Gamers Beware

January 29, 2004 | Comment (1)

Don’t sit for hours and hours in one position, say, playing Halo or Neverwinter Nights. A UK teenager developed deep vein thrombosis after sitting all day playing video games with his legs tucked under him.

Indiana University-Bloomington’s Lilly Library has a great online exhibit of miniature books. I got to see some of these in person while visiting the IU campus with my Library School chum, Jane Cronkhite. There’s something about books being itty bitty that makes them cooler somehow.

Images of Real War

January 29, 2004 | Comment (1)

Joi Ito posted a video clip that has been making the rounds. It is thermal-imaging footage shot on December 1st from a U.S. Apache attack helicopter engaging Iraqis, who were attempting to launch a Stinger missile at the Apache. The Apache responds with force.

Snopes has a posting on the video (they’ve left it “undetermined,” even though ABC News has confirmed its authenticity), which includes additional links to download it. One of Ito’s readers posted an excellent comment–that the continued shooting of a man, after he has been wounded and incapacitated, is a violation of Article 3 of the Geneva Convention. What do you think Rumsfeld would say to that?

Don’t watch the video if you are easily affected by disturbing images. I am, and I watched it anyway, mainly because my little brother was stationed in Iraq for several months when the war started, and I am now finding the war much more personalized. Fortunately, he came home safely, but the same can not be said for some of his friends.

This is what war is really about. I know that my readership is (statistically speaking) largely opposed to the war already, but images like this make more of an impact than any stories you hear on the news. In fact, every news network should be showing this clip, to remind people that the war is still going on and people are dying.

Google Your Dates

January 29, 2004 | Comments (0)

A woman Googled her date and found out he was wanted by the FBI for fraud. Some blue-jacketed FBI agents showed up for their scheduled date, and arrested him. So, yes, Google your friends, your enemies, and your potential dates. You can find out some interesting things.

Some high school students in Saratoga, California used a keylogger to capture a teacher’s passwords (which were used later to steal English tests). The students are facing explusion, naturally. But, all serious punishing aside, I can’t help but feel a little jolly. The kids used technology in an innovative way…even if it was for the purposes of cheating. Speaking of which, when I taught Freshman English Composition at Washington State University, I caught half a dozen or so of my students plagiarizing (AKA cheating) over the semesters, and despite my efforts to give the students a big fat zero on the projects, the department wouldn’t back me up. Instead, the kids just got to write the papers over again for a new, penalty-free, grade. One kid even, for a short story assignment, copied the description from the back of a Dances with Wolves video, and tried to pass it off as original fiction. Come on kid, at least pick something a little less well-known. Anyway, I always felt it was bad form for an academic institution to have no penalty for cheating. What kind of work-ethic does that teach our new workforce?

My Library’s Blog

January 28, 2004 | Comment (1)

Months ago, I set up a Blogger blog for our Library…a place for patrons to go to stay up to date on what’s happening at the Library, best-selling books, websites, book clubs, blah, blah blah. I had tried several RSS feed-creators, none of which ever worked consistently. But now, Blogger offers free RSS-feeds for all their blogs, even the free ones! And, hold onto your hats ladies and gentlemen, it actually works!

It’s about freaking time.

Oh my gosh…

January 28, 2004 | Comments (0)

Amazon’s actually making money! Amazon announced its first ever net profit for 2003 ($35.3 million). Good for them. After the hundreds of little brown boxes from them that show up at my door, it’s good to know that they’re finally making some money off of me.

Ben Cohen, of Ben & Jerry’s fame, has done a brilliant Flash video for TrueMajority, a political advocacy organization. It discusses the budget situation in terms of Oreo cookie stacks, and presents some very good arguments for shifting just a little money (only a few cookies) from our &$#*% military budget over to education, children’s healthcare, and alternative energy. Good job Ben. And your Cherry Garcia ain’t half bad either 😉

An LA judge ruled that part of the Patriot Act is unconstitutional. She ruled that “a provision in the law banning certain types of support for terrorist groups was so vague that it risked running afoul of the First Amendment.” I also agree with Karen Schneider, who disagrees with Jessamyn West, that this part of the law is applicable to libraries in that it deals with who you can talk to, and about what. More specifically, “expert advice or assistance” given to terrorist organizations is considered a violation of the law. The Humanitarian Law Project folks saw this law as preventing them from providing relief assistance to Kurdish refugees in Turkey. And the judge agreed. It’s a step in the right direction…