Weekend Reads: 10/23/2020

Can you vote early? If the answer is yes and you haven’t yet – what are you waiting for? Biden/Harris need your vote.

I’m going to be honest – there are a lot of depressing articles in this week’s post. If only only read one – honestly, you need to read most of these, but if you only have time for a few, please read the first Wired article and the subsequent Time one about herd immunity. There are just a lot of good ones this week and you’d benefit from reading most, if not all, of the ones.

But not everything is doom and gloom (or so we hope). There are three good articles to remind you that the world is not always a terrible place. In addition, I’d like to recommend a couple of book series.

The first is a fantasy series called The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club by Theodora Goss. This series follows the adventures (no, really) of Mary Jekyll and all of the “monsters” that she befriends. If you have any interested in gothic horror (though it is not actual horror, per se), slight romance, and wonderful strong female characters – consider this series! I listened to the audiobooks (read by the always wonderful Kate Reading) but imagine that the print (or eBook) version is equally as enjoyable to consume. The first book is The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daugther.

My second recommendation would be Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious series. This is a young adult murder mystery series about Stevie Bell and her friends as she tries to navigate the world of a private boarding school, including the murder that has define the school for years and the hard life of a teenager. You’re in luck, because all three books in this series have finally been published you won’t need to wait long to read what happens in the next book. The first book is Truly Devious.

Now, onto your links.

It’s Time to Talk About Covid-19 and Surfaces Again (Wired – $$)

In the early days, we furiously scrubbed, afraid we could get sick from the virus lingering on objects and surfaces. What do we know now?

The White House Wants to Achieve Herd Immunity by Letting the Virus Rip. That Is Dangerous and Inhumane (Time)

For a start, no pandemic has ever been controlled by deliberately letting the infection spread unchecked in the hope that people become immune. We must do all we can to protect people from COVID-19, not let them get infected, to buy scientists time to develop vaccines and therapeutics to end the outbreak and alleviate suffering.

America’s Last Line of Defense for a Safe Vaccine (Scientific American)

The independent advisers to the CDC and FDA will not bend to politics

Why New Zealand rejected populist ideas other nations have embraced (Guardian)

Labour’s historic win delivered Ardern a second term while voters punished politicians who embraced populism

The Preexisting Conditions of the Coronavirus Pandemic (Wired – $$)

An enormous new data set peers into the health of the world’s population before 2020—and how the coronavirus turned that into a global disaster.

Undisclosed: Most Homebuyers And Renters Aren’t Warned About Flood Or Wildfire Risk (NPR)

None of the landlords, real estate agents, sellers, appraisers, bankers or home inspectors the families interacted with explained the risk of flooding or wildfires, because no one had to do so. Only about half of the states require that information about flood risk be disclosed to homebuyers, and just one state requires that such information be given to tenants. Only two Western states require disclosure of wildfire risk.

Songwriters Sometimes Wait Years After A Song Is Released To Get Paid Anything. These Women Want To Change That. (Buzzfeed)

“I’ve been in sessions starving, praying that they ask me if I’m hungry, hoping that the studio has snacks.”

A Reset for Library E-books (Publisher’s Weekly)

In the wake of the pandemic, can publishers and libraries finally hash out their differences?


Prickly business: the hedgehog highway that knits a village together (Guardian)

With their miniature ramps, stairs and holes cut into fences and stone walls, the gardens of Kirtlington in Oxfordshire are a haven for wildlife

Step Inside The Museum of Obsolete Library Science (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

There’s a popular misconception that librarians as a profession are conservative. Not politically conservative, but literally conservative—wanting to keep old stuff. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth—we are often on the cutting edge of using new technologies, and always looking for the most efficient, up-to-date way to help our patrons.

When a Town Council and a Sci-fi Museum Went to War Over a Dalek (Atlas Obscura)

Thanks to support from the community and the world, the Doctor Who villain is rising again

And now, your moment of calm.

Fall colors (c) K2sleddogs

Weekend Reads 10/02/2020

Wow. It’s been a week, hasn’t it? Here are some articles to read – if you can tear yourself away from social media for a few minutes. If the news ever takes a break.

It Took COVID Closures to Reveal Just How Much Libraries Do Beyond Lending Books (Observer)

This behind the scenes diligence meant that during the pandemic, libraries were able to prove themselves to be more resilient, future-proof and adaptable than many of us may have realized. In fact, the coronavirus crisis has enabled many libraries to truly prove their worth.

Look Toward a New Era (NY Times – $$)

With a shift to online resources well underway, “the most trusted civic institutions” are in a good position to deal with the changing future.

Hero Rat Wins A Top Animal Award For Sniffing Out Land Mines (NPR)

For the first time, one of Britain’s highest animal honors has been awarded to a rat. The animal has detected dozens of land mines in Cambodia and is believed to have saved lives.

Attack of the Superhackers (narratively)

A group of ex-soldiers cracks safes, picks locks and steals data — all in the name of corporate security.

Millennials Are Trying To Shake The Stigma Of Moving Back In With Their Parents (Buzzfeed)

Millennials are moving back in with their parents in numbers not seen since the Great Depression. Here’s what it’s like for some of them.

A School Ran a Simulation of the Pandemic—Before the Pandemic (Wired – $$)

A Florida middle school has staged mock outbreaks for years to teach science and civics. Last December’s lesson was an uncanny harbinger of Covid-19.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Cemetery in the cold October rain | Park Cemetery, Marquette, Michigan.
(c) yooperann

Music Sunday + Link

Happy September! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Today I bring you a link and a song. Enjoy!

Libraries have become vital for the marginalised, such as the homeless, to access essential government services such as Centrelink, and to stay connected. They have become defacto providers of basic digital literacy training – such as how to use an iPad or access an eGov account. Others cater to tech-enthusiasts offering advanced courses on coding or robotics in purpose-built spaces and laboratories.

Technology hasn’t killed public libraries – it’s inspired them to transform and stay relevant (The Conversation)

This is the newest song by a KPOP group I love: IMFACT – 나나나 (NANANA).

The Wednesday Four

Hey, it’s been 27 Weeks, over half a year and … it feels like it’s been twice that long. Week 27 was out of control. I told a few people that it used to be thing a day, but now it feels like 500. A few minutes later I joked about remembering what it was like when there was only one thing a week that was destroying our democracy. My, how things have changed and not for the better.

The links!

Resist. Tax Day March 2017. Detroit, MI.

Resist. Tax Day March 2017. Detroit, MI. (c) Kathy Drasky

The Wednesday Four

Here is Week 23. What I did this week was attend the March for Science in downtown Detroit with some friends. It was good, there were some decent speakers and we walked down Woodward. You can see some of the photos I took over on my Instagram.

As for the links? Everything old is new again as in I’m digging in the bottom of my pile of articles to read and have pulled four. Please enjoy them!

  • Fewer Americans Are Visiting Local Libraries—and Technology Isn’t to Blame
    Only one trend is closely associated with their use. (The Atlantic) Note: The reason may not surprise you!
  • A Lost Scottish Island, George Orwell, and the Future of Maps A 141 square-mile island vanished from Google Maps, and the company has yet to restore it. What do glitches mean for little-known places? (The Atlantic | CityLab) Note: If you look on google maps, Jura is back, but this article is still fun and interesting.
  • Taxonomy: The spy who loved frogs To track the fate of threatened species, a young scientist must follow the jungle path of a herpetologist who led a secret double life. (Nature) Note: I recommend listening to the podcast (about 13 minutes) as well as reading the article. Also, I have mixed feelings about specimen collection and those feelings were not changed by this article.
  • How Andrew Carnegie Turned His Fortune Into A Library Legacy (NPR) Note: Two library articles in one post! You’d think I was still a librarian.

Howell Carnegie District Library

Howell Carnegie District Library in Howell, MI. Photo (c) Paul Cooper

A few years ago a (now former) coworker and I went to Howell to hear an author speak and we walked to this library, although it was closed and we couldn’t go inside. Maybe next time.

The Wednesday Four (12/14/16)

Though I am no longer a librarian in my work life, I will always have a soft spot for libraries (and I visit all the time to chat with my old coworkers as well as to check out books). And in the spirit of librarianship, there are two articles one (the Time article) is an old article, but the second (EFF) is recent and reflects certain changing aspects of our society.

  • How Black Lives Matter Went Global: Activists for black, brown, and Indigenous rights around the world have adopted the Black Lives Matter slogan alongside homegrown movements against racism and police brutality. (BuzzFeed)

Blowing snow on the river

Blowing snow on the river (02/14/2-15) © ellenm1

The Wednesday Four (11/30/16)

A mixed bag today, just in time for that awkward few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Enjoy the links.

  • The Rise of Pirate Libraries: Shadowy digital libraries want to hold all the world’s knowledge and give it away for free. (Atlas Obscura)

 

 

The Wednesday Four (05/06/15)

A library-related link today, among some others.

I’m a binge TV watcher, but I prefer the term marathon. I also sometimes watch too much and, over the years, have learned how to pick and choose how many episodes I can watch. Some shows, like Midsomer Murders or shows that I’ve seen before and don’t require a lot of attention, I can watch for hours and hours. Other shows, especially the Korean dramas I watch that require more attention, I don’t marathon for as long. But it’s not always true. Sometimes marathoning is too stressful (like when I have to work through a backlog of Person of Interest episodes) or sometimes I really just want to finish a kdrama (because it’s exciting or because it’s terrible and I just have to finish it). I think that what and how you binge watch is as important as the fact that you’re doing it in the first place.

Thursday Ten

When I was in high school, I was obsessed with many things. One of these things was Ebola and other, similar viruses. This was, obviously, in my young and less anxious years (I barely remember them, to be honest). I read Richard Preston’s The Hot Zone, watched Outbreak and struggled to finish The Coming Plague (I’m pretty sure I didn’t finish it). But after one too many nightmares, I gave up on all my dreams about being some sort of infectious disease doctor (I shudder to think of it now) and moved on with my life. But Ebola still remains and dominates the news (both here and abroad). And while today’s links do contain some information on Ebola, there are other things as welll. Including the protests for democracy in Hong Kong.

And on that note, here are this week’s links.

  • When no gender fits: A quest to be seen as just a person: How do you navigate the world when it is built on identifying with one group or another and the place that feels right is neither? (Washington Post)
  • I Had a Stroke at 33: On New Year’s Eve 2007, a clot blocked one half of my brain from the other. My reality would never be the same again. (BuzzFeed)
  • Message for Beijing Hidden in a Hong Kong Street Poem: On a busy Hong Kong street on Wednesday, a poem dashed out on a bare wooden crate contained a hidden message for China. (Sinosphere // New York Times)
  • Hong Kong’s protests don’t impress mainland Chinese visitors: Chinese tourists pouring into Hong Kong this week for a shopping holiday are getting an unexpected lesson in democracy from the city’s tens of thousands of protesters demanding free elections. So far, most of them are unimpressed. (Quartz)
  • 16 Dramatic Videos Show What It’s Like to Be in Hong Kong Right Now: Thousands of protesters braved clouds of tear gas and police batons charges to stand firm in center of Hong Kong in one of the biggest political challenges for China since the Tiananmen Square protests 25 years ago. (Mic)
  • Pro-Democracy Protesters Occupy Hong Kong’s Central District: In Photos (The Atlantic) Note: This was also posted on FB. You can also follow live coverage of the protests on the South China Morning Post’s Occupy Central blog.
  • The Supreme Court That Made It Easier to Buy Elections Just Made It Harder for People to Vote in Them: In case there was any remaining confusion with regard to the precise political intentions of the US Supreme Court’s activist majority, things were clarified Monday. The same majority that has made it easier for corporations to buy elections (with the Citizens United v. FEC decision) and for billionaires to become the dominant players in elections across the country (with the McCutcheon v. FEC decision) decided to make it harder for people in Ohio to vote. (The Nation)
  • Don’t panic over Ebola in America: The first thing to do is to calm down.  Ebola is terrifying. But it’s not likely to kill you, or to spread widely in the United States. What’s scary — and hyped — about Ebola isn’t what makes it dangerous. (Vox) Note: Actor Idris Elba wrote an impassioned plea to help stop the spread of Ebola. Read it: Stopping Ebola in Its Tracks (Huffington Post)
  • Incredible Close-Up Drone Video of an Erupting Volcano in Iceland: This epic video isn’t a CGI outtake from Lord of the Rings. It’s proof that a guy with a quadcopter managed to get very, very close to an erupting Icelandic volcano—close enough to melt the face of the GoPro camera that shot the video. (Wired)
  • The Hidden Costs of E-books at University Libraries: For the past few years, both the California State University and the University of California libraries have been experimenting with packages that replace paper books with e-books. The advantages are obvious. With e-books, you no longer have to schlep to a library to take out a book. You just log on from whatever device connects you to the web, at whatever time and in whatever state of dress, and voila! the book appears on your screen (Times of San Diego)

Bonus:

  • How to Plant a Library: Somewhere outside of Oslo, there are 1,000 newly planted spruce trees. One hundred years from now, if everything goes to plan, they’ll be published together as 100 pieces of art. (Pacific Standard)

Thursday Links

A collection of interesting links I’ve read throughout the week (or, really, since the last time I made a links post).

  • The Ghost Files: US historians have long complained about gaps in the National Archives. Can big-data analysis show what kinds of information the government is keeping classified? (Columbia)
  • China Gives Hong Kong Its Worst: If China wants Hong Kong residents to stop taking to the streets in protest, it should start picking better leaders. Of course, that’s exactly why an estimated 300,000 demonstrated yesterday and almost 800,000 voted in a recent unofficial referendum: to gain the right to choose the city’s chief executive officer. (Bloomberg View)
  • Hobby Lobby Is Only the Beginning: A country that cannot even agree on the idea of religious accommodation, let alone on what terms, is unlikely to agree on what to do next. A country in which many states cannot manage to pass basic anti-discrimination laws covering sexual orientation is one whose culture wars may be beyond the point of compromise. And a nation whose marketplace itself is viewed, for better or worse, as a place to fight both those battles rather than to escape from them is still less likely to find surcease from struggle. (New York Times)
  • The Urgent Need to Shield Journalism in the Age of Surveillance: The media landscape has been transformed by NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s decision to leak a vast cache of documents to select journalists, notably at the Guardian and the Washington Post, which made global headlines a year ago this month. And “the new challenge this year is how to maintain the Internet as somewhere for free expression and innovation,” as Michael Maness, VP of journalism and innovation at the Knight Foundation, said. (PBS)