Friday, January 30, 2009

My mom reports that rural Kentucky is in a real mess right now, with no power, heat or water. The National Guard just arrived; if you could send some good vibes and/or volunteer efforts and/or donations that way, they'd be much appreciated.

Cassandra tells me that today is National Escape Day. We both picked Brittany as our escape destination. How about you?

Also from Cassandra: the top gender studies weblogs; the story of Charles Darwin and Emma Wedgwood; the debate on whether to preserve Auschwitz or let it go back to nature; the future of war with robots; and The Library Chronicles.

From Zazoo: Starbucks will not be serving decaf after noon any longer. That seems sort of backwards to both him and me. Don't more people drink decaf in the afternoons and evenings?

A total tangent: I am starting to think the creator of Married to the Sea is an Ohioan, or knows someone who is. Columbus was mentioned the other day, and now we have this.

The last link is something I found while searching for a new bumper sticker (my current one, which says "Evil Lurks in the Bushes," is now obsolete!): a board game in which everyone plays gods. Hee. Looks like fun. (I still haven't found a new bumper sticker yet, incidentally.)

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! See you Monday.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's been a good month for spooky and/or feminist librarian types: Cambridge University appointed its first-ever female head librarian, and Neil Gaiman won the Newbery!

From Cassandra: legal briefs are now using rap. This really can't end well.

For Cassandra, via FeministSF: the telltale signs you're reading a really Bad Book.

Plans are afoot for an international poetry library in San Francisco. Hooray!

Tomorrow: links from others, provided there's no more snow. (The meteorologists are starting to make ominous noises about tonight.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow and ice and more snow have made this a day off from the rest of the world. Back tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

For those of you not in Cincinnati, here's the weather I'm looking at right now. Whee!

Anyway. Far away in the much warmer San Francisco Airport, an exhibit titled "Out of this World! The Twentieth-Century Space Invasion of American Pop Culture" is currently at Terminal 3. If you happen to be passing through, check it out.

There's a book out about jetpacks! And there's even a bonus website with all the science! Another book in the works will feature Jeff Vandemeer's writing and Eric Orchard's illustrating -- you may remember both of them from previous posts. Can't wait.

Over the weekend, we got together with some fellow steampunk types and watched The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello. If you haven't seen it, you should, even if steampunk is not your thing -- it's a short, animated, Academy-award-nominated film with sci-fi and humor and romance. And it's pretty, too!

We leave you with the demure appeal that is The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie Robot, courtesy of artist Wade Marynowsky. Enjoy!

Monday, January 26, 2009

After far too long, I've updated the links on the left side of the page. I am probably missing some people, so please feel free to let me know if someone should be there and isn't!

Photography: If you're not looking at the Astronomy Picture of the Day regularly, you should. Here's an example from two weeks ago. Wow.

Music: Even Sonic Youth is on Twitter now, giving out tidbits on the newest recording! Also, I always wondered if the music Schroeder was playing in Peanuts strips was actual Beethoven, and it turns out that it was indeed. Charles Schulz was pretty amazing.

Art: The man behind the Obama HOPE poster (also the man behind the OBEY posters of earlier times) is interviewed. He plans to keep creating art, which is nice to hear. Also, Poesy Galore has a neat post on alphabet books of yesteryear. I've been getting interested in alphabet books since my friends and relatives have started having kids; I sent Charley Harper's to someone just recently.

Everyone with a website has some odd story about the search terms people use to land on their pages; recently someone got to Folderol by looking for something on robot hamsters. (?) The artists at Satisfactory Comics have taken this as a challenge and produce an occasional series called Doodle Penance in which they draw what the searcher wanted to see. This is a brilliant idea. I am now tempted to make up links about robot hamsters.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Links from others! Thanks, everyone!

From Cassandra, things both scientific (how light pollution is affecting our daily lives, the need for more women in science, and the story of a frozen woman brought back to life) and intangible (the haunting of a New Jersey prison and the news that the Vatican now has its own YouTube channel).

From Holly: more news of British squirrels going mad and scaring people. Hee.

From now-in-NYC Zazoo: Earth Celebrations! Expect the Club Creatures to appear at these in the future.

One last link from Cassandra -- the Phrase Thesaurus -- ends today's transmission. Have a spiffy weekend, everyone. See you Monday.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

From an archivist's perspective, it's incredibly encouraging that one of President Obama's first actions was to revoke Bush's executive order restraining public access to presidential records. Hooray!

The Obama administration is also trying to deal with antiquated technology in the White House; it's been compared to "going from an X-Box to an Atari." (Thanks, Cassandra!) Speaking of technology, Library Alchemy had a lovely post recently about the importance of "technology with heart."

It turns out that 2009 is not just the Year of Astronomy, it's the Year of Science, and for good reason -- there are many milestone anniversaries this year.

From did you know there was a U.S. Avian Hazard Avoidance System? There is!

Somehow I missed signing up for the Library Link of the Day. That's been remedied.

And finally, in localized library news, Cleveland libraries are leading the way in lending electronically published materials. I have to admit that the idea of a Kindle is becoming more appealing to me.

Tomorrow: links from others!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

This just in! Holly informs me that today is Squirrel Appreciation Day!
Hey, San Francisco's Bush Street is now Obama Street! Hooray! Can we make it permanent?

Festivals this weekend include the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns (celebrated properly in Scotland) and Australia's annual cow race. (Can you train cows to race?)

As the latest Israel/Palestine conflict eases up, it's worth looking at a really interesting collection of maps showing the various borders throughout the years.

Your final geographical tidbit (with a tiny bit of spookiness) comes to you via Coilhouse's article on the underground city (cities?) of Derinkyu. It's amazing and eerie and alien.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

No steampunk today, just inauguration news and links. We'll get back to the history that never was next week; right now it's all about the history that's going on right now.

You can follow today's events on Flickr (add your own photos, too) and Twitter, both for the inauguration and for real-time updates on what's going on in DC (very useful if you're actually there in person right now). Harris is providing birds-eye views of the ceremony and parade. MoveOn has a list of inaugural parties going on near you today and tonight (and I know there are more that aren't listed on the site).

Also, Peter Parker is apparently going to be onsite today. Be on the lookout for Spiderman!

The Library of Congress is collecting sermons and speeches about the inauguration for its Folklife repository; let them know if you can contribute!

A hundred years ago, the inauguration ceremony took place in March (not that it seems to have helped avoid bad weather), and William Howard Taft took office amidst a huge crowd.

And finally, if you need a reminder of why we're so excited about this, Harper's has all the Bush administration statistics you'd ever want to read.

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's a frozen Friday, and it's also my birthday. Many thanks to everyone who's sent good wishes! On to the links from others...

From Bunny: What D&D character are you? We are disgusted to report that we are both humans - him a sorcerer and me a wizard. There's some longwinded explanation about the difference between the two that he can provide if you like.

From Cassandra: Tetris may help treat PTSD; there were dinosaurs in Siberia and no one knows how they died (or how they lived in such a cold climate, for that matter); and EW asks which R-rated movie you saw too young. (For me, it wasn't even R-rated; I saw part of Nosferatu as an urchin and was freaked out for years.)

From Jen: the apocalyptic sculptures of Kris Kuksi are absolutely amazing.

From Nicole: Batgirl takes on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in the battle of fair play!

Swiped from Gary Price's ResourceShelf: a collection of inaugural speeches dating back to McKinley's presidency is available for free viewing on Hulu now.

And finally, just for fun: look at the fractalized felines you can create with the right tool on Photoshop. Gorgeous stuff.

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! I'll be off on Monday, back on Tuesday. See you then.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The economy is collapsing, which means libraries are suddenly cool again. Sort of. (It cracks me up to see everyone "discovering" libraries and thrift stores. )

Obama's presidential portrait is the first one taken by a digital camera. Woohoo! The 21st century is finally getting here after all! And speaking of Obama, you can create your own HOPE (or whatever you'd like to say) poster of your own at Paste Magazine. I was going to create one and post it here, but my Flash player settings have gone all wonky. At any rate, go and make your own! It's fun!

Everybody is on Twitter these days. Even LeVar Burton! Lots of librarians are also on, like Tara of Research Buzz. From there, I found that the Whole Earth Catalog has gone online, with all the articles available as far as I can tell. Sweet.

The U.S. Postal Service has announced its lineup for new stamps in 2009. The Edgar Allan Poe stamps go on sale tomorrow!

And finally, in what is probably the last post for this sort of thing, I give you 2008's most "eventful" cities. While my city is not eventful overall, it made the top 10 list for pet owners and "night crawlers." (Ha! Dawnowar may have something to say about that last one.)

Tomorrow: links from others!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It is grey and threatening to snow here, but thanks to Gigapan you can take a virtual tour of Bath in the summer, and almost feel like you're there. Neat stuff.

More geographical fun comes via this heart-shaped map of the NYC subway, and this schematic map of the Milky Way Transit Authority (thanks Brendan!).

Visually similar, but not geographically related, is this chart of heavy metal band names I swiped from Dawnowar. I had no idea there were metal bands with Faulkner-inspired names.

The Pasadena Doo Dah Parade is this weekend, and you should really check it out, if only online.

And finally, in case you have been patiently waiting for a spooky link on this spooky link Wednesday, here you are: Haute Macabre! Lots of good dark stuff to peruse there.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Geeky steampunk types, take note: doesn't this Gallifreyan wall from The Invasion of Time look awfully, well, steampunk? (I saw this episode over the weekend. Yes, I am a geek.)

I've mentioned both Lisa Snellings and Jessica Joslin before, but they both have new and wonderful stuff to share, with Lisa's inquisitive begoggled poppets and Jessica's current exhibition in California. Go look!

A word of caution to anyone experimenting with making steampunk jewelry and art: you may want to check for radium. Seriously. This is not one look we want to bring back.

There seems to be a growing emphasis on local over global lately, with the economy and all, and one odd result is the growth of local currencies. I saw this on WorldChanging and was startled to find that the featured currency is from the Berkshires, and I really should have known about this since I'm out there to see my family every so often. (The currency is pretty, too!)

From the depths of Improbable Art, which is always entertaining, rises the Televisor Museum International. It's been around for a while, but is perfectly Teslian in its web design and needs appreciation from the masses!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Another Monday brings links on art and literature...

Literature: Over 2,000 documents from Hemingway's days in Cuba are now electronically available to researchers, including photos and an epilogue to For Whom the Bell Tolls! Also, the A.V. Club lists "15 Things Kurt Vonnegut Said Better Than Anyone Else Ever Has Or Will," and Terry Teachout has published a beautiful tribute to Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe books. (I'm re-reading many of my Wolfe mysteries before visiting NYC this spring.)

Music: Did you know Brian Eno has a Twitter account? Well, he does, and he posts many of his Oblique Strategies as well as other items of interest.

Also, from the Department of the Obvious, Guitar Hero ticks off musicians. (I point you to XKCD for my views on this matter.)

Stonehenge Theory number 4573: it had great acoustics for prehistoric trance raves!

Art: Smashing Magazine has all sorts of goodies for graphic designers, photographers, and anyone working in the visual arts these days.

Architecture: Well, not really...but architectural clothing is close!

Friday, January 09, 2009

I am forever proposing some sort of mass communal living arrangement among my friends, so this article on the concept of family and tribes is really interesting. On that note, the Club Creatures leave for their new life in New York City tomorrow -- send them good wishes! (Their long-term future looks bright, but in the near future they're facing a 12-hour drive with a cat and a dog; ergo, they need all the good vibes they can get.)

From Bunny: a new Facebook application encourages you to "sacrifice" ten friends for a free Whopper. So much for the communal lifestyle idea!

From Cassandra: thoughts on the future of the OED, stars going ballistic across the galaxy, and the artwork of Yellow Springs artist Leo Hong Mao.

From Mignon: the daily routines of creative types. Also the website Divine Cosmos, which has a great question on its front page at the moment: "Is there a miniature stargate in your own brain?" I certainly hope so.

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! See you Monday.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Finally, there's a viable option for night-owl librarians: many university libraries are staying open 24/7 while classes are in session. (It's been really hard for me to get back into the 8 a.m. lifestyle after the holidays, so this looks especially enticing.)

Night librarians would also help deter library borrowers like this one, who try to return books when no one's watching. (Via Unshelved.)

The Europeana digital library debuted last month and promptly crashed under the bandwidth demand; they're back up and cautiously running now. They have over two million items in their databases, so you can take your time.

Also up and running: the Chicago Underground Library!

In case you've ever pondered the world record holders in library matters...wonder no more. Now there's a book and accompanying website to answer your questions.

Tomorrow: links from others! Thanks to everyone who's sent them over the past year -- they've been much appreciated, and I hope they help keep Fridays entertaining for everyone!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Now that the holidays are (pretty much) over, it's time to get back to serious activities. Burning the Clavie in Scotland, for instance. Or the Elvis festival in Australia. That sort of thing. Also, it's the season for people diving into icy pools for good causes; you can help our friend Susan retain her illustrious title of "Plunge Queen" by donating before February 7!

Moving on to spooky stuff...over at Rifftrax, Kevin Murphy has made the startling discovery that Neil Gaiman is a clone of Leonard Cohen...or maybe it's the other way round. At any rate, the best part is that Neil posted in the comments. (He did not confirm or deny any connection to Cohen.)

For cold winter night, the Art of Darkness has posted a recipe for an absinthe body bar, with the mandatory "mind the wormwood" clause. For extra decadence, you can get the now-legal absinthe and drink in the bath, I suppose.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The beginning of the year's always a good time to observe anniversaries, it seems. Big Ben turns 150 this year, and a website's been set up for the commemoration. (Incidentally, Big Ben was originally the name of the bell, not the clock tower. Now you know.)

Paleo-Future points to a New York Times editorial from 1909 which speculated on the world of 2009. Apparently automobiles should be obsolete by now. We should really work on that.

What's Next has the 2009 map of trends up, although I'd recommend you not try to see it via dialup. It's in PDF and it's massive.

If you're looking for a fun project to start off the year, get thee to the LEGO Flickr Steampunk Contest! You have two months to create something amazing. If you'd rather read about creations than create, you can check out the progress of Keith Newstead's A Steampunk Romance, or help Eric Orchard come up with some ideas for a new weblog focused on anachronism in science fiction art and literature.

Speaking of anachronisms, it's hard to pull off an old-time movie look properly, but Karl Lagerfeld comes pretty close in this teaser for a silent film on Coco Chanel.

And finally, if you're in the middle of the icy season like we are, you can stay inside and steampunkify board games, like this fun Monopoly modification!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Can you imagine walking into an embassy and casually swiping a piece of art on your way out? Apparently it's happened a lot in the U.K.

Part of the fun of urban art is its unexpectedness. Like, say, a subway tunnelful of it. (Tunnelful is a word, Brendan. I invented it this morning.)

Scientists have found that left-handedness may be an advantage in piano playing, which could account for the high percentage of notable southpaw pianists. We may die first, but at least we play better!

Swiped from Josie: amazing ice hotel designs.

For your next bar or coffeehouse argument, bring this list of new additions to the National Film Registry, and debate whether they're worthy. (The 1933 Invisible Man film is one of them. So is In Cold Blood. And so is...The Terminator. Er?)

Friday, January 02, 2009

It's Friday! That means it's time for links from others, and in this case, it's the final clearing-out of links sent to me recently. We start next week fresh and new!

From Bunny: "Scientists say video games feed male need to dominate. Well...duh."

From Cassandra, two more stories from the Obvious Department: headbanging can hurt your neck, and seeing your family can warp your brain.

From Tony via Holly: a philosophical take on the Muppets. Rowlf was always one of my favorites.

More from Cassandra: various hangover cures, a story about the secrecy in which the DSM-V is being written, the latest rendition of what Cleopatra really looked like, and the future of human spaceflight, according to MIT.

I leave you with this instructional t-shirt from Threadless, good for those situations when you find yourself faced with zombies, Michael Jackson, a child of the '80s, or a dance floor. Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! See you Monday.