Picturing America

The Haysville Community Library is a participant in the Picturing America program of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and courtesy of the American Library Association and the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences can offer our community a collection of vibrant images from America’s past and present. Our Picturing America collection brings to life the story of our nation through display of high-quality color reproductions of masterpieces of American art. Here’s a sample of what’s on display now at the library:

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Published in: on August 26, 2009 at 12:15 pm  Comments (1)  

“Satire”

When satire is done well, you get Jonathan Swift. When it’s done badly – very badly – you get Amazon Reviewers Take On the Classics.

Published in: on August 26, 2009 at 10:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Future Farm

Decatur County Kansas family with Sod House -- 1880s (Kansas Memory)

National Geographic has an interesting slideshow of “futuristic” farming structure designs, remarkably reminiscent of the concepts of Fourier, Saint Simon and other Utopian Socialists of the early nineteenth century. That’s not to say that none of them will see the light of day – just that the track record of such predictions shouldn’t lead one to bet the farm.

Published in: on August 25, 2009 at 2:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Road Construction Nears Completion

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Published in: on August 25, 2009 at 10:59 am  Leave a Comment  

Climate Change & the Kansas Economy

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The conservative Heritage Foundation has released an assessment of the impact of climate change legislation (proposed in late June by Representatives Waxman and Markey) on Kansas.

The assessment is part of a larger study which looks at the economic impact of the legislation on every state, and is itself based upon an extensive evaluation and appraisal summarized in this 22-page report.

The Heritage analysis for Kansas asserts that the Waxman-Markey climate change legislation would “lower gross state product by $2,684 million” between 2012 and 2035, reducing personal income by $1,036 million, and eliminating 11,136 jobs, while increasing electricity prices by $478.69 per household and gasoline prices by $0.64 a gallon.

Published in: on August 24, 2009 at 4:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Missing Galaxies

NGC4676 Colliding Galaxies

NGC4676 Colliding Galaxies

New Scientist has an interesting brief writeup on the Mystery of the Missing Mini-Galaxies by Marcus Chown, one of the many yet unresolved questions of contemporary astronomy.

Published in: on August 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Quiet Room Dedication

A dedication ceremony for the Richard M. Hall and Elaine Hall Quiet Rooms at the Haysville Community Library was held from 2 to 4 pm today in the library community room. Elaine Hall appeared as the guest of honor, along with her son Randy and his wife Kim. The quiet rooms, and ultimately all their furnishings, have been enabled by a generous grant from Richard M. and Elaine Hall’s son Dick, who was unable to attend.

Library Foundation president Norma Schaper and Library Board president Zoe Burgess delivered brief presentations, and Carolyn Ballinger, accompanied by Linda Graber, sang a number of popular tunes from the 40s and 50s. A library tour and inspection of the quiet rooms followed.

Elaine Hall

Elaine Hall

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Published in: on August 23, 2009 at 5:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Internet Freedoms: Middle East & North Africa

The Open Net Initiative has released a 10-page report on internet filtering in the Middle East and North Africa (PDF version here; for questions and answers about the report, check the ONI blog here).

They conclude that “while not all countries in the Middle East and North Africa filter the Internet, censorship across the region is on the rise, and the scope and depth of filtering are increasing. Testing has revealed political filtering to be the common denominator across the region; however, social filtering is on the rise.”

In particular, “Bahrain, Iran, Syria and Tunisia have the strictest political filtering practices in the region. The majority of ONI-tested countries heavily filtering social content are in the Middle East and North Africa and consist of Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Yemen. A number of countries in the region also filter proxies and Internet tools.”

For a number of relevant links, check the library’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Web under Freedom of Information.

Published in: on August 21, 2009 at 4:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Re Construction

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Popular Mechanics offers a fun little feature on the construction of Stonehenge, the Great Pyramid of Giza, and the moai of Easter Island in 3 Mysterious Builds: How Ancient Peoples Moved Monoliths. Be sure to see the fascinating video short on Wally Wallington’s efforts to replicate the construction of Stonehenge by hand – and alone.

Published in: on August 21, 2009 at 4:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

On Books, #11

It matters because the ability to read challenging books helps make one more independent-minded. It encourages a way of thinking that is not a product of the mass media. It gives one the ability to think for oneself and entertain contrary opinions, and the freedom from dependence on Hollywood for a view of the world.

The literary culture is the last bastion of the individualist. Our society, our culture, even our economy depend on preserving free-thinking dissidents. And there is nothing that works better to free a mind from cant and superstition than to engage with the ideas of the world’s greatest writers.

– Diane Ravitch

Published in: on August 21, 2009 at 3:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ancient Ink

A Fossil Squid (Stanford)

A Fossil Squid (Stanford)

The BBC reports the fascinating discovery of ink in a fossilized squid from the Jurassic era, 150 million years ago, in this short article.

Published in: on August 20, 2009 at 3:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

World Population Trends 2009-2050

2009 World Population Data Sheet

The Population Reference Bureau has released its 2009 World Population Data Sheet, a 19-page overview of global population trends that is well worth your perusal.

World population is projected to increase from the current 6.8 billion to 9.4 billion in mid-2050, a growth rate (rate of natural increase) of 1.2%, and a cumulative increase of 38%. But this overall trend masks significant disparities. As they observe, world population growth is now concentrated almost exclusively in the world’s poorer countries. The world’s more developed countries are anticipated to increase just 7% in population, while the very poorest countries are projected to increase by 100%.

There is very much more of interest in this document to reward your study.

Published in: on August 20, 2009 at 2:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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