded weak and fragile. She turns 86 years old on the 29th. I worry about her.

Remembering the Irish Potato Famine that drove so many out into the rest of the world

It's in Lower Manhattan and has been built with plants native to and building materials from Ireland. It's quite tranquil and lovely, especially considering it is built inside a major city. Thanks to Bill Hart for the link.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Okay, that's not a library-related story you see every day

Suspect in tarantula theft held on bail
A Westminster [Maryland] man was held on $10,000 bail on charges he stole a pet tarantula from the Westminster branch of the Carroll County Public Library Wednesday.
Thanks, Steven, for the link. :)

How bizarre...and sad

Autopsy: girl smothered in bed, found 9 days later
Four-year-old Paulette Gebara's parents reported her missing on March 22, launching a vast media campaign and citywide search, including billboard advertisements and televised pleas — from Paulette's bedroom — for help.

Sympathizers were shocked when police later found Paulette's body wedged between the mattress and frame of her own bed in a luxury apartment on the outskirts of Mexico City. Investigators said she was suffocated.

Police, reporters and family members had tromped through the room, one news outlet held an interview there, and an aunt even slept in the girl's bed, but nobody realized the body was there. Investigators said they finally found the body due to the smell.
That poor little girl...her family must be very shocked. My thoughts are with them.

Yay :)

Calif. prepares to honor Harvey Milk: State marks 'day of significance' for slain gay-rights leader
California will observe its first day of "special significance" Saturday honoring the slain gay-rights leader on what would have been his 80th birthday.

It took two legislative tries and the 2008 movie "Milk" to help persuade Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign a bill last fall establishing May 22 as Harvey Milk Day. Memorial events are planned in 20 other states.
For those of you who don't know...
Milk was a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1978 when he and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated at City Hall by former supervisor Dan White.

Milk preached a message of pride that made him an inspiration to generations of gay rights activists, and he is credited with helping defeat a ballot initiative that would have prevented gay teachers from working in public schools.
This is the first state recognition day for an openly gay person. Let's celebrate.

Friday, May 21, 2010

It's sad when cartoon characters get dragged into societal debates

Is Dora the Explorer an illegal immigrant?

Dora the Explorer: illegal immigrant?: Cartoon character becomes unlikely symbol of heated debate 

[The image of Dora the Explorer was created by Debbie Groben of Sarasota, Florida, for a contest sponsored by the fake news site FreakingNews.com]

I am particularly bothered by those who think Dora is a conspiracy to get Americans to accept illegal immigrants and Spanish language as the norm. These wingnuts are probably the same people who protested Tinky Winky (the purple Teletubby) and thought he was gay. Sometimes a beloved children's show character really is just a beloved children's show character, guys.

Happy birthday, Pac-Man!

Brandon told me about today's Google doodle in which you can play an actual Pac-Man game around the letters of the logo. Here's a video demonstrating:

(I don't know how I missed this today at work...at home my start page is the Firefox Google page, which bypasses the doodles, although I usually check each day to see what it might be). Anyway, thanks Brandon, and thanks Google, it was fun.

Huh...that would be a major rethinking if they're right

Could Anthrax Have Caused The Black Death?

Most historians accept that the Black Death was, indeed, bubonic plague. But anthrax matches the symptoms and matches the spreading pattern more closely, others argue. Read the article and see what you think.

Sounds interesting enough to ILL

The historians. Physicians find that studying medicine's past prompts critical thinking about the present.

Minn Med. 2010 Mar;93(3):28-32

Authors: Ledger K

PMID: 20429174 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

I hope they recover them

You may have heard that five paintings were stolen from the Museum of Modern Art in Paris. These include a Matisse and a Picasson. To view which ones are missing, check out:

What France's stolen masterpieces tell us

A contributing factor was that the museum's alarm system has been broken since March, so the thief only had to snip a padlock, smash a window, and then cut the paintings from their frames. Estimates for the paintings are $123 million, but they are really quite priceless.

They include:
'Pastoral' by Henri Matisse (1906)
'Olive Tree Near L'Estaque' by Georges Braque (1906)
'Dove with Green Peas' by Pablo Picasso (1911)
'Still Life with Candlestick' by Fernand Leger (1922)
'Woman with Fan' by Amedeo Modigliani (1919)

They'll be hard to sell in the art world, but a private collector might buy them. Hopefully, they will be recovered soon.

I have to admit, I'm concerned

'Artificial life' breakthrough announced by scientists
Scientists in the US have succeeded in developing the first synthetic living cell.

The researchers constructed a bacterium's "genetic software" and transplanted it into a host cell.

The resulting microbe then looked and behaved like the species "dictated" by the synthetic DNA.

The advance, published in Science, has been hailed as a scientific landmark, but critics say there are dangers posed by synthetic organisms.

The researchers hope eventually to design bacterial cells that will produce medicines and fuels and even absorb greenhouse gases.

Synthesized DNA and the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues

Artificially created cell called a scientific feat

First 'synthetic life': Scientists 'boot up' a bacterial cell with a synthetic genome
Because current machines can only assemble relatively short strings of DNA letters at a time, the researchers inserted the shorter sequences into yeast, whose DNA-repair enzymes linked the strings together. They then transferred the medium-sized strings into E. coli and back into yeast. After three rounds of assembly, the researchers had produced a genome over a million base pairs long.

Oh, this is so me

A button that says 'I have the grace and poise of crackhead rhino'. That may have to become my new theme quote.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

So I went to my ophthalmology appointment

and although my ocular pressure's a little higher, it's not enough to warrant medicine, so we'll check it again in November. I didn't have to have my eyes dilated or anything; it was a brief check, maybe 10 minutes total (the waiting and appointment together were about an hour, which wasn't so bad). While I was waiting I read the preface and first chapter of What Do I Eat Now?. It's meant to be digested a chapter at a time. The first chapter is on setting realistic goals and following through. Speaking of that... :)

Then I went to the library, which was on the way home. I was thinking of the Dewey Decimal reading project. I wanted to read about Atlantis for 001, but it turns out the two books I wanted to read aren't in that classification. The classic Atlantis: the Antediluvian World by Ignatius Donnelly is in 390s, and Atlantis: the Andes Solution by JM Allen is in the 980s. :( The ones about Atlantis from 001 seem fairly silly. Monster!: the A-Z of Zooform Phenomena by Neil Arnold looks interesting (I am rather fond of cryptozoology), but is currently checked out. So I may have to wait awhile for that. But there aren't any hold on it at least.

I know I should keep them in order, but I did find Biblia's Guide to Warrior Librarianship: Humor for Librarians Who Refuse to Be Classified by Amanda Credaro and couldn't resist. But it's in 020. Hopefully as long as I keep track, it'll be okay. Wish me luck. It's going to take awhile, and goodness knows I'm bad at keeping things like this going.

The disaster continues

Latest satellite image of Gulf of Mexico oil spill as experts predict it could spread to Cuba

I don't really have the words for how appalled I am by the spill, the difficulties it presents in terms of containment, and horrible effects it has had and will have on wildlife, the oecology of a wide area, and the tourism and fishing industries in some of states that rely on these industries to fuel their oeconomies. Although I've never been past a rural area near Baton Rouge in terms of travelling south, I grew up in Louisiana and know how fragile their oeconomy can be. This is a true disaster, and I hope that the government and big oil can step up to the plate to minimise the damage, find out what went wrong, and keep it from happening again.

(Image from NASA)


Hot pursuit ninjas save Australia mugging victim
Three muggers in Australia got the fright of their lives when their attack was interrupted by five black-clad ninja warriors.

The thieves were assaulting a German medical exchange student in Sydney, but the alleyway where they struck was next to a school for ninja warriors.

Imagine being in a alley and five ninjas in fully-clad uniforms come rushing at you. One robber fled, the other two were arrested. :)

Moving kind of slow this morning, but up

I woke up about 6 am but kept going in and out of sleep. The alarm went off at 7 but I finally got up at 8, which is still early for me. My blood sugar is 310 and I feel a little wonky. So I've taken my meds and I'm eating a sandwich with peanut butter and a little spreadable fruit for breakfast, and drinking a Diet Pepsi to get some caffeine in my system.

Today I'm off from both jobs. I have an appointment with the ophthalmologist at 10:30 for my twice-yearly check on my eye pressure, with tends to be a little high. They usually dilate my eyes and take a picture of the optic nerve, too. I need to get a regular exam because I'm on the last of my contacts, but couldn't do it today because of the dilation.

My main errand today is that I need to get ink for my printer and since I have a coupon for 20% off from Office Max due to where I work (it only lasts for three days), I'm going out for that. I also need to pay bills today, but that I can do at home, since most are via the computer.

I'm also going to work on a cover letter for a job opportunity here in Lexington. It's a medical/academic library position for a small nursing college. I'd be under another librarian (whereas I'm a solo now), but it would be doing mainly interlibrary loan, which is probably the most important aspect of my job now, and I'm very good at finding articles and getting them. It would be full-time, the main office is very close to where I live (I could walk), and although it does mean travelling once a month out of city, I could rent a car for that until I could afford one of my own. So I feel pretty confident about that. I revamped my résumé yesterday. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Not to sound morbid, but these are the two songs I'd love played at my funeral

'Dust in the Wind' by Kansas:

(yes, they are grooming challenged, but it was the 70s)

'Now Comes the Night' by Rob Thomas:

On the other hand, if I ever get remarried, this will be played:
'All That I Am' by Rob Thomas

Revenge of tendonitis

Okay, I can't say my tendonitis ever really totally went away, but there were several weeks after the orthotics arrived that I did not have much foot pain, to the point where I could walk without hobbling.

But the last couple of weeks it has gotten worse. I don't know if it's the fact I'm standing about 33 hours a week, or if my shoes need replacing, or a combination of both. My feet are supinating much more, and of course the shoe stretches to accommodate and then there's no resistance, and my tendons get overly strained. I may have to get new shoes, even though these are only three months old. I think it's time I went back to the podiatrist.

I promise I won't go on and on about it, but I did hobble home tonight. And they still hurt at rest. Ouch.

I saw this the other day and loved it

The use of Snow Patrol's 'Chasing Cars' in the first one was brilliant. And the little dog (a Yorkie) really loves his or her pit bull friend.

I am not saying there are not dangerous pit bulls or Rottweilers out there. But the gentlest dog I know is a Rottweiler, and although very stupid (she likes to run headfirst into brick walls), she's incredibly loving and sweet, and I don't think she'd ever harm anyone. I'm a little wary of both dog breeds if I meet them on the street and probably wouldn't have them in a house with very young children (although the one I know would probably let kids do just about anything to her), mind you, but I think if raised with love, they can be loving pets and companions.

Unfortunately, if you look up Rottweiler or pit bull on YouTube you get an awful lot of dog fights. I don't think they should be there, frankly, but on the other hand maybe it's best if people see the stupid and cruel things people do to dogs.

Thanks to YKWIA for showing me the first one.

Want to be a Dewey Lunatic?

Josh Hanagarne, the World's Strongest Librarian, has come up with a personal project, but he'd love to share, too.

A Reading Project For Lunatics – Join Me!

The Dewey Lunatic Project

Here's the scoop: The Dewey decimal system is full of categories numbered from 000 to 999. Josh' idea is to read one book for every one of the main headings 000, 010, 020, etc. It can be a book from any of the subsets, but doesn't have to be from a particular one or from all of the subdivisions (that would take a lifetime). Still, it works out to about 1000 books, and he's going to start new, not rely on things he's already read.

Are you up for the challenge? I think it's a great idea. I have so little time to read now (when I was a kid, in the summer, I read 6 books a day; now I'm lucky if I get in one a month), but this is a great incentive, and the fact is I'll learn a lot, since 1) it's non-fiction and 2) it's stuff I wouldn't normally read. What do you think? I'll at least try, and I'll post the books here. Thanks, Josh!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I never got vaccinated for smallpox, although I was old enough for it

But I was sick when I was supposed to go, and then when we went back they'd stopped giving it. So I grew up being the only child in class I knew without the scar. Back in the Cold War I fretted over my lack of immunity in case of bioterrorism (see, it isn't new, we had terrorism in the 70s). Not that it matters that much; those vaccinated when they still gave it are probably no longer immune. But then there's this little bit of news:

Smallpox demise linked to spread of HIV infection
Experts say the vaccine used to wipe out smallpox offered some protection against the Aids virus and, now it is no longer used, HIV has flourished.

The US investigators said trials indicated the smallpox jab interferes with how well HIV multiplies.

But they say in the journal BMC Immunology it is too early to recommend smallpox vaccine for fighting HIV.

An interesting new device

Smallest man-made pump revealed
It's the size of a human red blood cell. Really.

30 years later, we're still thinking of volcanoes

On May 18, 1980, Mt St Helens, in Washington state, erupted.

Mt St Helens erupting:

And this one:

Here is a time-lapse of the last thirty years of the area and how it's changed:

In their May issue, National Geographic cover story was on Mt St Helens. You can see various articles on their website about the volcano, its eruption, etc. here.

Of course, it's not like volcanoes are old news. There's Eyjafjallajökull, a subglacial volcano in Iceland, which is currently erupting and causing headaches for air travel due to its ash clouds over Europe:

Thanks to Occasion for sharing the last one. It is truly magnificent.

In 1980 I had just moved to Kansas. The family joke is that whenever we leave an area, disaster hits it. In South Carolina and Louisiana, tornadoes touched down near where we lived. In 1980 we left the West Coast (California) there were earthquakes and Mt St Helens blew. I don't know if there were tornadoes when we left Kansas in 1982, but then what do you think the chances were?

Anyway, I remember on the news the great amounts of ash on people's cars and pretty much everywhere within its path. The sunsets were beautiful, of course. But unfortunately 57 people died as a result of the eruption. There was the good fortune that it happened on a Sunday, when loggers were not at work, or the death toll might have been higher. So as we pay homage to a terrible yet beautiful natural phenomenon, it's a good time to remember them as well.

A life, once fragile, blossomed

Surely everyone knows of the picture in which a little girl who was running, burned, down a road after being doused with napalm in Vietnam. But what happened to her?

Reunited with the Vietnamese 'girl in the picture'
A Vietnamese photographer, Nick Ut, was also covering events in South Vietnam that day.

As Kim [Phuc] ran down the road, her arms outstretched and screaming for help, he took what is now seen as one of the most memorable images of the Vietnam War.

She was still running when Chris [Wain, a reporter for ITN] stopped her and poured water over her, while directing his crew to record the terrible scenes.

"We were short of film and my cameraman, the late, great Alan Downes, was worried that I was asking him to waste precious film shooting horrific pictures which were too awful to use. My attitude was that we needed to show what it was like, and to their lasting credit, ITN ran the shots."

Nick took Kim to the nearest hospital, the US-run Saigon First Children's Hospital. Shortly afterwards, his photograph and the film footage appeared all over the Western media.

One result was that everyone wanted to know what had happened to the little girl.

It was Chris who found Kim the following Sunday, in a small room at the British hospital.

"I asked a nurse how she was and she said she would die tomorrow," he says. So he got her moved to a specialist plastic surgery hospital, for life-saving treatment.

Kim stayed in hospital for 14 months and went through 17 operations, remaining in constant pain to this day.
For years she lived in Vietnam, and at times her story was used as propaganda. She and her husband finally made it to Canada, where she now lives with him and her children. She has established the Kim Phuc Foundation, which provides medical and psychological assistance to child victims of war.

Thirty-eight years ago, the nine-year old Kim looked to be on death's door. It's nice that she has gone on to live her life and is making a difference in the lives of other children touched by warfare.

Putting a face on history

Face of Stirling Castle warrior reconstructed
A reconstruction has revealed the face of a medieval knight whose skeleton was discovered at Stirling Castle.

Experts are now attempting to discover the identity of the warrior, who is likely to have been killed in the 13th or 14th Century.

The skeleton is one of 10 excavated from the site of a lost royal chapel at the castle. The skeleton of a woman was found near the knight.

Face of a Medieval Knight revealed
Last year Historic Scotland released details about this individual, noting that while he was only in his mid-20s he appears to have suffered several serious wounds in earlier fights. He may have been living for some time with a large arrowhead in his chest. Bone re-growth around a dent in the front of the skull suggest he had recovered from a severe blow, possibly from an axe. The fatal wound, however, occurred when something, possibly a sword, sliced through his nose and jaw.

New evidence about this man, and a woman who was found buried nearby, will be revealed on the BBC program History Cold Case. A team led by Professor Sue Black, a world-renowned forensic anthropologist from Dundee University, wanted to find out how, why and when the man and woman met their violent ends. The programme website promises to show how the "forensic trail leads to a unique and extraordinary 600 year old document and the team is shocked to discover the skeleton's likely identity."

It is unknown if the man was Scottish, English, or French, as Stirling Castle changed hands back and forth. They hope to find out, though, and the information they already have is quite interesting:

Hope for easing psychological trauma's effect on the mind

Memory Reconsolidation and What Albert Ellis Knew All Along

Like me, John Medina grew up as an Air Force brat in the Cold War. We're also both interested in psychology, mental health, and social sciences (although I took the sociology route in school). Unlike me, he is a 'developmental molecular biologist with special research interests in the isolation and characterisation of genes involved in human brain development and the genetics of psychiatric disorders' (that's quoted from Wikipedia). He is also the author of several books, including Brain Rules, and writes a blog in which the following post caught my attention, as it deals with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and memory. It was shared by Buffy in my news reader:

The wars currently being waged in Iraq and Afghanistan represent one reason to study PTSD, and in doing so, it could lead to new discoveries which could help both the military and civilian communities.
Many things concern me about our military operations in those theaters, but one of them touches on a professional interest—the growing incidence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There are 3 reasons that prick up my research instincts, all springing from this asymmetric warfare.

• First, there are no real “fronts” to many of these operations. As a result, soldiers who used to be able to sit comfortably in the rear (often called the “tail”) are now as exposed to the hazards of combat as those charged with fighting (often called the “tooth”). Consequently, the pool of soldiers who are potential candidates for PTSD has increased. This means the research cohort is getting larger and increasingly better defined.

• Second, soldiers are returning into these asymmetric environments multiple times for very long periods. This provides an opportunity to study the mental health effects of combat over a sustained period of years—valuable for countries such as Somalia and parts of Uganda, which have been in a continuous state of war for decades.

• Third, the number of women exposed to combat is increasing. Since there is growing evidence that men and women process stress very differently, these populations represent valuable research opportunities to ask and answer sex-based questions regarding the effects of combat on behavioral outcomes.
But scientists have found a way to re-set the fear response by using comfort during a window of memory reconsolidation. This discovery could lead to new ways of counseling those exposed to war, rape, and other experiences that lead to PTSD. Read the column to see how the research worked, and what their findings were. It really is fascinating that we could have a 'rewind' button of sorts in dealing with traumatic memories.

So I'll just get up early

Last night was a bust in terms of my list, not surprisingly. I napped, and I blogged, and actually used my oven, but didn't get anything else accomplished. This morning I've gotten up early and have already put the laundry in. The machine in the laundry room actually had Diet Pepsi in it, so I'm having a bit of caffeine and will cook some Irish oatmeal in a little while. According to one of the books I was reading last night, my timing is off on eating. I usually check my blood sugar, take my medicine, and have a bagel and cream cheese or a Pop-Tart as soon as I get into work. But I eat with the other women at 11:30 am. So it's too close together (and yes, I know the two choices above are not particularly good and that I need some protein...I'll need to find something that would be better, since our breakfast closes at 9:30 at the hospital (and is mostly meat in terms of protein anyway). Maybe Maybe get some bagels and just eat half of one with peanut butter about 7 in the morning? I seem to recall 1/2 a bagel being an exchange.

I've cleaned part of the living room, where the computer is. I'm going to check the news while the laundry goes.

I'm also up early so that I can vote. I know my choices for several offices, although city council's the one I have to find out more about, so I'll poke about for that. Otherwise I'm ready. A is going to call about 7:30 or 8 to check and make sure I'm awake. :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hmmm...virtual worlds and real-world reactions

I had no idea lupins were legumes

But they are, and they can be used to fix nitrogen in the soil and also keep the soil from eroding. Here's a nice film from the BBC that not only explains that, but mostly shows lovely meadows of various wildflowers that I found relaxing.

Remembering that 'friends' aren't necessarily people you really know

Facebook Fake Lures Teen Nona Belomesoff Into Death Trap, Say Cops; Job Offer Ends in Murder
Rescuing injured animals is all 18-year-old Australian Nona Belomesoff wanted to do. Instead, her best intentions led to her murder, say police, allegedly by a 20-year-old man who used Facebook to lure her on a trip to save injured animals.

Twenty-year-old Christopher James Dannevig is charged with murdering the young woman at a creek south of Sydney, reports BBC News.

Belomesoff's body was found Friday night, May 14, two days after she went on the trip with the man. Detectives believe the young girl befriended the suspect on Facebook, because she was interested in working with animals. He had allegedly set up a fake profile claiming he worked for an animal welfare group, reports the BBC.

How sad, and the murderer used a completely non-sexual tactic playing on the interests that were most likely apparent in her Facebook profile.

I applaud him for both dealing with and disclosing his battle with mental illness and substance abuse

Robert Munsch recovering from cocaine addiction
Beloved Canadian children's author Robert Munsch shocked many of his fans by announcing this weekend that he has been battling addictions to cocaine and alcohol.

In a message titled "Note to Parents" posted on his website, the bestselling author Robert Munsch, 64, admitted he's been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder and manic-depression (also known as bipolar disorder).

He suggested addiction was not new to him and said he had attended 12-step recovery meetings "for more than 25 years." He said the challenges of coping with his mental health conditions had led him to make some "big mistakes."

In a Saturday TV interview, Munsch admitted he had recently grown dependent on cocaine and alcohol in a bid to help him with his mood swings. He said when he was drinking, he would sometimes "do stupid things," including cocaine.

He said he had moved past the addictions and had been sober for about four months
Thanks to Buffy for sharing.

A lovely sky

I fell asleep for 2 hours rather than 30 minutes, not surprisingly. But I got up because A called me and told me about a beautiful rainbow he'd been watching. So I went outside to see if I could see it, too. Here it is:
I know it's not a great picture, but if you look you can see just the remnant of a double bow to the upper right. A said it was a full double bow earlier; I could just see the one, but the camera picked up the other.

Needless to say, it's been raining, sometimes rather hard, so I'm going to wait until it passes before I try laundry, even though it will be after dark.

Enjoy your evening. I'm about to cook some frozen pecan-encrusted tilapia with sweet potato chipotle sauce. It's been so long since I've used the oven I forgot to set it on bake (just dialed the temperature) so it didn't preheat. I'm trying again. Told you I was a hopeless cook. :)

Hey, we just broke 91,000 visits to this page!

Of course, it took 8 1/2 years, but still, thank you all. :)

I love birds

I saw the male red-winged blackbird both this morning as I walked to the bus stop and this afternoon when I went to the library. (The two are near a marsh that is in front of St Joseph East hospital, and it apparently lives there and comes over to a feeder the library folks have set up outside their children's area. It has a very distinctive call that I'm learning to recognise. More than likely there's a female somewhere but they're hard to spot and look very different. I have become very keen on birds of late, and always check for ducks and geese near the reservoirs in town as I ride the bus. I should probably take up bird watching and find a guide. I do have a book that lists some very well-known species that has buttons to play their various calls. But the thrill of seeing less common birds would be nice, too. I have a pair of binoculars. I could be the crazy old bird lady obsessed by warblers. :)

(Picture by Walter Siegmund, used under the GNU Documentation/Creative Commons Licences)

Trying to get a handle on my diabetes

Okay, so I'm a medical librarian, which means I know the complications of diabetes, have read the patient information and a few studies, know the medicines involved, and generally have a good knowledge of the disease's mechanism. The problem I have is what to eat, especially for a pescetarian (think vegetarian who eats fish and seafood) who has little time to cook and quite frankly is bad at it. I went to a diabetes education class but it was mostly on checking blood sugar and keeping meals to about 45 grams of carbs, but beyond that, I'm pretty clueless. I know how to eat healthy in general, but not how to eat healthy for good glucose control, and I've been terrible in putting any of the theory I do know in practice. But, my blood sugars have been consistently over 300 the last few days and I'm on four diabetes medications. I have to do something. I'm 130 lbs overweight and my body is breaking down, and I'm just 43 years old.

Now when I was a kid, one of the diets my mother tried was a diabetic exchange one, and it's the only one I ever tried and stayed on for more than a week or two, because it's fairly easy. So I've been looking at some information on the Internet and I've ordered some books from Amazon:

The Official Pocket Guide to Diabetic Exchanges by the American Diabetes Association
What Do I Eat Now? by Patricia Geil and Tami Ross
Diabetes Meals in 30 Minutes--or Less! by Robyn Webb

They had a special deal where they were just a little over $26 for the set, which means free shipping. Since they were shipped Friday from the warehouse in Lexington (the same city where I live), I'm thinking they'll arrive tomorrow or Wednesday.

I also checked out some books from the library today:

Diabetes Mellitus: A Practical Handbook by Sue Milchovich and Barbara Dunn-Long
The Joslin Guide to Diabetes: A Program for Managing Your Treatment by Richard Beaser and Amy Campbell
The All=Natural Diabetes Cookbook: the Whole Food Approach to Great Taste and Healthy Eating by Jackie Newgent (lots of vegetarian recipes)
Charting a Course to Wellness: Creative Ways of Living With Heart Disease and Diabetes by Teena and Graham Kerr (which has vegetarian options for many of their meat dishes)

Lest you think I just scoured the non-fiction section, I also picked up Death Masks by Jim Butcher, as I'm slowing going through all the Dresden Files series. :)

Anyway, I'm going to try to pay more attention to what I eat, use the exchange lists (it's small enough to fit in my purse), and start making meal plans instead of eating whatever comes to hand. It's a start, anyway. I need to exercise, too. The best thing to do would be probably walk around the hospital grounds every day for a break, because I don't have much time throughout the rest of the day.

Wish me luck!

So far I'm on schedule

Today I actually have an evening at home to enjoy. So far today I:
  1. woke up early enough that I didn't have to rush to the bus stop.
  2. was fairly productive at work.
  3. picked up five medications from the pharmacy. Thank goodness for flexible spending accounts!
  4. went to the library to pick up some books.
  5. came home.
My plans:
  1. Take a short 30-minute nap.
  2. Do laundry.
  3. Call my grandmother and see how she's doing.
  4. Clean at least part of the house, including picking up the living room, cleaning the bathroom, and doing dishes.
  5. Work on game notes.
  6. Catch up on 'Doctor Who' (I'm three episodes behind!)
It sounds doable, anyway. We'll see. The nap is the dangerous part--I rarely take less than a 45-minute to an hour's nap. :)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

This is rather spiffy

This was the winner of the Best Visual Illusion of the Year Contest 2010 and is by Koukichi Sugihara of the Meiji Institute for Advanced Study of Mathematical Sciences, Japan.
In this video, wooden balls roll up the slopes just as if they are pulled by a magnet. The behavior of the balls seems impossible, because it is against the gravity. The video is not a computer graphic, but a real scene. What is actually happening is that the orientations of the slopes are perceived oppositely, and hence the descending motion is misinterpreted as ascending motion. This illusion is remarkable in that it is generated by a three-dimensional solid object and physical motion, instead of a two-dimensional picture.
It makes a very good illusion, don't you think?

This a remarkable story, though

Blind man in Paris creates visions
Montalembert lost his sight in 1978, when two men forced their way into his New York City home looking for money. They stripped him, beat him and threatened to stab him. When the artist struggled to defend himself, one of the intruders threw what felt like hot liquid in his face. It was a base paint remover that burned his retinas.

Doctors stitched his eyelids closed, as they will likely remain for the rest of his life. The attackers were never found.

Since that day, he has created detailed visions from memory, almost the way a painter fills a blank canvas. To Montalembert, the exercise is a way of survival.

"I am afraid that the memory I have of the visible world will disappear little by little, to be replaced by an abstract universe of sound, smell, and touch," he writes in his new book, "Invisible," a poetic compilation written in English that includes excerpts from his diary and his first book, "Eclipse."

"My ability to create images absolutely must not atrophy. I must remain capable of bringing back the world I looked at intensely for 35 years."

To wake his mind into "seeing," he puts himself in visually rich surroundings that inspire him to imagine what he can no longer see. This gives him "a sense of life," an antidote to the isolation that blindness can impose.

"The stronger a visual surrounding you find yourself in, the more, maybe, your brain will catch something," he writes.
Thanks for the link from @Flipbooks as retweeted by @pfanderson.

The game today was very enjoyable

It was downtime, but interesting downtime. But I've been up since 6 am and we played from about 2 pm till 10 pm, so I'm rather wiped out. I think I'll go on to bed early. Tomorrow I work at the hospital but not the store, and I can actually come home and do some laundry, yay. I'm three episodes of 'Doctor Who' behind, too, so hopefully I can watch that on the DVR as I do my clothes.

I didn't see anything in my news reader to blog about tonight, although I'm happy to hear that BP seems to have that pipe working to siphon off oil into a ship. It's a start, anyway.

Good night.

You think?

Bullies Target Obese Kids: Being overweight is prime factor regardless of race, family income, study finds

I was bullied as a child. I was chunky (although not nearly as fat as I thought I was; I got a lot of my self-image from my mother, who had her own issues with her weight).

I was nearsighted with thick 1970s glasses.

I wore clothes my mother made for me, mostly polyester pantsuits (it was the 70s). I don't think I owned a pair of jeans until junior high. I remember them well--pink with elephants on the back pockets. Okay, so that was also the late 70s. I didn't wear jeans regularly until my senior year of high school and in college.

I was also a terrible know-it-all without social skills whose self-esteem was rooted in how well I did at school, and although I didn't really realise I showed off, I did.

So there were several factors to my being bullied. Plus I always got along better with kids younger than myself and adults. The ones in my class were older (I skipped a grade) and I guess I just couldn't relate that well to them, with the exception of a few close special friends.

I have certain snapshots from my childhood of bullying, although there were constant barbs throughout:

One kid picked on me in our neighbourhood in Louisiana and I never really fought back until he started bullying a four-year-old (I was nine, he was eight), whereupon I hit him and gave him a bloody nose. I think it's the first of only two times I've ever hit anyone for real.

I was jumped by some Hispanic and black girls at school in California. They broke my glasses and tore my coat. There were all the factors above, plus I had a Louisiana accent at the time that they may have thought worthy of making fun of. I lost that accent by the time I got to Kansas and now the only people who think I have a Southern accent are people in Minnesota or other places far north. My mom, after getting me new glasses, drove me around the base searching for them. I'm not sure whether she planned on calling the security police or taking care of them herself. It made me feel truly loved.

I was once threatened by a black girl with certain pain and possible death at school and spent two weeks finding excuses to get my mother to pick me up rather than walk home. This is why: I was having nascent bisexual feelings and really admired her athleticism (we were in gym together). I was in my horsey-girly phase, in junior high, and constantly drew horses. I went to give her a compliment and the first athlete I thought of was a jockey. In retrospect I think she thought I was calling her a lawn jockey, which is understandably upsetting. I didn't realise what I had done until I related this story to a co-worker who was of mixed race when I was about 36. Almost all of the lawn jockeys I'd seen growing up were white, and not painted with the stereotypical black features they used to be.

Bullying had the effect of making me fearful of a lot in life and certainly didn't help my self-esteem, which has been chronically low, any. I'm much better now, but it's taken years and years to come to grips with myself and like what and who I am, and to realise that their opinions never really should have mattered.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

How can we stop the sexual violence in the Congo (well, violence in general, for that matter)?

Haunted by Congo rape dilemma
''The rebel leader asked me two things: 'Do you want us to be your husband? Or do you want us to rape you?'"

Congolese mother-of-eight Clementine speaks in a quiet and hesitant voice:

"I chose to be raped."

She explains: "I told myself, if I tell them that I want to be their wife, they will kill my husband. I didn't want my children growing up saying the one that made our father die is our mother."

But that sacrifice was not enough. Her husband left her for another woman.

"After they raped me, my husband hated me. He said I was dirty. I often ask myself: 'Surely, I gave up my dignity for him, how come he can abandon me this way?'"


Jocelyn Kelly, a researcher with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative's Gender-Based Violence programme, says the men that have survived these attacks on their families are extremely traumatised themselves:

"They say: 'I can no longer look at my wife.' And every time they see this woman, they see someone they were not able to protect. They feel like failures and the only way they can deal with it is to reject their wife and start over."
This is an excellent article. It examines the issue of rape as a weapon from the perspective of the women, their loved ones, and the soldiers themselves.

RIP Buddy, the dog who saved the lives of his family in the Atlanta area

Dog saves Clayton County family from house fire
Early Friday morning, Buddy came to the rescue of his Clayton County family when a fire broke out in the kitchen. Thanks to Buddy, the two adults and three children made it out safely.

Buddy did not.
The Shih Tzu alerted the family about 5:30 am, which had a television on and did not hear the smoke alarm, when a fire that had been put out earlier in the evening re-kindled overnight.

Again, thanks to Buffy for sharing.

Working to get books online for people who can't read them in hard copy

Project puts 1M books online for blind, dyslexic
The Internet Archive is scanning a variety of books in many languages so they can be read by the software and devices blind people use to convert written pages into speech. The organization has 20 scanning centers in five countries, including one in the Library of Congress.

"Publishers mostly concentrate on their newest, profitable books. We are working to get all books online," Kahle said.

Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, says getting access to books has been a big challenge for blind people.

"Now, for the first time, we're going to have access to an enormous quantity," he said.

Thanks to Buffy Hamilton for sharing.

Know a small non-profit out there that does a lot of good?

Make sure it knows about this:

Nonprofits may lose tax-exempt status: Many at risk of missing deadline for filing new form with IRS

Groups reporting $25,000 or less in income with a fiscal year ending on December 31st are required to file a form, the 990-N, by Monday, or they could lose their tax-exempt status. Many have not heard of the new rule. It would make donations taxable until they could restore their status, and possibly wipe them out before that could happen. Churches are exempt, however.

In Spain on June 6th? Let the devil jump over your baby to banish evil

Be sure to catch this in the town of Castrilla de Murcia:

Thanks to @lbgilbert as retweeted by @JustinLibrarian for the link to Neato Bambino's mention of it. Then there was this great tweet:

RT @effinglibrarian: @lbgilbert the baby jumping t-shirt says: Conseguí saltado encima y toda lo que vi era la grieta del asno del diablo.less than a minute ago via TwitterGadget


Put it through Google Translate if you don't get it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Already they have their revenge

Okay, anyone upset by my previous post can now gloat. This is making the rounds on Twitter:

'Heroes' Canceled by NBC


But it sounds like they may be doing a finale to wrap up the show sometime midseason. That would be fun.

On the other hand, I think this season has been a pretty shaky. But I'll still miss it. That leaves 'Doctor Who' for me (and 'Supernatural' if it does come back for season 6), but I'm behind on episodes, way behind, and then 'Happy Town' sounds intriguing and I'm going to start DVRing it. Of course, it's apparently not doing well and will not be picked up for a full season. Oh, well. At least 'Doctor Who' has been running since before I was born. :)

Okay, it's time to let go

Don't get me wrong, I love the show, but it's omnipresence over twenty years--almost half my life--is a bit much. So I was actually pleased to read:

Case closed: `Law & Order' is canceled by NBC

Now it is unfortunate that they did not manage to eclipse 'Gunsmoke' in terms of length of run. But let's face it, there could easily be a 'Law & Order' channel out there, between all of the incarnations, and two remain active.

So for all those fans out there, I know it was upsetting to you, but really, it's time to let go. And after all, there will be reruns for at least the rest of my lifetime and most likely yours.

This is supremely cool--how to create a hydroponic garden in a window

as a gardener, I appreciate the setup, although I'm not sure I'm mechanically inclined enough to duplicate. It's pretty simple, though. I like the water falling (of course I have a very strong stream coming through my aquarium, too).

Thanks YKWIA for thinking of me regarding this one.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tired and cranky

I think I'm hormonal. And I really haven't had decent sleep in the last, oh, four or five days (I keep waking up or sleeping odd hours.) As a result I hated work tonight, dealing with grown ups having tantrums over gas pumps and dealing with the public at large. I mostly held it together, but really, sometimes....

It seemed to drag horribly, too. Those are quite possibly the longest 6 1/2 hours I have ever experienced, or at least that's how it seemed.

But now I'm home, and I'm caught up on my news reader, and I'm considering what I did to cause fifteen people to drop the Feedburner subscriptions. Too much music? I don't know. Oh, well.

I think I'll check Facebook and see if my aunt and cousin approved a friend request, and then decide on whether to just go on to bed or not. If I do, good night. If not, I'll be back.


China unearths 114 new Terracotta Warriors
Archaeologists in China have unearthed 114 new terracotta warriors at the vast Qin dynasty tomb complex in Xian province, state media reports.

The statues, many of which were found in pieces, were brightly coloured and lying alongside pots, weapons and other items, said China Daily.

Research teams also found evidence of burn marks on the clay, proof that the pit had at some point been set on fire.

More than 8,000 of the statues, made in 221BC, have already been unearthed.

This is fun

It's a steampunk-inspired book suggestion site where you enter information such as age, gender, politics, and hobbies and suggestions pop out.

Try the Bookulating Suggest-O-Mometer

Thanks to Bibliofuture of LISNews.org for the link.

'Full-time libraries aren't as flashy as new baseball stadiums, but they leave the people of our city a whole lot richer'

Finally, High Bridge Public Library turns page on future
The residents of Highbridge, an isolated and forgotten hilltop neighborhood behind the new Yankee Stadium, finally have something to cheer more important than an Alex Rodriguez home run.

"We're getting our library back," Aida Davis, a 69-year-old great-grandmother, said, smiling.
Thanks, Steven.

Tonight is Old Bealtaine

from before the calendar changed in the 18th century.

Good night.

In a bit of a Scottish music mood

[If you don't understand Scots (and I seem to have a genetic understanding for some reason at times), the lyrics including translations are under 'more info' at the video's page.]

During the Potato famine, part of the Irish Diaspora found its way to Scotland, to the factories of its cities.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Um...is there anything Halliburton isn't involved in?

Oil executives point fingers in Congress over oil spill

Turns out Halliburton's not just involved in Iraq war issues, it's part of the BP oil spill, too.

Good comes from tragedy, but how to sustain it?

Better care in post-quake Haiti, but how long?: Challenge is to make changes last, before attention, aid dollars wane
The 6-month-old baby boy was rushed to the field hospital near death in a donated ambulance, his body trembling in shock.

Before Haiti's earthquake, he wouldn't have stood a chance. His homeless 18-year-old mother could not have afforded even the 60-cent admission fee at Port-au-Prince's rat-infested general hospital.

But four months after the quake that leveled the capital, foreign volunteers, donated medicine and free hospitals are giving Haiti's impoverished people the best health care of their lives. Now the challenge is to make improvements permanent, before the world's attention and aid dollars run out.

A bit bigger than the normal shrimp

Fisherman took unexploded mine home to Shandwick
A village was evacuated after a fisherman netted an unexploded wartime mine and took it home with him.

Prawn fisherman Andrew Innes, 54, said the live part of the mine had been in his garden shed since he pulled it from the Cromarty Firth last Thursday.

Police were alerted after noon on Tuesday, and cordoned off Mr Innes's home in Shandwick.

Twenty nearby homes were evacuated before a Royal Navy bomb disposal team made the device safe.

Mr Innes recovered the unexploded mine from the waters of the Cromarty Firth, which was a major base for the Royal Navy during the two world wars.

The fisherman took the device back to port at Cromarty, dismantled it and then took the live part back home with him.

He said: "I didn't know there was anything dangerous about it at all. I have seen them before and it didn't look dangerous."
It's amazing he didn't blow himself to Kingdom Come.

A wonderful historical resource

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913 are now online, representing a 'fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court.'

Gary Corby mentioned this on his blog, A Dead Man Fell from the Sky. He looked up an ancestor who was transported for stealing a handkerchief in 1835, at the age of 20 (Corby is a mystery writer in Sydney, Australia, so that's a fairly pivotal moment in family history).

I looked up my birth surname and didn't find any direct ancestors, but this case caught my eye:
Mary Broadbent, a Child, about 10 Years old, was indicted for stealing from her Father, Paul Broadbent a piece of an old Frock, 3 Clouts, and several other Rags, on the 5th of April, and, Mary Cosier, Mary Harding, and Phillis Harding, were indicted for receiving the same, knowing them to be stoln. Paul Broadbent thus depos'd. I keep a Barber's Shop under the Rainbow Coffee-house, in St. Martin's lane; the Prisoner Mary Broadbent, is my own Child, but living among ill Neighbours, they seduced her to rob me. I mist the Stay of a Child's Coat, and a Cloth that I used to wipe my Razors on. I and my Wife examin'd her, and she confest, and so we carried her, and the other 3 Prisoners, before Justice Ellis, and he committed them to Newgate. Mrs. Broadbent thus depos'd. We have lost Aprons, and Shifts, and Plates, and several other Things, that we could never find again, but these 2 Child's Caps, and this piece of a Callicoe Frock, we found in Cosier's House. As for the Child, I love her as well as if she had been my own a thousand Times. She has been instructed in the Fear of God; she can say her Catechism in English and French, and can answer all lawful Questions, but she has been drawn aside by wicked Neighbours. As for Mary Harding, and her Daughter Phillis, we can't charge them with receiving any Goods, but they kept the Child at their Houses, 2 or 3 Days together, and we did not know what was become of her. The Prisoners then call'd their Witnesses. Mr. Matthews thus depos'd. Mrs. Cosier lodg'd at my House. She's a poor Woman indeed, but she always bore the Character of being very honest; she used to go a Chairing at Broadbent's House, when his former Wife was alive, which is about 2 Years ago. When Broadbent and his Wife came with a Constable, to search her Lodging, they found some odd Things, which they owned, and among the rest a Quit. Says, Broadbent, I won't take this away, for I know my former Wife gave her this, and several other Things. Mrs. Miller thus depos'd. Mrs. Consier has been a Chair-woman 4 Years at my House, and I have often left her with all my Doors open, but never mist any Thing. I believe she's as honest a Woman as ever liv'd, and I could have brought Twenty creditable House-keepers, to have said the same. Mrs. Hudsen thus depos'd. I am Mr. Broadbent's own Sister. He and his new Wife have used the child very barbarously. They beat her till they made her confest any thing that they desir'd. - They made her confess that she had stolen a Chintz Gown that was her Mother's, when her Mother never had such a Gown. And since the Child has been in Newgate, he has Charged her with stealing an old pair of Window Curtains, and yet he himself, gave these very Curtains to me, soon after his first Wife dy'd. Mr. Hudson thus depos'd. The Child has met with such cruel Usage from the Prosecutor and his Wife, that she would run to any of the Neighbours for Succour. I was coming down one Morning, and found her upon my Stairs, where I understood, that she had lain all Night; for I being a Bed, when she came home, she would not knock at my Chamber Door, and was afraid to go home. I went to her Father, and asks him how he could use his own Child in such a Manner. What's that to you, says he. Have ye a Mind she should come to be Hang'd or Transported? Says he, I don't care, if I can but get rid of her. Mrs. Pearson thus depos'd. Broadbent charged Cosier with having a Child's stay. She readily answer'd, And so I have your Wife gave it me. I know she did, says he, but here are more of my Things; and then he pickt up a few Rags, that the Child had brought to dress her Doll with. The Jury acquitted them. And the Court thinking it improper she should go to live again with her Father and Step-Mother, brought him to an Agreement, to allow his Sister Mrs. Hudson, 10 l. a Year for the Child's Board and Apparel, and order'd him to pay the Prisoner's Fees.
I see the Broadbents have a long history of father-child estrangement. :) It's an unusual surname, so in all likelihood, it was a relative of some sort. This was from 1726. Good lord, she could have been transported for dressing her doll in rags, and at the age of 10 was sent to Newgate Prison whilst awaiting trial.