Thursday, June 30, 2011

In today's news of the obvious, shrinking school budgets lead to fewer school librarians.

On a more cheerful note, the Smithsonian has released an app which helps identify trees. I would have been all over this when I was a kid. (Well, I'm still pretty enthused about it, actually.)

For the legal librarians: state legal resources, in weblog form, one state at a time! Nice!

For the cinemaphile librarians: the whole Academy library is amazing, but the new collection online is production art, digitized and searchable.

Also, for fun: listen to Richard Dreyfuss dramatically read parts of Apple's End User License Agreement. I think they're on to something.

And finally, for no real reason other than I find it interesting: Birds know grammar!
Wednesday's post, just a wee bit past Wednesday. Sorry about that! Thursday's post will arrive shortly.

This weekend is kind of a big deal in North America. You've got Canada Day kicking it off, and then the United States goes bonkers with the Independence Day celebrations, with hot dogs and hamburgers and chowder and dancing lawn chair brigades (seriously, if you're near Cincinnati, we have one of the best celebrations. Come check it out!).

And if your interests lie outside the national, or even the terrestial, it's a weekend at Roswell and the UFO Festival for you! Go in peace!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

We're a bit all over the place this week. There are truly steampunky happenings out there -- a proposed web series you can support, for instance! And a new physics-based game in which you save a steampunk hero and dispose of a steampunk villain! -- but there are other historical tidbits not necessarily Neo-Victorian. (That'd be a good name for a weblog. Not Necessarily Neo-Victorian.)

Baseball history, for example, is full of proposed innovations and inventions, some of which succeeded wildly and some of which...well...didn't. The schematics are fantastic, regardless of the success rate!

Enterprising souls have rebuilt Bletchley Park's Tunny cryptanalysis machine. Ooooh. Ahhhh.

We always hear that kids know nothing of history. Apparently we've been hearing that for a very long time! (The Breaking Time is a great site, by the way, and you should check it out.)

Monday, June 27, 2011

It is Monday once again, and so we give you news of literature and art!

J.K. Rowling's Pottermore website is going to be really interesting, not only for Potter fans (extra writings!) but also as a possible trend for ebook distribution.

McSweeneys takes on famous opening lines from novels and "updates" them. I like Alice's the best.

Sometimes the headline says it all: "Painting thought to be Vincent van Gogh self-portrait is actually of his brother Theo." (To be fair, they look a lot alike.)

The National Library of Ireland is now part of the Flickr Commons, and has some wonderful images up already.

And lastly, if you are in the market for nursery décor, why not start your child early on learning Elvish? It may come in handy one day!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Happy Friday! Why not enjoy some Magneto Mini Golf? (Other games also available!)

From Cassandra: You never know what the person next to you has gone through in his/her life.

Also from Cassandra: Pigeons are smart and can tell who's going to be nice to them. (Incidentally, we now have a cardinal at the house who shows up in the morning and evening to get a peanut. He knows our cars. Smart birds!)

From Julie: The British Library makes a deal with Google. Golly.

From Zazoo: The Memory Tapes filmed their latest video in and around Zazoo and Satori's neighborhood. Perhaps you can match up places with our photos!

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone. See you next week.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What happens on the interwebs every 60 seconds? Here's a rough estimate. (If you are feeling overwhelmed by information, I recommend skipping this, actually. Otherwise, it's neat!)

As the New York Public Library system faces unprecedented budget cuts, the Atlantic points out that it's actually handling the transition to digital information better than many other organizations. (Support the NYPL via their "Fund the Future" site!)

The Library of Congress keeps adding more incredible historic images, like this collection from the Farm Security Administration (in color, even). And for the law librarians, a new Congressional Research Service publication (PDF) lists all the resources for legislative history.

The OUP has a really great article on the "librarian census," tracking librarian trends over the last 125 years or so. Evidently we are becoming more marriageable, among other things. Or, er, something like that.

And finally, not related to library matters but just plain interesting, the clock in Mecca does not keep "standard" time as dictated by Greenwich. What is time? How can it be regulated? Is there really that much new information every 60 seconds, anyway? Is the Doctor around to answer any of these questions?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

If it's summer, that must mean Glastonbury is about to start. (I can't even imagine attending something this big and amazing. I mean, look at this lineup.)

For those who want a less varied musical menu, the National 12 Bell Striking Contest takes place in Leeds this weekend! (People like Poe may find it hard to take.)

There's also the Swamp Soccer World Cup this weekend. Yikes.

Meanwhile, those in the New York area might want to consult this list of the 25 best food trucks in Gotham. All kinds of cuisine are included!

And on a more serious city note, the Polis Blog details Icelandic activist Hördur Torfason's advice to the young protesters in Spain. Interesting stuff.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy Solstice, everyone!

Okay, this is the last call for one Mr. Barry Huddleston, who won our copy of The Falling Machine! If we do not hear from this gentleman within the week, we shall have a redo of the drawing. (So if you entered the contest, take heart -- you may still have a chance!)

And now, a call of a different sort -- Beyond Victoriana is looking for new contributors. (As an aside, if you like Beyond Victoriana, you should definitely check out Silver Goggles.)

There's an app for steampunk, you know. Well, actually, there are several. But this one brings you all the information from Steampunk News, so you can be properly enlightened no matter where you are. (There's even a category for the Steampunk Librarian! Huzzah!)

How to Be a Retronaut keeps bringing the goodness. Look at these "criminal" photos from Newcastle in the 1870s. Many are children, caught stealing boots.  Amazing stuff.

And, lastly, many thanks to Bunny for sending me the trailer to BioShock Infinite. A floating city circa 1912 named Columbia? Wow!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy stormy Monday (seriously, the sky outside my window is green right now).

The Smart Set examines the rage of Dylan Thomas and his father.

Debate time! The Guardian lists 100 nonfiction books you should read. Further debate takes place on the bookblog. Threats will be made, insults will be traded, books will be read.

Meanwhile, great minds like Terry Gilliam and Noel Fielding talk about why they like Magritte.

The strangeness of "artist statements" is a running joke at our house. Now the Arty Bollocks Generator can make one up for you!

And, lastly, for dark and stormy days, consider the Creepy LEGO group on Flickr. Fun for hours!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Friday! To the links!

From Bunny: Vampire LEGO figures! Also werewolves! And other monsters! Woohoo!

Found on Warren Ellis's site: the amazing story of the Barkley Marathons, which sound ridiculous and incredible and like something my cousin Jeff would do (er, Jeff, do not take this as a challenge).

From Cassandra: Customizable graffiti instructions, courtesy of Utne, and a slice-of-life story from Breathitt County, Kentucky, in 1940. The good old days were not always good, as they say.

From Julie: Two Austrian Alps for sale! What am I bid? (Can you actually do this?)

Many thanks to everyone for reading, sending in links, and generally being fantastic people. Have a spiffy weekend! See you next week.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Happy Bloomsday, everyone!

It's awards season in libraryland. Salem Press has announced its blog winners (congrats, everyone!) and Library Journal has named the King County Library System as the best in the country.

The New York Public Library just bought Timothy Leary's papers. Hooray for NYPL!

Project Gutenberg, which has been making public domain books available for years, now has a Facebook page.

The founder of the Internet Archive makes a case for...books. Yes, really!

And finally, here's a (slightly adult) take on the value of books. It's true, too. (Many of us want to buy this in poster form.)

Tomorrow: links from others!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It is the time of year when we celebrate odd things. Mermaids, for example. (I was at this last year and I warn you, the crowds can be a little overwhelming!)

Other festival honorees include washboards and duct tape. Both of these take place in Ohio. Come visit! Also taking place in Ohio (and many other states) is the Juneteenth celebration.

Meanwhile, Iceland hosts the International Viking Festival, and Cyprus welcomes competitors for the 2011 Solar Car Challenge. Have at it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy International Steampunk Day, everyone! You can celebrate via the Facebook group or by checking out various sites like and the Steampunk Tribune, or even by joining the Steampunk Empire to find out more about all the fun.

Some sources say that this day was chosen because it's the birthdate of H.G. Wells...except it isn't. H.G. was born in September. At any rate, it's a lovely spring/summer day to celebrate the future that might have been. I looked up the date and found that on this day in 1822, according to Wikipedia, Charles Babbage proposed the difference engine in a paper to the Royal Astronomical Society. So there's your tenuous connection, should you need one! (Incidentally, it's also the birthday of Che Guevara. Ha.)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hey, writers! Remember the runaway success story that was Machine of Death? There's going to be another book, and they're looking for contributors!

Maya Barkai's "Walking Men" installation is great, showing the variety of walking men (and women) used in signs around the world.

For more otherworldly art, consider Kahn & Selesnick's "Mars: Adrift on the Hourglass Sea." Wow.

If you're in the UK and in the theatre world, Set Exchange is a sort of stage-themed Freecycle. Very useful!

E.B. White often identified with animals more than people, it's said. I can respect that.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Happy Friday! Hope everyone is staying relatively cool and dry. (If not, try jousting, perhaps?)

I took the Personal DNA personality test and found I was high on the "agency" category. Bunny then sent this description of what agency a gaming setting, at least. (According to the test, by the way, I am a "generous inventor" type. If I ever invent anything, I promise to share it.)

From Julie: The British Library provides access to historical materials via the iPad! Woohoo!

Also from Julie: Super-spooky musical soundscape on a hill. SO COOL.

Also spooky: Australia's official UFO files have, er, gone missing. DUN DUN DUNNNN. (From Chuck, via Cassandra.)

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! Thanks for reading. See you next week.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

If you ever wondered why you should bother to be nice to your neighborhood librarian, Unshelved spells it out for you. Muhahahaha!

Copyright Law Is a Mess, part 3487 of a series: college libraries are afraid to digitize collections, for fear of running into copyright trouble with orphan works. (You don't even want to hear about the perils of film copyrights.)

Fortunately, no Assyrians are likely to challenge the publication of a new dictionary. It's only been in the works for ninety years!

I was reading an article about "digital archeology" and then saw a computer I used to have...labeled as "vintage." Geez. Get off my lawn, whippersnappers.

Unbound is a UK-based venture which is sort of like Kickstarter for books. Support your local authors!

And finally, if you are in the legal profession and slightly geeky (and I mean that as a compliment), you should check out the CLE programs offered by the people behind Law and the Multiverse. Educational and entertaining!

Tomorrow: links from others. Thanks, everyone!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Greetings from a town where it's supposed to be 97 degrees today and my car's air conditioning has given up in protest. Who says the dog days of summer don't happen until August? According to all the festivals going on, it's time for canine celebrations everywhere!

The biggest dog party this weekend is happening in Toronto, where Woofstock is getting underway! In America, Kansas City is hosting its annual Dog N' Jog, while over in the UK the Great North Dog Walk will happen this weekend.

Meanwhile, in non-dog news, the amazing (?) Man Vs. Horse Marathon takes place in Wales this weekend.

If you're more into botany than zoology, Hawaii's King Kamehameha Day's floral parade may be more your speed (although even here there are horses featured).

And via a friend on Facebook who occasionally goes by the nickname Puma, I am informed that it is National Velociraptor Awareness Month. Get prepared!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Giveaway update: All the books have been sent out to the contest winners, with the exception of The Falling Machine (Barry, send me your mailing address and it'll be on the way).

Dr. Grymm (of Dr. Grymm's Laboratories) has a lovely page detailing upcoming steampunk-themed publications. Beautiful books about fun things! What's not to like?

Many thanks to Julie for sending in the news that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's first novel is to be published for the first time. I wonder what Doyle would think.

Many thanks also to Bunny, who alerted me to Modern Mechanic's "how to make artificial lightning" instructions from 1937. (Do not try this at home.)

Superheroes and steampunk seem to go well together, so it makes sense that City of Heroes would put out a "steampunk pack" with all sorts of bells and goggles for the discerning gamer. Incidentally, if you are interested in games and whatnot, the theme for Origins this year is Victoriana, and it is possible we will be in attendance!

And finally, if you are not reading Multiculturalism for Steampunk...well, why aren't you? It's fantastic, and one of the recent posts examines 19th century wedding dresses from around the world, which are anything but white and/or boring!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Have you heard of Leonora Carrington? I hadn't until now; she was a Surrealist artist in the heyday of Surrealism.

I also hadn't heard of Vivian Maier, but evidently no one else had until recently, when her street photographs were discovered. She sounds a bit like the Emily Dickinson of urban photography.

I HAVE heard of Margaret Atwood; I follow her on Twitter! And her book The Blind Assassin has been chosen as the first title in a Twitter-based book club.

If you ever wondered just how big Noah's Ark must have been, there's a Dutch man building a replica. If that isn't strange enough for you, there are researchers trying to build a program that evaluates metaphor usage and ultimately creates a "metaphor repository." No word yet on whether it would be as big as, say, an ark.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Happy Friday! Many thanks to everyone for reading and sending in links! And speaking of links...

From Julie: Behold galaxy NGC 6744, which looks eerily like the Milky Way. In related matters, Brendan posted this amazing page from NASA about "free-floating planets."

Also from Julie: Charles Dickens's home in Kent is to become an International Heritage Center.

From Zazoo: if you have a Mac and use the Hidden application, you can track the whereabouts of your computer, as this person did to hilarious (and successful!) effect.

When visiting Zazoo and Satori last year, we got to see JG Thirlwell conduct an orchestra in the park as they performed the theme to "Venture Brothers" and much, much more. It was amazing, and now you can see what it was like for yourself, thanks to YouTube!

Stephen Fry and Lady Gaga are unlikely friends; the former interviewed the latter and there are photos to prove it. The interview itself is interesting, too!

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone. Back on Monday.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Great Spring Book Giveaway Contest is over! Many thanks to everyone who participated -- it was great fun. The drawings for the steampunk-themed books are over at the Steampunk Librarian. If you're a lucky winner, send me an email with your mailing address and we'll get the books to you posthaste! Thanks again!
Contest drawing (?) for Black Halo!

Contest drawing for The Silent Land!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Happy June! And happy 90th birthday to my grandfather (we celebrated a little early by getting together in May).

The summer festivals have begun, so let the travels begin!

There's a beer festival in Seattle and the Lowes Dog Surfing Competition in California. (Awesome photos of dogs surfing are available at the site!)

There are huge town festivals in Minneapolis and Ithaca.

Venice celebrates its "marriage to the sea" with the Festa Della Sensa, and Dubai hosts an international dance festival.