I'd part with all my furniture and squat and sleep on the floor before I'd let go of the 1500 or so books I possess. - H.P. Lovecraft
If the ad's dominating our television lately haven't given it away, it's election season. People seem to be fairly familiar with the candidates, but the ballot questions are often less publicized. Check out the State of Massachusetts official guide to the ballot initiatives, and get out there and make your vote count.
I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on I go into another room and read a good book.
– Groucho Marx
We're ordering some. A bunch. A whole lot actually. We have decided that given its immense popularity (and awesomeness) our graphic fiction/nonfiction section should be greatly expanded. Over the next few weeks I'll post about some of our new acquisitions (alright, technically we don't actually have them yet), and I'll start with one of the heavyweights of the graphic novel world: Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns.
And then Gordon has to pretend he doesn't know that Bruce knows he know, but Bruce is still coy about - well, you get the idea. At any rate, many meaningful glances are exchanged as they both generally say that life is good now that Batman isn't around anymore. Except Batman is around. He never really left. Here we first get the suggestion that maybe there isn't really a Bruce Wayne at all. That maybe Batman is the real person, and Bruce Wayne is just the disguise. At any rate, the bat Inside wont let Bruce slide off into retirement so easily. He's seen the corruption and violence that still exists in Gotham and he wants to get out and start righting wrongs, protecting the innocent, and stomping goons into the pavement. All three happen in abundance. Except, of course, with the return of Batman, his old nemesis the Joker comes out of a comatose state and gets back up to his old antics and shennanigans. You can imagine the chaos and bedlam, especially when Two-Face, Superman, and President Reagan get involved (seriously).
Parts of the book are told through supposed media coverage, complete with social commentary from the usual politicos as well as other heroes. We see the story set in a world of media frenzy and hype, not entirely unlike our own. And our hero? The Batman we see here is almost as brutal and thuggish as the criminals he battles. He looks raw, and unformed, like a troll or ogre or some other monster, especially once he shaves that mustache. Frank Miller has channeled Daishell Hammett, George Orwell, and Hunter S. Thompson to create a truly unique story of crime, punishment (and lots of it), revenge, and justice, which stands as one of the seminal works in the graphic novel pantheon.
Read it. Love it.
When planing your halloween costumes:
READING ONE BOOK IS LIKE EATING ONE POTATO CHIP.
- DIANE DUANE
This years Nobel Prize in physics has been announced, and it goes to three guys with a very... wait for it... bright idea. As we make the switch from incandescent light bulbs (the standard curly wire kind) to more energy efficient methods, a blue LED was the missing link in the development of LED light bulbs which could emit white, day-imitating light.
Already there are several questions:
First, a blue bulb will not give us white light. It will give us blue light. The reason we need it is that in order to make white light you need to mix the three primary colors: Red, Green, and Blue. Red and Green LED's have existed for a while now, but the blue ones have always been too difficult or expensive to manufacture. Which brings us to the second question...
LED stands for light emitting diode, and they are everywhere. Pretty much every little indicator light you see on an electronic device is an LED. These are the same LED's that are used (by the millions) in LED screens. They have two major advantages over conventional lightbulbs: They last far longer and they generate almost no heat at all.
Incandescent bulbs are hot. Really hot. Basically an incandescent bulb works on the same principal as the heating element from an electric stove: Let's heat this thing with electricity until it gets so hot it glows. Less than half of the energy put into an incandescent bulb is released as light, the rest is heat. This is a big waste, unless you're planning on using light bulbs to heat your house (good luck sleeping in a room full of 75 watt bulbs). LED's release (almost) only light, enabling us to get the same amount of light for far less electricity. CFL bulbs, while more efficient than incandescents are not as good as CFL's and still generate a lot of heat. Also they are full of mercury and phosphorus, two profoundly unhealthy elements. If you read the fine print on the package, they strongly suggest you to leave the room for at least an hour if you break one.
Now that the first three are covered, now for the important one: What does this have to do with the library? A few things, actually. As the repository for ALL KNOWLEDGE, pretty much any subject is fair game for a library blog. Furthermore, given that many WHS library users are here for the computers, devices that would not exist without LED's. And lastly, do you think these guys just woke up one morning and said "Hey, I think I'll make a blue LED today"? No. They said "Hey, I think I'll research semiconductors and crystal growth. Again. Just like yesterday, and the day before, and the day before. In fact, I can't remember a day in the past year when I haven't done research." Okay, so they probably didn't say exactly that and whatever they did say was in Japanese, but you get my point: Nearly every great scientific development ever has required hours and hours of research, a process which libraries and librarians are famed for supporting.
It may surprise you to know that an old dinosaur like me occasionally uses facebook. I admit I only signed up, initially, so I could play scrabble. It seems to me that the majority of what my friends post can fit into one of the following categories:
Here's the latest development in #5: 12 Mistakes Nearly Everyone Who Writes About Grammar Mistakes Makes
Yes, are always mistakes to be made. In fact, #1 on their list points out that people are not often clear on the meaning of the word. But what I like most about this list over others is that it addresses the fact that language (and its rules) are not set in stone. Things change. And most importantly the rules of grammar are not there so one person can lord their knowledge over another. They exist to make communication easier and more effective. A great example is the word forte, meaning area of strength or specialty. Technically, as a word derived from French, it should be pronounced "fort." However, since the gross majority of English speakers pronounce it "fore-tay," if you told someone "My fort is building forts," they might be a bit confused.
If your adherence to the rules makes you incomprehensible, I would say those rules have failed you. As Emerson said, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."
Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.
- Neil Gaiman