Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Release date set for Spielberg's Lincoln

Steven Spielberg's Lincoln has been scheduled for a November 9 limited release, expanding to more theaters on November 16.  The film, which focuses on the last four months of Lincoln's life, is based on portions of Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals : the Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. Goodwin's book experienced renewed popularity after the 2008 presidential election when Obama referred to it as a blueprint for selecting his cabinet.

The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robert Todd Lincoln, Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln, Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln and Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens. 


Free (Free) Music

I don’t really think of the Internet Archive as a source for music. But a post on their blog is a great reminder that the Archive is more than just the Wayback Machine; there’s a  whole bunch of music there too! The collection that interested me the most was the Live Music Archive. This  audio collection consists of over 100,000 live concerts. A quick glance showed that most are bands that I at least, have never heard of.  But the core of the collection is the 8000 concerts of the Grateful Dead. And I took note also of Smashing Pumpkins (919 shows), Justin Townes Earle(68), Warren Zevon (100), OAR (623), and Little Feat (463), plus 5000 other bands. No doubt you will find some great live music to fit your tastes.  But there’s more at the Archive:  the InternetUnderground Music Archive, Netlabels, Jamendo Albums Collection, recordings from the DNA Lounge in San Francisco  and a collection of 78rpm and cylinder recordings. One note of caution though: The search interfaces are limited and the cataloging shows need of a librarian or two. (Thanks to ResearchBuzz for pointing out the Archives blog post.)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Neglected Books

Wondering where that well-reviewed book of yesteryear ended up?  Check out:  On the Neglected Books page, you'll find many, many lists of  books that have been neglected, overlooked, forgotten, or stranded by changing tides in critical or popular taste.

The Neglected Books Page:  Where Forgotten Books are Remembered! 


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Traveling? Let us help

The Wellesley Free Library travel guides to places throughout the world are well used but did you know we offer other resources that may assist you in choosing and reaching your destination of choice? 

Try out featured online resources for July--AtoZ World Travel, AtoZ The USA, and AtoZ Maps Online.  (You will need your library card number to use these from home.) These resources are prepared by World Trade Press to make it easier to locate information regarding countries and cities that travelers such as you may like to know.

Try them out today and stop by the library to ask about these wonderful resources and pick up bookmarks and brochures to remind you that we are here to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

3D printing

3D Printers?
"Printing" seems like the wrong word. Feed it a digital schematic and poof! out comes your object in its 3D splendor. The "printers" do exist and with them a growing community of makers and hackers on the cutting edge of technology: big thinkers imagining home "factories" made possible with 3D printers and specs downloaded via the internet, and maker activists envisioning  low-budget high-tech fab labs or hacker spaces in every community. Right now your basic makerbot starts at around $500. It won't be long before public libraries have some room set aside for personal manufacturing. Wait a second! This just in...the Fayetteville (NY) Library began its fab lab several months ago!

Monday, July 9, 2012

New Bird Books July 2012

  Bill saved the male bluebird from a sharpie who barreled between the forsythia and garage, picked the male bluebird off the clothesline pole, and carried him, shrilling, for a distance before Bill's yelling scared the hawk into dropping him! People speak of the "butterfly effect," describing the unknown consequences of a seemingly irrelevant action. Taken to its extreme, one flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil might alter the atmosphere sufficiently to cause a tornado in Texas. Though I couldn't know it, this moment, for me, would herald eight years of the bluebird effect. -From the first chapter. Zickefoose's writing has been featured on NPR's All Things Considered. 

Bird Sense: What It's Like to Be a Bird
by Tim Birkhead, Bill Swainson
Most people would love to be able to fly like a bird, but few of us are aware of the other sensations that make being a bird a gloriously unique experience. What is going on inside the head of a nightingale as it sings, and how does its brain improvise? How do desert birds detect rain hundreds of kilometers away? How do birds navigate by using an innate magnetic compass? No one who reads Bird Sense can fail to be dazzled by it.

Jon Young is guided in his work and teaching by three basic premises: the robin, junco, and other songbirds know everything important about their environment, be it backyard or forest; by tuning in to their vocalizations and behavior, we can acquire much of this wisdom for our own pleasure and benefit; and the birds' companion calls and warning alarms are just as important as their songs. Birds are the sentries--and our key to understanding the world beyond our front door.
Suddenly the crow turns his head, caws softly, and glides away, landing on a lamppost directly above a blonde woman. The woman, Lijana Holmes, smiles and calls him "Bela" as she offers him a breakfast of eggs and meat, which she prepares daily. Five-and-a-half years ago we captured Bela and affixed light plastic rings to his legs for identification. So whenever he sees us, the old crow cocks his head, stares, takes flight and swoops low--right at us--screaming a harsh call that we immediately recognize as a bird scold. His family and neighbors hear the cry and join in, flying toward Bela to support his attack, and soon they, too, share his rage. The mobbing crows circle and scream above our heads just as they would do to a predator. Bela's discriminating actions give us remarkable and invaluable information, proving that crows can recognize and remember human faces. We wonder when, or if, he will ever forget (or forgive) us. The gifts of the crow are physical, metaphorical, and far-reaching. - From the Preface


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Two web sites: an A and a B-

First the B-: is a genealogy web site that's been around for a while, but just recently enhanced their "supersearch." The database is large, multilingual, diverse, speedy, easy-- and free. Past complaints about having to download lots of software seem to have been heeded with the new release. On the down side, though, is the number of hits which are not free or not public.
The A goes to Finding the best airfare for a particular flight is, shall we say, an inexact science. The apples differ from the oranges, the costs are different for every flight and change by the minute, blah, blah, blah. We've all had the same frustrations. The meta search engines (Kayak, Trip Adviser, Mobissimo, Expedia, etc) each seem to bring order to the chaos. The problem is that each of these order-bringers comes up with very different results. Enter meta meta search engine--which compares the best fares of 16 flight comparison sites. It's not perfect: Unless I'm missing something, you still have to navigate through multiple windows to actually compare the various sites. It's definitely one to try, though.