Thursday, September 30, 2010

Science Prediction

Ever since man landed on the moon Science Fiction has become more like science prediction. Rocket ships were once simply a cartoon found in comic books and a lot of our cell phone designs came from the designs of devices in the television show Star Trek. The creativity of storytelling is not simply for entertainment it also can dictate how scientists invent and create the latest gadgets.

In Cory Doctorow’s three page story Printcrime, we see a father imprisoned for replicating various house hold appliances with the use of a 3-D printer. The 3-D printer in Doctorow’s story can create anything out of ‘goop.’ While these objects can be made cheaply, they disintegrate rapidly and it is illegal to make them.

The 3-D printer of Doctorow’s story leapt off the page and into the scientific community as we see in this article in The New York Times. Just like in Printcrime there is now a machine that can take a computer generated 3-D image and ‘print’ it. The 3-D printer translates the image into a corporeal copy using plastic, rubber or metal. The printer creates thin layers of material and slowly builds the object from the ground up.

This technology has been around for a few years, but until now it has been so expensive that only big corporations had access to it. Now 3-D printing is becoming slightly cheaper and therefore slightly more accessible. Bespoke, a California based company, is now using a 3-D printer to manufacture state of the art prosthetic limbs. Mr. Summit the co-founder of Bespoke said; “I wanted to create a leg that had a level of humanity,” and now, with the use of his 3-D printer, he can.

While Doctorow’s idea of a 3-D printer started out as science fiction, in the span of a few years, it has become a reality. Not only a reality but it is being used for the benefit of those who need it. So, as technology advances so should the moral obligation to use that technology for good. Otherwise, we may follow the plots of other works of science fiction, such as George Orwell’s 1984. While we may not know what great new technological advances will spring from the pages of science fiction we can always imagine…and that’s where it all begins.

The Storm by Robert Bly

Rain Sept 2010
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
A sadness comes when we think back.
The car says, "I will bring you home."
Confusion says, "Is it all clear?"
The driver says, "A storm is coming."

The car was still warming up
When the storm came. Like all storms,
It lacked subtlety and obeyed
Something or someone irresistible.

The people stood looking out at the car.
There wasn't room for everyone.
Someone would be left behind
In the cold house. Human longing

Says, "I know there's a better place."
The car says, "Let's stop talking and go."
Confusion says that we're quite clear about it.
And the storm says, "Here I come."
The Storm by Robert Bly
(Morning Poems, 1997.)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Byfield's oldest continuously operating covered bridge

The newest addition to the America's oldest continuously operating boarding school is the only standing covered bridge in Byfield. It was raised above Elm Street, providing shelter from the elements as our students cross the street to Ingham and Eames dorms.

This lovely bridge was made possible by a donation from a board member and parent of an alum, Beverly Giblin.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rob Surette and his Amazing Hero Art

Today the entire community was treated to an entertaining and inspiring performance by Rob Surette. In addition to painting portraits in record time, Mr. Surette shared tributes to some of his favorite heroes, including Mother Teresa, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Jim Henson, and Martin Luther King, Jr. His show is filled with messages of the power of people to shape their own lives. He shared how positive thinking can change and inspire those around us to improve the world. He also shared his belief in gratitude for all the blessings we have in our world, sharing that he’s grateful for many things in his life from his family to his cell phone. We left the auditorium with huge smiles and feelings of empowerment and positive energy.
This was a part of our Tuesday afternoon convocation program and has us all looking forward to more positive things to come.

Monday, September 27, 2010

New England Footbridge

New England Footbridge
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library

Our campus is getting a traditional, covered New England footbridge. In order to install it, the current Elm Street bridge will be closed for a few days.

Nicholas Parnell, our Director of Buildings and Grounds, informs everyone:

"Starting tomorrow [Tuesday September 28] morning the bridge will be closed so
that we can remove the existing handrails and get it ready for the acceptance of
the covered bridge. When crossing Elm Street, please cross at the opening to the
Health Center parking lot. Security will there to assist you while crossing. The
area in which you will cross will be delineated with caution tape. Please use
caution while crossing."

The new bridge will be hoisted into place on Wednesday, September 29. We can't wait to see it in place!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sharp Technology

sharp technology
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Sometimes the simplest technology proves to be the best.
As a school that’s trying to give students all the tools they need to work, learn, and adapt in a constantly changing world, we’ve spent money on computers, software, electronic books, and wireless access. We use Moodle open-source class management software so that students can access their assignments and resources from their homes, dorm rooms, or from anywhere in the world that they have Internet access.
The pencil was a marvel of technology when a huge graphite mine was discovered in the 1500s. The technology improved over the years, just as computer technology has become more portable and cheaply produced.
The pencil is still a wonderful marvel of technology, useful for many student tasks. To support our students, we purchased electric pencil sharpeners which have slowly broken. We’ve replaced that unreliable technology with the hand-crank pencil sharpeners that have been in use since at least the 1950s. Sometimes, the older technologies are the best.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Movie "Osama" and Yesterday's News

Yesterday’s New York Times reported that some girls in Afghanistan live their young lives as boys. The practice is apparently a longstanding one, based on economics, social pressure, or even superstition. This is difficult to understand for those of us who grew up in the west following the women’s liberation movement. We expect our daughters to have the same freedoms as our sons. While many of us would like to have both sons and daughters, we feel no despair when all our children are female.
Osama, a 2003 film in our library collection, tells the fictional story of a teenage girl who must masquerade as a boy in order to earn a living for her all-female family. The story is fictional, but yesterday’s NY Times article, combined with stories of Taliban repression and retaliation make the story seem plausible. For anyone who would like a compelling picture of male/female problems in Afghanistan, I recommend watching Osama in conjunction with the reading New York Times article. The movie is very disturbing, but may give insight into Afghan culture.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tolkien Week

J.R.R. Tolkien may be the most famous and beloved fantasy author of our time. This week marks a tribute to his work.

Tolkien Week was first proclaimed by the American Tolkien Society in 1978. It is defined as the calendar week containing September 22. That day is observed as Hobbit Day, based on the birthdays of two of Tolkien's most famousest of hobbits, Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, and the Long Awaited Party.

Tolkien Week honors J.R.R. Tolkien and his son and editor, Christopher J.R. Tolkien, and celebrates the Middle-earth cycle: The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King), Unfinished Tales, and The History of Middle-earth.

Should you wish to celebrate Tolkien's creative genius, we can offer you the full set of Peter Jackson's filmatizations,
an audio version, and the three volumes of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit as print and as audio book, The Children of Hurin (Narn I Hin Hurin), and lots of analytical and scholarly material.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Jupiter on View

Are you a stargazer? Mother Nature treats us to a rare sight tonight: Jupiter will be the closest to Earth in over 50 years. You should be able to see Jupiter's four largest moons even with binoculars, if you don't have a telescope. National Geographic reports on the event like this:

"'Oppositions of the Earth and Jupiter occur roughly every 400 days, due to Earth catching up to Jupiter and lapping it in its race around the sun,' said Raminder Singh Samra, resident astronomer at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia.

'But because the orbits of the planets are slightly elliptical, the distances between oppositions vary, and so the next time [Earth and Jupiter] are this close won't be until 2022.'

For the rest of September, Jupiter will be the brightest object in the sky, aside from the moon. The planet will be visible all night long, rising in the east at sunset and setting in the west around sunrise.

On September 22 the full moon will park itself just above Jupiter, making for a striking cosmic duo to the unaided eye. The following night the moon will sit just to Jupiter's left."

If you don't jump at the chance now, the next opportunity to see the 'live' Jupiter this close will be in 2022. For a 'dead' Jupiter, you can check our collection on the solar system.

Friday, September 17, 2010

We All Love Shoes Display

I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes. I had one thousand and sixty.”
Imelda Marcos
All you shoe lovers out there can relate to the endless accusations of “How many shoes do you HAVE?!” Our current display includes a selection of shoes from the last 100 years, and one pair from much longer ago…. In the clear display box are a pair from our Archives, boys boots found in our Little Red Schoolhouse and believed to be from the time of Master Moody –the late 1700’s!
The rest of the exhibit includes the Victorian woman's everyday button boots, embroidered Chinese slippers and genuine alligator pumps, along with Italian stilettos and a pink flowered pair by American shoe designer Seymour Troyling.
Shoes on loan courtesy of Meredith T.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Technical Support Through the Library

Having trouble connecting your laptop to the school network, printing, or accessing your P drive or e-mail? Check out the Tech Support resources on the Govs Moodle community for solutions and video tutorials. There's also a forum for questions.

At the library we have printouts of the most common troubleshooting instructions. Check out the bulletin boards, read the info sheets at the front desk (near the printer), or ask. We're here to help!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Semester, New Books

Ask for textbooks at the front desk. We'll gladly check them out for in-library use!

We just finished processing our last summer batch of acquisitions. The books are now available for checkout on the New Books shelves. Pop in to find both entertaining and informative reading for your leisure hours.

Also remember to check the PeskyLibrary LibraryThing account - our virtual collection with links to reviews (by us and other LibraryThing users), reading recommendations, and more. You can even see Pesky statistics!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Welcome Back!

Current textbooks
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Students arrived last week for preseason, Intercultural Orientation, and finally for Unity Days. We enjoyed spending the weekend together in the perfect fall weather. Today we are getting down to our true business with classes starting and full library hours. New for us this year is our textbook reserve section. We now have at least one copy of every required book for all four of the grades. Students can check out a book to use in the library. We believe this will help with time management as students will not be hampered by forgetting a book in working on upcoming assignments.