Thursday, August 25, 2011

Life Discovered on the Moon!!

Read all about this amazing discovery on this date back in 1835!!

Amazing lithograph of life on the Moon!

Read all about it here!

The Great Moon Hoax

Life in the world of today offers unique advantages over living in previous areas like not dying of dysentery...

However, what today can never offer is the open frontier of what knowledge used to be. The world must have seemed more mysterious back then. Yes, I am sure that much was taken for granted, but not because everyone had Google at their fingertips. Books were real books! Some were hand written.

I would have been so fascinated if I had read those articles in the paper. If I am the same person I am today, just moved back a century I most certainly would have bought right into it. I probably would have found it quite humorous when I learned the truth. I still would have been fascinated by the wondrous night sky even more brilliant without the light pollution.

I just hope that the next discovery of life in space is the real one.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Who lives in that castle over there?

Check this page out... don't get too lost in time.

Castles in Europe and Beyond

Log cabin... castle... must I choose!!

Library Construction Still Being Funded in Mass.

Dateline, July 14,2011. This news is a little late in coming but I thought that it would be a nice bit of news to relay to you especially in light of these harsh economic times.

Construction Grants Awarded to Eight Public Libraries

What I find particularly interesting is that 4 municipalities on this list are from Western Mass: Granby, Shutesbury, South Hadley and West Springfield. I will keep an eye on those projects as I learn more about them.

This current grant was authorized by bond in 1987. To date it has funded 204 construction grants totaling $320.3 million. This money is administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and they have been in existence since 1890. Its members are appointed by the governor. From 1890 to 1910 the board worked diligently to establish free libraries in towns which had none. During those 20 years 104 cities and towns (of a target of 105) had at least one free public library. Today that board is still working to insure modern and well-situated libraries to serve their communities.

Here is little more info from the Wikipedia on the MBLC:

MBLC wiki

It is nice to know that some of that money fed into that gaping maw known as Boston isn't wasted frivolously.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wheel of Time: Towers of Midnight

This is not exactly a book review. I may do some actual ones in the future. I just wanted to take time to note that I just finished this book and I enjoyed thoroughly. I've been reading the Wheel of Time series for a very long time now and like anything else enjoyed for two decades the series has its place in my life. It is something valued and important to me. Yes, I have read other series and they've been very enjoyable, but this one is first among equals in my eyes.

This book is the 13th in the series. The final book is slated for release next year. I am truly looking forward to reading it. It will be a sad day when I finally complete it because quite literally a chapter of my life will be closed. This will be an honest feeling as well. I know that people were crying in the streets after the end of the Harry Potter series, but that just smacked of something artificial. No, disrespect to the story, it is enjoyable. The ending of The Wheel of Time will be more honest. I feel the people will honestly be saddened when it is finally complete. It will be akin to the final episode of M.A.S.H. There will be no more story forthcoming. The end.

I'm not going to synopsize the whole story for you. It would take far too long and a paragraph won't do it justice. It is a well-crafted and deep story. There are many character storylines with some very honest perspectives. It is often compared to the Lord of The Rings and to share that company is saying something.

The original author Robert Jordan, unfortunately died before completing the story. However, it was taken up by Brandon Sanderson. I really want to say to those who may have read some of the story and may not want to trust Sanderson with the ending - it is good, read it! Mr. Jordan left extensive notes and Jordan had many conversations with Sanderson when he knew that he would not finish it. I am very pleased with Sanderson's stewardship.

[I don't know if this was intended by Jordan or changed by Sanderson, but Perrin is worth reading in the final books. I hated Perrin, but his story really got good.]

Note: the movie rights were optioned by Universal. With the success of Game of Thrones on HBO I truly hope that some production in in the future. I've heard the arguments against it. They don't hold any water. Just do it!

And, I'm late in returning this book to the library... I'm bad I know.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hypothetical Situation

Let's do a little role-playing here. Imagine that you are the new director of your favorite local library. One day you are walking through the stacks and you start to see that you really have quite a few dusty old books on the shelves. You are positive that a hand-written copy of the Declaration of Independence certainly could be sewn into the dust jacket of one in there. So what do you do? It would be nice to have all that shelf space for shiny new books. New books that have cutting edge discussions of new thought and technology.

You walk right over to the first offending piece of literature you see - the most certainly dated Windows 3.1 Manual. Who the heck uses this anymore? In an executive decision, you decide to practice your jump shot. You lob that ancient grimoire into the recycling bin - right where it belongs! Nothing but net!

So in a sweeping act of tremendous personal hubris you have declared all discussion of Windows 3.1 over!? Hmmm... Actually, the library is exactly where that book should be. Operating systems have moved on and most everyone has thrown away all their old manuals. So what happens if a question arises concerning Windows 3.1? It is not outside the realm of possibility. What if some guy has a grandmother who has files stored on an old computer, but there is problem with said computer running Windows 3.1. Its been so long that this guy has forgotten the more arcane details of 3.1. What does he do? Call Microsoft? Berate Granny for not upgrading to Linux? Take it to a shop? Hope the manual is for sale on Amazon? No, the first place he should think to look should be the local library. It is the perfect place for an occasionally needed piece of literature. So, yes those old manuals do have a purpose in the library.

Yes, some of those books may be old, but they do have their place. Now yes, I am sure that the case can be made on some that they are simply not needed, but like in the American justice system you are innocent until being proven obsolete.

Just a little food for thought.