Category Archives: Fun facts

Illuminating the Word

Most people don’t realize that the Library of Congress is home to some of the world’s most unique and valuable bibles in the world, including the Gutenberg Bible and the Giant Bible of Mainz. On this Easter Sunday, make a point and visit the Library of Congress Bible Collection. Of special local interest is the Eliot Indian Bible:

Printed in Cambridge, Massachusetts, between 1660 and 1663, the “Eliot Indian Bible,” as it is now known, was the first complete Bible printed in the Western Hemisphere. John Eliot, an English Puritan clergyman and pastor in Roxbury, Massachusetts, translated the Bible into the Natick dialect of the region’s Algonquin tribes to aid in the propagation of the scriptures. One thousand copies were to be printed by Samuel Green and a young English press assistant, Marmaduke Johnson, an order so large that it required a special shipment of paper from England.

 

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Technology finding Time

Sometimes, ideas need time to catch on. In other cases, they just need time for the technology to develop so that they can become a reality. The Technologizer (an easy to read online technology magazine) in partnership with Time.com, has come up with a list of 15 Gadgets That Were Way Ahead of Their Time. Among the gadgets (if you can believe anything like this could ever exist!) are a 40,000 page books that would be 2 inches think and weigh a pound; an automobile wireless telephone and DYI home TV tape recorder kit. The article is fun and the pictures priceless! In the process, you may just want to look around the site and see what other great articles they have!

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The Last Word

Since this is my last posting for the month of January, I thought I’d introduce you to “The Last Word” a science website from Physics.org that attempts to answer those science questions from everyday life. Haven’t you always wanted to know why you can lock your car from further away if you point the remote to your head? Or maybe you just want to know if the gum you swallowed when you were ten is still stuck in your body somewhere. Submit the question and see what answers await.

Want another great science website? Try the New Scientist site which has great articles for physics & math, science in society, space, health and the environment.  It also has news, videos, in-depth articles and a blog. Explore – you never know what you’ll find!

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Do the Dewey

Yup, libraries have unique filing systems for all those books and other materials. Sometimes it can be a little hard to figure it out. But some clever folks have come up with a little rap that may just help solve those “where are the books on” questions (as well as change the image of librarians as ‘straight laced, tight bunned and no-fun). Check this out:

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Paper Engineering

We often take for granted those pop-up books we enjoyed as children and the books our children also love to hold and marvel at. We did you ever hear of the science of paper engineering? It is the art of fold, pull, pop and turn. Explore more at this Smithsonian Library web site.

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Fiction on a high note

Sometimes even the librarians get stumped. I happened to be entering a novel, when the genre popped up as “musical fiction”.  So I asked the staff: “What is musical fiction??? I was met with a lot of blank looks. Not to be deterred I went searching…

Turns out Wikipedia describes musical fiction as:

“a genre of fiction in which music is paramount: both as subject matter, and through the rhythm and flow of the prose; that is, music is manifested through the language itself.”

Notable authors who have written musical fiction include Janet Evanovich, John Irving, Jack Kerouac, Robert Tannenbaum, and local author Andre Dubus III. Follow the links below for listing of works considered to be music to you ears (& eyes!).

LibraryThing

University of Washington Libraries

Morton Grove Library’s WEBRARY

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Eat, Pray, Watch?

Watch this video of Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Eat, Pray, Love” speaking about the value of libraries!

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History Pin

The digital age has left many over age 50 struggling to catch up. Technology has zoomed by, making a generational divide like never before. The younger generation, who have never known a world without computers, do not understand why using an ATM or loading an iPod is a difficult task for other people. Plugged in and tuned out we are losing our ties to one another.

Enter some folks from the East London. They began to ask the question: “What would you ask one million people to do to change the world?” That question and the thousands of replies that resulted, gave birth to the social action group We Are What We Do. Their newest project aimed at changing the world, involves bridging the generation gap. Historypin brings generations together through photography. Family albums, movies and slide shows have long been a way to gather families together to reminisce. It is that coming together that Historypin is aiming for. Social action #132 is Share a Piece of Your History.

Using Google maps street view mode,  Historypin allows you to up load an old photo and compare then & now. You are able to write a story about your photo,  sharing the names, date and explanation of how that photo came to be. Historypin also has recommended links to guide you on your genealogical journey. This is a super tool for teachers!!

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Are we Goating U?

Goat Kidnapping Edgar Allan Po(e)

As serious research librarians, we are always looking at sources that can help the Dracut community.  Goat -Trauma.org is an organization that aims to address the dangers of petting zoo’s – especially with regards to goats. Did you know, according to the Goat Trauma website, that:

If a child is traumatized by a goat before the age of five, he/she is five times more likely to become a social deviant.

Or that:

In a scientific experiment that seven out of ten goats prefer man-made fibers over natural fibers.

What can you do? According to the folks at Goat-trauma.org you should always remember the following:

  • Never, under any circumstances, turn your back on a goat. This is Rule Number One of Goat Trauma Avoidance!!!
  • Stay alert. Goats are deceitful and can hide just about anywhere.
  • Wearing earth tones in goat-infested areas may offer some protection from goat attack, due their camouflaging abilities.
  • Stay in civilized areas. While there have been reports of roaming urban goats, most attacks by loose goats take place in less populated areas.

No, you just can’t make this stuff up! Personally, not being an expert in goats, I’d suggest you always supervise your children around animals (including dogs). Teach your child to respect all animals – even if they are domestic. Since I’ve witnessed people posing their children in front of bison for that ‘christmas card’ moment,  I would remind folks that wild animals should not be approached. There is a reason we call them wild! And if you go to a petting zoo, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer – better yet, do both!!

Do you want to know more about goats? We have more factual information available and recommend the following:

Fainting goats and other weird mammals by Carmen Bredeson.

The Goat Lady by Jane Bregoli.

Barnyard in your backyard: a beginner’s guide to raising chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, goats, sheep, and cattle / edited by Gail Damerow.

Storey’s guide to raising dairy goats by Jerry Belanger.

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VJ Day

Chances are if you are reading this you probably do not remember VJ Day – (Victory over Japan) – marking the end of World War II. The Japan surrendered to the Allied Forces aboard the USS Missouri on this date in 1945 – an event later celebrated worldwide. You can learn more about World War II and the major events and their effects through both fiction (stories) and non-fiction (factual) accounts. I suggest some of the following:

Non-Fiction (Factual)

Helmet for my pillow by Robert Lackie (a first hand account of one man’s odyssey, from basic training to the raging battles in the Pacific.)

The Zookeeper’s wife : a war story by Diane Ackerman. (Poland during World War II and the Nazi invasion. This reads like a novel but isn’t)

Fiction (stories)

The Cloud Atlas by Liam Callanan. (This is a fictional account about a rare aspect of WWII – paper balloons launched at the United States by Japan loaded with explosives. Yes, these balloons with explosives really happened the story about the soldier did not.  An interesting, touching novel!)

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake. (Set on the outermost point of Cape Cod, this is the story of lives woven together by life and war. Put a hold on it – it’s been a hot summer read)

Blackout by Connie Willis. (Yes, I have this on the “What we’re reading” page, but I really loved it! Technically it’s science-fiction but don’t let that turn you off! This is more historical novel than science fiction.  The research was wonderful, the story spell binding.)

Have other suggestions? Let us know!

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