Sunday, May 31, 2015

Daily Thoughts 05/31/2015


 Daily Thoughts 05/31/2015

I checked the Twitter and Facebook for the library in the morning.

I started reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.  Henrietta Lacks was a poor black woman from Virginia.  Her cells were taken from her during a cancer operation and cultured for medical use.

I also started reading The Age of Selfishness Ayn Rand, Morality, and the Financial Crisis by Darryl Cunningham. It is a graphic novel.  The story opens with a rather unflattering biographical section on Ayn Rand.  The art is rather severe in its style, with grays, blacks, light blues, and oranges.  The drawings have a very angular intense quality to them.  There is a lot of anger in the pictures. The biographical section on Ayn Rand reads like a philosophical tragedy.

I spent some time looking through my notes from Book Expo America.  One of the amazing things I learned is that the new Harper Lee novel, Go Set A Watchman has a print run of 2 million copies.

I watched Edison the Father of Invention which is part of the PBS American Experience dvd series.  I also watched a few episodes of Years of Living Dangerously which is a show about climate change.

I finished reading The Age of Selfishness Ayn Rand, Morality, and the Financial Crisis by Darryl Cunningham at the laundromat.  It was hard to put down.  The story skewers the international financial system in a compelling way.  There are some very unflattering portrayals of Alan Greenspan and his connection to Ayn Rand.  Darryl Cunningham manages to portray both liberalism and conservatism in an equally bad light.  The Tea Party is portrayed as being worse than both conservatives and liberals.

There are some very dark descriptions of financial corruption in the 2008 financial crisis.  This includes some apt descriptions of fraud during the forclosure crisis in the United States.  The book describes how the banks basically took from the middle class and poor in the United States and Britain to prevent a financial meltdown.  He describes the idea of austerity as a way to transfer wealth from the middle class and poor to the wealthy.

Darryl Cunningham describes how selfishness and greed are not virtues, especially in unregulated financial systems.  The comics of buildings that represent corporations talking to each other are a bit disconcerting. Corporations like AIG and Goldman Sachs are not spared. The tone of the drawings are dark with a lot of angst in them.  The final statement about altruism not being a weakness drives home the story in this graphic novel.

There is a list of sources for further reading and a glossary of financial terms in the back of the graphic novel.

Web Bits

A Lively BEA

The city's public library system is ripe for upheaval

An Article on the Mount Vernon Public Library Spring Soiree

Inflatable Space

Google's Project Loon Gets Autolauncher, Mesh Networking

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Daily Thoughts 05/30/2015

Edouillard Villard, Lucy Hessel Reading, 1913

Daily Thoughts 05/30/2015

I checked the library Twitter and Facebook this morning.

On the way to work, I read some more of CRACK99.  David Locke Hall describes the politics of cybersecurity as part of national security.  He describes how our military is highly connected with the private sector and why stealing commercial business secrets affects both our military and civilian sectors in the United States.  His primary focus is on China and Iran.

I brought in a bag of books from the Book Expo America convention this morning.  Balm by Dolen Perkins-Valdez looks interesting.  It is set during the reconstruction after the civil war in Chicago.  I have several more bags of books to bring in.  I decided not to ship everything back to the library.

I have quite a bit of reading material to go through for reviews.  I checked the displays and the gift books.   I also checked the collection management sheet at the reference desk for patron requests, added some books which were requested to an order which will go out on Monday and checked out a few books.

There were two books and a movie waiting for me at the circulation desk, Beyond Our Future in Space by Chris Impey, Evening's Empires by Paul McAuley which is science fiction, and a dvd named Years of Living Dangerously the Complete Series which was an Emmy Award Winner in 2014.  It is about climate change.  I am also looking at a graphic novel, The Age of Selfishness, Ayn Rand, Morality, and the Financial Crisis by Darryl Cunningham.

I read through a copy of the New York Times Book Review and the June Baker and Taylor Forecast.

I checked out the book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.  We are reading it for the Brown Bag Book Club on June 25, 2015 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.  I also did a little work for a flyer on the Digital Photography Class on June 23, 2015 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

I spent some time looking at the monthly circulation statistics.  They are a little bit better than last months.

I finished reading Crack 99 The Takedown of a $100 million Chinese Software Pirate by David Locke Hall. This is a story of intrigue and patience over many years.  David Locke Hall works against bureaucracy and slowly builds a case to capture Xiang Li who is selling military and industrial software through the internet.  We get to see Xiang Li as a businessman taking advantage of an opportunity.  He collects and identifies the software from different parts of the web and sells high end software for very cheap prices.

David Locke Hall describes why it is necessary to take a proactive approach with intellectual property that is both military and industrial.  It is not just the story of Xiang Li, it is also the story of his customers who are willing to give Xiang Li high end software for very low prices so he can resell it cheaply.  The book describes how military technology proliferates when people are not being proactive.  The focus is mainly on Iran and China.  However, because of the nature and ease of distributing software, there are also crackers from Russia as well in the story.  I think this will make it intriguing for people who like true crime stories or books on criminal court cases.

This story is very different from traditional hacker stories.  The people involved are businessmen, arms dealers, politicians, lawmen, and lawyers.  It makes for a different kind of read than a book on hackers like Kevin Mitnick or cyberactivists like Anonymous.

The Crack 99 case is the largest example of expensive software being sold through the internet.  We get descriptions of software used for radar, patriot missile systems, Ares V rockets, police work, and industrial design.  It is the kind of technology that has both military and civilian applications.

It is also a story of how they find people on the internet, identify crime through email, search through files, create cases against people with software and documents, and make international agreements to bring people back to the United States.  The story is more of a legal puzzle than a gun battle.

I got this book while I was at Book Expo America.  It is an Advanced Reading Copy.  The finished copy is due out in October of 2015.  There were also copies of the galley at Day of Dialog between Librarians and Publishers.

Web Bits

A Library That Won't Be Read for 100 Years

Friday, May 29, 2015

Daily Thoughts 05/29/2015

File:Still Life with Bible - My Dream.jpg
Still Life With Bible-- My Dream, Vincent Van Gogh, April 1885

Daily Thoughts 05/29/2015

I checked the library Twitter and Facebook this morning.

At Book Expo America, there were far more books that I wanted to read personally than when I went to previous conventions.  I have a fairly large stack of signed material which I plan to read.

This morning, I am hoping to get a copy of The Water Knife signed by Paolo Bacigalupi.  I will revisit some of the exhibitors and go to a few of the final panels.

I got to the conference at 9:00 a.m. and went to get The Water Knife signed and was the first person in line for the signing.  It went rather nicely.  One of the people there said that Paolo Bacigalupi was also signing a revised version of The Windup Girl at 3:00 p.m..  I checked Paolo Bacigalupi's blog and there is a description of new edition with two added short stories.

I walked around some more and looked at booths.  My feet are tired and it is 12:00 p.m.  I stopped by Nolo and looked at some of their legal self help books.  NBM has new guide to graphic novels which came out in April of 2015 called 101 Outstanding Graphic Novels by Steven Weiner.  Harvard University Press is releasing a book by Thomas Piketty called The Economics of Inequality in August of 2015.  I had a chance to look at the book, The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction by Pat Shipman. There are some recent articles about how dogs may have been domesticated much earlier than originally thought. Ancient Wolf Genome Pushes back the Dawn of the Dog.

I picked up a travel guide, The Michelin Guide to New York City 2015.

I saw most of the exhibitors that I wanted to see.  Then I spent some time resting my feet in the VIP lounge and the librarians lounge.  I drank some coffee and ate some popcorn.

I went to part of the Annual Librarians Book Buzz Part II.  It is where a select set of publishers announce what they thing will be the most important books during the rest of the year.  There were handouts from Consortium Books, Workbooks, Sourcebooks, HarperCollins Publishers which has a marketing department aptly called Library Love Fest, Sterling Adult New Titles, and MacMillan Library Marketing, and one other publisher who they ran out of handouts for each.  Each handout lists eight or more adult popular titles.  A few of the titles looked interesting like Made To Kill by Adam Christopher, a noir story with robots, The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr, Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter, Pixel Crochet, House of Thieves by Charles Belfour, and And West is West by Ron Childress.

I left a little early because there was a drawing for a Kindle HD and an iPad in the VIP lounge. I did not win anything.  When I was wandering, I dropped my card into several different fishbowls for drawings of different things.  Maybe, when I get back to work, some additional things will be sent to me.

The final activity was the Librarian Shout and Share where librarians many of them affiliated with Library Journal showed their picks for the show.  Each librarian would show a stack of review copies that they liked from the show.  Many of them were a bit surprising.  A few were items that I had purchased for my library like Black Man in a White Coat A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine  by Damon Tweedy.  Others like Jim Butcher, The Aeronauts Windlass and The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse: An Extraordinary Edwardian Case of Deception and Intrigue by Piu Marie Eatwell, My History: A Memoir of Growing Up by Antonia Fraser, and The Girl in the Spider's Web: A Lisbeth Salander novel, Continuing Stieg Larsson's Millenium Series by David Lagercrantz sounded intriguing.

The Shout and Share is written up in Library Journal. It is different being there though.  The feeling is different.

I read some more of CRACK99 on the way home.  David Locke Hall is describing the capture of an illegal Iranian arms dealer who is trying to buy weapons technology.

I have piles of books to read as well as to bring to the library around my house.  I still have to sort through things.

Web Bits

Public Library of 10,000 Vinyl Records Opens in South Korea

BEA 2015: Early Favorites for Young Readers

BEA 2015: For E-books in Libraries Obstacles Remain

Dear Librarian: New York Public Library's Quirkiest Inquiries

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Daily Thoughts 05/28/2015

Pierre Auguste Renoir, Nature Mort au Bouquet, 1873
Daily Thoughts 05/28/2015

I checked the library Twitter and Facebook this morning.  I also have my list of booths to visit for BEA ready.

I went in early today and did the VIP librarian tour which was short but interesting.  There were a few places to visit.  They also gave us a booth list of places to visit.  We were supposed to visit 15 different booths in order to take part in a drawing for a kindle or an Ipad.  The drawing is tomorrow at 3:15 p.m.  I spent a lot of time walking today.  I looked at a lot of different booths.

I said hello to Ellen Datlow at the Horror Writers Association booth.  I got a book signed by her, The Doll Collection Seventeen Brand New Tales of Dolls, edited by Ellen Datlow.  She said that it was nice that I was still a librarian.  I also stopped by the Romance Writers of America booth and took a look at the Mystery Writers of America booth. They are all clustered near each other.

I went to the librarians luncheon today.  It was interesting.  The event was led by Nora Rawlinson from Early Word which I read regulary.  At the library events, they always have bags of books.  There are always more books than I can possibly carry around.  I got a copy of We Were Brothers A Memoir by Barry Moser.

There were two sample books which seem especially interesting to me, 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food by Susan Albers, Psy.D.  who is the author of Eating Mindfully.  The other book which is holding my attention is Leaving Orbit, Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight by Margaret Lazarus Dean which is about then end of the space shuttle program.

I walked the whole show floor today.  At 3:30 p.m., I went to the VIP Library Networking Event which is interesting.  There was a film on a community reads project focused on James Joyce, The Dubliners.   There was also a very nice selection of publishers Osprey, American Girl, Farrar Strauss Giraux, Picador, and a few others.  I had already had two glasses of wine on the show floor, so I drank some ice water.

The cheese and crackers were quite nice.  I had also had a chance to sit down and sort through all the material I had acquired.  My bag was overflowing with books.  It was a long slog home with a very heavy bag of books.

On the way home, I read some more of CRACK99 which is a story of a criminal enterprise designed to sell sophisticated industrial and military software.  This is a story of "crackers" people who break software to resell it for money or reveal secrets.  It is very different than the books on hackers or cyber activists which I have read. 

Web Bits

BEA 2015, Books by Franzen, Halberg Among the Most Talked About

USC Brings Works, Personal Letters of Dashiell Hammett to Hollings Library

Queens Library CEO Appeals for More City Funding