Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thanks to a collaboration with the Internet Archive, there is now a dedicated repository for NASA images. Aren't they amazing?

The ongoing debate on whether online reading is "real" reading continues. Of course it's real reading. People who read print newspapers read about fifty short entries in the process, just like reading a weblog, and no one seems to complain too much about that. (If you're arguing about reading novel-length material, however, you might have a point.)

Meanwhile, how are we going to preserve these digital stories and posts, anyway? And who will catalog stuff like the awesome YouTube videos for librarians?

Speaking of the transitory nature of information, it's the end of an era for law librarians -- Genie Tyburski is shutting down the Virtual Chase.

Here's a cheerful story about how libraries are thriving in Canada. Maybe the Spooky Librarians can invade in the near future.

Hurricane season is upon us, and you can peruse the names of the upcoming storms. You can also look at the list of retired names, including mine from 2004!

It's also almost Olympics season, and Infoplease has a huge amount of information on the Games.

Tomorrow is Friday, and that means links from others!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

This weekend brings both the Twin Peaks Fest in Washington and "That Famous Preston Night Rodeo" & Napoleon Dynamite Festival in Idaho. Wow.

More offbeat links: thanks to Jen, we have a story about a Cheeto which looks like Jesus. It's been nicknamed Cheesus. Also, an alleged monster and definite freaky-looking thing has washed up on a beach in Montauk. Mutant beast or viral video fodder?

Fred Einaudi makes beautiful creepy art for your inspiration and/or nightmares.

Lastly, I bring a warning that the wonderful Harry Price Library of Magical Literature is in danger of being broken up and sold. Don't let this happen!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Your result for The Steampunk Style Test...

The Gadgeteer

32% Elegant, 55% Technological, 43% Historical, 40% Adventurous and 31% Playful!

You are the Gadgeteer, the embodiment of steampunk technology. Ironically, many of the things that most define your style are probably too large to easily carry about, but given the opportunity you would prefer to be seen surrounded by boiler engines, gear-driven calculators, and incredible automata. Of all the steampunk fashion styles, you place the greatest emphasis on technological accessories, and you are the most likely to create elaborate gadgets that are as much a part of your outfit as your clothes. You probably have goggles, but unlike most people you consider them to be for more than decoration. Whereas most people might look odd carrying a satchel of tools around, for you they may well be essential. Above all, you remind everyone that what sets the genre apart from Victoriana is simply the level of technology.

Take The Steampunk Style Test at HelloQuizzy.


Really? Gadgeteer? Well, then. (Actually, going by these results I look like a fairly balanced individual. Ha.)

In more "steampunk meets the mainstream" news, Design Observer gets all grumpy about steampunkish stuff, and Bruce Sterling takes note of it. (I don't really understand the original article's vehemence against those who like steampunk. I mean, I'm not terribly keen on tiki decor, for instance, but if someone wants to build a fullscale tiki bar more power to them, and I won't badger them about authenticity and whatnot.) On the lighter side of snark, McSweeneys' monologue of a young steampunk is frighteningly accurate in places.

Think Geek is also getting in on the act, with this very cool steampunk skeleton t-shirt.

Meanwhile, the Machines de l'Ile workshop is open in Nantes, and I am dying to go. The Marine World Carousel will open in spring 2010, and looks gorgeous.

And then, in 2011, Seattle may be the host for WorldCon, and its bid is steampunk-themed!

The Bibliothèque de Toulouse is the latest to join Flickr; most of the uploaded photographs were taken between 1895 and 1910. There's a set dedicated to transportation, and many shots of everyday life.

You can still travel by cargo ship these days, believe it or not. And if you want a themed adventure, you can search for steampunky material as you sail!

And lastly, for those who are indifferent to steampunk but wouldn't object to a good old-fashioned Western video game, I give you Bang Howdy. Oh, there are steamguns, by the way. And dirigibles. But other than that, pure western!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Did you know there's a gallery devoted entirely to art by women? I didn't, until Cassandra sent this article to me today!

More arty links: The Butterfly Project is collecting 1.5 million handmade butterflies, to represent the children who died in the Holocaust. Why not draw your own butterfly and send it in?

Memorial art is reinventing itself, with more emphasis on light and color.

Amigurumi is cute in and of itself, but geeky Lord of the Rings amigurumi is awesome!

Did Frederic Chopin have cystic fibrosis? His heart could be tested to find out, but it probably won't be.

From Bunny: The "beatnik monster comedy folk" genre doesn't get much publicity these days. Fortunately, the good folks at WFMU have some mp3s by Robbie "The Werewolf" Robison to rectify this situation.

Kuwait has grand plans to design a "Silk City" for the 21st century. It looks very futuristic. As long as it doesn't destroy the environment, I'm all for it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Links from others today. Thanks, everyone!

From Bunny: work stress is out of control.

From Zazoo: there's a river of crystals in New Mexico!

From Cassandra: Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell says that UFOs are real; a movie titled Hell's Gate is in production at local haunted tavern Bobby Mackey's; "death tourists" go to Mexico to get euthanasia drugs; the current government isn't doing a damned thing to help sick nuclear plant workers; and the Mysterious People website is full of interesting information.

I think the Beijing Olympic mascots are cute, myself, but most of the Gawker commenters don't agree. But you should see some of the previous mascots!

And finally....Obama buttons are available for free. Free! Free hope! Free buttons! Hooray! Have a spiffy weekend, everyone. See you on Monday.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I covet this shirt. It's been that sort of week!

When times get tough economically, public libraries get a lot more appreciation. However, the overdue fines can start to get out of control. One library's solution is to have seminary students handle the shakedowns!

The increasing technological aspect of law librarianship drives the 3 Geeks and a Law Blog. If you're technologically inclined at both work and home, there's now a WoW guild just for librarians. Yes, it's true!

The future of the newsroom is a hot topic these days. (It reminds me a lot of the "future of libraries" topic that's been swirling around the last few years. We all need to cooperate and evolve together, I believe.)

Lastly, I give you a fun weblog concentrating on book covers.

Tomorrow: links from others! See you then.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Right. So, um, apparently the Eucharist is being held hostage in a plastic bag in Florida. I grew up in an Irish Catholic family, so I realize this is a somewhat touchy subject...but the melodrama in this article is hilarious. Can they do an exchange for ransom?

Meanwhile, Mr. Toast is on tour! It's true. Maybe you'll see him in your town!

More travel links: Andrew Bush took pictures of people on the freeways between 1989 and 1997, and they're fantastic. If you're itching to get out on a freeway yourself, Cassandra sent in a list of recommended travel reading.

And finally, UFO sightings in the U.K. are spiking. Why the U.K.? Is it crop circle tourism season among the aliens?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Today's steampunk entry is mostly about the visual oohs and ahhs. If you'd like something with a little more density, however, sink your teeth into the history of science fiction between 1900 and 1910 - great material for research and inspiration! (Swiped from Matt's weblog.)

And now, on to fantastic robots that clank, a synthesizer that steams, a weblog full of artistic wonders that tick, and a game of clones and Cherry Chronoberry pies.

And look, a steampunk podcast! Huzzah!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Feeling uninspired this Monday? If you're in New York City, you can buy an idea for fifty cents! (Actually, it's 25 cents - you get a quarter along with an idea.)

Although it annoys some people, I totally love this sort of nitpicky stuff. I'm willing to work a job that includes checking fonts for historical accuracy!

More stuff you may not have known: did you know The Wizard of Oz was banned in schools due to its allegedly Communist ideals? And that J.M. Barrie was a little strange? (Well, you probably did know that last one. But the stories of what happened to the actual Lost Boys were new to me.)

The National Library of Ireland has an amazing and extensive online exhibit on W.B. Yeats. (I could have sworn I'd linked to this before, but apparently not.)

Spooky visual art: the work of William Hand is way out there, which makes it fascinating. For more cheerful art matters, you can take a "color sense" quiz and see what colors you should paint your surroundings. Evidently my color palettes are "Pop Art" and "Mosaic/Tapestry." (Looking at them, I'd have to agree.)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Links from others! Thanks, everyone.

From Bunny: A thousand-dollar suit that "transforms your movement into music." Oooo.

From Holly: Russian raver retinas irreversibly irradiated! Also, an NPR story on "Mr. Jalopy" and the whole DIY/MAKE movement. Incidentally, Mr. Jalopy has a very cool weblog.

From Cassandra: spooky singing icebergs and a numerological astrological chart. According to this, I am a 7, and "watery." Hm.

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! See you Monday.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Today: stupidly busy: Me: rushed. You: get short post.

Tomorrow: links from others, and hopefully some more time to expound upon them!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

We're reaching that point in the summer where people get squirrelly from the heat and start festivals based on strange things, like snails or vintage Transylvanian bikes or mud. Then again, the world's falling apart and we're running out of all sorts of resources, like gallium (needed for LCD displays) and zinc, so maybe we should just go ahead and frolic in the mud and race snails, before the Vogons show up. Speaking of, Douglas Adams's typewriter is for sale!

A random spooky link concludes today's post: behold, the dark side of Central Park.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Steampunk bits today. Off we go:

If you're in the area this weekend, do check out the "Out of this Furnace" art show in Pennsylvania on Saturday -- it looks like great fun.

The Chrono'Nauts parade also looks like it was great fun, and there are photos to prove it! It's staggering how many conventions have taken on steampunk aspects this year.

Botropolis, which is very cool in its own right, has linked to a hilarious steampunkish R2-D2 unit made from a beer barrel. It's the ultimate multitasking bot!

Are dirigibles the way of the future? Probably not, but the New York Times has an article on them anyway, complete with slide show. I hope to travel on a blimp someday, one way or another.

The Traveler's Steampunk Blog is a new arrival on the net; go and check it out!

I confess that I do ignore a huge group of steampunk aficianados on a regular basis, not out of malice but just because I don't spend a lot of time (well, any time, really) in Second Life. However, the steampunk community there is absolutely vast. The Heliograph keeps you updated on the goings-on there, and points the way toward other community websites.

Back in the first life setting, there are always ways to make your life a little more extraordinary. Look at what Mary Robinette Kowal did to her laptop to make it steampunkily gorgeous, for example. And then, there's always the secret passageways you could build in your home...

Monday, July 14, 2008

If it's Monday, it must be time for art links...

Visual art: free coloring material is available at the (nearly) 10,000 pages blog!

Film: The Documentary Blog is...well, pretty self-explanatory. But very cool.

Music: Peter Gabriel's suggestion for dealing with information overload is "The Filter," which is a bit like Pandora.

Literature: Edgar Allan Poe's house in the Bronx is undergoing a renovation.

Life as art: Urban Prankster documents the culture jamming and bizarre happenings that make life interesting. My current favorite is the Kool-Aid Man poster.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday, hooray! On to the links sent in by others. Thanks, everyone!

From Dawowar: the origins of ten Muppets. Rowlf was quite the star in his own right.

From Bunny: "A YouTube video by a European space's about 7 mins but is well worth it. Easily explains what the number 78 Billion looks like and helps to add some perspective to the lives of humanity (and the absolute stupidity and futility that we are surrounded by in this day and age)."

From Holly: we were very serious about '80s music back in the day, because the world was on the verge of ending, you see. A related link from Cassandra: post-apocalyptic novels.

Also from Cassie: Ingmar Bergman's island Fårö may be up for auction soon; those goofy hypercolor clothes are making a comeback; and the fascinating tale of a modern-day monkey god. The entire weblog is really interesting.

Have a spiffy (and safe) weekend, everyone! See you Monday.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Come, fellow librarians, and join the Library Society of the World. They're nice! And Cory Doctorow is an honorary member!

Merriam-Webster has announced their new words for 2008. Some seem like a long time in arriving. Pescatarian? Wingnut? (M-W has it as "wing nut," two words. Weird.)

Tim of Geistweg pointed out a neat library question making the rounds: what do you do in a normal day as a librarian? I'm trying to figure out if I can go into any detail (the first rule of being a law librarian: don't talk about being a law librarian, or at least not about the specific stuff you're researching), but I encourage other librarians to talk about what they do in a typical day!

If you want to see a lot of librarian infighting, check out the recent post in the Chronicle of Higher Education about Google and its partnership with libraries. If you want to see some really ugly journalist infighting, read the comments in this post about layoffs at the Tampa Tribune. I think many of the issues are similar.

And finally...thanks to Matt's suggestion, I did a quick interview with Ekaterina Sedia, author of the just-published The Alchemy of Stone, as part of the ongoing interview meme. The questions and answers are over at the Steampunk Librarian - or it will be, once I wrangle Vox into submission. There may be more of these sorts of things in the near future over there!

Tomorrow, back here at HQ, there will be links from others. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Today looks like it could get really hectic. So, in the meantime, why not read this article, which I swiped from Jimmylegs, and ponder the possibility of another messiah who rises from the dead in three days.

More soon, hopefully!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

For steampunk fans: some history, some reading material, and some new arrivals.

First, the history: I just read an article about submarine telegraph lines from the fantastic Atlantic Cable website. There are dozens of articles, scores of photographs, and unlimited fodder for the imagination there!

More inspiration fodder: the true story of Napoleon's scientific expedition to Egypt. Be sure to read about Nicolas-Jacques Conté in particular, and his engraving machine. (He also, incidentally, invented the pencil.)

The latest big paper to cover steampunk is the San Francisco Gate, with a story on Sunday. A new magazine has appeared, too -- the Gatehouse Gazette. Go! Read! Also, the L.A. Times has an inventive review of the recent steampunk anthology, complete with mechanical women.

Google has proposed a skybridge for its New York city offices, and Valleywag imagines a futuristic look to the city. (The commenters, sadly, remind the editors that skybridges aren't really anything new in this particular metropolis.)

New arrivals! Strange Engines intends to educate us on the history of steam guns and whatever else strikes the author's fancy. Meanwhile, new steampunk wallpapers are up and available for downloading. Your laptop may not be steampunk, but at least your wallpaper can be!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Google is celebrating Marc Chagall's birthday today. Go and look at his art; it's good for your soul!

More visual art fun: Color Wars 2008 has a great "young and now" project going on where you recreate a photo of yourself. I am SO doing this. Color Wars, in general, is a pretty amazing website; you can spend hours there!

Missing footage from the 1927 classic Metropolis has just been discovered. Wow. Can't wait to see a new version!

In literary news, NPR has expanded its book coverage (hooray!). Also, in the midst of the handwringing over today's text language, it's being pointed out that we've always abbreviated the written word, regardless of the technology. There are some interesting points about language in the article.

Over in the music world, barbershop quartet organizations are arguing. There's only one solution, of course: a musical sing-off! Hey, that's how they settle things in the dance community.

History meets music in the ancient Aztec "whistles of death." Sounds eerie.

We end with the multimedia extraganza that is the home of Public Collectors. Be sure to check out the digital section!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

We start off today with a fun easter egg for anyone who's using Google Reader. While you're in it, press "up up down down left right left right b a" and see what happens. Shazam!

If you've been seeing new words or phrases tossed around lately and wonder about their origin, WordSpy may be able to help.

For the history buffs: Got Medieval is a great weblog full of interesting historical bits!

Gizmodo went to visit the LEGO heaquarters, and they have video! They also have the answers to all sorts of odd LEGO questions, like why there are no blonde LEGO people.

From Holly: the bizarre origins of wedding traditions. Also, McDonald's has a New Wave figurine that looks suspiciously like a member of Devo, and Devo is NOT happy about it.

From Cassandra: our planet apparently makes a lot of noise. Also from Cassandra: the Museum of the American Cocktail, the impending arrival of the robot lover, and news that cameras are being set up in order to capture proof that Britain's "big cats" exist, and oh, by the way, that invasion by Caesar might not really have happened on the day everyone used to think it did. Oops!

Have a spiffy weekend and/or holiday, everyone! See you Monday.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Fourth of July is almost here, and that means it's time for Northside's awesome July 4th Parade and Festival and General Extravaganza celebration. Locals, take note: there's a great photo of the Ladies' Lawn Chair Brigade on the parade info page. Let's hope the weather holds; so far it's looking...soggy.

If you're not in the Cincinnati area, you might want to, say, swim the Manhattan Island Marathon this weekend. Or if you're in Europe, get over to Geneva for the American International Club's celebration of Independence Day.

Bunny informs me that not only is it National Ice Cream Month, July 6 is National Fried Chicken Day. Therefore, we bring you...The Chicken of Tomorrow!

Double-post tomorrow, as we'll be off on Friday. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

One of my spam messages yesterday had the subject line of "oyster perpetual cosmograph." Sounds vaguely steampunkish, doesn't it? And off we go...

I was reading details of William Gibson's induction into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and noticed that steampunk was mentioned as a literary genre. I poked around a bit and found that the Hall even lists a steampunk bibliography. I guess the term really has made it! However, the genre discussions continue, as detailed in this post on Futurismic. An excerpt that caught my eye:

For example, Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) might be dismissed as needlessly fantastical if seen as a detective story, but if seen as a work of steampunk cinema, it takes on a whole new set of meanings - despite the fact that it is rather unlikely that the writer or director had even heard of the term at the time.

(I have a deep and abiding love for this film, as anyone who knows me can attest, and seeing it listed as "steampunk cinema" does my heart good.)

The steampunk portals are arriving, slowly but surely! The Steampunk Feed is open for business, and the brand new SteamList aims to catalog the steampunky stuff available on Etsy. Another source of inspiration is the Steampunk Lab, which shows off items from all over the web. And Coilhouse, which has all sorts of great bits to it, has a steampunk category.

From Cassandra: Gogbot looks like a steampunk-oriented festival taking place this fall in the Netherlands. The site is in Dutch, but I did see that one of the bands performing is named Singing Tesla Coils, so you know it's going to be an interesting time!

Marconi News specializes in collages of "visual fabrications, chronological confusion and technological deception." Of course, I love it.

I also love the Process Indicator. It's for indicating processes, it is!

And lastly, space westerns may be a bit of a tangential interest, but many a steampunk story has a space and/or a western angle to it. It's a great site, regardless of your leanings.