Monday, June 30, 2014

Guglielmo Marconi was born in 1874 into a wealthy family in Bologna, Italy, and educated by private tutors.  He developed an interest in science, particularly the work of German physicist Heinrich Hertz on the transmission of electromagnetic waves through the air.  Though he failed the entrance exam at the University of Bologna, Marconi began experimenting with wireless telegraphy on his own in 1894.  He discovered that by connecting his transmitter and receiver to the earth (grounding them), and then increasing the height of the antenna, he could extend the range of the signal.  Despite this important technical breakthrough, the Italian government declined to sponsor his work.  Marconi moved to Great Britain where his work received greater support.  In 1896 he patented his first device for wireless telegraphy and in 1897 found investors for his Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company, which began manufacturing radio sets that were able to transmit and receive messages in Morse Code.  Marconi believed that radio waves would follow the earth's curvature, making communication to ships at sea feasible, and designed an experiment to prove his contention.  If successful, the experiment would also provide a "stunt" that would give the relatively new technology, and Marconi's company, world-wide publicity.  This was to be the transmission of a wireless message across the Atlantic.  Marconi constructed a transmitter at Poldhu, Cornwall, in the west of England and another at Cape Cod in Massachusetts.  When a storm damaged the Poldhu antenna, and it had to be replaced by a smaller one, Marconi decided to change the North American destination to St. John's Newfoundland.  In any event, the Cape Cod station was itself destroyed in a storm.  In December 1901 Marconi assembled his receiver at Signal Hill, St. John's, nearly the closest point to Europe in North America.  He set up his receiving apparatus in an abandoned hospital that straddled the cliff facing Europe on the top of Signal Hill.  After unsuccessful attempts to keep an antenna aloft with balloons and kites, because of the high winds, he eventually managed to raise an antenna with a kite for a short period of time for each of a few days.  Accounts vary, but Marconi's notes indicate that the transatlantic message was received via this antenna.  Marconi continued to experiment with long-wave and short-wave transmission as well as to manage his business interests until his death in 1937.  His work, and that of other scientists and inventors, had revolutionized communications at sea and on land and had created whole new industries, such as radio broadcasting.  Marconi's patents and investments made him wealthy and his scientific achievements led to his sharing the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1909.

Road Scholar, formerly Elderhostel, is a  not-for-profit group offering  5,500 educational tours in all 50 states and 150 countries.  Solo participants are welcome, and there are scholarships for those who need financial help.

The Philippine archipelago comprises 7,107 islands, of which only about 2,000 are inhabited.  They are clustered into the three major island groups of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao

Indonesia, with over 18,000 counted islands, is by far the largest and most varied archipelago on Earth. It spans almost 2 million square kilometers between Asia and Australia.  Positioned on the Equator, across a region of immense volcanic activity, Indonesia has some 400 volcanoes within its borders, with at least 90 still active in some way.  Many of the islands here are still uninhabited, with the larger islands of Java, Kalimantan (Borneo), Irian Jaya (Papua), Sumatra and Sulawesi home to most of the population base.

QUOTES by  Michel de Montaigne, essayist (1533-1592)  "I am afraid that our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, and that we have more curiosity than understanding.  We grasp at everything, but catch nothing except wind.”  
“Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.” 

In August 1620, a group of about 40 Saints joined a much larger group of (comparatively) secular colonists–“Strangers,” to the Saints–and set sail from England on two merchant ships:  the Mayflower and the Speedwell.  The Speedwell began to leak almost immediately, however, and the ships headed back to port.  The travelers squeezed themselves and their belongings onto the Mayflower and set sail once again.  In September 1620, the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, a port on the southern coast of England.  Typically, the Mayflower’s cargo was wine and dry goods, but on this trip the ship carried passengers:  102 of them, all hoping to start a new life on the other side of the Atlantic.  Nearly 40 of these passengers were Protestant Separatists–they called themselves “Saints”–who hoped to establish a new church in the New World.  Today, we often refer to the colonists who crossed the Atlantic on the Mayflower as “Pilgrims.”  After two miserable months at sea, the ship finally reached the New World.  There, the Mayflower’s passengers found an abandoned Indian village and not much else.  They also found that they were in the wrong place:  Cape Cod was located at 42 degrees north latitude, well north of the Virginia Company’s territory.  Technically, the Mayflower colonists had no right to be there at all.  In order to establish themselves as a legitimate colony (“Plymouth,” named after the English port from which they had departed) under these dubious circumstances, 41 of the Saints and Strangers drafted and signed a document they called the Mayflower Compact.  This Compact promised to create a “civil Body Politick” governed by elected officials and “just and equal laws.”  It also swore allegiance to the English king.  The colonists spent the first winter, which only 53 passengers and half the crew survived, living onboard the Mayflower.  (The Mayflower sailed back to England in April 1621.)  Once they moved ashore, the colonists faced even more challenges.  During their first winter in America, more than half of the Plymouth colonists died from malnutrition, disease and exposure to the harsh New England weather.  In fact, without the help of the area’s native people, it is likely that none of the colonists would have survived.  An English-speaking Pawtuxet named Samoset helped the colonists form an alliance with the local Wampanoags, who taught them how to hunt local animals, gather shellfish and grow corn, beans and squash.  At the end of the next summer, the Plymouth colonists celebrated their first successful harvest with a three-day festival of thanksgiving.  We still commemorate this feast today.  Eventually, the Plymouth colonists were absorbed into the Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Link to U.S. Supreme Court opinions at  The current term ends June 30, 2014.  See also

Who saidI've held off on writing about soccer for a decade — or about the length of the average soccer game — so as not to offend anyone.  But enough is enough.  Any growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation's moral decay.  Find out who said this at  Issue 1168  June 30, 2014  On this date in 1864, Abraham Lincoln granted Yosemite Valley to California for "public use, resort and recreation".  On this date in 1886, the first transcontinental train trip across Canada departed from Montreal.  It arrived in Port Moody, British Columbia on July 4.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Arecibo message was broadcast into space a single time via frequency modulated radio waves at a ceremony to mark the remodeling of the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico on 16 November 1974.  It was aimed at the globular star cluster M13 some 25,000 light years away because M13 was a large and close collection of stars that was available in the sky at the time and place of the ceremony.  The message consisted of 1,679 binary digits, approximately 210 bytes, transmitted at a frequency of 2,380 MHz and modulated by shifting the frequency by 10 Hz, with a power of 1,000 kW.  The "ones" and "zeros" were transmitted by frequency shifting at the rate of 10 bits per second.  The total broadcast was less than three minutes.  The cardinality of 1,679 was chosen because it is a semiprime (the product of two prime numbers), to be arranged rectangularly as 73 rows by 23 columns.  The alternative arrangement, 23 rows by 73 columns, produces jumbled nonsense.  Dr. Frank Drake, then at Cornell University and creator of the Drake equation, wrote the message with help from Carl Sagan, among others.  Because it will take 25,000 years for the message to reach its intended destination (and an additional 25,000 years for any reply), the Arecibo message was more a demonstration of human technological achievement than a real attempt to enter into a conversation with extraterrestrials.  In fact, the stars of M13, to which the message was aimed, will no longer be in that location when the message arrives.  According to the Cornell News press release of November 12, 1999, the real purpose of the message was not to make contact but to demonstrate the capabilities of newly installed equipment.  See description of the message's seven parts and a graphic with color added to highlight separate parts at

The only ferret native to North America also is the only serious natural predator of the prairie dog.  While some snakes, coyotes and badgers are known to occasionally snack on prairie dogs, the deceivingly vicious black-footed ferret makes them a regular entrée.  In fact, a single ferret may eat more than 100 prairie dogs in a year.  "The grass grows back where my cattle graze,” cattleman Gary Walker said.  “But where prairie dogs live the grass is completely destroyed, and it takes a long time to restore that land.  “Whenever you see tumbleweed you can thank a prairie dog.”  However, those who take time to study the prairie dog species appreciate that they represent an important wildlife resource.  Even those like Walker who curse the varmints, recognize that responsible conservation of the prairie dog has important consequences for many other species of animals in the grassland ecosystem.  The swift fox, burrowing owl, raptor, mountain plover, several snakes, many rodents, and of course the black-footed ferret, all depend on the prairie dogs for food, shelter and/or nesting sites.  It also is important to note that prairie dogs are naturally nomadic, meaning that they prefer to keep moving.  But with so much of the prairie lands having been plowed for crops, these large colonies have remained relatively static for years.  Their destruction is dramatic.  Walker estimates that more than 10,000 acres of his ranch land has been rendered “non-productive” for grazing.  In addition to the dramatic loss of habitat, the introduction of plague (from fleas), and poisoning has led to the demise of both the prairie dogs and the black-footed ferrets.  The Walkers are opposed to poisoning, and they believe that nature always has provided the best solution to this complex problem.  Many of Walker’s fellow cattlemen and many environmental and regulatory experts agree.  On the surface the solution of bringing back the black-footed ferret seemed fairly simple.  Turns out it was one of the toughest challenges the Walkers and their “BFF allies” have ever faced, officials said.  The biggest roadblock was the legislation that actually penalized private land owners who attempted to harbor any endangered species.  Walker said that historically, when an endangered species was found on private property, the federal government stepped in and imposed strict mandates on the use of the land.  In some cases, the agencies also held the land owners and their neighbors liable for any harm that came to the rare animals.  It was a classic “catch 22” for ranchers, tribal leaders and other private land owners.  The black-footed ferret recovery effort has been under way since 1981, when a small population was discovered in Meeteetse, Wyoming.  Remarkably, only 18 ferrets were taken into captivity.  But these precious few provided the foundation for a successful captive-breeding program that has brought the species back from the brink of extinction.  In 2011, it was reported that 1,000 ferrets were surviving in the wild, and 300 more in captivity.  The recovery program is supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center in Wellington, the National Zoo’s Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, and the zoological institutions in Colorado Springs (Cheyenne Mountain Zoo), Phoenix, Louisville and Toronto.  Some of the folks on the front lines of the recovery effort at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo were on hand to witness and celebrate the release of fifty of their black-footed ferrets on the Walker Ranch.  Dr. Della Garelle, director of Field Conservation and a veterinarian at Cheyenne Mountain, spoke about the hard work and collaboration that led to the momentous release day.  “The recovery program at the CMZ has been in effect for twenty three years,” Garelle said.  “The six captive-breeding programs have been reintroducing the ferret on public land since 1991, but reintroduction on private land — especially in Colorado — has been extremely difficult.”  The 50 new furry residents were released over a 4,000-acre radius, in order to ensure that each breeding pair has adequate room and board.  Each animal came equipped with a high-tech microchip that will enable scientists monitor the overall progress of the colony, and the activities of each individual ferret.  Since the ferrets have a gestational period of only 41 to 43 days, and an average litter size of three to four kits, scientists are hopeful that the Walker Ranch colony will grow quickly.  All of the new arrivals also will have microchips implanted before they leave home and establish new territories at the ripe old age of four months.  Mark Young

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on June 24, 2014 published a Federal Register notice on its interpretation of the statutory special rules for model aircraft in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.  The guidance comes after recent incidents involving the reckless use of unmanned model aircraft near airports and involving large crowds of people.  The FAA is issuing the notice to provide clear guidance to model operators on the “do’s and don’ts” of flying safely in accordance with the Act and to answer many of the questions it has received regarding the scope and application of the rules.  While the notice is immediately effective, the agency welcomes comments from the public which may help further inform its analysis.  The comment period for the notice will close 30 days from publication in the Federal Register.  See notice [4910-13] DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Federal Aviation Administration, 14 CFR Part 91, [Docket No. FAA-2014-0396] at

Two hours west of Fort Worth, the county seat of Shackelford County boasts a rarity:  art in a former prison, the Old Jail Art Center.  "Home of the Hereford" boasts the sign as you enter this one-traffic-light town (population c.2,000), established by Scottish Presbyterians 16 miles south of Fort Griffin.  But home on this range means more than cattle.  The gorgeously restored county courthouse rises proudly over the square, with the Old Jail (begun in 1877) down the street.  Scottish masons carved their initials into the prison's limestone blocks as a means of ensuring payment for their work.  The jail was closed in 1929 and stayed vacant until 1940, at which point Robert E. Nail Jr. bought it.  Nail came from an important local family.  A wealthy boy whose mother sent him off to Lawrenceville School in Princeton, N.J., where he studied writing with Thornton Wilder before graduating as class valedictorian, he headed to Princeton University, from which he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1933.  He had his sights set on a New York theater career but was called home after graduation, owing to his father's suicide the previous year.  His college theatrical coterie included José Ferrer, Jimmy Stewart and Joshua Logan.  They managed to thrive, in New York and then in Hollywood, while Nail went back to Texas.  In 1938 Nail produced the first version of what has become the town's annual crowd-pleasing pageant, "Fandangle," a musical extravaganza in which 300 unpaid townspeople perform during the last two weekends of June.  Think Wilder's "Our Town" meets Christopher Guest's "Waiting for Guffman."  Nail, who used the jail as a writing studio, died in 1968, and then his nephew Reilly Nail (also a Princeton alumnus), a television producer, inherited the building.  Flash forward:  The younger Nail and his first cousin Bill Bomar decided to combine their families' collections of 19th and 20th century paintings, plus classic Asian art.  Bomar was the museum's greatest benefactor:  He either painted or owned about 300 works in the collection.  Voilà:  The Old Jail Art Center opened in 1980. Willard Spiegelman  Read more at  See also  Issue 1167  June 27, 2014  On this date in 1895, the inaugural run of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's Royal Blue from Washington, D.C., to New York, New York, was the first U.S. passenger train to use electric locomotives.  On this date in 1898, the first solo circumnavigation of the globe was completed by Joshua Slocum from Briar Island, Nova Scotia.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

THE CLOSED RULE by Michael Doran  The closed rule constitutes a critical component of managerial power in the contemporary House of Representatives and an increasingly important element of the legislative process.  Subject to approval by the full membership, the closed rule allows managers to block all amendments to a measure when bringing that measure to the floor.  Despite objections from the minority, both Republicans and Democrats regularly use the closed rule when in the majority, and rank-and-file members ordinarily approve any closed rule put to a floor vote.  Once rarely used, the closed rule has become managers’ preferred instrument for controlling the House floor agenda.  This article examines the use of the closed rule by the Republican majority in the 109th Congress and the Democratic majority in the 110th Congress.  59 Emory Law Journal  1363-1454 (2010)  

New York's Adirondacks Park gets its largest acquisition in a century by Ginger Strand  Mike Carr is like a kid who requested a pony for Christmas and found a whole dude ranch under the tree.  “For 35 years the conservation community dreamed  of protecting the Finch lands,” he says.  “They were at the geographic center of the park, surrounded by protected lands, connecting about 800,000 acres.”  A big man with a booming voice, Carr directs The Nature Conservancy’s work in the Adirondacks. Pilot, skier, hiker, paddler, volunteer fireman—he has been avidly exploring the Adirondacks since he was a kid and his Illinois family would ship him here every summer to visit relatives.  But the map he’s pointing to justifies his enthusiasm.  The Finch timberlands—161,000 acres formerly owned by paper company Finch Pruyn & Company and purchased in 2007 by the Conservancy—look like puzzle pieces completing a jigsaw of the Adirondack Park.  The map alone explains why the Conservancy would race to pull together $110 million in just a few short weeks upon hearing the lands might be for sale.  All over the world, forests are being cleared and fragmented, but here, the Conservancy wanted to piece one back together.  And what a forest:  The Finch lands include 300 lakes and ponds, 90 mountains, nearly 16,000 acres of wetlands and 29 untouched miles along the upper Hudson River.  They contain land formations that have been off-limits to the public for more than a century.  And they reconnect the Adirondack Park’s 6-million-acre landscape, providing the large tracts of land and elevation gradients that are increasingly critical:  Species from moose, bobcats and bears all the way down to mosses and liverworts need this room to move and adapt to changing climate conditions.  Read much more at Nature Conservancy magazine  June/July 2014  

A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg
holograph  (HOL-uh-graf)  noun:  1.  A document handwritten by its author.  adjective:  2.   Handwritten by the author.  noun:  3.  A hologram:  a three-dimensional image created using laser.  For 1, 2:  Via Latin, from Greek holographos, from holos (whole) + -graphos (written). Earliest documented use:  1623.  For 3:  From holography, which was coined from hologram on the pattern of photography, from Greek holos (whole).  Earliest documented use:  1968.
plutarchy  (PLOO-tahr-kee)  noun:  1.  Rule by the wealthy.  2.  A wealthy ruling class.  
The Greek biographer Plutarch (c. 46-120 CE) has no connection with this word.  Rather, it's Ploutos, the god of riches in Greek mythology.  The word (and its synonym plutocracy and the word plutolatry) are derived from Greek pluto- (wealth) + archos (ruler), from arkhein (to rule).  Earliest documented use:  1643.
Feedback to A.Word.A.Day  It appears Plutarch is the author of the original quotation "The mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting" that is rephrased in a widely attributed quotation to Yeats.  See Quote Investigator at   
"We have updated this on our website now."  Anu Garg

From Distant Admirers to Library Lovers–and beyond, A typology of public library engagement in America by KATHRYN ZICKUHR, KRISTEN PURCELL AND LEE RAINIE
Work by the Pew Research Center has shown that print books are still central to Americans’ library use, just as they remain central in Americans’ overall reading habits.  In fact, though more Americans than ever are reading e-books (28% of adults ages 18 and older, as of January 2014), few have abandoned print entirely; just 4% of readers read e-books exclusively.  Still, many Americans say they would be interested in exploring a range of technological services at public libraries, from personalized reading recommendations and online “Ask a Librarian” services to media kiosks and mobile apps.  Libraries loom large in the public imagination, and are generally viewed very positively:  90% of Americans ages 16 and older say that the closing of their local public library would have an impact on their community.  This means that many people have a stake in the future of libraries, and as the digital age advances, there is much discussion about where they are headed.  To help with that conversation, Pew Research has spent three years charting the present role libraries play in Americans’ lives and communities, in the hopes that this will set the foundation for discussions of what libraries should be in the future.  The first stage of our research studied the growing role of e-books, including their impact on Americans’ reading habits and Americans’ library habits.   second stage explored the full universe of library services, as well as what library services Americans most value and what they might want from libraries in the future.  This typology completes our third and final stage of research, which explores public libraries’ roles in people’s lives and in American culture writ large—how they are perceived, how they are valued, how people rely on them, and so forth.  All of this research and the underlying data sets are available at  June 9, 2014.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup, the 20th, a tournament for the men's football world championship, is being held in Brazil June 12-July 13.  It is the second time that Brazil has hosted the competition, the first being in 1950.  Brazil was elected unchallenged as host nation in 2007 after the international football federation, FIFA, decreed that the tournament would be staged in South America for the first time since 1978 in Argentina, and the fifth time overall.  See also

King James a.k.a. LBJ   LeBron James has informed the Miami Heat that he will exercise his early termination option and become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

The Local History & Genealogy Department of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library is the 2014 recipient of the John Sessions Memorial Award by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).  Established in 1980, the award recognizes a library or library system which works closely with the labor community and consequently raises awareness of the history and contribution of the labor movement to the development of the United States.  The late John Sessions was co-chair of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)/ALA Joint Committee on Library Service to Labor Groups.  Sessions was also an assistant director of the AFL-CIO Department of Education.  The local history department was selected for its extensive efforts in building an ongoing legacy recognizing the labor community, according to the RUSA official website.  Issue 1166  June 25, 2014  On this date in 1788, Virginia became the 10th state to ratify the United States Constitution.  On this date in 1910, Igor Stravinsky's ballet The Firebird was premiered in Paris, bringing him to prominence as a composer.

Monday, June 23, 2014

words morphs--from two words to initials for the two words to spelled-out initials:  disk jockey, DJ, deejay;   master of ceremonies, MC, emcee

modern portmanteau words  framily, frenemy, motel, smog

Interview with Oscar winner Jeff Bridges in American Libraries magazine, June 2014
You’ve been working on adapting The Giver into a movie for almost two decades.  Why do you think this book has such potential as a film?  Well, I was looking for a project to do with my father, Lloyd Bridges, and I wanted to make a children’s movie.  So I started to look through some children’s books in a catalog and I saw the picture of this old grizzled guy on the cover and thought, “My dad could play that part.  And it’s got the Newbery Award stamp on it, so I should check that out.”  I got the book, expecting to read a children’s story, and it certainly was that, but so much more.  I enjoyed it on an adult level and found it so poetic.  What other books have affected you in the same way as The Giver?  Oh man, I remember as a kid getting into all the Hermann Hesse books like Siddhartha.  Loved those books.  Nikos Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ is one of my favorites.  “Man’s search for meaning”:  I’m kind of into those types of books.  Do you have any other book-to-film adaptations in the works or that you would like to do?  Yeah. I mentioned Larry McMurtry.  We did The Last Picture Show, which is based on his book.  We madeTexasville 20 years after that, and he has three more books in that series based on those same folks.  Duane’s Depressed is one.  Rhino Ranch is another.  Dystopian young adult fiction is hot right now.  Why do you think that it is resonating so much?  I think its time has come.  I think it is a … what’s the word I’m looking for?  A cautionary tale.  Like we were saying about libraries, with this addiction to comfort and getting rid of struggle and pain and what those things can give us as a society.  Pain has a lot to do with compassion.  When you experience your pain, it’s easier for you to feel another’s pain.  Phil Morehart 

If the word metagrabolise puzzles you, your response is appropriate.  That’s what the word means — to puzzle, mystify, baffle or confound.   Peter Motteux introduced the English to the word metagrobolise in 1693 when he published his revised version of Sir Thomas Urquhart’s translation of the works of Rabelais:  “I have been these eighteen days in metagrabolising this brave speech”.  A footnote says that it was “a word forged at pleasure, which signifies the studying and writing of vain things”.  However, one French edition suggested it was a burlesque word meaning “to give a lot of trouble for nothing, to bore and annoy others”.

A puzzle is a game or problem which tests the ingenuity of a would-be solver.  In a puzzle, one is required to put pieces together, in a logical way, in order to arrive at the correct solution of the puzzle.  There are different types of puzzles for different ages.  Puzzles are often devised as a form of entertainment but they can also arise from serious mathematical or logistical problems. In such cases, their solution may be a significant contribution to mathematical research.  The 1989 edition of the Oxford English Dictionary dates the word puzzle (as a verb) to the end of the 16th century.  Its first documented use (to describe a new type of game) was in a book titled The Voyage of Robert the West Indies, 1594–95, narrated by Capt. Wyatt, by himself, and by Abram Kendall, master (published circa 1595).  The word later came to be used a noun.  The word puzzle comes from pusle "bewilder, confound" which is a frequentive of the obsolete verb pose (from Medieval French aposer) in sense of "perplex".  The meaning of the word as "a toy contrived to test one's ingenuity" is relatively recent (within mid-19th century).  The first jigsaw puzzle was created around 1760, when John Spilsbury, a British engraver and cartographer, mounted a map on a sheet of wood, which he then sawed around the outline of each individual country on the map.  He then used the resulting pieces as an aid to the teaching of geography.  After becoming popular among the public, this kind of teaching aid remained the primary use of jigsaw puzzles until about 1820.  By the early 20th century, magazines and newspapers had found that they could increase their readership by publishing puzzle contests.
Find type of puzzles and link to a list of impossible puzzles at


Laurence Copel, youth outreach librarian and founder of the Lower Ninth Ward Street Library in New Orleans, is the inaugural recipient of the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity.  On June 29, 2014, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) will present her with a $3,000 check, $1,000 travel expenses, a certificate and "an odd object from Handler's private collection" during the American Library Association's Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas.  "Copel is recognized for her extraordinary efforts to provide books to young readers of the Ninth Ward," said ALA president Barbara Stripling, adding that she "is a brilliant example of how librarians can serve as change agents.  Her leadership and commitment show the vital role that librarians and libraries play in energizing and engaging the communities that they serve."  Known to the children in the Lower Ninth Ward as the Book Lady, Copel moved to New Orleans from New York City in 2010 and opened a library in her home through self-funding and small donations while living on $350 a week.  She also converted her bicycle to a mobile book carrier allowing her to reach children and families that could not travel to her home.  Despite many challenges, she has provided more than 7,000 books to children in need, "demonstrated remarkable dedication and perseverance to the cause of youth literacy and, in the process, ingenuity and spunk.  Though overwhelmed and undermanned, she has refused to relent. Instead she has demonstrated a remarkable resilience and commitment to her cause," the ALA noted.

What was fake on the Internet this week:  Ryan Gosling, ‘Ghostface Lieberman’, drinking age to rise to 25 and ‘I Am Sushi’.  See 16th installment by Caitlin Dewey at

The creation of a full-text searchable book database is a ‘‘quintessentially transformative use’’ of a copyrighted work, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on June 10, 2014, and therefore it is lawful to copy and store the books electronically without the permission of the authors and publishers.  The American Council on Education (ACE) submitted a brief last year in the case Authors Guild v. HathiTrust Digital Library, in which the Authors Guild charged that the HathiTrust digital repository was violating copyright by making some of its members’ work freely available.  HathiTrust is a partnership of 80 major research institutions and libraries that have collaborated to digitize their collections to build a comprehensive online archive.  See Authors Guild, Inc. v. HathiTrust, 124547cv, at  Issue 1165  June 23, 2014  On this date in 1611, the mutinous crew of Henry Hudson's fourth voyage set Henry, his son and seven loyal crew members adrift in an open boat in what is now Hudson Bay; they were never heard from again.

In 1683, William Penn signed a friendship treaty with Lenni Lenape Indians in Pennsylvania.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The wicked fairy godmother, a rare figure in fairy tales, is nevertheless among the best-known figures from such tales because of her appearance in one of the most widely known tales, Sleeping Beauty, and in the ballet derived from it.  The oldest version of Sleeping Beauty that has been preserved is Sun, Moon, and Talia from Giambattista Basile's Pentamerone.   This version does not feature any fairy godmothers; Talia's fate is prophesied, but is not caused by witchcraft.  Charles Perrault added the witch to his variant the story of Sleeping Beauty, "The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood" ("La Belle au bois dormant"), published in Histoires ou contes du temps passé 1697; he did not give her a name.  The Brothers Grimm included a version, "Briar Rose", in their collected tales; similarly without a name; in Perrault's version, seven fairies were invited, and she is the eighth, and in the Grimms', twelve were invited and she is the thirteenth.   The figure of the witch appeared before Perrault's tale.  The first known appearance was in the chanson de geste Les Prouesses et faitz du noble Huon de Bordeaux: the elf-king Oberon appears only dwarfish in height, and explains to Huon that an angry fairy cursed him to that size at his christening.  Madame d'Aulnoy had them appear in her fairy tales The Hind in the Wood and The Princess Mayblossom; although their roles in her tales had significant differences from Sleeping Beauty, in The Princess Mayblossom, she receives the name of "Carabosse".  At some point, this name was attached to the wicked fairy godmother in Sleeping Beauty; she appears as such in Tchaikovsky's ballet of Sleeping Beauty.  In the Disney animated version of Sleeping Beauty the character of the wicked fairy is personified in Maleficent, a dark sinister being who is the "Mistress of all Evil".   She lays a curse on the princess (called Aurora here, as in Tchaikovsky's ballet) and the fairies plan to take the princess away and hide her to protect her.

Charles Perrault (1628-1703) could have not predicted that his reputation for future generations would rest almost entirely on a slender book published in 1697 containing eight simple stories with the unassuming title:  Stories or Tales from Times Past, with Morals, with the added title in the frontispiece, Tales of Mother Goose.  Link to the eight tales (first is The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood) at

"Once Upon a Dream" is a song based on Tchaikovsky's homonymous ballet The Sleeping Beauty, more specifically the piece "Grande valse villageoise (a.k.a. The Garland Waltz)", that was written in 1959 for the animated musical fantasy film Sleeping Beauty produced by Walt Disney and based on La Belle au bois dormant by Charles Perrault and based also on Little Briar Rose by The Brothers Grimm.  It's the theme of Princess Aurora and Prince Philip and was performed by a chorus as an overture and third-reprise finale.  Mary Costa and Bill Shirley, who were cast in the roles of Princess Aurora and Prince Philip, performed the song as a duet.  The song was covered by the American girl group No Secrets in 2003 for the two-disc DVD release, and by Emily Osment in 2008 for the Platinum Edition release.  "Once Upon a Dream" was covered by American singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey for the dark fantasy film Maleficent (2014), which serves as a prequel to and reimagining of the original Sleeping Beauty (1959).  The song was released on January 26, 2014; it was made available as a free digital downloadduring its first week of availability by the Google Play Store.  On February 4, the digital download was made available for purchase.  Angelina Jolie, who plays the film's lead role, picked Del Rey herself to perform the song.  See also's_Sleeping_Beauty_to_Disney's_Maleficent

When Bette Midler moved to New York from Los Angeles in 1995, she was horrified by the litter strewn across the landscape.  The singer and actress not only launched a one-woman pickup operation, but also founded the enormously successful New York Restoration Project (NYRP) to revitalize neglected green spaces.  Just two decades later, NYRP has acquired 52 community gardens in underserved communities across the five boroughs and redesigned nearly half of them, enlisting residents in all phases of the work, from design to ongoing maintenance.  In addition to gardens, NYRP has expanded its mission to include planting more than 840,000 trees in partnership with the city, with a goal of one million by 2015.  The nonprofit also teamed up with Urban Air Foundation, TEN Arquitectos, and Buro Happold to design low-cost kits for modular casitas that can serve as sun- and rainproof gathering spots and also, by way of roof-mounted photovoltaic energy collectors, provide off-the-grid community nodes where neighbors can charge phones in the wake of a blackout.  And, with support from the Thompson Family Foundation and innovative porous design by architectural firm Bade Stageberg Cox, NYRP will build a boat storage facility and an outdoor classroom and science cove along the Harlem River that will host environmental-education classes.

Is  throw me down the stairs my shoes a good English sentence?  The answer depends on where you live.  Many people in Newfoundland find that sentence perfectly grammatical.  By taking this quiz, you will be helping train a machine algorithm that is mapping out the differences in English grammar around the world, both in traditionally English-speaking countries and also in countries like Mexico, China, and India.  At the end, you can see the algorithm's best guess as to which English you speak as well as whether your first (native) language is English or something else.

Brian Gardner saw the pointy green shoots sneaking into his yard from the neighbor’s.  He’ll take care of them when he returns from Florida, he told himself.  Two weeks later, he came home to Park Boulevard in Worthington, Ohio to find a stand of bamboo 10 feet high on his side of the fence.  “It grows a foot a day,” Gardner said.  “You can actually watch it grow.”  The shoots came from next door, where bamboo canes 15 feet tall take up a third of Tena and Tom Singley’s backyard on Loveman Avenue.  The canes send out rhizomes, stems that travel horizontally for several feet just below the surface and send up shoots that sometimes appear as conelike nubs.  They’re also sprouting neighborhood discord.  “I told her to contain it but was ignored,” said Gardner, who lives behind the Singleys in the Colonial Hills neighborhood.  He took his complaint to the Worthington City Council, which is researching an ordinance requiring homeowners to contain running bamboo to their side of the fence.  “There’s no desire to ban it but to produce some regulation to encourage people to maintain it,” said City Manager Matt Greeson.  Connecticut passed a law in 2014 requiring people to plant running bamboo within thick plastic barriers sunk 2 to 3 feet into the ground.  Running bamboo cannot be planted within 40 feet of a neighbor’s property.  Violators face a $100 daily fine.  Earl Rinehart

THE MORGAN LIBRARY & MUSEUM does not usually put trash on the wall, but there are exceptions.  Among the nearly 60 rare books, manuscripts and objects on exhibit in “Marks of Genius: Treasures From the Bodleian Library” is a constellation of khaki-colored papyrus scraps retrieved about a century ago from an ancient dump outside the vanished Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus.  Over the years, excavations at the site have yielded census forms, invoices, bureaucratic correspondence and the occasional literary find — in this instance, a fragment of verse by Sappho, inscribed in Greek in the second century A.D., from the first of the nine books of poems she is known to have written.  The Sappho scraps deliver just one of many gee-whiz moments in the exhibition, which runs through September 14, 2014.  The show explores and celebrates the notion of genius as it has evolved through the millenniums, using some of the loftiest texts ever published: Magna Carta, the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays, Euclid’s “Elements,” Newton’s “Principia Mathematica.”  Even though the objects on display fit neatly in one compact room, “Marks of Genius” is a wanderer’s exhibition.  A few short steps from Magna Carta, an imposing parchment document with two dangling seals, a small gem awaits: a souvenir score of Felix Mendelssohn’s “Schilflied” (“Reed Song”).  Mendelssohn, an avid amateur artist, notated the song by hand as a gift for a friend, then illustrated it with a romantic watercolor depicting the first lines of the text, by the poet Nikolaus Lenau:  “On the lake’s unruffled surface rests the moon’s fair beams.”  The sheet music falls within a section of the exhibition titled “A Touch of Genius,” which brings the exalted minds on exhibit within close range by personalizing their work.  John Donne, in a small, precise hand, dashes off a verse epistle to two noblewomen.  Elizabeth I, at 11, prepares a presentation volume for her stepmother at the time, Catherine Parr.  William Grimes  See amazing graphics at  Find hours and location at

A book is a version of the world.  If you do not like it, ignore it; or offer your own version in return.  Salman Rushdie, writer (b. 1947)

Salman Rushdie is to be awarded an honorary literary prize for his years of outstanding work, awarded in memory of his friend, the late playwright Harold Pinter.  The author, whose works include Midnight's Children and The Moor's Last Sigh, is the recipient of the 2014 PEN/Pinter prize.  Rushdie, who spent many years under guard in a secret location after receiving death threats forThe Satanic Verses, will be given the prize at a ceremony at the British Library on October 9, 2014.  The prize was established in 2009 by English PEN, the writers' association and freedom of expression charity, and is awarded annually to a writer of outstanding literary merit.  Rushdie follows Tony Harrison, Hanif Kureishi, David Hare, Carol Ann Duffy and Tom Stoppard as a recipient.  Issue 1164  June 20, 2014  On this date in 1782, the U.S. Congress adopted the Great Seal of the United States.  On this date in 1787, Oliver Ellsworth moved at the Federal Convention to call the government the United States.  On this date in 1840, Samuel Morse received the patent for the telegraph.