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Librarian Blog

Don't read this before bedtime

The Wall Street Journa,l has reported on a study that shows that if you read in iPad and some similar devices before you try to go to sleep, the process of dozing off will take longer than if you read a regular book.

The problem is a blue light that the devices emit. It disrupts the release of the chemical that helps you go to sleep.

If you're like me, you don't need anything to get in the way of getting in the right number of hours to keep me on my toes through the day.


It's just not clear

An outfit called Quartz has just released a list of the 10 books that were most often mentioned in tweets on Twitter.

The Infodocket website says the list was generated from more than 80 million tweets analyzed by BookVibe.

So, at No. 1, there is no surprise: "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green. No surprise because the movie came out this year and was a hit, and books associated with  movies always generate social-media activity.

No. 2 is no mystery, either: "A Game of Thrones" for the same reason.

Another John Green novel called "Looking for Alaska" is at No. 3. I have no clue why that would be tweeted so many times.

I figure that No. 4's "To Kill a Mockingbird" is ranked because it was required reading in a lot of English classes.

And No. 5 is "Hannibal" by Thomas Harris, which must be related to the series that continued running this year on NBC.

So, what about "Looking for Alaska?"

Help me out here.

When thugs win

So, the sorry little dictator in charge of North Korea wins Round 1.

He hacks Sony and spreads its laundry all across the web. Then he wins Round 2: He scares movie-house owners into believing he'll targe them if they play a movie that has his assassination as a central plot point. Then he wins Round 3: He gets Sony to abandon the film altogether.

For Round 4, he now threatens the United States with -- well, something -- if we retaliate for the hack attack.

So, what should the world's most powerful nation do?

Maybe take a play from Israel's game dealing with Iranian nuclear weapons manufacturing plants.

And take a play from Putin's game dealing with powerful internal enemies.

Surely there's a way to deal with the little man and his minions that Silicon Valley could figure out.

President Obama is right: He can't be allowed to get away with telling us what to publish.

Future leaders

When, as editor of the newspaper in Wichita Falls, I studied the Census data released in 2001 and 2002, one fact really popped out: The number of Anglos was in decline and the number of Hispanics was on the rise.

I broke the numbers down as far as possible and came to the fairly easy conclusion that the future leadership pool for Wichita Falls and that region was going to be Hispanic, not old white guys.

So, along with a community foundation director, I set about trying to get the younger Hispanics involved in local elections and as local decision-makers. That involved quite a number of initiatives, most of which were still under way when I left Wichita Falls in 2007.

I mention this because at the same time I was looking at Wichita Falls' future, I was also looking at Texas' future, and they were on parallel paths.

Seems as if I were clairvoyant. Now comes Richard Parker, a Wimberley author, in a book entitled "Lone Star Nation: How Texas Will Transform America," in which he argues that Texas needs to be sure to educate the young Hispanics because the state's future depends on them.

I have not read Parker's book yet, and am familiar with his thinking only because I read about it in the Sunday American-Statesman.

All I can say is that it certainly appear that Parker is right, at least to someone who is familiar with the data.

The big question is whether the state's leadership, which is mostly old white guys, will pay attention or whether they will try to hold onto their power to the detriment of the state's development.

No surprise

This week's report about the closing and opening of magazines during 2014 contained no surprises at all.

MediaFinder.com said 190 magazines were launched this year, compared to 185 last year. Ninety-nine magazines closed, compared to 56 in 2013.

Among those that were closed was USA Weekend, a bit of fluff that's been around for about 20 years or so.

USA Weekend was a competitor for Parade magazine. Newspapers could buy one of the publications for Sunday distribution. The idea was that a Sunday magazine would be a bonus for weekend editions.

I would imagine that Parade is on its last legs. It sure looks like it when I open the pathetic little effort out of the American-Statesman's Sunday paper.

I'm not surprised, either, that so many monthly publications are closing. The idea of receiving a magazine once a month is just plain quaint in this day and age. I only subscribe to one these days, and I read it online, which is not a good way to access the material.

Most of the magazines launched this year were regional in subject matter, like California Home & Design. That makes sense. You're less likely to run across information like that offered in regional publications in online sources.

Print's future in the magazine realm may well be in things like Texas Monthly, not in things like The Nation and Time and Newsweek.

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