Bibliofuture's blog

Sidewalk poems

On "Weekend America", a public radio program, there was a story called, "Everyday Sidewalk Poetry" that is about a city run project to put poetry in sidewalks when new concrete is poured.

You can listen to the story here.

Near the end of the piece there was a mention about a kid that liked the poetry is his neighborhood.


Daijon thinks the sidewalk poems bring a lot to his neighborhood. He likes how some of them share wisdom or lay out a path to follow. He even protected one as it was drying. "When it was wet cement my friend almost stepped on this, and I said 'Don't step on that 'cause that is beautiful work that people worked on a lot,'" he explains.

This made me smile. The world has plenty of hope in it when there are kids like Daijon.


On the radio program "The Story" there was an interview with Max Hardberger.

Pirates are demanding $20 million ransom for a ship they've seized off the coast of Somalia. They say they're prepared to fight to the death. Max Hardberger has direct experience of high seas piracy. His job is to take back ships that have been pirated, many of them worth millions of dollars, and return them to their rightful owners.

Max has worked all over the Caribbean and Latin America - sometimes employing voodoo priests to help him, and at other times using blow torches by moonlight to cut anchor chains. As he tells Dick Gordon, Max enjoys out-pirating the pirates - even when it means occasionally stepping over the legal line himself.

Here is the MP3 that contains the entire interview. (Best thing to do is to right click on link and select "save link as")

One of Max's books: Freighter Captain

From Max's website:

June 2, 2008 — The Broadway Books Imprint of Random House Acquires Max Hardberger's Memoirs

With the working title of "The Good Pirate", Max Hardberger's latest book will take readers on a journey through the hellhole ports of the world -- Read More


Blog entry at the NYT:

Snip! Nearly One-Fifth of Homes Have No Landline

By the end of the year one in five American households may well not have a home phone line. That’s the conclusion of a new report by Nielsen, which says that already 17 percent of homes rely entirely on cellphones.

This trend has of course been brewing for a while, but the tough economy is pushing more people to snip the cord.

Indeed, the effect of the growing number of people without home phones is starting to ripple through various corners of society. Of course, the phone companies need to confront a declining base of income to support their century old web of copper wires. And the trend is causing trouble for political pollsters, aluminum-siding salesmen and the other banes of the dinner hour.

Full blog entry here.

Reference Question

I have a patron that gave me a description of a publication but does not know the name. Wanted to run this by you guys and see if anyone had any ideas.

Patron said that he has seen in the past a publication that gathers together editorials from around the world on current event. So for this week it would have a page about the Olympics and then display a list of quotes from editorials around the world about the Olympics. There would then probably also be a page about the war in Georgia and pages on other major events of the week.

Anyone familiar with this resource?

If I can't find the reseource I can use some full-text news databases that I have access to to basically create that type of publication on the fly but if I can find out what publication he was referring to I would like to know.


Foreign Affairs Professional Reading List

Foreign Affairs Professional Reading List

In June, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, in conjunction with the president of the American Foreign Service Association, announced the creation of a “Foreign Affairs Professional Reading List,” and there’s not a Grisham novel anywhere in sight.

See here.

Cool hard drive

I was with a friend and he is using his laptop. He then pulls out this little box that is half to a fourth the size of a paperback book and he hooks it to his computer with a USB cable. I ask him what it is. He says that it is a 250gb hard drive. In addition to the small size the cool feature was that it did not need to be plugged into anything but the USB drive for power. I also have a 250gb external hard drive but it is the size of a hardback book and requires a power adapter as well as a USB connection. The drive my friend had was almost small enough to slip into a pocket. After I saw the drive he had I was thinking why carry around a 2,4, or 8gb thumb drive when you can have 250gb at your disposal.

Here is a picture of the drive beside some car keys to show scale.

250gb version
320gb version
160gb version

The $131.09 Perlstein Paperback

The book "Before the Storm" that is a 2001 book on Barry Goldwater and the rise of the conservative movement is commanding prices around $130 on Read additional details here.

Should've been a librarian

Captain Kirk wishes he had decided to become a librarian in the TAS episode "Bem". Spock, as always, responds by speaking the truth.


Billboards That Look Back

New technology has made it possible, using tiny cameras, to gather details about people looking at billboard ads, such as their age or gender.

Article here.

Implications of ‘Daily Show’ Webcasting

Some cable systems are starting to complain that too many of the programs they pay for are being given away on the Web for free.

Story in the NYT:

What Is the Value of a Human Life?

NPR has a series called "This I Believe". Hear Kenneth Feinberg discuss what he believes.

Go Green -- Buy a Used Car. It's Better Than a Hybrid

Article in

Ditching your gas guzzler is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, but if you really want to do something about global warming, get a used car. You'll be putting less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

As Matt Power notes in this month's issue of Wired, hybrids get great gas mileage but it takes 113 million BTUs of energy to make a Toyota Prius. Because there are about 113,000 BTUs of energy in a gallon of gasoline, the Prius has consumed the equivalent of 1,000 gallons of gasoline before it reaches the showroom. Think of it as a carbon debt -- one you won't pay off until the Prius has turned over 46,000 miles or so.

There's an easy way to avoid that debt -- buy a used car. The debt has already been paid. But not just any used car will do.

Apple-Amazon e-book slugout ahead? Some possibilities

“…A slightly larger iPod Touch linked to eBooks distributed via the iTunes store would match and raise the game with Amazon. At that point, Amazon would be competing with the iTunes distribution channel, but with Amazon hardware that looks and feels like it was designed in Soviet-era Russia.”

More at Teleread:

Lehrer Says ‘News Hour’ Money Woes Are Worst Ever

It has been a rough few weeks for “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” on PBS.

Jim Lehrer said he expects to return to his nightly newscast toward the end of June after aortic valve replacement surgery.

In late April, Mr. Lehrer, who turns 74 on Monday, had aortic valve replacement surgery. He said he was recovering nicely and expects to be back on the air toward the end of June. But the nightly newscast’s funding situation could take longer to heal.

In its 25 years on the air, “NewsHour” has had fallow budget periods, but none that equal the current one, Mr. Lehrer acknowledged. The financial squeeze was precipitated last summer when Archer Daniels Midland ended its 14-year sponsorship of the program. That sponsorship provided nearly $4 million (and some years as much as $7 million) of the program’s yearly budget, which varies from $26 million to $28 million.

Full story here:

Times Are Tough, Except in the Repo Business

So many people have so many things they can no longer afford. This is an excellent time to be a repo man.

When a boat owner defaults on his loan, the bank hires Jeff Henderson to seize its property. The former Army detective tracks the boat down in a backyard or a marina or a garage and hauls it to his storage facility and later auctions it off. After nearly 20 years in the repossession business, Mr. Henderson has never been busier.

“I used to take the weak ones,” he said. “Now I’m taking the whole herd.”

Boating was traditionally the pastime of the well-off, but the long housing boom and its gusher of easy credit changed that. People refinanced their homes and used the cash for down payments on a cruiser, miniyacht or sailboat. From 2000 to 2006, retail sales for the recreational boating industry rose by more than 40 percent, to $39.5 billion, while the average loan amount more than tripled to $141,000.

Full article here:


Book Review in the NYT of:

When Bill Clinton was in the twilight months of his presidency, he made a compelling case that by integrating China into the world economy we would gradually undercut the viability of its authoritarian government. It was only a matter of time, he told an audience of American and Chinese students in March 2000, before a Net-savvy, rising middle class would begin to demand its rights, because “when individuals have the power not just to dream, but to realize their dreams, they will demand a greater say.”

Full review here:

COMMON WEALTH: Economics for a Crowded Planet.

Book Review in the New York Times:

COMMON WEALTH: Economics for a Crowded Planet.

The timing for Jeffrey D. Sachs’s new book on how to avert global economic catastrophe couldn’t be better, with food riots in Haiti, oil topping $120 a barrel and a gnawing sense that there’s just less of everything — rice, fossil fuels, credit — to go around. Of course, we’ve been here before. In the 19th century, Thomas Malthus teased out the implications of humans reproducing more rapidly than the supply of food could grow. In 1972, the Club of Rome published, to much hoopla, a book entitled “Limits to Growth.” The thesis: There are too many people and too few natural resources to go around. In 1978, Mr. Smith, my sixth-grade science teacher, proclaimed that there was sufficient petroleum to last 25 to 30 years. Well, as Yogi Berra once may have said, “It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future.”

Full review here:

'The Age of Reagan'

Book review of: THE AGE OF REAGAN A History, 1974-2008.

In the New York Times:

Strange to think that Sean Wilentz, a professor of history at Princeton University, would embrace Ronald Reagan as the historic alpha dog of postmodern American politics. For starters, Wilentz was trained as a Jacksonian-era scholar; the 20th and 21st centuries aren’t his bailiwicks. Then, back in 1998, Wilentz testified before the House Judiciary Committee that the impeachment of Bill Clinton was an abomination. He also endorsed Al Gore in 2000 and Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008. Considered by some the heir apparent to Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Wilentz is perceived more as an erudite spokesman for the Democratic Party than as a judicious analyst of the Republican agenda. Yet in “The Age of Reagan” — a smart and accessible overview of the long shadow cast by our 40th president — Wilentz largely abandons partisanship in favor of professionalism. Thus, the supposedly inflexible Reagan emerges here as the pragmatic statesman who greatly reduced the world’s nuclear stockpiles.

Full review here:

Large Print Up Close

Technology's tight embrace gives us ample opportunity to read the fine print. In fact, we often have no choice, squinting into laptops in badly lit offices, in living rooms, on trains and even in cars; staring down at a BlackBerry or a Palm device as we wait for the first course; or trying to read the news crawl across the bottom of the TV screen. We do an awful lot of work with our reading, not to mention reading at our work. When it's time to read for pleasure, chances are that people, with eyesight already strained, might be on the lookout for a bigger picture.

Full story at Publisher's Weekly:

First-Time Novelists Make a Splash on the Web

After Marisha Pessl finished her first novel, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, she got to work on a side project: The Web site is a companion piece to the book, designed as a window into the life — and dorm room — of the young protagonist, Blue van Meer.

Visitors can pick up objects, zoom in on pictures and newspaper clippings, visit Blue's MySpace page or unfold a map of the Great Smoky Mountains, where the story takes place. A distracting June bug buzzes around a bright blue desk lamp.

Full story at NPR:

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