Friday, May 30, 2008

Happy Friday, everyone! On to links from others.

From Cassandra: the ancients knew how to party (the ancient Egyptian festival sounds especially fun); why government scientists need to be protected; and an in-depth look at how (and if) newspapers correct their errors.

From Holly: Baby names from around the world. We need more Scandinavian names over in the U.S., I think.

Discovered by Bunny and me this week: Tripod, an Australian comedy/music group that has a truly inspired website and some truly hilarious songs for the geeky set. They have a lot of material on YouTube, which I also recommend!

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! See you Monday.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

This week's "weirdo at the library" story comes to you from my own city. We're so proud.

Meanwhile, libraries in the Bay Area are trying something different - books via vending (or, in this case, borrowing) machines at BART stations! Man, would I ever love this.

The powers that be have also sent a sort of library to Mars. I'm not really sure who is going to look at the information, except maybe explorers from a parallel universe with exactly the same DVD technology.

The Boston Globe looks at the recent trend toward using the power of the internet to add detail to historical photos and events. I'm all for this trend, myself. If more people pay attention to history, that can only help places like the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which just released their annual list of the most endangered places in America. You can browse their archives to see former lists as well - in 2006, one of Cincinnati's neighborhoods was on the list. They include updates on the places, too, so you can see if things have improved or deteriorated since their mention.

Tomorrow: Friday! And that means links from others!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The latest theory on the Chinese earthquake: it's the fault of the Olympic mascots. Well, one of them, anyway; each one has its own appointed task of doom to carry out. (Actually, on a related note, I was wondering if the Olympic athletes could form a sort of rescue/rebuilding unit while they're in China this summer - have weightlifters help with construction, runners relaying communications, that sort of thing. They seem uniquely qualified to help.)

Events this weekend include the Maritime Festival in Ireland, the Rhino Charge in Kenya (with a parallel event in the UK), the Vegan Fayre in Bristol, England, and the new treetop walkway at Kew Gardens, also in England. (The UK is having an inordinate amount of festivities this weekend, since it's a holiday weekend and it's also finally spring.)

Stuck at home this weekend? Not to worry - you can fashion your very own Cthulhu out of paper. (This doesn't really look like Cthulhu to me, but then again, I don't know anyone who has seen Cthulhu and lived to tell about it.)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Judging from the buzz it's created, the Telectroscope seems to be quite the hit on both sides of the Atlantic. There are over 1,000 photos so far on Flickr!

Not only are giant pseudo-telescopes garnering attention, but also a man's flying over the Alps with a jetpack ,we can keep up with the latest Mars landing via Twitter (when Twitter is up, anyway; it's been a bit overtaxed lately), and some enterprising soul has created a steampunk-themed USB drive.

Once upon a time, zeppelins flew over Europe and mechanical elephants marched around Britain. It's true! Nowadays, we can decorate our home in Victorian manner (very stylishly, too), and restore the automata of the past, in honor of what once was. But watch out, because you know what the next trend's going to be? Oilpunk!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Rejoice, for it is the Friday before a long weekend, and I bring you links from others. Thanks, everyone!

Julie (in the UK) and Satori (in the US) have updates on the transatlantic Telectroscope! Even if there is no tunnel across the ocean, the concept still sounds very cool.

Also from Satori: a Japanese parrot gets lost, but tells the vet his name and address. Who needs microchips?

From Danny: the wild art (and website) of Panamarenko.

From Cassandra: donkeys are going to jail in Mexico and ghost girls are frightening motorists in England. Yes, everything really is falling apart!

Something I swiped from a Gawker site: absurd (but real) captioning in newcasts. I tend to point these out when I see them, so I'm thrilled someone is keeping track.

From Holly: a very cool shirt for geek moms-to-be. Also, Holly's work is going to be featured in the Prairie Arts Festival this weekend, so everyone in the Chicago area should stop by and check it out!

Have a great weekend, everyone! Back on Tuesday.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A note for genealogists: from now through May 31st, Ancestry is making its military records free to everyone! (Some of the records are erratic, though. I looked my grandfather's records up from WWII and they have the wrong middle initial.)

The Metropolitan Museum of New York has a spectacular exhibit going on right now about superheroes and fashion. Let's all go see it.

I've posted links before about performance-enhancing drugs for researchers; now Japan has taken the next logical step and marketed brain candy. Results so far are mixed, evidently.

It probably takes a special sort of geek to appreciate the combination of LOLcats and historical texts...but I am just that sort of geek! Look upon LOLManuscripts and despair or rejoice, depending on your sense of humor!

Tomorrow: links from others. See you then!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hey, it's Zoopolis 500 Day at the Indianapolis Zoo! Watch the turtle races! Yes, wacky festival season is well underway now, especially in England, where you can participate in the Cheese Rolling contest in Gloucestershire (injuries are common) or the Woolsack races in Tetbury (strengthen your neck muscles first).

If you want to participate in the Grease to Greece journey, which begins in South London and will be fueled entirely by greasy spoon castoff grease (if all goes well), you've got some time, as it won't begin until August.

The new Indiana Jones movie comes out tomorrow, and wow, is LEGO ever ready for it!

Two links from others today! Cassandra sends in a story discussing the odd behavior of animals before the recent earthquake in China, while Holly informs us that Hello Kitty is now Japan's official tourism ambassador. Wow.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Confession time: I am always surprised (and a little thrilled) when I see Steampunk Librarian mentioned on a weblog, or linked in someone's sidebar. Thanks, all. It's appreciated!

Steam, once the energy source of the past, may become the energy source of the future! Now it's referred to as "solar thermal technology," and Google is helping to fund the concept. I love the idea of huge mirrors creating electricity via steam.

I also love the idea of the Telectroscope, too. The Club Creatures are going to be visiting Brooklyn soon and I am going to insist they check out the New York location.

Greystone Court is near NYC and looks like all sorts of awesome, and it was created in a DIY kind of way. Check out the observatory!

Even the Penny Arcade guys are getting into the steampunk mindset, with an upcoming game called "On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness." It's a bit more Lovecraft than steampunk, but hey, all the boundaries are blurring together these days, anyway.

For the paper-folders among us: make your own little papery steam tank!

And finally, from Danny (thanks, Danny!): the weirdness of Click away merrily and be entertained!

Monday, May 19, 2008

As promised last week, the top baby names have been broken down by state (with records going back to 1980), so you can see what names will be popping up in your local schools soon. If you're into more scientific names, however, Cassandra just sent me this news article in which you can bid for naming rights of a species of frog.

Among the many delights of YouTube are short films that we would see in school. Here's The Giving Tree, for example.

Vinchen is the Banksy of Columbus, Ohio, I believe. (I think it's Columbus, at any rate - several of the pieces are located there.)

Gail Potocki creates gorgeous paintings that look as if they're from another century.

There's a wonderful gallery of crate labels online - I love how bright the colors are. I also love some of the names, like the one for Glamour Girl Quality Vegetables!

Graphic designers should love the Rather Difficult Font Game. Not being a graphic designer, I was pretty lousy at it and got 15 out of 34. (Way back in journalism school, we had to know some basic fonts, I believe, which is the only reason I got a few of these right.)

Does anyone else remember Fashion Plates? I found this and was instantly transported back to the '70s. You can spend hours browsing through Retropedia!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Links from others today. Thanks, all!

From Bunny: are you more nerd, geek, or dork? He and I are both nerds. I thought I would be more of a geek, but evidently I was wrong.

Also from Bunny: completely bizarre Christian song demos. My favorite title of the bunch is "God, Give Devil the Measles." Er?

From Tina, via Bunny: the seriously twisted art of Joshua Hoffine.

From Cassandra: an article from The Atlantic titled "Sex and the College Girl." Nothing new, you say? Well, that's true...but the article was written in 1957, which makes it very interesting.

Also from Cassandra: studying the brain, finding the connection between T.S. Eliot and Google searches in May, exploring the world of dreams and stories, and visiting the Museum of Fakes.

From Satori: gorgeous photos from the Covent Garden Puppet Festival.

From the Sparkle Queen (Sparkle Queen! Hi hi hi!): even the Boston Globe is getting in on this curious steampunk trend.

And finally, something I saw on one of the Gawker publications -- the CD Cover Meme: "Your band name is a random Wikipedia title. Your album name is the last four words of a random quote. Your cover picture is the third picture on this page." I dutifully followed instructions and am happy to report that "One Graveyard to Another," the first album from my band Lappa Rethymno, will have this awesome cover. Try it, it's fun!

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! See you Monday.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Behold Citricon, defender of libraries! This got sent around in our library, and I offered to protect our materials with a raygun. This led to all sorts of craziness.

What books traumatized you as a child? (My own personal traumas came from reading Bible-based storybooks in doctors' offices. Nothing like being told you're going to hell right before a tonsillectomy.) There's also a similar discussion on traumatizing movies.

Encyclopaedia Brittanica is offering access to bloggers, writers and webmasters! More information here.

Vote for your favorite Google Doodle! Mine is the offering from Region #1, Grades 10-12, for reasons that are probably obvious.

It's always fun when the most popular baby names from last year come out. On Monday, they'll have a breakdown by state available as well.

Attention librarians: How many different names for your job are out there? Zillions, as it turns out.

The archives at Yale has a very cool weblog called the Room 26 Cabinet of Curiosities.

And finally, a sobering website that shows each and every American death in Iraq. You hover over each tile to see names and information; you can also search by state, city, etc.

Tomorrow: links from others, stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hey everyone, the British National Archives have finally begun releasing their UFO files, and even the pope says it's okay to believe in aliens! Woohoo!

However, the University of Cambridge is investigating atheism and has a well-done, detailed website to show for it. I expect the pope is not so pleased about that.

A posthuman Bertie Wooster would probably be an atheist, but he'd be too busy getting into horrible scrapes for anyone to care too much.

Studies are showing a correlation between suicides and disturbances in the earth's magnetic field. Coincidence? Or something more?

If you're not interested in all this intangible stuff and want to get out and see something, don't forget the always-awesome Bay to Breakers race happens this weekend in San Francisco. Also, if you're in Europe and have a sudden yen to see the catacombs of Paris, there's a detailed website to study before you venture underground!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Well, the reaction to the New York Times article on steampunk has swept around the web, and it seems almost evenly divided between the "wow, that's so cool" group and the "oh, that is SO lame" crowd. Metafilter has a discussion thread that was up to 211 comments when I last looked at it, for example. (It's a bit of a relief to be considered lame again. I was kind of nervous about being among the cool.) However, the Times had originally worked up an article last year, then scrapped it for unknown reasons. But the author's decided to put it online, so now we can all read it and see how the state of the steampunk world was a year ago!

Meanwhile, the Mechanicrawl will be traipsing along the San Francisco coastline this July, regardless of whether or not the masses consider it cool. If you're in the area, go!

Etsy has been championing the steampunk DIY aesthetic for some time, and now they have an official Steampunk Street Team.

What would you have if Helen Keller teamed up with Alexander Graham Bell and got her senses back, plus some weaponry? You'd have the basis for one crazy graphic novel series, that's what you'd have!

I now have a hand-drawn steampunk city of my very own. Thanks, Jeff! This means that we have an extra copy of the steampunk anthology here at headquarters; we're trying to dream up some sort of contest so we can give it away as a prize. Stay tuned.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Regardless of how you feel about Wikipedia, they do one thing really well there - constantly updated information on current events as they're developing.

Do you live in New York City? If so, Jason wants to draw you! Also, if you're in or near Brooklyn, you should check out the Reanimation Library.

Doris Lessing reports that winning the Nobel Prize has been "a bloody disaster" for her so far. I think it would definitely complicate one's schedule.

Artists to watch: Lucas Rise creates amazing designs on dressers and other ordinary items, while Nervous System uses science as a basis for intricate jewelry designs.

Drawing Day is still nearly a month away, but it's never too early to prepare! (Especially if you're like me, who can't really draw. We non-drawers need some time to psych up for this.)

Friday, May 09, 2008

It's Friday! And I'm going to see Eddie Izzard tonight! So on we go to the links!

Thanks to Brendan, Cassandra and Chris Z. for sending in the New York Times article on steampunk. As Cassandra said, I may have to reject steampunk if it gets too popular...

Cassandra brings the science today with articles about the moon, news that scientists have created a universe smaller than a marble, and a story on how eating the right foods can improve your mental agility. Then she veers away from science to point out that there are instruction videos on YouTube for everything these days, even Wicca! And finally, she brings you a detailed thesis in PDF entitled "Highbrow Films Gather Dust: A Study of Dynamic Inconsistency and Online DVD Rentals."

Holly sends in a really interesting story about two boys with gender confusion being raised in two very different ways. We both think there should be an update story on these boys in five or ten years, to see how they're doing.

And finally, via Scalzi: if a knife fight broke out between the Smurfs and the Care Bears, who would win and why? Opinion among the ranks is divided. I don't know that much about the Care Bears (I tried to avoid them as much as possible in the '80s), so I may be biased, but I think the Smurfs would win. Mass organization tends to wear down the opponent.

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! See you Monday.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

News about and for librarians today, plus a huge list of books as part of a meme. Onward!

The big news story today is the FBI getting involved with the curator of the Internet Archive, and the EFF jumping in to defend the right to privacy. Keep fighting the good fight, librarians.

From the people who brought you LISNews: LISWire! Subscribe now to get all the library news, and get your own library involved.

The British Library has been having all sorts of problems since they let the common people show up. Gee, that's too bad. On the other hand, web users in the UK get to win prizes by using an Indiana Jones-themed search engine from Microsoft, so maybe it all balances out.

Meanwhile, the hottest TV show in Abu Dhabi is similar to American Idol...except that it's called Millions' Poet, and it features competing poets. Yes, really!

Something for the law librarians: lawyers are starting to experiment with using Twitter, and you can now subscribe to an RSS feed for the U.S. Code via Cornell's Law Instiute. This could come in really handy if you're waiting for changes to take effect.

And finally, the meme! As explained via this post, the idea originated from LibraryThing's "top unread books," listed below. "The rules: bold the books you have read, italicize books you’ve started but not finished, strike the books you read but hated (likely for school), add an asterisk to books you’ve read more than once, and underline those you own but still haven’t read yourself." What I have learned from this: I haven't read a lot of "unreadable" books, but when I do read them I finish them, and while I did indeed read and hate some books in school, none of them was on the list. (I had to read a different book by Faulkner for school!) Also, many of these are on my "to read" list, which I hope to get to one day.

My list:

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
One hundred years of solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Crime and punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Catch-22 a novel by Joseph Heller
The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra
The Odyssey by Homer
The brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Ulysses by James Joyce
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
War and peace by Leo Tolstoy
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
A tale of two cities by Charles Dickens
*The name of the rose by Umberto Eco
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
The Iliad by Homer
Emma by Jane Austen
Vanity fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
The Canterbury tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
Pride and prejudice by Jane Austen
The historian: a novel by Elizabeth Kostova
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The kite runner by Khaled Hosseini
The time traveler's wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Life of Pi: a novel by Yann Martel
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies by Jared Diamond
Atlas shrugged by Ayn Rand
Foucault's pendulum by Umberto Eco
Dracula by Bram Stoker

The grapes of wrath by John Steinbeck
A heartbreaking work of staggering genius by Dave Eggers
Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Reading Lolita in Tehran: a memoir in books by Azar Nafisi
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Sense and sensibility by Jane Austen
*The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
The sound and the fury by William Faulkner
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Quicksilver (The Baroque Cycle I)by Neal Stephenson
American gods: a novel by Neil Gaiman
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
The poisonwood Bible: a novel by Barbara Kingsolver
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
A portrait of the artist as a young man by James Joyce
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
*Dune by Frank Herbert
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
*The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
The corrections by Jonathan Franzen
The inferno by Dante Alighieri
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
To the lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
The amazing adventures of Kavalier and Clay: a novel by Michael Chabon
Persuasion by Jane Austen
One flew over the cuckoo's nest by Ken Kesey
The scarlet letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Anansi boys: a novel by Neil Gaiman
The once and future king by T. H. White
Atonement: A Novel by Ian McEwan
The god of small things by Arundhati Roy
A short history of nearly everything by Bill Bryson
Oryx and Crake: a novel by Margaret Atwood
Dubliners by James Joyce
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
Angela's ashes: a memoir by Frank McCourt
Beloved: a novel by Toni Morrison
Collapse: how societies choose to fail or succeed by Jared Diamond
The hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
In cold blood by Truman Capote
Lady Chatterley's lover by D.H. Lawrence
A confederacy of dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Les misérables by Victor Hugo
Watership Down by Richard Adams
The prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
The amber spyglass by Philip Pullman
Beowulf : a new verse translation by Anonymous
*A farewell to arms by Ernest Hemingway
Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig

The Aeneid by Virgil
*Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Sons and lovers by D.H. Lawrence
The personal history of David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
The road by Cormac McCarthy
Possession: a romance by A.S. Byatt
The history of Tom Jones, a foundling by Henry Fielding
The book thief by Markus Zusak
Gravity's rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
Tender is the night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Candide, or, Optimism by Voltaire
Never let me go by Kazuo Ishiguro
The plague by Albert Camus
Jude the obscure by Thomas Hardy
Cold mountain by Charles Frazier

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Okay, how did I not know that there's a pigeon in London with a weblog? I should ask the squirrels in our yard if they want wifi access.

In Houston, the Art Car Parade is set for Saturday; meanwhile, they will be rowing boats in Venice for the Vogolonga race. If you'd rather head to a sci-fi or horror convention, there is now a nifty little convention finder; I put in Cincinnati and found out what was happening around here this summer.

I would love to go to the Impossible Smells exhibition over in the UK. Bunny insists that dinosaurs smell like charcoal. The article doesn't mention whether dinosaurs are included in the exhibit, but I would bet that they are!

And this just in from Cassandra: Hillary Clinton wanted Bill to declassify a huge amount of documentation on UFO sightings. Geez, like Hillary doesn't have enough problems this week.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Look, a fun LEGO steampunker! This can be yours if you enter the contest that Buy Steampunk is holding in conjunction with Jamie Spencer; send in your own artistic effort that incorporates Jamie's Kriegerhund and/or Dardenbahst LEGO mechas. Oh, and the winner also gets this:

The deadline has been extended to Friday, so send in your artistic renditions fast!

The Maker Faire has come and gone, but it looks like it was a fantastic time for all, especially the steampunk types.

For me, there's a connection between Rube Goldberg machines and steampunk. Maybe it's all the intricate detail involved in both. At any rate, Gawker has put together a list of the best Rube Goldberg machine videos out there at the moment.

Has anyone tried out PMOG, otherwise known as the Passively Multiplayer Online Game? It looks really fun, but I have no real spare time right now...

One of the stranger remakings I've seen lately transforms pistols into porcelain art. Soon porcelain rayguns will probably appear on the scene.

Not punk, but quite Victorian, this treehouse looks perfect for the post-oil abode. In the meantime, you can still wear funky cufflinks and enjoy the air conditioning while you can!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Keith Haring would have turned 50 yesterday. In honor of him, why not spend some time having fun at the Haring Kids site?

More art links: there's a whole weblog dedicated to the sketches people create in their Moleskines; the Iron Man website has a huge gallery section for artwork (kids and adults both; feel free to send in your own!); the UK's Science Museum has a very cool-looking exhibit on comic book character Dan Dare and his influence on British architecture; and a journalist tries to find out whether the Baby Einstein series really does make your kid smarter.

In the literary realm, Penguin's We Tell Stories site uses interactive features for six short stories. It looks cool, but also takes a fair amount of concentration. Also needing concentration: getting literary quotes and/or figures tattooed on one's body. (Note to Charon: they don't have your Poe tattoos on here! Send them in!)

If you'd rather not involve yourself in too much effort, you can sit back and drink in the history and the wild stories of the writers of Los Angeles, thanks to Esotouric. There are two Raymond Chandler tours, and now one for Bukowski. (Esotouric offers nonliterary tours, too.)

And finally...the ten worst musicals ever made, according to the Telegraph. I can't imagine a Moby Dick musical, but evidently someone tried to put one together!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Happy Friday, happy Links-Sent-in-By-Others Day!

From Satori: Bush is now the most unpopular president ever. Remember those happy carefree days of early 2000, before all this started?

From Jeff: a robot that pours the perfect beer! If you're into this sort of thing, you may also be interested in seeing Asimov conduct the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in two weeks.

Swiped from Ookee: you can send your name to the moon. This may be the closest we'll get in our lifetimes, considering the state of space exploration these days.

From Cassandra: the odd effects of Facebook, the odd (but now explained) effects of absinthe, and the odd results of writing letters to serial killers and other notable characters.

And finally...if you don't read Dark Roasted Blend, you really should. Here's an example - part ten (ten!) of odd signage around the world.

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! See you Monday.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Today, as a good librarian, I bring you actual, library-related, useful links. It's my job and all. However, I think being the "video researcher" for The Daily Show would be one of the best jobs ever. (I also wanted to work for Pop-Up Video. One day I'll find my perfect match!)

The government is getting pretty much everything wrong these days, but they still have a pretty amazing digital preservation movement going on under the radar. The EPA is also trying to help by maintaining its site on fuel economy, offering resources for saving energy as well as a way to find the cheapest gas in your area.

The Guardian has an entire section on today's libraries, covering everything from architecture to e-books. In a related matter, the PDF archival format is gaining ground in the UK as a standard for preserving materials. It'll be interesting to see how this goes.

Odd books are the best kind of books, and Odd Books has a nice revamped website to show them off!

Google seems to be experimenting with social media and group taxonomy with their Image Labeler, which encourages you to tag images and "compete" with another person for points. Pretty sneaky, getting work done under the guise of fun. I suspect a parent came up with this.

Tomorrow: links from others!