Wednesday, November 22, 2017

PARAPHRASES  Was the meat roadkill?  No--it died in the backyard.  *  If one law could be repealed or amended for Indians, it would be Public Law 280.  *  On our reservation, the presence of the special agent for the FBI  was a statement of our toothless sovereignty.  *  Ancient artists and writers left behind their works--ancient musicians took their music to the grave  *  The Round House, a novel by Louise Erdrich

Public Law 83-280 (18 U.S.C. § 1162, 28 U.S.C. § 1360)

Louise Erdrich's name is pronounced er-drik (means rich earth)  Link to biography and interview at

Obviate derives from Late Latin obviare (meaning "to meet or withstand") and Latin obviam,which means "in the way" and is also an ancestor of our adjective "obvious."  "Obviate" has a number of synonyms in English, including "prevent," "preclude," and "avert"; all of these words can mean to hinder or stop something.

Barbra Streisand sings 'When the Sun comes Out'  3:10   Actor and singer Jonathan Drew Groff says he based his portrayal of King George in the musical Hamilton on Streisand's interpretation of When the Sun Comes Out, a song composed by Harold Arlen, with lyrics written by Ted Koehler, in 1941.   

A-Z List of Flightless Bird Species by MELISSA MAYNTZ   Flightless birds still have wings, but their wings are typically smaller or less fully developed than birds that fly.  The feather shapes may be different, such as looking fluffy like fur or being tiny and compact for insulation while swimming.  Birds that don't fly usually have fewer wing bones or the bones may be fused together, making the wings much less mobile than is needed for flying.  Most flightless birds are missing the keel of the breastbone, the part of the bone that attaches to flight muscles.  To compensate for not having wings, these birds often develop better plumage camouflage, stronger legs for running, specialized feet for swimming or other adaptations that help them survive on the ground in their native habitat.  Their wings may also develop for different uses, such as streamlining into flippers for swimming, helping provide balance or acting as brakes or rudders for swift runners.  Some flightless birds, such as the kakapo and kiwi, have even evolved strong odors that may deter predators or help attract mates.  Flightless birds are found throughout the world, though the largest concentration of flightless species is in New Zealand.  Until the arrival of humans on the islands of New Zealand roughly 1,000 years ago, there were no large land predators in the region.  Flightless birds face many threats that can be more dangerous to them than to flying birds.  Invasive predators such as cats and rats can stalk flightless birds more effectively, including invading nests.  Birds that don't fly are more susceptible to poaching, traps and other man-made threats such as litter, pollution or fishing line.  Because they cannot fly to a new range, habitat loss is also a critical threat to non-flying birds.  Today, more than 50 percent of flightless bird species are considered threatened or vulnerable, an additional 20 percent are endangered and one is even extinct in the wild.  In total, then, more than 80 percent of these birds have a grave and uncertain future.  Many flightless birds have already gone extinct, such as the moa, New Zealand goose, Jamaican ibis, Hawaiian rail, great auk, dodo and dozens of others.  Many domestic birds such as turkeys, ducks and chickens have been bred to be flightless to make it easier to raise them for agricultural purposes.  Alternatively, they may have their wings clipped as a control measure to keep them from flying while in captivity, just like pet birds may have their wings clipped.  Their wild ancestors, however--the wild turkeymallard and red junglefowl--are all accomplished fliers.  Because domestic species are not counted among the roughly 10,000 species of birds in the world, and because their lack of flying ability is through artificial means, these birds are not considered truly flightless.

A bight is a long, gradual bend or recess in the shoreline that forms a large, open bay.  Bights are shallow and may pose hazards to navigation, so their depths, in addition to any submerged features like sand bars and rock formations, are clearly marked on nautical charts.  A number of bights can be found on both the U.S. West and East Coasts.  The Southern California Bight, for example, is the curved coastline between Point Conception and San Diego, and encompasses the Channel Islands.  The New York Bight refers to the coastal area between Long Island and the New Jersey coast.  It is part of a larger geographical area called the Middle Atlantic (or Mid-Atlantic) Bight, which extends from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, north to Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  One of the world's largest bights is the Great Australian Bight on the continent's southern coast.

Change in Household Wealth 2016-2017 by region  Source:  James Davies, Rodrigo Lluberas and Anthony Shorrocks, Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2016 and 2017   Comparing wealth gains across countries, the United States is an unquestionable leader.  The country continued its remarkable unbroken spell of gains after the financial crisis and added USD 8.5 trillion to the stock of global wealth.  In other words, the US generated more than half of the total global wealth aggregation of USD 16.7 trillion of the past 12 months.  "So far, the Trump Presidency has seen businesses flourish and employment grow, though the ongoing supportive role played by the Federal Reserve has undoubtedly played a part here as well, and wealth inequality remains a prominent issue," commented Michael O'Sullivan, CIO for International Wealth Management at Credit Suisse.  "Looking ahead, however, high market valuations and property prices may curb the pace of growth in future years."  In line with global wealth growth, wealth in Europe increased by 6.4 percent thanks to stability spread across the continent.  From Europe, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain made it into the top ten countries with the biggest gains in absolute terms.  Converted into percentage terms, the biggest household wealth gain globally was recorded in Poland.  The increase of 18 percent was driven mainly by rising equity prices.  Switzerland continues to lead the ranking in terms of both average and median wealth per adult in 2017, the latter favoring countries with higher levels of wealth equality.  Since the turn of the century, wealth per adult in Switzerland has risen by 130 percent to USD 537,600.  In the 12 months to mid-2017, significant rises in wealth were evident throughout the world, driven not only by robust equity markets, but also by substantial increases in non-financial wealth.  It may signal that we are reverting to the pre-crisis pattern of growth.  The remaining negative heritage of the financial crisis is wealth inequality.  It has been rising in all parts of the world since 2007.  As calculated by the report authors, the top 1 percent of global wealth holders started the millennium with 45.5 percent of all household wealth, but their share has since increased to a level of 50.1 percent today.

While there is no consensus on how Lemon Chess pie got its name, there is Splendid Table consensus that this Lemon Chess Pie belongs on the Thanksgiving table.  The recipe is from America: The Cookbook by Gabrielle Langholtz.  Bright and light, it is exactly the counterpoint we need at the Thanksgiving feast.  See full recipe for ingredients and instructions.   Don't forget to join hosts Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Francis Lam for our annual Turkey Confidential live call-in show on Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 23, 2017 from 12-2pm Eastern.  Lynne and Francis will take your calls, and they'll visit with guests Lidia Bastianich, Marcus Samuelsson, Amy Sedaris, and Dan Souza from America's Test Kitchen.  Listen to the show live on your favorite public radio station or online at The Splendid Table website .

I am grateful for what I am and have.  My thanksgiving is perpetual.  It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite--only a sense of existence.  Well, anything for variety.  I am ready to try this for the next ten thousand years, and exhaust it.  How sweet to think of! my extremities well charred, and my intellectual part too, so that there is no danger of worm or rot for a long while.  My breath is sweet to me.  O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches.  No run on my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.” ― Henry David Thoreau  Issue 1802  November 22, 2017  On this date in 1908, the Congress of Manastir established the Albanian alphabet.  On this date in 1928, the premier performance of Ravel's Boléro took place in Paris.

Monday, November 20, 2017

When you think of amusement parks, you think of Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York.  Discovered in 1609 by Dutch explorer Henry Hudson, Coney Island eventually became an amusement resort at the beach.  During the 1870s and 1880s, several luxury hotels were built there and a railroad was extended to the resort.  Coney Island was described as “Heaven at the end of a subway ride.”  Coney Island was home to Sea Lion Park, the first enclosed amusement park, which opened in 1895.  There was Steeplechase ParkLuna Park and Dreamland.  In addition, a person or group of persons would lease space for single attractions.  Coney Island was described as the “Poor Man’s Paradise.”  It also became the “Nickel Empire”, where for a nickel, you could get a hot dog or a knish (deep-fried baked potato cake), or ride on any of the thrilling amusements.  Read more and see graphics at

Today, Coney Island is a stretch of land approximately half a mile wide and five miles long that lies at the southernmost end of Brooklyn.  When the Dutch first arrived, however, Coney Island's geography was quite different.  Three ocean inlets separated the area that today comprises Coney Island into several loosely-connected islands consisting only of sand dunes and marshes.  By the early 1800s, powerful ocean cuurents had shifted enough sand into these inlets to make them shallow enough for residents to fill in completely.  During the 1900s, landfill was used to fill in various other creeks, giving present-day Coney Island its current form.  The original "Conyne Eylandt" (also written "Conijnen Eylandt") was an actual island.  The island was filled with rabbits and so the Dutch named it "Conyne Eylandt" meaning "Rabbit Island" in old Dutch.  When the Dutch ceded New Amsterdam to the English in exchange for some lands in the West Indies in 1667, the English adapted the name to "Coney Island."

Fire Island is a barrier island located off the south shore of Long Island in New York.  It measures approximately 30 miles, from Fire Island Inlet to the west and Moriches Inlet to the east.  It is 1/2 mile wide at its widest point.  Perhaps the most interesting history surrounding Fire Island is that which has to do with the origin of its name.  “ Fire Island” was first used on a deed belonging to Henry Smith dated September 15, 1789.  There are many theories surrounding the origin of the name but no definite answer.  Here are several theories for you to mull over:  1.  One possibility is that “Fire” comes from a misreading of “Five” on early maps.  In 1688 there were five islands in the bay, although over the years these islands have varied in number and shape.  2.  According to Madeleine C. Johnson in her book Fire Island: 1650’s-1980’s, “Some scholars believe that a misspelling of the Dutch word ‘vier,’ meaning four, as ‘fier’ was corrupted to ‘fire.’”  3.  Some believe that actual fires led to the name.  During its history, Fire Island was home to fires built by Native Americans, whaling crews, and fishing crews to signal the mainland for supplies, to guide colleagues into the bay, and to light their camps.  The largest fires of all were built by whalers who would “try out” their catches (through this process they would boil down blubber into whale oil).  Fires were also built by “wreckers” in an attempt to lure unsuspecting ships to shore, where they would crash and could later be plundered.  4.  The final theory is that Native Americans awarded the island its name as a reference to the burning rash that they developed after coming in contact with poison ivy.

David Berry, whose play The Whales Of August, about two elderly sisters living on the coast of Maine became a 1987 film vehicle for Lillian Gish and Bette Davis, died December 16, 2016 at his home in Brooklyn.  He was 73.  Berry, a Vietnam War veteran, also was the author of G.R. Point, a somber drama about soldiers working at a graves registration center in the war zone, where they placed the remains of dead combatants in body bags for return home.  The short-lived 1979 Broadway production starred Michael Moriarty and Howard Rollins Jr., and was staged by William Devane.  Both works were inspired by scenes from Berry’s own life.  The Whales Of August recalled his time as a boy spending summers with two aunts who lived together in a coastal cottage.  The play was developed at resident theaters in Baltimore and Providence, Rhode Island, and at the off-Broadway WPA Theater.  The film, for which Berry wrote the screenplay, was directed by Lindsay Anderson and also featured Vincent Price and Ann Sothern.  It would be Gish’s last film.  “With its two beautiful, very different, very characteristic performances by Miss Gish and Miss Davis, who, together, exemplify American films from 1914 to the present, Lindsay Anderson’s Whales of August is a cinema event, though small in scale and commonplace in detail,” wrote Vincent Canby in his New York Times review of the film.  Jeremy Gerard

The Library of Congress has put the papers of Alexander Hamilton online for the first time in their original format.  The Library holds the world’s largest collection of Hamilton papers—approximately 12,000 items concentrated from 1777 until Hamilton’s death in 1804, including letters, legal papers and drafts of speeches and writings, among other items.  Now, for the first time, these original documents—many in Hamilton’s own hand—will be available for researchers, students or the generally curious anywhere in the world to explore, zoom in and read at  In addition, the Library recently acquired 55 items, previously privately held—mostly letters from Hamilton’s powerful father-in-law, General Philip Schuyler, to him and his wife—that have also been digitized and made available for the first time.  Most of these have never been published.  Congress appropriated $20,000 in 1848 to buy the papers of Alexander Hamilton from his family, including his widow, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton.  The papers were originally housed at the U.S. Department of State and came to the Library in 1904, along with all the department’s historical papers, at the direction of President Theodore Roosevelt.  The Library supplemented the collection over time with additional gifts and purchases.  The papers cover almost every aspect of Hamilton’s career and private life: growing up in St. Croix, as George Washington’s aide-de-camp during the Revolutionary War, New York delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the first U.S. treasury secretary, New York lawyer, and more.  The papers also include correspondence with and among members of his family, including his wife Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, his sister-in-law Angelica Schuyler Church, and his father-in-law Philip Schuyler.  The Hamilton Papers are among collections newly available online during 2017.  Others include the papers of U.S. Presidents Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce and William Henry Harrison; the papers of Sigmund Freud; a collection of more than 4,600 newspapers from Japanese-American internment camps; a collection of web-based comic books; and 25,000 fire insurance maps from communities across America, the first installment of 500,000 that will be accessible online.  The Library of Congress is the world's largest library.

Why doesn’t everyone love reading e-books? by Caroline Myrberg   Why do many students still prefer paper books to e-books?  This article summarizes a number of problems with e-books mentioned in different studies by students of higher education, but it also discusses some of the unexploited possibilities with e-books.  Read article at

Anyone who views college as an inoculation against fake news will find a new study from the Stanford History Education Group pretty disheartening.  The study, by Sam Wineburg and Sarah McGrew, builds on the group’s previous work, which found that students in middle school, high school, and college were “easily duped” online.  The new study tested three kinds of “experts”:  historians, professional fact-checkers, and Stanford undergraduates.  The fact-checkers performed well, but the students and the historians “often fell victim to easily manipulated features of websites, such as official-looking logos and domain names,” the report says.  One test required the experts to evaluate information about bullying from two websites, those of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which has 64,000 members and publishes the field’s main journal, and of the American College of Pediatricians, a much smaller organization that has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its positions on LGBTQ rights.  All of the fact-checkers determined—correctly—that the American Academy of Pediatrics was the more reliable source.  But only half of the historians and 20 percent of the students did, with the rest finding the American College of Pediatricians more reliable, or the two groups equally so.  Why did the fact-checkers prevail where students at a top college and historians—who, as the report notes, “evaluate sources for a living—stumbled?  They read differently.  The students and historians tended to read “vertically,” the report notes, delving deeply into a website in their efforts to determine its credibility.  That, the researchers point out, is more or less the approach laid out in many checklists designed to help students use the internet well, which tend to suggest looking at particular features of a website to evaluate its trustworthiness.  The fact checkers, in contrast, read “laterally,” turning to sources beyond the website in question—and not treating them all as being equally reliable, either.  They succeeded, the report says, “not because they followed the advice we give to students.  They succeeded because they didn’t.”  The researchers add that the fact checkers brought skepticism to their task—including skepticism of their own knowledge.  Perhaps, then, what students need to navigate the internet successfully is an orientation, not a checklist.  One place that orientation might be cultivated:  freshman composition courses.  Read more at  Issue 1801  November 20, 2017  on this date in 1789New Jersey became the first U.S. state to ratify the Bill of Rights.  On this date in 1805Beethoven's only opera, Fidelio, premiered in Vienna

Friday, November 17, 2017

VIDEO:  Watch Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden & Katherine Maher, CEO of Wikimedia, Deliver Keynotes at the OCLC Americas Regional Council Meeting (ARC17)

Labneh (pronounced leb-na)  It's the Middle Eastern version of cream cheese.  Except it's way less fattening and it has all the beneficial probiotics of kefir cheese or yogurt.  It's basically yogurt without the whey (the liquid separated from yogurt).  To enjoy it the traditional way, place a small amount in a bowl, drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle on some za'atar (a dried thyme and sesame seed mixture found in Middle Eastern markets) and serve with warm pita bread.  Find recipe at

Knuckle down is a phrase which means to get serious about a task, to work diligently on a task or problem.  Knuckle down is a term derived from the game of marbles, it first appears in the mid-1860s in American English.  One puts a knuckle to the ground to assume the shooting position in marbles, thus the term knuckle downBuckle down is a phrase which means to get serious about a task, to work diligently on a task or problem.  In fact, knuckle down and buckle down are virtually interchangeable idioms.  Buckle down is also an American English phrase, first found in the Atlantic Monthly magazine in 1865.  However, it is assumed that buckle down is derived from an earlier British phrase, buckle to, which first appears in the sixteenth century.

A culture calling the inevitable unthinkable is a culture in denial.  *  Wisconsin has over 15,000 lakes, and more than 9,000 of them are unnamed.  *  A common misconception--probably from seeing too many cop movies and TV shows--is that you read someone their rights when arresting them.  Not true.  You read those rights before questioning them back at the station.  *  The Queen, Patrick Bowers mystery series, # 5 by Steven James

Steven James is a national bestselling novelist of award-winning, pulse-pounding thrillers.  Suspense Magazine, who named Steven’s book The Bishop their Book of the Year, says that he “sets the new standard in suspense writing.”  Publishers Weekly calls him a “master storyteller at the peak of his game.”  And RT Book Reviews promises, “the nail-biting suspense will rivet you.”  Steven has taught writing and storytelling on four continents over the past two decades, speaking more than two thousand times at events spanning the globe.  In his podcast “The Story Blender,” he interviews leading storytellers in film, print, and web.  Listen now to any of the dozens of archived podcasts for free by visiting his website  Steven James was born in 1969 in Wisconsin, and earned his Master of Arts in Storytelling from East Tennessee State University in 1997.  See Steven James books in order at

"further versus "farther"  The quick and dirty tip is to use “farther” for physical distance and “further” for metaphorical, or figurative, distance.  It's easy to remember because “farther” has the word “far” in it, and “far” obviously relates to physical distance.  Sometimes the quick and dirty tip doesn't work because it's hard to decide whether you're talking about physical distance.  Mignon Fogarty

Logic bombs are small programs or sections of a program triggered by some event such as a certain date or time, a certain percentage of disk space filled or the removal of a file.  For example, a programmer could establish a logic bomb to delete critical sections of code if she is terminated from the company.  Trojan horses (often just called Trojans) are programs that must be installed or executed by a user to be effective.  Often, these are disguised as helpful or entertaining programs which can include operating system patches, Linux packages, or games.  Once executed, however, Trojans perform actions the user did not intend such as opening certain ports for later intruder access or replacing certain files with other malicious files.  Trap doors, also referred to as backdoors, are bits of code embedded in programs by the programmer(s) to quickly gain access at a later time, often during the testing or debugging phase. Stephen Northcutt

StoryCorps Collection (AFC 2004/001):   Frequently Asked Questions  How can I listen to an interview?  Visitors can listen to interviews in the Folklife Reading Room (Jefferson building, room G53).  Please  contact us ahead of your planned visit so we can confirm that the interviews you want to hear have been received:  email: ; phone:  202-707-5510.  Are the interviews online?  You can listen to edited interviews  and watch the latest animated shorts at  In addition, StoryCorps' weekly broadcast is featured on NPR's Morning Edition and at  How can I get a copy of an interview?  Copies must be requested directly from StoryCorps, since the organization retains all intellectual property rights to materials gathered as part of the project (both interviews and photos).  You can submit a request through the StoryCorps Inquiries page.  Do you have a database I can use to search for certain names, geographic regions, or topics of interest?  There is a database for Storycorps interviews, but searches must be conducted by an AFC staff member.  Please send inquiries to the AFC reference staff, and include "StoryCorps" in the subject line.  See also

Benighted (1927) was the second novel of J.B. Priestley (1894-1984), a prolific author who published 26 novels during his lifetime.  It was with his third novel, The Good Companions, that Priestley achieved major success, but Benighted was significant in its own right, being made into the 1932 film The Old Dark House.  The movie title is rather perfect, as the story is of a genre of what may be called “old dark house” stories.  In such stories, a group of people are gathered by design or fate in a old sinister house, are trapped within it together by circumstance and subjected to unspeakable horrors.  Before the night ends, the inhabitants of the house—visitor and resident alike—will find themselves struggling to survive.  Benighted is much more than a spooky thriller—it is also a character study.  At a mere 152 pages, it has no unnecessary filler and moves briskly, though it does not feel rushed.  Boris Karloff appeared in his first starring role in the 1932 film The Old Dark House.  William Castle's 1963 remake of The Old Dark House marked the only collaboration between the director and Hammer Studios. 

The first stage adaptation of J.B. Priestley's novel, Benighted, adapted by Duncan Gates, had its world premiere at the Old Red Lion Theatre in London December 6, 2016.

crack a smile--to smile, esp. hesitantly; get cracking--to get moving, hurry up;  to utter or tell; to crack jokes; to solve, decipher; crack a book--open a book in order to study or read; crack up--to suffer a mental or emotional breakdown; to laugh or to cause to laugh unrestrainedly;  crack wise--to wisecrack; start--crack of dawn; crack of doom--the end of the world.

http://librariansmuse.  Issue 1800  November 17, 2017  On this date in 1777, the Articles of Confederation were submitted to the states for ratification.  On this date in 1800, the United States Congress held its first session in Washington, D.C.  On this date in 1839ObertoGiuseppe Verdi's first opera, opened at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy. 

Thought for Today  Through others, we become ourselves. - Lev Vygotsky, psychologist (17 Nov 1896-1934)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Can a Ticklebox Have Fuzzywogs?  Now We May Never Know  by Douglas Belkin   After 55 years, 60,000 words and at least $25 million in research grants, the Dictionary of American Regional English has rung the knell, sugared off, finished out the row.  The small tribe of lexicographers ran out of cash even as U.S. regional lingo continues to thrive.   Launched by University of Wisconsin English Professor Frederic Cassidy in 1962, it aimed to capture the nation's regional words, pronunciation and syntax.  The web version ($49 a year for individuals and $5,000 for institutions) will continue to operate and occasionally be updated by volunteer editors.  The Wall Street Journal  November 7, 2017

After helping customers bypass dining rooms, food delivery company DoorDash is giving chefs the option to do the same with delivery-only “virtual” restaurants run out of its new commissary in Silicon Valley.  Bay Area restaurateur Ben Seabury, who wanted to test the delivery-only concept as well as demand for his upscale “The Star” pizzeria concept in San Jose, California, was first to sign up.  He took one of the four kitchens in DoorDash’s new 2,000-square-food commissary that opened earlier this month.  “The landscape of dining in America is changing,” said Seabury, whose portfolio includes six traditional restaurants that are on pace to do $18 million in sales this year.  Delivery accounts for about 20 percent of his overall restaurant business.  David Chang’s growing Momofuku restaurant group in September, 2017 opened a Manhattan storefront for its delivery-only restaurant Ando.  That move came after the announcement that Maple, a Chang-backed meal delivery service, was shutting down.  Chicago’s ASAP Poke runs its delivery-only restaurant from the kitchen of a sushi restaurant that is also owned by the Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group.  Privately held Green Summit Group operates virtual restaurants, including Butcher Block and Leafage, in New York and Chicago.  Lisa Baertlein

Sculptor Enrique Alférez’s life spanned almost the entire twentieth century, much of it spent creating art works in Louisiana.  He was born on May 4, 1901, in San Miguel de Mezquital, Zacatecas, Mexico, and died in New Orleans on September 13, 1999.  His father, Longinos Alférez, was a European-trained artist who sculpted religious icons for churches and private chapels.  By the time he was eight years old, Enrique assisted in his father’s workshop . The family later moved to the larger town of Durango, Mexico, where Enrique attempted to run away from home.  When caught, at age twelve he was forced to serve in Pancho Villa’s army as a mapmaker during the Mexican Revolution.  After ten years in the revolutionary forces, he escaped and worked his way to El Paso, Texas.  With his background of apprenticing in his father’s workshop, Enrique decided to pursue a career in art.  He worked his way north and in 1924 enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he studied under Lorado Taft, the famed sculptor, writer, and teacher.  In 1928, while still in Chicago, he created twenty-four wood reliefs at the city’s Palmolive Building skyscraper.  In 1929 he arrived in New Orleans while on his way to the Yucatan region of Mexico.  He was so taken by the French Quarter and its art community that he stayed.  He received a few commissions, including one to carve statues for the façade and interior of the Church of the Holy Name of Mary in New Orleans’s Algiers neighborhood.  He also met Franz Blom, director of Tulane University’s Middle American Research Institute, who invited Alférez to join him on an expedition to Mexico to make a plaster cast of the façade of the nunnery buildings in the Mayan ruins at Uxmal in the Yucatan.  Alférez remained in New Orleans, where he became a leading figure in the local art community.  He received a number of commissions, taught at the Arts and Crafts Club in the French Quarter, and directed the sculpture program for artists employed by Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the 1930s.  Alférez played a major role in the WPA’s public art initiatives.   He worked with the architectural firm of Weiss, Dreyfous and Seiferth, which designed the new Louisiana capitol in Baton Rouge, completed in March 1932.  He worked with the firm on several WPA projects including Charity Hospital in New Orleans, and two large fountains, Pop Fountain in New Orleans’ City Park, and another at the entrance to New Orleans Lakefront Airport titled “Fountain of the Four Winds.”  The latter caused quite a stir at the time.  WPA and New Orleans city officials objected to the well-endowed male figure in the sculpture and ordered Alférez to chisel off the male genitalia.  He refused and threatened to shoot anyone who tried to do it.  Fortunately, the statue, in all its glory, was saved by the intercession of Lyle Saxon, head of the WPA writers project, and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.  Alférez also created a number of sculptures for City Park, primarily for the park’s botanical gardens, along with benches, bas-relief work on bridges, and figures for the gate at Tad Gormley Stadium.  He also created works for Audubon Park, the Louisiana State University Medical School, and Touro Infirmary, both in New Orleans.  During World War II, he served for a brief time with the Mexican Army and later joined the U.S. Army Transport Service.  After the war, he divided his time between New York and Mexico, designing furniture and women’s fashion accessories.  He also spent several years touring Europe, especially Paris and Italy, studying Italian Renaissance art.  He returned to New Orleans in the early 1950s.  In 1951, he caused another controversy for a commissioned sculpture, “The Family,” that was to stand in front of the new New Orleans Municipal Court building on the corner of North Rampart and St. Louis streets.  It stood only three days, but was quickly removed when a priest from a nearby church complained of the statues’ nudity.  The city sold the work to a private collector.

November 14, 2017  Humans have been fermenting wine and storing them in jugs as early as 6,000 B.C.  Researchers have found chemical evidence showing that wine has 8,000-year-old roots, pushing the age of the popular fermented drink 600 to 1,000 years older than the previous oldest estimates.  In a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, ancient wine expert Patrick McGovern, from the University of Pennsylvania Museum, and colleagues conducted an analysis of pottery jars that were found in two very old archaeological sites in the Eurasian country of Georgia.  The massive jars date back to the early Neolithic period.  The ancient people of Georgia may have stored 300 liters of wine in the massive jars measuring about three feet tall with small clay bumps that are clustered around the rim.  The researchers said that the decorations possibly represent grapes.  One of the ancient jars also feature a design of what appears like a celebration of wine:  dancing people under a trellis grapevine.  The oldest of the jars was dated at about 8,000 years old, which makes it the earliest artifact showing humans consuming juice from the Eurasian grapes.  Allan Adamson  Beer and fermented fruit and syrup drinks are probably older than wine.

The American Bar Association was invited to review judicial nominees starting in 1953, and every president except Trump and George W. Bush has sought pre-nomination screening of the potential candidates.  The ABA reviews judicial nominees after they are nominated because of a decision made by the Trump administrationDEBRA CASSENS WEISS

Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D.  November 14, 2017   Kratom is a plant that grows naturally in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. I t has gained popularity in the U.S., with some marketers touting it as a “safe” treatment with broad healing properties.  Evidence shows that kratom has similar effects to narcotics like opioids, and carries similar risks of abuse, addiction and in some cases, death.  There is no reliable evidence to support the use of kratom as a treatment for opioid use disorder.  Patients addicted to opioids are using kratom without dependable instructions for use and more importantly, without consultation with a licensed health care provider about the product’s dangers, potential side effects or interactions with other drugs.  There’s clear data on the increasing harms associated with kratom. Calls to U.S. poison control centers regarding kratom have increased 10-fold from 2010 to 2015, with hundreds of calls made each year.  The FDA is aware of reports of 36 deaths associated with the use of kratom-containing products.  There have been reports of kratom being laced with other opioids like hydrocodone.  The use of kratom is also associated with serious side effects like seizures, liver damage and withdrawal symptoms.  Read more at

On November 15, 1974, Dmitri Shostakovich’s final string quartet, his Fifteenth, was given its premiere performance by the Taneyev Quartet.  Composers Datebook  Issue 1799  November 15, 2017  On this date in 1806, Lieutenant Zebulon Pike saw a distant mountain peak while near the Colorado foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  (It was later named Pikes Peak.)  On this date in 1920, the first assembly of the League of Nations was held in Geneva, Switzerland.

Monday, November 13, 2017

There are two types of tiny homes:  a tiny house on wheels, legally considered a recreational vehicle (RV), and a tiny house on a foundation, legally considered an accessory dwelling unit, or ADU.  If you’re building a tiny house on wheels, you’ll need to register it as an RV with your state; in most states, a self-built RV will be inspected before it gets a license plate.  Building an accessory dwelling unit, however, is more complicated.  If you’ve registered your tiny house on wheels as an RV and plan to travel with it, you aren’t dealing with zoning or building code concerns—you just need to find a place to park it.  You could stay in a friend’s backyard or park on their driveway (with permission, of course), or pay to stay at a camping or RV site.  The latter will dictate how long you’re allowed to stay there.  Most states prohibit RVs as full-time residences in zones other than RV parks—but the rule is really only enforced if your tiny house on wheels is reported or complained about.  Emily Nonko  Read much more at  See also and

Artificial intelligence and the library of the future, revisited by Catherine Nicole Coleman   There are two breakthrough technologies catching fire on campus these days.  One of them, CRISPR-Cas9, is changing our relationship to the physical world through gene editing.  The other, Artificial Intelligence (AI), is changing how we generate, process and analyze information.  AI already touches many of our daily computing activities, from searching the web to managing spam in email applications.  It underlies the speech recognition that makes Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa, and the Google Assistant able to process and respond—with some success—to our queries.  It is the computer vision that helps self-driving cars and food delivery robots navigate our streets and sidewalks.  The fundamental activity driving these varied applications of AI is search within a large space of possibilities.  It is not deep cognition but perceptual recognition.  The power lies in the fact that machines can recognize patterns efficiently and routinely, at a scale and speed that humans cannot approach.  Though the underlying AI technologies that make all these applications possible have existed since the 1970s and 80s, AI has really taken off in the last decade, applied to search within images, sound, and text.   Natural Language Processing (NLP) in Linguistics is a system for understanding language that has opened entirely new avenues of research across the university, making it possible to mine large corpora, identify topics, recognize named entities (people, places, and things), and perform sentiment analysis.  Computer Vision is an interdisciplinary branch of AI that incorporates knowledge from several domains including physics, signal processing, and neurobiology to understand images and video.  Machine learning  dramatically accelerates statistical pattern recognition by learning from examples.  Research to predict crop yield from remote sensing data, diagnose heart arrhythmias, and read 2,000-year-old papyri carbonized by the eruption of Vesuvius use machine learning in combination with other AI technologies.  The term machine learning suggests that the machine is teaching itself.  But the most common learning techniques are supervised, requiring a tremendous amount of human work and the careful curation of training data.  The combination of massive amounts of data, accelerated computing power, and a deeper understanding of how we learn have created the conditions for successful applications of multi-layered machine learning known as deep learning that uses Artificial Neural Network architectures. Inspired by the way neurons function within the brain, neural networks can learn features over time and begin to characterize them.  This approach has made unsupervised learning possible.  A great deal of data is needed, but it need not be human-cultivated training sets.  At Stanford Libraries we are considering the profound change AI can bring as power tools for scholarship, making our vast library collections discoverable, searchable, and analyzable in new ways.  Read more and see graphics at

Twitter to introduce expanded 280-character tweets for all its users by Mattha Busby  November 7, 2017   Twitter’s trial of a 280-character tweet limit is to be universally expanded, the social media network has announced.  The move comes after a limited experiment which began in September, 2017 to see if a larger character count reduced “cramming” and led to users better expressing themselves.  Twitter has limited its users to 140 characters per tweet since its launch in 2006.  It had been feared that licence for an expanded character limit would negatively effect the brevity of the social media site experience.  The expanded limit will be rolled out to users in all languages except Chinese, Japanese and Korean--where cramming is not an issue because those scripts can convey more information in a single character.  The expanded character limit is part of plans to make the social media platform more accessible and appealing.  Twitter is looking to increase revenue and entice new users amid the ongoing battles with Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.  Historically, 9% of tweets in English hit the 140-character limit but only 1% of tweets with the extended character count hit the limit during the trial, according to data published by Twitter.  “During the first few days of the test, many people tweeted the full 280 limit because it was new and novel, but soon after behaviour normalised.”  Some users, however, are not satisfied and would much rather see other changes to the social media site.  These include a crackdown on hate crime and bots, and the introduction of a chronological timeline and edit function.  Twitter has about 330 million monthly active users around the world.

The Supreme Court’s new electronic filing system will begin operation on November 13, 2017.   A quick link on the Court’s website homepage will provide access to the new system, developed in-house to provide prompt and easy access to case documents.  Once the system is in place, virtually all new filings will be accessible without cost to the public and legal community.  Initially the official filing of documents will continue to be on paper in all cases, but parties who are represented by counsel will also be required to submit electronic versions of documents through the electronic filing system.  The filings will then be posted to the Court’s docket and made available to the public through the Court’s website.  Filings from parties appearing pro se will not be submitted through the electronic filing system, but will be scanned by Court personnel and made available for public access on the electronic docket.  Attorneys who expect to file documents at the Court will register in advance to obtain access to the electronic filing system.  Registration will open 4-8 weeks before the system begins operation.

Remembrance Day (sometimes known informally as Poppy Day) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth of Nations member states since the end of the First World War to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty.  Following a tradition inaugurated by King George V in 1919, the day is also marked by war remembrances in many non-Commonwealth countries.  Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November in most countries to recall the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918.  Hostilities formally ended "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month", in accordance with the armistice signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente between 5:12 and 5:20 that morning.  ("At the 11th hour" refers to the passing of the 11th hour, or 11:00 am.)  The First World War officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919.  The memorial evolved out of Armistice Day, which continues to be marked on the same date.  The initial Armistice Day was observed at Buckingham Palace, commencing with King George V hosting a "Banquet in Honour of the President of the French Republic"  during the evening hours of 10 November 1919.  The first official Armistice Day was subsequently held on the grounds of Buckingham Palace the following morning.  The red remembrance poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem "In Flanders Fields" written by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae.  After reading the poem, Moina Michael, a professor at the University of Georgia, wrote the poem, "We Shall Keep the Faith," and swore to wear a red poppy on the anniversary.  The custom spread to Europe and the countries of the British Empire and Commonwealth within three years.  Madame Anne E. Guerin tirelessly promoted the practice in Europe and the British Empire.  In the UK Major George Howson fostered the cause with the support of General Haig.  Poppies were worn for the first time at the 1921 anniversary ceremony.  At first real poppies were worn.  These poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I; their brilliant red colour became a symbol for the blood spilled in the war.

Armistice Day is also called Remembrance Day and they both refer to November 11.   November 11 is also marked around the world.  After the Second World War, many countries changed the name of the day from Armistice Day to Remembrance Day, while the US chose to call it Veterans Day and made the day a federal holiday.  Mark Molloy

The Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu had written around 300 works before he started on his first symphony in 1942.  At heart, Martinu was a cosmopolitan European composer, but with a deep link to the specifically Czech musical legacy of Smetana, Dvorak, and Janacek.  Martinu was experiencing a cultural mid-life crisis:  both his native land of Czechslovakia and his adopted home of Paris had been overrun by the Nazis.  Martinu was living as an exile in America when his first symphony had its premiere by the Boston Symphony on November 13, 1942.  Composers Datebook  Issue 1798  November 13, 2017  On this date in 1927, the Holland Tunnel opened to traffic as the first Hudson River vehicle tunnel linking New Jersey to New York City.  On this date in 1940Walt Disney's animated musical film Fantasia was first released, on the first night of a roadshow at New York's Broadway Theatre

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum is the presidential library and resting place of Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States (1945–1953), located on U.S. Highway 24 in Independence, Missouri.  It was the first presidential library to be created under the provisions of the 1955 Presidential Libraries Act, and is one of thirteen presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration(NARA).  Built on a hill overlooking the Kansas City skyline, on land donated by the City of Independence, the Truman Library was dedicated July 6, 1957.  Here, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Medicare Act on July 30, 1965.  On December 11, 2006, Kofi Annan gave his final speech as Secretary-General of the United Nations at the library, where he encouraged the United States to return to the multilateralist policies of Truman.  Truman actively participated in the day-to-day operation of the Library, personally training museum docents and conducting impromptu "press conferences" for visiting school students.  He frequently arrived before the staff and would often answer the phone to give directions and answer questions, telling surprised callers that he was the "man himself."  When Truman left the White House in 1953, he established an office in Room 1107 of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City at 925 Grand Avenue.  When the library opened in 1957, he transferred his office to the facility and often worked there five or six days a week.   In the office, he wrote articles, letters, and his book Mr. Citizen.  In 2007, the Truman Library Institute announced a $1.6 million preservation and restoration of his working office to preserve the artifacts it contains and allow for easier public viewing.  The three-stage project completed in 2009 and features an enclosed limestone pavilion for better access and viewing and an updated climate control system.  The office appears today just as it did when Harry Truman died on December 26, 1972.  See pictures at  See also

Aristotle called them "stars with hair.”   Before the telescope was invented, people didn't know what to make of comets.  Early astronomers said they were rogue planets, or the exhalations of gas from the Earth . . .   *  Every winter you can see Orion chasing the seven daughters of Atlas, the beautiful Pleiades, across the sky.  *  Science reveals the beautiful order hidden within the natural world  *  Stuck here on our tiny blue-and-white planet, it's enough to be human  *  The Night of the Comet, a novel by George Bishop

George Bishop, Jr. graduated with degrees in English Literature and Communications from Loyola University in New Orleans before moving to Los Angeles to become an actor.  After eight years of commercials, stage plays, guest starring roles in TV sitcoms, and the lead in a B-movie called Teen Vamp, he traveled overseas as a volunteer English teacher to the newly independent Czechoslovakia.  He enjoyed the ex-pat life so much that he stayed on, living and teaching in Turkey and Indonesia before returning to the States to earn his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington, where he studied under Clyde Edgerton, Wendy Brenner, and Rebecca Lee.  After several years teaching at UNCW, he moved back overseas, first on a fellowship with the Open Society Institute in Azerbaijan, then with the US State Department’s Office of English Language Programs in India.

One of the most familiar comets, Halley's comet, played a prominent role in history because of its large nucleus and therefore great brightness and longevity.  In 1066 when King Harold was overthrown by William the Conquerer at the Battle of Hastings, the cause of the event seems to have been pegged on a celestial visitor.  In 1456, on a return passage, Halley's comet was excommunicated as an agent of the devil by Pope Calixtus III, but it didn't do any good--the comet has continued to return.  According to Chambers, G. F. (1909), The Story of the Comets. Simply Told for General Readers, The Clarendon Press, Oxford, there are only a handful of comets which may be considered to be "remarkable".  Find a list of these 32 comets in the past 1000 years at  These remarkable comets are noteworthy for their extended visibility (including daytime visibility), and their exceptional brightness and spectacular features, which included reddish colors, multiple tails, jets and haloes. 

“Frankie and Johnny” is a traditional American murder ballad, but you might not know it was based on a true story.  The early versions of the song were called “Frankie and Allen” or “Frankie and Albert.”  According to eyewitness testimony in a lawsuit decades later, a St. Louis songwriter named Bill Dooley was performing the song “Frankie Killed Allen” just weeks after the shooting.  The song first appeared in sheet musicin 1904 under the name "He Done Me Wrong,” credited to Hughie Cannon.  That version had the same tune but different lyrics from the Dooley version.  Frank and Bert Leighton published the same tune, this time named “Frankie and Johnny,” in 1912, with "Albert" changed to "Johnny" because it flowed better.  Likewise, Alice Pryor’s name was changed to Nelly Bly.  Nellie Bly was a well-known journalist in New York whose only connection to the case was that her name was easy to rhyme.  Over 250 versions of “Frankie and Johnny” have been recorded, with widely varying lyrics.  In some, Frankie ends up being executed for her crime.  In a few, Johnny (or Allen, or Albert) survives the shooting.  Read more and link to video featuring Elvis Presley at

Bucky and Bunny by Martha Esbin (sung to tune used for Frankie and Johnny)
Bucky and Bunny are Buckeyes, born in the Buckeye State  
Uprooted and transplanted and forced to emigrate to Michigan . . . to Michigan
Bunny succumbed as an infant, Lordy how it does hurt  
Bucky survives and Bucky thrives in the dirt of Michigan . . . of Michigan  
(written when two tiny twigs with buckeyes still attached were pulled from a lawn in Toledo, Ohio, swaddled in damp paper towels, driven over five hours to the north,  and then planted in Traverse City, Michigan) 

Ohio Buckeye  Aesculus glabra  The name "Buckeye" presumably comes from local usage in the early days of settlement of Ohio.  An early botanist found it on the banks of the Ohio River, and added "Ohio" to the common name in order to distinguish this species from the related Yellow Buckeye.  The seeds are presumed to be poisonous to humans, but are eaten by squirrels.

Panera Bread is buying the cafe restaurant chain that its CEO Ron Shaich co-founded more than three and half decades ago.  Both chains are fast-casual chains known for their sandwiches, salads, soups and pastries.  Au Bon Pain currently has 304 locations worldwide, including many in hospitals, universities, transportation hubs and urban office buildings.  The acquisition will enable Panera, a chain that promotes its healthy offerings, to catapult into new types of retail environments, it announced November 8, 2017.  “With the acquisition we are announcing today, we are bringing Au Bon Pain and Panera together again," Shaich said in a statement.  St. Louis-based Panera didn't disclose the terms of the deal. which is expected to close during the fourth quarter.  The Au Bon Pain news came half an hour before Shaich announced that he's stepping down step down as CEO effective January 1, 2018 but will remain chairman of Panera’s board of directors.  He said he'll continue to work on strategy, communications and acquisitions for Panera, plus focus on his personal investments and initiatives for JAB, which acquired Panera in July.  Replacing Shaich as CEO is Blaine Hurst, Panera’s president who joined the company in January 2011 after a stint as president at Papa John’s.  Zlati Meyer

The California chapter of the NAACP has called “The Star-Spangled Banner” a “racist” and “anti-black” song, and says it will call on Congress to remove it as the national anthem, The Sacramento Bee reported.  At issue is a portion of the third verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner”—which is rarely sung beyond its first verse at major sporting events—that reads:  “No refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.”  “It’s racist; it doesn’t represent our community, it’s anti-black,” Alice Huffman, the organization’s president, told KOVR-TV in Sacramento.  “This song is wrong; it shouldn’t have been there, we didn’t have it ’til 1931, so it won’t kill us if it goes away.”  Luis Gomez  Issue 1797  November 10, 2017  On this date in 1983,  Bill Gates introduced Windows 1.0.  On this date in 1989, Germans began to tear down the Berlin Wall  Thought for Today  Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be a very silent place if no birds sang except the best. - Henry van Dyke, poet (10 Nov 1852-1933)