Virtual Library Provides a Voice for Censured Journalists

This virtual library is not in Second Life, but rather in Minecraft.

As governments around the globe crack down on journalistic freedom and censor their national press, Reporters Without Borders is working to deliver uncensored news to the public through an unlikely channel: an enormous library housed inside the popular block-building video game Minecraft.

 

The stories are contained within books housed within the virtual library.  (An added bonus is that this library is not closed by the Coronavirus.)

.For more information, click here

Today is World Poetry Day–March 21

magnetic fridge poetryWorld Poetry Day was declared by UNESCO in 1999. Each year, UNESCO meets and focuses on some particular poet and his or her works. Often, the spotlight is cast on poetry written in a minority or even rare and endangered language. Poetry recitals and similar events may also be held in various countries in recognition of the day.

 

Have you read a poem that touched your heart

Or almost tore your soul apart?

Moved you to tears or made you think

Raised your courage or had it shrink?

Brightened you day or darkened your night

Leaving you shivering in abject fright.

If it made an impact, and you know it

Please remember to thank the poet.

It’s a great precursor for April which is Poetry Month.

Did you know that there was an  American Poetry Museum in Washington, DC?

  • It’s at 716 Monroe St NE #25th, Washington, DC 20017
  • Hours are Tuesday and Thursday, 5-8 PM and Saturday and Sunday, 10-4.

The American Poetry Museum (APM) is dedicated to celebrating poetry, promoting literacy, fostering meaningful dialogue, encouraging an appreciation for the diversity of the American experience, and educating local, national, and international audiences through the presentation, preservation and interpretation of American poetry.

Founded in 2004, APM is one of the first museums in the world dedicated to collecting, interpreting and presenting American poetry. We are committed to the continuation of poetry as a literary and performance art and the use of poetry as an active tool for education.

Live in the Time of Coronavirus, Pt 3, Someone Didn’t Get the Word

I have met the uninformed and it is us.

Tuesday was the last almost normal day.  Movies, schools and universities, libraries, and most public parks and attractions had already closed.

My husband took his car to the dealership for its annual inspection.  The person at the dealership flunked his car because one of the rear license plate lights was out.  When my husband checked it himself, both lights were burning.  When he mentioned it to the cashier, she told him that sometimes the LED lights were intermittent–$100 for the light and $20 for someone to replace the light.  Come back on Thursday because the light has to be ordered.

Coronavirus grab and go Greenberry's coffee

He texted me when he left the dealership and I met him for breakfast at  First  Watch at our neighborhood shopping center.  We were the only people in the restaurant beside the staff until another couple came in about the time we were leaving.  Social distancing was not a problem because of the lack of crowd in this popular breakfast/lunch place.

That night I had an inkling that the DMV might be closed because I needed to get something renewed.   Sure enough, the DMV had closed that day for about two weeks (at least for now).

On Wednesday, my husband got a phone call that the light bulb had been received and was scheduled for an appointment on Thursday morning–now it was drop off only.  I offered to follow him to the dealership so I could pick him up and we could go out to breakfast.

When we got to First Watch,  the owner apologized that now it was Grab and Go only.  He would take our order and bring it out to the car, but we could not wait in the restaurant.  Fortunately, it was a nice day so waiting outside the restaurant was not an issue.

My husband picked up his car and owed another $20.  Before he left it at the dealership he confirmed that the license plate LED was still burning.

That afternoon we went for a ride and decided to stop at our favorite winery to buy a bottle of wine and split s dessert while overlooking the lake from their large spacious porch.  The winery was closed and unable to sell us anything.  They did let us enjoy the view on the porch.

Today, there is more misinformation.

Many Millenials and gen Z-ers think they can not get the virus and if they do, they will not pass it on.  WRONG.

There are some medicines that will shortly be available to help treat the Coronavirus.  At some point but not SOON!

Picture of the empty shelves of a  San Diego Vons Market taken by Bonnie Brown on 20 March 2020

Vons empty shelves during the Coronavirus pandemic 20200320

 

 

Twitter Power

All the little birds on Jaybird on loved to hear the robin go tweet tweet tweet.--“Rockin’ Robin” by Bobby Day

TwitterTwitter or Tweets have come a long way since this song was released by Bobby Day as a single in 1958.

According to Lifewire, Twitter is used for

  1. Connecting people
  2. Sharing Information in Real-Time
  3. Marketing in business
  4. Educational tool

It can also be used to share Misinformation in Real-Time.

From Wikipedia–Twitter diplomacy, also “Twiplomacy” or “hashtag diplomacy“, is the use of social network and microblogging website, Twitter, by heads of state, leaders of intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), and their diplomats to conduct diplomatic outreach and public diplomacy

Donald Trump may not have been the first person to use twiplomacy, but he has become the poster child for its use.

Accidental AdmiralHowever, in 2011, Admiral James Stravitis, then the supreme allied commander at NATO, caused a “diplomatic stir by sending out a tweet to the world explaining what I would recommend to the twenty-eight ambassadors later that day.  News organizations picked it up and soon the story of ‘the first war whose end was announced on Twitter’ was making the rounds.”  from The Accidental Admiral by James Stravridis,  USN (Ret.) ( Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2014), p. ix

On March 21, 2016, Brian Mastrioni at CBS News wished Twitter a Happy 10th Birthday by writing  “Tweet-worthy Milestones from Twitter’s First 10 Years.

Gayle Osterberg wrote on December 26, 2017 “In 2010, the Library of Congress announced an exciting and groundbreaking acquisition—a gift from Twitter of the entire archive of public tweet text beginning with the first tweets of 2006 through 2010, and continuing with all public tweet text going forward. The Library took this step for the same reason it collects other materials – to acquire and preserve a record of knowledge and creativity for Congress and the American people. The initiative was bold and celebrated among research communities.”

That changed to:

The Library now has a secure collection of tweet text, documenting the first 12 years (2006-2017) of this dynamic communications channel—its emergence, its applications and its evolution.

Today, we announce a change in collections practice for Twitter. Effective Jan. 1, 2018, the Library will acquire tweets on a selective basis—similar to our collections of web sites.

Twitter had outgrown even the Library of Congress’s ability to archive its public totality.

In Times of Crisis, They are a Mercy and a Comfort — Reblog of Hospital Ships in the US Navy

Yesterday, President Trump announced he was sending one hospital ship to New York City and the Navy’s second hospital ship to somewhere on the West Coast.  Many of you may wonder what’s taking so long.  Click here to find out more.

USNS Mercy gliding out of San Diego Harbor
USNS (United States Naval Ship) Mercy (T-AH-10) leaving San Diego Bay October 2019

April is Science Citizen Month

In 2016, the first year of Citizen Science Day celebrations and activities kicked off with a major celebration at the USA National Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, DC. A series of citizen science “open houses” and activities followed, organized locally by science centers, museums, libraries, universities and schools, and federal agencies around the US and beyond. The celebrations culminated with the U.S. National Parks Bioblitz, May 20-21, 2016. Citizen Science Day continued in 2017, 2018, and 2019 to encourage celebrations of public engagement in research.

science experiment

For 2020, we’re building on Citizen Science Day in 2019 and taking it up a notch with a whole month to support libraries, institutions, community groups, museums, galleries, archives, and individuals all around the world. Let’s introduce millions to citizen science: real scientific research.

  • The National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM), a program of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), has expanded its partnership with SciStarter to support Citizen Science Month (April 2020).
  • In 2019, the two organizations worked collaboratively to promote Citizen Science Day in libraries, to increase awareness of citizen science in communities across the nation, and help individuals explore the impact of their environment on health.
  • Through citizen science and crowdsourcing, NNLM can engage communities in addressing societal needs and accelerating biomedical science, technology, and innovation.
  • Community participation in the research process also builds trust between NNLM and the communities that we serve.
  • The featured projects address environmental and health issues through citizen science.
  • SciStarter and the NLM put together a curated and publicly accessible page of activities (scistarter.org/nlm) to support Citizen Science month and other Citizen Science activities in your region.

During the month of April, NNLM and SciStarter seek to host citizen science activities in select cities.

Weekly webinars for the library community will be available leading up to the month of April for programming support and Citizen Science questions. Here’s how your library can host an event:

Sign up with this form.
Receive a program kit with instructions on facilitating an event
Set a date
Have fun with Citizen Science!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

st patricks dayNo parades, no bar or pub gatherings, no public celebrations, BUT did you know

1.  That Corned Beef and Cabbage was an American invention?

2.  That the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was in America?

3.  That Ireland had no snakes so St. Patrick could not have banished them?

4.  That leprechauns are based upon Celtic fairies?

5.  That the shamrock was considered a sacred plant?

Click here to read about these and other fun St. Patrick Day facts.

St. Patrick’s color is really blue and not green.

While I eating some delicious Irish whisky cake during a Celtic discussion,  I was told that Jamison was the Catholic Irish Whisky and Bushmill was the Protestant Irish Whisky because Jamison was distilled in Northern Ireland and Bushmill in County Cork.

Jameson and Bushmills

However, this is an Irish-American fallacy.

According to Ask Your Bartender,

Jameson was pretty much founded in 1780 when John Jameson – a Scottish guy – purchased the Bow Street Distillery, which at the time was one of the biggest distilleries in Ireland. Now, it’s important to note that the Scottish Reformation occurred in 1560, so odds are in favor of the founder of the Jameson distillery, being Scottish, was a damn Protestant.

Bushmills, on the other hand, was officially licensed in 1608 by King James I (of Bible fame) and despite of its location deep in the heart of Protestant country (and this next bit is straight from my local Bushmills rep, so take it or leave it) has a Catholic as a master distiller.

According to everyone I’ve spoken with on the subject, you only really find this debate in the States, where Irish-American support of the Republic can sometimes be blind and often fueled by the very product we’re speaking of. But none of it means much, anyway: both distilleries are owned by huge international entities: Jameson by French liquor conglomerate Pernod-Ricard, and Bushmills by the English firm Diageo.

Reblog: 20 Slang Terms from World War I

Are you a Downton Abbey Fan?  If so, do you remember Thomas Barrow, the conniving under butler, who went to the Western Front as a medic?  He held a match up in his hand so that it would be shot at by a German sharpshooter.   The subsequent wound proved to be a ‘blighty”  that earned him a return to Downton Abbey after it became a convalescent hospital.

For the meaning of blighty and 19 other slang terms from WWI, click here.

 

Reblog: Ways for Bibliophiles to Honor Women’s History Month

 

In Library School  I traced the publishing history of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  One of Jane’s quotes I included

“the little bit (two Inches wide) of Ivory on which I work with so fine a Brush, as produces little effect after much labour.”

Jane Austen collageSix years later, When I saw how small her writing table (which is not to be confused her austen's writing table.travel writing desk) at her home in Chawton, England, I realized she did not have much space to write on.

From author’s homes to feminist bookstores, there are multiple ways to celebrate women authors.  https://noveldestinations.com/2020/03/08/5-ways-for-bibliophiles-to-honor-womens-history-month/

March 14 is Pi Day

The number π is a mathematical constant. Originally defined as the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, it now has various equivalent definitions and appears in many formulas in all areas of mathematics and physics. It is approximately equal to 3.14159.  From Wikipedia

Pi signThe earliest known official, or large-scale celebration of Pi Day, was organized by Larry Shaw in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium. The Exploratorium continues to hold Pi Day celebrations.

HOW TO OBSERVE

Our research has found that there are different ways that people celebrate National Pi Day.  Some of the celebrations include:

  • Eating a slice of pie
  • Pie eating contests
  • Discussing the significance of the number π
  • More recently watching Life of Pi
  • Finding 3.14 deals in as many version of π as possible.  For example
    • Half.com  is offering 95 % off the paperback of The Life of Pi.
    • Think pizza Pi as much as dessert kind of deals on this day!
    • Get punny Geeky Greek Pi inspired t-shirts deals.
    • Find these and more at www.GoBankingRates.com
    • Visit the National Day Calendar Classroom for a National Pi Day lesson.

March 14 is celebrated for other reasons too:

  • Steak and Blowjob Day (sometimes Steak & BJ Day or Steak and Knobber Day) is a satirical holiday created in the United States as a male response to Valentine’s Day and celebrated a month later, on March 14.
  • On March 14, 1964, a jury in Dallas found Jack Ruby guilty of murdering Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy, and sentenced him to death. (Both the conviction and death sentence were overturned, but Ruby died before he could be retried.)
  • In the St . Vincent  and the Grenadines is it National Heroes Day, which is a public holiday.
  • It ‘s National Potato Chip Day so enjoy a bag without feeling guilty.
  • National Write Your Story Day- You may think to yourself, “There’s nothing in my life to tell.” It will surprise you once you put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard and the words start filling the pages. Words have a way of triggering memories.
  • NationalLearn about Butterflies Day
    • There are more than 20,000 types of butterflies worldwide.
    • Their wing spans can range from 1/2 inch to 11 inches.
    • Butterflies in their adult stage can live from a week to nearly a year, depending on the species.
    • Many butterflies migrate over long distances.  Particularly famous migrations are those of the Monarch butterfly from Mexico to the northern USA and southern Canada, a distance of about 2500 to 3000 miles.

      . –

FUN FACT: https://www.piday.org/find-birthday-in-pi/

If you use the first date of 1 Jan 2019 the answer is

Pi birthday results

Live in the Time of Coronavirus: Part II, Batten Down the Hatches

batten down the hatches

In the past two days, life in the United States has changed dramatically.  Many things are canceled or postponed.

    1.  Most of our major professional and collegiate sporting events are canceled or on hiatus.
      1. No March Madness, which means no collegiate playoffs for basketball.
      2. Suspension of all NBA (National Basketball Association), NHL (National Hockey League), MLB (Major League Baseball), or MLS (Major League Soccer) games for the foreseeable future.
    2.   Disneyland, Disney World and many Disney venues in Europe are closed.
    3.    Broadway is dark.  Many television talk shows are filming without live audiences.
    4. Colleges and now public schools (K-12) are closed for a couple of weeks or until further notice.
    5. Church services are canceled.
    6. Some businesses are closing except for online stores.  Where possible, many are instituting working from home.
    7. The federal government which had been reviewing its teleworking programs for many departments has had to do an abrupt about-face and is now increasing who may work from home.

States and municipalities have had to step up since the federal government has not been as prepared as many citizens would expect or prefer.  More than half of the states have declared states of emergency as of Friday the 13th.  There seems to be no central source for the actual number of people who are infected–this number is hampered by the continued lack of enough Coronavirus test kit availability.

An excellent, nonpartisan site for  the latest on international Coronavirus information is

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

 

Happy K-9 Veterans Day–March 13!

The guard dog was incorruptible; the police dog dependable; the messenger dog reliable. The human watchman might be bought; not so the dog. The soldier sentinel might fall asleep; never the dog. The battlefield runner might fail … but not the dog, to his last breath would follow the line of duty.”  -Ernest Harold Baynes, Animal Heroes of the Great War

usps-dog-stamps-017March 13 is K9 Veterans Day, the day when all military dogs should be commemorated. This is an unofficial holiday, but the enthusiast make efforts to change the situation.

  • K9 Veterans Day was created by Joe White of Jacksonville, Florida. He was a Vietnam War veteran, K9 handler and trainer.
  • Joe White died on October 24, 2009, and since then his wife continued the effort to get nationwide recognition for this holiday. New Jersey officially recognized the holiday in 2010.
  • In addition to Military Dogs, other K-9 units include
    • Border Patrol
    • Customs
    • Police
    • Secret Service
    • Airport
    • FBI
  • Dogs have been part of military campaigns for centuries. Documentation of their use during wartime dates as far back as the mid-7th century BCE.
  • During WWI, the US military began to utilize dogs for message delivery between troops. The need for military dogs became so great that American families began to donate their dogs to the war effort. It has been estimated that approximately 1,000,000 dogs were killed in action during the war. During the war, dogs were reported to have performed acts of bravery and heroism during combat. One such dog was Sergeant Stubby.
  • With the creation of the United States K9 Corps on March 13, 1942, dogs were officially adopted into US military ranks during WWII. The Army’s Dogs for Defense program trained 10,000 dogs who were again donated to the war effort by American families.
  • Upon completion of training, MWDs were deployed to several places both at home and abroad:
    • The USMC used MWDs in the Pacific theater to recapture islands overrun by Japanese forces
    • The Coast Guard used MWDs at home to patrol the coastline
    • The Navy use MWDs to guard shipyards
  • This changed when the story of an MWD named Robby entered public awareness. Robby’s former handler petitioned to adopt him after he was retired from service as an MWD. This request was denied for unspecified reasons, and Robby was euthanized.
  • On September 27, 2000, Representative Roscoe Bartlet introduced a bill to help change the fate of MWDs like Robby. President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law in November of 2000. Robby’s Law required that all MWDs deemed to be suitable for adoption should be available for placement after retirement from service.
  • The law also gave priority for adoption of retired MWDs to law enforcement agencies or former handlers, and then “other persons capable of humanely caring for these dogs.”
  • On June 1, 2015, the Military Dog Retirement Bill, a bill sponsored by Representative Walter Jones, Senator Richard Blumenthal, and the US War Dog Association was introduced. It passed by both the Senate and the House, and was signed into law by President Barack Obama. This law stipulates that MWDs may no longer be deemed “equipment.”
  • It requires the Department of Defense to arrange and “…pay for transportation of trained military dogs back to the United States,” when they retire from service while deployed abroad.

For more information on Military Working Dogs, click here.

 

Live in the time of Corona–Pt 1 Storm Clouds on the Horizon

I live in Central Virginia, where so far as I know as of 3:01 pm on March 11, there is no confirmed or probable cases of Corona Virus any closer than Fredericksburg which is about 55 miles away.

Corona Virus map

I have lived here for almost three years.  Our seasons are strongly tied to the University of Virginia’s academic schedule so I have been here through Spring Break, Final Exercises (Graduation anywhere else), Summer School, Move-in Weekend and beginning of the Academic Year, Fall, Thanksgiving, and Christmas breaks.

The weather this week has been almost April like with daily temperatures in the 60s and the varying trees, bushes, and flowers racing each other to bloom earlier and more prolifically.

Today when I drove around Grounds, used the gym, stopped at Barnes and Noble for a chai latte, and drove to the local library, I have never seen the UVA  vicinity so devoid of pedestrians and traffic.

You can sense the Corona Virus storm clouds gathering.

Church Notices:

  • Last week, the Rector “strongly encouraged parishioners to refrain from shaking hands during the peace for the time being. Instead, wave to your fellow worshipper or do a fist-bump. If you do shake someone’s hand during the peace, please make sure to use hand sanitizer before coming up for Holy Communion.
  • We have put small bottles of hand sanitizer in each pew rack for your convenience.”  He also encouraged people not to use intinction (dipping the wafer into the chalice)  because it “actually tends to spread pathogens more easily than drinking from the cup. “
  • This week, “in consultation with medical professionals and staff” the Rector ” has decided to cancel all church activities this week and next.   This will also include all church services. “

University of Virginia Notice:

I write to share an update on our response to the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, and our plans for the remainder of the Spring semester.

To begin with the basic and important news:

  • We will be moving our classes online.  We will not be holding classes on Grounds for the foreseeable future, quite possibly through the end of the semester.  We will reassess after April 5th at the earliest and periodically after that date.
  • Students on Grounds and in Charlottesville are strongly encouraged to return home by this weekend.
  • University events with more than 100 people are prohibited for the foreseeable future and should be postponed, cancelled, or offered virtually.

This is partially based upon the impact of so many bodies on the UVA Health system and surrounding community.

UBER notice:

  • Supporting public health authorities
    We have a team available 24/7 to support public health authorities in their response to the epidemic. Working with them, we may temporarily suspend the accounts of riders or drivers confirmed to have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19. We’re also consulting with an epidemiologist to make sure our efforts as a company are grounded in medical advice.
  • Helping to keep cars clean
    We are working to provide drivers with disinfectants to help them keep their cars clean. Supplies are very limited, but we’re partnering with manufacturers and distributors to source as much as possible. We’ll be prioritizing distribution to drivers in cities with the greatest need.
  • Giving you options for food delivery
    We understand that you may be relying more on food delivery right now. If you prefer, you can leave a note in the Uber Eats app to ask your delivery person to leave your food at the door.

We will have to see if these plans help slow the spread of the Virus and how much our lives will change in the next several weeks and months.

Wash your hands, cover your coughs, do not touch your T-zone (eyes, nose, and mouth)  Avoid crowds as much as possible and we’ll compare notes when we get to the other side of this crisis whether it’s an epidemic or pandemic.

Stay healthy!

 

 

Timing Can Be Everything

Rule 39: There is no such thing as a coincidence. Gibbs doesn’t believe in coincidence. Rule 39 was first mentioned in “Obsession” (Episode 21, Season 7).  This is an NCIS reference if you do not follow that show.

Last Friday, the monthly submission to my Read and Critique group was due.  I had no plans to submit anything and was not motivated to even pretend to write something up.

When I opened my email on Friday morning, I saw a Brevity essay by Cindy Sims,

The Write Stuff: On Pushcarts, Lorrie Moore, and Writing Past Sixty

I read it and it was exactly the push I needed to submit some poetry and short essays from this blog.

Coincidentally, I commented on a blog post by Crystal Byers,https://crystalbyers.com/2017/10/02/wait-and-hope-and-other-mantras/ because she had commented on one of my recent posts. It was a blog post she had written a few years ago after Hurricane Harvey. Her comment was:

“After ten months in a La Quinta, we returned to our reconstructed home in the summer of 2018. I started blogging thanks to Hurricane Harvey, so there’s that. Life moves on. Thank you for the encouragement today! I needed some of my own uplifting.”