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Librarian Blog

Serendipity poems

How is this for a nice little poem:
There you'll find me
Push, crash, tumble & fall
When morning comes
Carry on
Breathe
Love, Star Girl
It may not be Robert Frost, but it does sound nice. And it is just kind of a random sequencing of words that make sense in context even if they don't when taken apart.
Actually, each line is a title of a YA book. And the books are stacked on top of one another to form a title-poem, with each title contributing something to the whole.
Kristina Minor, our librarian for young adults, found out about doing this through a course she is taking at LSU, and she and young patrons are putting works together, one on top of another, to delineate a piece of poetry that is purely serendipitous.
Come by and check these out. And then build your own.

A cautionary tale

Before we become overly friendly with China, we ought to be very aware of far more than who they jail and torture and who they build stuff for.
Totalitarian governments pose even more treacherous dangers to their citizens and others than just those.
China is 1984 and better. Or worse, depending on your point of view.
Consider the story on the front page of the Wall Street Journal on June 27 with this headline: "China Tracks Faces to Shape Behavior."
The story starts with a truly frightening tale about a young woman who was jay-walking and a camera caught her in the act and then displayed it for all of the rest of her small world to see.
"I won't ever run a red light again," she told a reporter.
I guess not.
And she won't do anything else outside that she doesn't want the state to see her doing.
We do have cameras around street corners in Austin and elsewhere, and they probably do deter crime and help solve it.
But, using face recognition technology to solve the problem of jay-walking? Really?
 

To become famous!

Monalisa Perez, age 19, and her boyfriend Pedro Ruiz III, 22, remind me of the kids back when "Superman" came out on TV who quickly came to believe they, too, could fly and so they put a bath towel around their necks and jumped from their housetops. They dropped like buckets of rocks falling into a well.
Perez and Ruiz somehow convinced themselves that being on the internet was so important that they were invincible.
So, as a trick, they took a pistol and a book and Ruiz held the book up in front of his chest and Perez shot him.
The bullet went into his chest and killed him.
This might have worked if the pistol had been a .22.
Instead, it was a .50-caliber.
A tragic story about magical thinking that not even an author of fantasy could dream up.
(Information for this is from The New York Times of today.)

Originality counts

Years and years ago when I was editor of a small newspaper in the Panhandle someone who was not a resident of my town ormy county contacted me and told me he had proof that the new superintendent of schools in his town had a bogus doctorate from a diploma mill. This fellow also had a copy of the superintendent's plagiarlized doctoral dissertation.
The newspaper in his county, which neighbored my own, wouldn't publish the story. Would I?
Of course.
Regardless of the squishy and moveable standars for such things today, I still believe plagiarism is a sin against scholarship and should be punished severely.
Cut-and-paste technologies and access to an infinite supply of materials has apparently made plagiarism easier than ever. That doesn't make it right.
The most recent spate of plagiarism reminded me of that long-ago school superintendent. In the present case, it appears that quite a number of public school principles are plagiarising letters of acceptance or something of the sort. And they are losing their jobs. Rightfully so.
ABC FOX News in Montana did a little sniffing around and discovered the evidence of widespread cheating on these letters.
Still, this is truly only the small tip of a huge iceberg. I subscribe to a daily blog called "Retraction Watch," and every single day it includes notes about the misuse of images, the appropriation of facts, just out-and-out bad behavior by people who know better but don't care.
This is far beyond mere fake news. This is fakery everywhere.

Slip slidin'

The slippery slope's leading edge was music.
That's how it all began. First, music went online and you could buy it for next to nothing or not pay for it at all.
Next was books. Now, you can buy them, but mainly through one retailer who can charge what it wants.
Then came (or went) newspapers. And then magazines.
And now it's shopping malls.
The internet eats everything in its path. And it takes no prisoners.
Today alone, The New York Times has three stories about the online world's impact on jobs, retail sales, malls -- commerce in general.
We appear to be approaching a tipping point.
Amazon seems to realize this. It just bought Whole Foods.
Whole Foods is a subset of Whole World.
Yipes.
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