Thursday, January 31, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/31/2013

Postage stamp of the Soviet Union, Robert Burns, scottish poet, 1956, 40 kopecks
Daily Thoughts 01/31/2013

I checked the Facebook and Twitter for the library this morning.  I had some errands to run in the morning.  On the way to work, I finished reading Race Against the Machine.  There were a number of solutions to the problem of technological unemployment being suggested.  One was to make it easier to hire people and give incentives to hire people before buying new machinery.  Another one was to encourage entrepreneurship, especially technology entrepreneurship, and lessen the barriers to creating new companies.

There was also a bit about improving education.  The authors describe how there is not enough science, technology, engineering, and medicine education.  They would amend this to science, technology, engineering, arts, and medicine education (STEAM).  Writing and design are critical to technology education.  I liked the idea that they were saying too many people are being trained for finance and not enough for science.  I also liked the idea of redoing the patent system so it is easier to file patents and shortening the copyright length.

I also read some more of The Children of the Sky by Vernor Vinge.  I am enjoying reading the novel.  There is another set of aliens in it, talking cuttlefish which are interesting.

I have a copy of the latest New York Review of Books and Publishers Weekly to read.  A book which looks very interesting is Ben S. Bernanke, The Federal Reserve and the Financial Crisis coming out on Febraury 24, 2013 published by Princeton University Press.  Another two books that look interesting are The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman in June of 2013 and The Cushion In the Road Meditation and Wanderings as the Whole World Awakens to Being in Harms Way by Alice Walker in April of 2013.

The computer lab was open from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. today.

This is a link to a free open course, Introduction to Data Science which teaches the programming language R at Syracuse University.

The Power Searching With Google online class.

I finished reading Children of the Sky by Vernor Vinge. I like that there are both villainous aliens and humans.  Also there are good humans and aliens as well.  It makes the story more believable.  The alien pack called Tycoon was my favorite character in the science fiction novel.

Web Bits

Timeless Book May Require Some Timely Fact Checking

Bring Back Shushing Librarians

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/30/2013

Smyth Casing-In Machine, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911, Volume 4, P.220

Daily Thoughts 01/30/2013

This morning on the way to work, I read some more of Children of the Sky.  I am enjoying it because it has a mix of adventure, intrigue, and politics on an alien world.  I especially like the way Vernor Vinge describes the Tines who are both pack creatures and group intelligences.  It is enjoyable light reading.

I checked the displays and the social media for the library this afternoon.  I also checked to make sure that a program was posted on the website.  The Women's Enterprise Development Center is at the library on February 6,7, and 13 to do a program on small business entrepreneurship from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the community room.

I finished reading the latest copy of Forecast by Baker and Taylor.  The book, Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy by Eric Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee has come in for me to read.  It is a  short book of 92 pages.

This article reminds me of Ray Kurzweil's book How To Create A Mind.  New $1.6 Billion Supercomputer Project Will Attempt to Simulate the Human Brain.

On the way home, I started reading Race Against the Machine.  I am about halfway through the book.  I have read about many of the premises in this book before.  The book is putting together ideas in a new way.  An important theme is that digital technology changes the entire structure of an economy.  It is not simply a short term change.  It is much like a move from an agricultural society to an industrial society.  People who work smarter and are more capable of working with digital technology tend to reap the rewards and have more wealth.  The short term practice of borrowing massive amounts of money to keep the economy the same will not work in the long term. Moore's law that the processing power of a computer doubles every year is becoming exponentially large.

There are numerous quotes in the book, one from John Maynard Keynes is especially important, "We are being afflicted with a new disease of which some readers may not have heard the name, but of which they will hear a great deal in the years to come--, namely technological unemployment.  This means unemployment due to our discovery of means of economizing the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for Labor", 1930.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/29/2013

Bookwheel, from Agostino Ramelli's "Le diverse et artifiose machine," 1588

Daily Thoughts 01/29/2013

I checked the libraries social media this morning.  I read some more of The Honest Truth About Dishonesty on the train to work.  The author is describing how and why people cheat at golf.

I checked the displays this morning and the gift books.  I have a copy of the New York Times Book Review and the Times Literary Supplement to read.  This is the first time I have seen the New York Times Book Review review book apps.  On P.9 of the January 27, 2013 issue, there is an article titled The Heat of Battle Apps that Explore the Events of the Civil War, World Wars I and II by J.D. Biersdorfer.

The Book2Camp Conference is coming up on February 10, 2013.

I checked out three books today; The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices by Frank, The World Until Yesterday by Jared Diamond, and The One World Schoolhouse by Salman Khan.  I saw a link to the Khan Academy on the local school district site.

I am reading the latest Forecast from Baker and Taylor.  Jessica Alba has a new book, The Honest Life Living Naturally and True to You.  It looks like an endorsement for her new line of natural products, but it will have a lot of star appeal to it.  Also there is a new Marion Zimmer Bradley Darkover novel, Children of Kings.  I am hoping that the writer who is finishing the novel is good.  There is also The Complete Stories of Truman Capote.

There is a new book coming out called Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think by Viktor Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier.  It has a 75,000 print run and is coming out in March.

The computer classes are tonight in the lab.

Web Bits

ALA Midwinter 2013: Next Up, Pew Will Look at Library 'Marketing'

Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century

Monday, January 28, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/28/2013

Bertha Wegmann, Portrait of Jeanna Bauck, 1881

Daily Thoughts 01/28/2013

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

I am reading The Honest Truth About Dishonesty by Dan Ariely.  The book opens with a bit about Enron and then describes how many people tend to cheat a little bit.  It also describes how organizations lose money not because one person steals lots of money, but because many people take a small amount.  There are some interesting case studies which show how people take less when they get small reminders not to take things like signs and reminders to be moral.

The AP Impact stories on technology must have had an impact.  There are now requests out to tell your story.  Jobs Lost To Technology: Share Your Story.
It is something worth thinking about.  Technology is changing things very quickly.

I have also been reading more of Children of the Sky by Vernor Vinge.  It is science fiction.  It is a nice escape from the ordinary.

I put the book, The One World Schoolhouse, Education Reimagined by Salman Khan on hold.

Web Bits

Jamaica Kincaid on Libraries, Censorship, and the Power of Writing

Barnes and Noble Exec Plans More Store Closings

Zero to Book In Three Days

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/27/2013

An illustration from Jules Verne's novel "A Floating City" (1869) drawn by Jules Férat.

Daily Thoughts 01/27/2013

This morning, I checked the various social media accounts I have.  I also read some more of Wait The Art and Science of Delay.  There is a bit on the irrationality of human decision making with some descriptions of behavioral economics.  People tend not to do what is rational.  I rather like that Frank Portnoy describes how there is a link between procrastination and overindulgence.

I relaxed mostly today and did a little shopping.  I finished reading Wait The Art and Science of Delay.  Frank Partnoy reminds us to slow down and use longer term thinking.  He also describes how inventing new things takes time, often decades before people are ready for them.

Web Bits

Literary History as Seen Through the Big Data Lens
I'd rather not have my literary taste and history determined by an algorithm.

The Best Fictional Libraries in Pop Culture
Borges is not exactly pop culture.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/26/2013

Leo Gestel, Woman Reading by Lamplight, 1906

Daily Thoughts 01/26/2013

I checked the Twitter and Facebook for the library this morning.   I was also looking through linkedin and came across this article.   Kyle Baker is giving away some of his graphic novels.  I rather enjoyed reading some of them. Does Free Devalue Comics

I read some more of Wait, The Art and Science of Delay.   The book is very much about timing and how long you should wait before you do something.  Not everything should be done immediately.  There is even a section on the benefits of procrastination.

Web Bits

Pews Latest Library Report Looks at Services

Possibly the One Thing Almost All Americans Agree On Libraries in the Digital Age

2013 Man Booker International Prize Finalists Announced

Friday, January 25, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/25/2013

Antonio de Pereda, Allegory, circa 1654
Daily Thoughts 01/25/2013

On the way to work, I read some more of Wait the Art and Science of Delay. Frank Partnoy describes how it is important to distract yourself and think of something else like a number or the alphabet when you see advertising or fast food places.  This will break your train of thought and make it less likely you will buy something or go into a fast food place.

This morning, I checked the libraries Facebook and Twitter accounts.  I also checked the displays.  I am working on the displays for African American history month in February.

This is the third part in the series.

Will Smart Machines Create a World Without Work
If you want to understand this better there is a book called Automate This:  How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World by Christopher Steiner.

On the way home, I read a little more of Wait the Art and Science of Delay.  There was a little bit on when it is best to not doing anything at all and not make a decision which was quite thoughtful.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/24/2013

Laurent de la Hyre, Allegorical Figure of Grammar, 1650

Daily Thoughts 01/24/2013

This morning, I started reading The Children of the Sky by Vernor Vinge.  It is science fiction.  I rather enjoy the concept of aliens with a group intelligence.

I checked the Twitter and Facebook for the library this morning.  I also checked the displays and the gift books.  I usually spend quite a bit of time on the reference desk as well every day.

The library has the computer lab open today from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

This is the second part of the AP Impact Story.

Practically Human Can Smart Machines Do Your Job

This is a quote from this article.  It is affecting libraries right now.

"North Carolina State University this month introduced a high-tech library where robots — "bookBots" — retrieve books when students request them, instead of humans. The library's 1.5 million books are no longer displayed on shelves; they're kept in 18,000 metal bins that require one-ninth the space."

"Four years ago, the Darien, Conn., public library bought self-service check-out machines from 3M Co. Now, with customers scanning books themselves, the library is processing more books than ever while shaving 15 percent from staff hours by using fewer part-time workers."

This articles also points out that a part of this is because of Big Data which is starting to become more than just big business, it is also moving into small business.  It also describes the trend towards constant entrepreneurship which is not easy for most people.

How Small Businesses are Innovating With Big Data

There is another aspect to this article.  Big Data commoditizes personal information and makes everything people do into a profit making opportunity.  It also invades personal privacy in the sense that you have value and not just the government wants your personal information, but also corporations.

I put the book, The sorcerers and their apprentices : how the digital magicians of the MIT Media Lab are creating the innovative technologies that will transform our lives by Frank Moss on hold.

On the way home, I started reading the book, Wait, The Art and Science of Delay by Frank Portnoy.   It has a very eclectic feel to it and seems to draw from a wide variety of sources: sports, psychology, day trading, telecommunications, and other fields.  Some people might find it a bit too eclectic.  The basic premise is that is best to wait to make a decision in many circumstances.  It is very much a statement against off the cuff decisions.

I rather like this image:

What People Think Is Important for Libraries to Offer 
I agree with it.

This is image is part of Part 4: What People Want from Their Libraries.

Web Bits

Library Services in the Digital Age

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/23/2013

Girl Reading A Letter, Alfred Edward Chalon, (1780-1860)

Daily Thoughts 01/23/2013

This morning, I checked the libraries Twitter and Facebook pages.

I read a book called Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear.  It follows the classic generation ship gone wrong story.  However, it has some different twists to it.  All of the robots have broken down and now there are only people and monsters.  The generation ship is at war with itself.  There are some unique twists to the story which I don't want to spoil.  The main character has more than one version of himself running around.  This is entertainingly done.  I enjoyed reading the book.  I read it one sitting.

I also took some time to read more of Librarians as Community Partners.  I am reading about class visits right now to schools as well as literacy projects with immigrants.  There is a literacy program at the Mount Vernon Public Library.

I checked the library Facebook and Twitter pages.  I also checked the displays.  February is African American History Month.  I am preparing for it.

On the way home, I finished reading Librarians As Community Partners.  There were more than 66 different ideas.  Each of the 66 different activities often embraced more than one program.  It was interesting and engaging reading.  It reminded of some things like Summer Reading in Hartley Park, the Adult Summer Reading Program, and some of the programs sponsored by the Friends of the Mount Vernon Public Library.

This is a very important article it may not be about books.  But it is about many peoples futures.  The whole structure of manufacturing and service is about to change in ways people are not ready for.  The whole economic structure around the world is based on scarcity.  When it costs less to manufacture virtually everything, and there is increasing amounts of crowd sourced intelligence, it will mean less people doing more with more goods produced.  A cycle happens where companies get richer, more wealth is produced and less people have jobs.

AP Impact Recession, Tech Kill Middle Class Jobs

If you read the article, it tells you that startups and new businesses are one of the few places where people can find a job.  The businesses are smaller usually.  This has made me realize the importance of basic computer  classes, books on computers, and books on small business and entrepreneurship.  One of the few places left to find a job is to create one.  It is why we see the growth of spaces like New Work City and other coworking spaces.

People have to increasingly create their own jobs.  It is why books like the $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau have come into existence.  It is also why there is such a focus on innovation with books like The Lean Startup:  How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries which is basically how to innovate a company into existence with very little money up front.

This process is going to accelerate.  There are new developments in manufacturing, specifically 3D printing and open source manufacturing which will make things cheaper and more efficient to produce.  This will not just be small things.  It will be things like cars,  Urbee, The Worlds First Printed Car  Rolling Off the 3D Printing Press,, and buildings, The Worlds First 3D Printed Building Will Arrive in 2014  Other things will be manufactured from open source like Local Motors

This process has been discussed in books like Fab:  The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop-- from Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication by Neil Gershfield, and Makers  The New Industrial Revolution by Chris Andersen.

Crowdsourcing, artificial intelligence and big data will replace many service jobs.  Already there are virtual assistants which can perform customer service.  There are also may soon be other more technical jobs which are replaced.  This is why I read books like How To Create a Mind by Ray Kurzweil.

It is also why I read books like You Are  Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier which have a more humanist view of computing.

Web Bits

Americans Call for Libraries to Provide More Ebooks
Just a bit over half.

'Obscurity': A Better Way To Think About Your Data Than 'Privacy'

Exclusive Interview With Ray Kurzweil On Future AI Project at Google
Looks like he might build a mind at Google.  I am still thinking about Ray Kurzweil's book How to Create a Mind.

We Want to Hear Your Thoughts: How Can Libraries Best Serve Their Communities?
I took the survey

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/22/2013

Room Corner With Curiosities, Jan van der Heyden, c1712

Daily Thoughts 01/22/2013

On the way to work, I finished reading The Case for Mars.  There is an interesting section at the end which talks about a different funding model for space missions focused on private enterprise.  It is the prize model similar to the X-prize.  I found some of the ending to be far fetched, especially the section on terraforming.

I checked the Facebook and Twitter for the library this morning.  I also checked the gift books, the displays, and spent a little time thinking about ebooks.  I also spent some time looking at patron requests for books; Unix Powershell, Microsoft Server 2012, The TEAS, Test of Essential Academic Skills,  and other practical titles.  We get a lot of requests for computer books including Oracle, Linux, Microsoft Office, HTML & CSS, and other topics.

The latest New York Times Book Review and the latest New York Review of Books have come in for me to read.  Publishers Weekly also came in.  While I was reading through Publishers Weekly, I learned about a new ebook publisher.  Giga Om is publishing ebooks.  A title which looks interesting is The Battle for the Books: Inside Google's Gambit to Create the World's Biggest Library.

Our computer classes are this evening.  The beginning class is from 6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m., and the intermediate class is from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Web Bits

What We Buy Now

Library Services in The Digital Age

The Wrong Goodbye of Barnes and Noble

Monday, January 21, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/21/2013

Daily Thoughts 01/21/2013

Today is a national holiday, Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday.  Many people consider it a national day of service.

I read some more of The Case for Mars.  Robert Zubrin is describing the process of building the first Martian colony.  He describes how the first indigenous buildings may be made of glazed brick and consist of underground vaults.  He also describes how to build agriculture domes on Mars.  There is a discussion of the need to have a more vegetarian society on Mars. This book reminds me of Elon Musk's statements about how he will build a Mars colony.  The plans seem quite similar.

I also read some more of Librarians As Community Partners.  They are writing about how books with universal themes can be used in programming and outreach.  Some authors like Dr. Seuss, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Alice Walker, Jack London, and Beverly Cleary are able to reach people at a very basic level.

Web Bits

Swarming A Book Online

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/20/2013

Ex Libris Biblioteca Central de la Diputatacion Provincial de Barcelona, 1836

Daily Thoughts 01/20/2013

I took a break yesterday.  I have been reading more of The Case for Mars.  Robert Zubrin is describing how to manufacture fuel and oxygen from mars which can be used by the crew of a mars mission.  He also describes what a mars car would be like.  The next chapter is on how to set up a martian colony that would eventually be self sufficient.

I am also reading Librarians As Community Partners.  One of the sections is on contact with the news.  A number of different news institutions cover the Mount Vernon Public Library:  The Mount Vernon Inquirer , The Westchester Journal News , and The Mount Vernon Daily Voice, .  There are occasional opinion pieces and coverage in the New York Times Westchester section.  Also we were recently covered by Mount Vernon Neighbors United on Facebook.  In addition we get occasional coverage from the City of Mount Vernon on Facebook as well as the Westchester Library System on Facebook.

Web Bits

Mt. Vernon Library Is Worth Preserving

Top Four Things Library Supporters Can Do to Make a Difference

Friday, January 18, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/18/2013

Norman Garstin, A Woman Reading a Newspaper, 1891

Daily Thoughts 01/18/2013

I am up early reading the library news.  The library is open today.  I spent some time looking at Twitter and Facebook this morning for the library.  On the way to work, I read a little more of The Case for Mars.  There is a lot of politics in how space programs are chosen.  A lot of it is about money.  I also read some more of Librarians as Community Partners.  I am reading about bilingual senior programs.

I checked the gift books and displays this morning.  We are having a training in Baker and Taylor Titlesource 3.  The training was informative.  The staff had the training in the computer lab.  I learned how the Titlesource 3 system worked for basic ordering.  There were a number of review sources which we got access to which we did not have before like Video Librarian and Audiofile Reviews.

I read the latest copy of Publishers Weekly.  I also checked out two books, The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafon which is a young adult title, and The Children of the Sky by Vernor Vinge Which is science fiction.

On the way home, I read some more of The Case for Mars.  Robert Zubrin is writing about the hazards of space; background radiation, solar flares, confined spaces, and zero gravity.  I also read some more of Libraries As Community Partners.  It reminded me that September is National Library Card Sign Up Month which is a good time to ask people to sign up for library cards.

Web Bits

Becoming a Community Centric Content Publisher
This is a reminder that if you have an online presence, it is important to build a community or social network around it.

Barnes and Noble, The Last Big Bookseller Standing: But for How Long?  Knowledge@Wharton

No Textbooks in NYC Schools: Coming Soon?

As Tablets Supplant Ereaders New Challenges Arise for Publishers.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/17/2013

Landscapes and Beauties: Feeling Like Reading the Next Volume, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Edo Period, 19th Century Painting

Daily Thoughts 01/71/2013

I read some more of The Case for Mars.  Robert Zubrin is describing how the Mars Direct plan was created.  There is a lot about the politics of NASA and how it ends up costing lots of money because the different engineers want their projects to be funded.  I also read a little more of Librarians As Community Partners.  The authors are describing senior outreach programs.

Web Bits

After 17 Years Education Platform Raises Its First Round of Funding $103 million from Accel Spectrum.
I am hoping that they use some of this funding to enter the library market.  They are doing a trial at the Science Industry and Business Library in Manhattan.

Extracting Value From Uncertain Data
Big Data will soon effect publishing and libraries in a significant way.

Publishers Focus on a Complex Future at Digital Book World

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/16/2013

 3 A.M. Sunday, February 23rd, 1908. Newsboys selling on Brooklyn Bridge. Harry Ahrenpreiss, 30 Willet Street. (Said was 13 years old). Abe Gramus. 37 Division Street. Witness Fred McMurray. Location: New York, New York (State) / Photo by Lewis W. Hine.

Daily Thoughts 01/16/2013

The library where I work is closed today.  I took some time this morning to read some more of The Case for Mars by Robert Zubrin.  I am reading about the different robotic rovers which were sent to explore the planet.  There was also a bit  about exploring Mars with balloons.

I also read a little bit from Librarians as Community Partners.  There are 66 different examples of how libraries can partner with community organizations from 34 different libraries.  The library has a number of programs which are similar to the ones in the book like the Reading Buddies program during the summer where adults read to children and the Rotunda Art Gallery where the library host exhibits as well as events sponsored by the Friends of the Mount Vernon Public Library.

Web Bits

Why Public Libraries Matter and How They Can Do More

Why Libraries May Be An Essential Part of Cities of the Future

State Releases Study Showing $2.4 Billion in Economic Benefits from Texas Public Libraries
The Market Value of Library Services section is quite interesting. It shows that computer terminals and internet access have value, wifi access has value, reference services have value, and circulating material has value.  There are five specific types of programs which add business value, preparing/updating resumes, searching for a job, developing marketing literature, researching issues related to business, and business counseling.

Reading Habits In Different Communities

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/15/2013

Buste de René Descartes sculpté par JS Brun en 1838 - Galerie du Chateau de Versailles

Daily Thoughts 01/15/2013

This morning, I checked the Twitter and Facebook for the library.  The library's career counselor is back today.  I also checked the displays and the gift books.  I have a copy of Library Journal to read.  The book, The Case for Mars The Plan to Settle The Red Planet and Why We Must by Robert Zubrin with Richard Wagner came in for me to read.    It is the updated version.

The library has the computer classes tonight.  There is also a book signing by Lori Waselchuk for her book Grace Before Dying in the library Rotunda Gallery from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 today, Tuesday, January 15, 2013.  There is also a toiletries drive for Westhab for soap, shaving cream, shampoo, and disposable razors from January 14th to January 18th.

I started reading Robert Zubrin, The Case for Mars .  The author is describing a case for manufacturing oxygen and fuel on mars so less fuel and oxygen will be needed to carry to the planet.  He is also making an argument on how to have all the explorers provided with food and supplies at their destination by sending supplies ahead of time.  It is a kind of live off the land strategy.  There are also more long term plans based on building inflatable greenhouses, wind towers, and solar panels.  The plan is called Mars Direct.  It is very optimistic in its approach.

A recording of one of the New York City Data Meetups which I went to. 

I rather like Big Data because it deals with massive amounts of data.  It has the same kind of interest to me as the hidden web or the deep web which is the layer of information under the immediate surface web which contains databases, forums, and other sources complex information.

I really don't think librarians understand the full implications of Big Data.  It is things like crowd sourced intelligence which are going to come up and catch librarians completely by surprise.  This is a case of a trend approaching which is too fast for many people to even react to.

Artificial Intelligence Powered by Many Humans

Monday, January 14, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/14/2013

Tony-Robert Fleury, Girl Reading, 1880

Daily Thoughts 01/14/2013

On the way to work, I read a little bit more of The Visioneers.  The author is focusing on Eric K Drexler an early proponent of nanotechnology.  Drexler is famous for writing the book, Engines of Creation.  A concept which the author describes is exploratory engineering or working on technologies which we have not  developed yet.  The X-prizes are examples of exploratory engineering.  Towards the end of the book, W. Patrick McCray writes about Spaceship One and Burt Rhutan which won an x-prize.

This made me think back to an earlier book which I had just read, How To Create a Mind by Ray Kurzweil.  Kurzweil describes the concept of the thought experiment. It reminds me a little bit of exploratory engineering.   Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Thought Experiment).

This morning, I checked the Facebook and Twitter accounts for the library.  I also checked the displays and the new books section.  The new books have been going out steadily.  I also checked the gift books.  There is a display of books for Martin Luther King's birthday in the front lobby windows.  There are also a lot of urban fiction books coming in.

I checked out the book, Librarians As Community Partners, Edited by Carol Smallwood.

I read the latest Times Literary Supplement which is British.  There were an interesting title, The Mummy's Curse The True History of a Dark Fantasy by Roger Lockhurst which follows the horrid luck of handling Egyptian mummies.  I also read the latest New York Times Book Review.  I put the book, The World Until Yesterday: What We Can Learn from Traditional Societies by Jared Diamond on hold.  I liked his other books, Guns, Germs and Steel  and Collapse.  They were both informative and excellent.

On the way home, I finished reading The Visioneers.  The end of the book writes about the value of having a positive view of the future.  It also describes some of the modern "visioneers" like Peter Diamantis and Ray Kurzweil.  The brief description of transhumanism which is about how to make people better with smart drugs, longevity medicine, implants, and nanotechnology unsettles.  I like not being tethered to technological devices and enjoy having a quiet moment.

I joined the New York City Data Scientists meetup.

Web Bits

Content Vs. Container (The Library as a Whole Edition)

A Library Without Books Bibliotech to Open

What You Can Do About Ebooks and Libraries

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/13/2013

Daily Thoughts 01/13/2013

I have been reading more of The Visioneers.  Right now, I am reading about Omni magazine which was a mix of science fiction and science.  It had a definite utopian feeling with a vision that predicted all kinds of technological wonders.  Ben Bova featured prominently in Omni, Ellen Datlow was one of the editors.  I enjoyed reading it tremendously.  It was the precursor to magazines like Wired and websites like Tech Crunch with their future oriented often excessive love of technology.  The difference that I see is that the new magazines are completely focused on fringe technology and current technological breakthroughs not science fiction.  People right now are living in a world where we make the future. There are of course some very interesting writers like Chris Anderson coming out of Wired.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/12/2013

Interrupted Reading, Circa 1870, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

Daily Thoughts 01/12/2013

I have been enjoying reading The Visioneers.  I am learning about where a lot of unusual ideas came from including beamed solar power and the L5 Society came from.  It is very entertaining.  How about the L5 by '95 which was the original goal of building a space colony by 1995.  There is a lot of fringe science, valid scientific work that is not in the mainstream.

I checked the social media for the library this morning.  I also spent a little bit more time reading about big data.  I also got a speaker request.
I have no idea why I get these things sometimes.  I get them on occasion.  Although this may not appear to be library related, the page is copyright Infotoday, 2013.  Also KMWorld is very much tied with special libraries.

I read some more of The Visioneers.  I am reading about the creation of the personal computer.  There is of course mention of Moore's law which says that computers will double in capacity every year.  This is not going to stop, now there are 3D computer chips.  There is also Alan Kay's famous statement, "The best way to predict the future is to invent it."

The Future of Computer 3D Chip Stacking

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/10/2013

The Thick of the Plot (an elegant lady reading), signed, watercolour, 20 x 27 cm, by 1924, George Goodwin Kilburne

Daily Thoughts 01/10/2013

I finished reading Management Rewired this morning.  The book was useful.  It described how we tell stories and create our own world.  These stories drive our decision making.  In order to have positive change we need a better story which leads to a better workplace.  Part of this process of creating a better story and a better workplace is communication which fosters participation and working together.

This morning, I checked the Twitter and Facebook for the library.  I also spent a little bit of time looking at Better World Books.  I also read the latest copy of Publishers Weekly.

I started reading The Visioneers by W. Patrick McCray today.  It was done as an academic writing project. It looks like it is a book that crosses over between academia and popular science which is interesting.  The publisher is Princeton University Press.  There are a number of other libraries in the Westchester Library System which have it.

The computer lab was open from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. today.  Among the people at the lab were two people from the computer class on Tuesday night who were practicing Microsoft Word.

I spent some time checking the 800s in the mezzanine today.

I read some more of The Visioneers.  On P.13 W. Patrick McCray describes visioneering as:

Visioneering means developing a broad and comprehensive vision for how the future might be radically changed by technology, doing research and engineering to advance this vision, and promoting one's ideas to the public and policy makers in the hopes of generating attention and perhaps even realization.

I like the material which is written on  Gerard K O'neill, especially the vision of space manufacturing as a way to move pollution and resource depletion off earth as well capture solar power off planet.  It has a very utopian feel to it.

I decided to see if there were some similar books.  Robert Zubrin has a book called The Case for Mars: The Plan To Settle The Red Planet and Why We Must.

Inflatable Space

As an aside Aeroscraft started testing their hybrid craft which was listed at 500 tons cargo capacity.

Gigantic Aeroscraft Airship Passes Ground Tests, Gets Set for Flight Operations

I believe that a craft like this could carry a large payload like a rocket to high altitude and be used as part of a manned rockoon.  The Da Vinci Project a Canadian X Prize project was working on this.

Web Bits

WILL act Reintroduced in the House
It is precisely this kind of thing which will make libraries better supported.  We have a Job Information Center and a career counselor who come once a week.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/09/2013

Bookbinder Coat of Arms
This file depicts the coat of arms of a German Korperschaft des offentlichten
 Rechts (corporation governed by public law). According to § 5 Abs. 1 of the German Copyright Law, Official Works are public domain.

Daily Thoughts 01/09/2013

On the way to work, I read some more of Management Rewired.  Charles S. Jacobs is making an argument against scientific management and top down hierarchical organization based on human behavior.  He is arguing that participative management and group based decision making are more in line with how people think.  Part of his explanation is the idea that military style organization and top down management has run its historical course.

I checked my social media accounts this morning including Twitter and Facebook.  I also checked the new books and the displays.  There is a large order of urban fiction books which is being processed.

While reading Shelf Awareness I came across the book, Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova.  It looked interesting.

I did a walk around of the library shelves spot checking for stray books and loose material.  I also took a few minutes to look at library fliers so I could post some events on Facebook.  I also did a quick walk around in the mezzanine checking for loose books and stray items.  I also did a bit of inventory in the mezzanine 800s.

I got a free VIP pass to Book Expo America.  It was a pleasant surprise in my email.  I always like going there.  It is a lot of fun looking at all the new books and giveaways.  The conference is on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 to June 1, 2013.

I am looking at The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest.  It is Steampunk set in Cherie Priest's Clockwork Century setting which is a zombie infested Seattle.  I checked this book out.  I also checked out The Visioneers by W. Patrick McCray.  It should be interesting.

I read some more of Management Rewired on the way home.  One of the authors arguments is that too much thinking about the immediate bottom line leads to mistakes in long term strategy.  He describes how companies fail financially by not spreading growth over several years, overextending themselves, or creating a consistent story about how a company will succeed over the long term.   Part of this description of stories includes allusions to the classics like the Iliad. 

Web Bits

Check These Out at the Library: Blacksmith, Bowling, Butchering

Publishing Projects Raised $15 Million Dollars on Kickstarter Last Year

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/08/2013

Artist's impression of the interior of an O'Neill Cylinder space habitat design. Artist's description: "One of my earliest Space Colony paintings was based on the giant 'Model 3' cylindrical habitats envisioned by Gerard O'Neill. I imagined the clouds forming at an 'altitude' around the rotation axis. At this time the scene is bathed in the ruddy light of all the sunrises and sunsets on Earth at that moment as the colony briefly enters the Earths shadow, out at the L5 Lagrangian Point where stable locations are easily maintained. Oil on canvas panel disposition unknown."  I enjoy the aesthetics of these kinds of images.  I see them as a form of hard science ficiton.  Gerald K. Oneill wrote the book, The High Frontier Human Colonies In Space.  It had a utopian premise that in thirty or forty years there would be human colonies in space.   I can imagine giant size colonies like this two hundred years from now, but not over the immediate horizon.  There will be small spaces to start.

Daily Thoughts 01/08/2013

This morning, I started reading Management Rewired Why Feedback Doesn't Work and Other Surprising Lessons from the Latest Brain Science.  I rather like the idea that being objective is really something that should be focused on objects like books and computers not people.  Charles A. Jacobs describes how people make decisions using their emotions and create their own unique view of the world or paradigm.

This morning, I checked the social media for the library and checked the displays and gift books.  I have a copy of the Times Literary Supplement to read.  I also am going to read The New York Review of Books.  I got the latest New York Times Book Review to read as well.  While I was reading through the New York Review of Books, I found a book called The Visioneers: How A Group of Elite Scientists Pursued Space Colonies, Nanotechnologies, and a Limitless Future by Patrick McCray which I put on hold.  There was also a book by Han Han who is popular blogger and race car driver in China called This Generation.

I enjoy reading techno utopian nonfiction books.  They are often so far removed from what might happen that they are even less real than hard science fiction.  There is a strong element of blue sky thinking in Gerard K. O'Neills space colonies and technological optimism in Ray Kurzweil's work.  It is uplifting but often thoroughly impractical.

I spent some time cleaning my desk and sorting through things;  looking through advanced reading copies, promotional posters, books which I had never had a chance to read, bookmarks for services like Freegal and Learning Express Job and Career Accelerator, conference tote bags with publishers symbols on them, and similar things.

The library has the Computer Lab open today from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and has two computer classes in the computer lab tonight.  People like the classes.  The attendees wrote a request for more classes.

I read a little bit of Management Rewired on the way home.  The author is describing how stories and metaphors can defeat logical objective statements.  He describes concepts like mirror neurons, paradigms, and reciprocity are ways which human beings act which have little to do with logic.  Charles S. Jacobs also describes how feedback and the desire for managing people scientifically can lead to the opposite effect.

Web Bits

Containers and Their Contents
Clay Shirky and Nicholas Carr.  This came from.

Length and Spine Width In A Digital World

As Use of Libraries Grows, Government Support has Eroded

An Illustrated Talk With Maurice Sendak

Monday, January 7, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/07/2013

Antonello de Saliba 1467-1535, Portrait of a Man with Red Beret and a Book

Daily Thoughts 01/07/2013

This morning, I read a little bit more of How To Create a Mind.  There was a little bit on how people are more conscious when they decide not to do things.  A lot of the thought that goes into automatic decisions and habits is not conscious.  By choosing to not do things we are acting with greater consciousness.

I checked the social media accounts for the library this morning.  I also spent a little time checking the new books and the displays.  A banner is being put in for the January is National Tea Month display.  We are also pulling some of the older titles from the new books.  I also checked the news for the current events display.

I put the book Agile Project Management for Dummies by Mark C. Layton on hold.

I finished reading How to Create a Mind today.  The author has some very interesting ideas on the progress of computers and how artificial intelligence will develop.  Quite a bit of it is very philosophical.  I found the book to be very informative.  There were a lot of little details in the writing which were fascinating.  I like the idea that there will soon be three dimensional computer chips.

The Library as Enduring Memory
A brief fond memory of the Mount Vernon Public Library

Web Bits

Don't Burn Your Books Print is Here to Stay

 Towards a Library Publishers Complex for the Digital Era: Where the money is for both sides.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/06/2012

Foto del escritor Jorge Luis Borges en el Hôtel des Beaux Arts donde murió Oscar Wilde (llamado entonces Hôtel d´Alsace) y donde quiso morir Borges.

Daily Thoughts 01/06/2012

This morning, I spent a little more time thinking about Big Data.  It is very interesting to me. I also spent a little time looking at social reading.  I rather like a project called Open Utopia.  It strikes a chord in me.

I also checked my social media accounts.  This article on Ray Kurzweil being the new Director of Engineering for Google is rather interesting.

I read some more of How To Create a Mind.  Right now, I am reading about consciousness and whether it is possible for machines to be conscious.  Ray Kurzweil describes the philosophy of emergent consciousness where there are different degrees of consciousness; an ant is conscious, but a dog is a little more conscious, and a human being is more conscious than a dog.  It is interesting.  Maybe Ray Kurzweil will make a conscious search engine which will discuss what we are looking for.  This part of the book is quite philosophical and includes discussions of people like Rene Descartes and Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Web Bits

5 Reasons Being a Librarian is Stressful
This is pretty accurate.  A lot of libraries are going through increasing funding cuts,  which creates job stress and the fear of layoffs.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/05/2012

Marie in a Deckchair Reading, Peder Severin Kroyer, 1891

Daily Thoughts 01/05/2012

This morning I read some more of How To Create a Mind.  Ray Kurzweil predicts that a computer will pass the Turing test in 2029.  He also describes a number of recent public advances in artificial intelligence like Big Blue beating Gary Kasparov at chess, the Wolfram Alpha answer engine, and the artificial intelligence Watson winning at Jeopardy.

This morning, I checked Facebook and Twitter.  I also checked the displays.  I also spent a few minutes looking at Freading.  There is a graphic novel version of Playback by Raymond Chandler which looks like it is worth reading.

Another article on the budget from the Mount Vernon Inquirer.  It includes discussion of a plan to cut the library to $1.5 million dollars less than half of its current budget.  The budget was definitely put in place.

I pulled a few more books on tea including a few on the Japanese tea ceremony.  I also spent some time looking at new books.

On the way home, I read some more of How To Create a Mind.  I am reading about Charles Babbage.  I also learned that Von Neumann was the first person to come up with the idea of a technological singularity.  It is very thoughtful material.

Web Bits

What Turned Jaron Lanier Against the Web
Jaron Lanier always has something interesting to say. I liked reading his book, You Are Not A Gadget, and will probably enjoy The Fate of Power and the Future of Dignity.

Public Libraries as Business Incubators
This is not that far fetched.  We have done work with the African American Chamber of Commerce and the Women's Enterprise Development Center.  We also have a lot of business books and books on starting small business.  In addition, quite a few people use our space as a workspace because of the wireless access.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/04/2013

Illustration of the Sherlock Holmes short story The Blue Carbuncle, which appeared in The Strand Magazine in January, 1892. Original caption was "JUST READ IT OUT TO ME."

Daily Thoughts 01/04/2013

This morning, I read a little bit more of How To Create A Mind.  Ray Kurzweil is writing about the Blue Brain Project which is an attempt to reverse engineer the brain by simulating it as a computer model.  There is a prediction that there will be a complete map of the neurons in the human brain by 2023.

I also checked the displays and the gift books.  I am checking the social media right now.  We got some promotional material from Freegal which is a download service for MP3 music.

I spent some time on creating a display of books on tea.  There are quite a few mysteries with tea in the title.  I also looked through the New York Times Book Review.  I prefer that people are able to check out books from displays.

I have been following the city on their process of adopting the budget.  I noticed that the meetings on  January 3, and 4 were canceled for the city on adopting the tax.  This is another article from the Journal News.  Apparently on Wednesday, on January 3, 2012,  when the budget was adopted, $250,000 was cut from the library.  This is not surprising, it is politics.

When I looked at the January 2, 2013 article from the Mount Vernon Daily Voice, it lists $249,000 in cuts, but the library was not listed as part of the cuts.  I am hoping that as things move forward people are clear about what is happening with the library.

This reminds of what happened last year.  The libraries budget was cut last year and people were laid off.  It has gotten to the point where the library is not open on Saturdays except for once a month.  We are also down to a single person on the reference desk. It is discouraging to read about the differences between the city, the library administration, and the union.  Public discussion of layoffs and budget cuts are not encouraging to a positive service environment.

The people who will lose the most will be the patrons of the library.  The people who come to the library seem to be the ones who are left out of this discussion the most.  Patrons want computer classes, more computer time, new books, and books for their school assignments.  Almost three years ago, I wrote a patron survey for the library which over 430 people answered on the web and in person which was tabulated.   Many of the answers were paragraph length. It was never released to the public.  I still think about it sometimes.

It would be interesting to see what would happen if people were elected to the board of trustees.  It might change the relationship with the city.  There is a different dynamic between being elected and being appointed.

On the way home, I read some more of How To Create A Mind. I am reading about the Turing test to determine if a machine is intelligent.  Alan Turing believed that the most important aspect of artificial intelligence is language.  There is quite a bit on language in this book including material on speech recognition.  I don't understand some of the material, but it is still thought provoking.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Daily Thoughts 01/03/2012

DARPA’s Topological Data Analysis program seeks the fundamental structure of massive data sets and is developing the tools to exploit that knowledge. August 23, 2012 Public Domain.

Daily Thoughts 01/03/2012

This morning, I took a few minutes to look at Facebook and Twitter.

I spent a few minutes looking at which is a group that helps with ballot initiatives for libraries.

I have been following the budget.  Some of it is rather interesting if at times at confusing.  First there is talk about cutting the library budget, then there is talk about auditing the library, then there is talk about reforming the library, now there is talk about doing a special commission on the library.

Mount Vernon Council Reaches Budget Deal.
The idea of creating a commission in February is a little perplexing to me.

Mount Vernon City Council Adopts 2013 Budget Vows Reform Process

It is interesting that there is a discussion of reform at the library.

I read some more of How to Create a Mind by Ray Kurzweil.  Ray Kurzweil mentioned something about collaborative intelligence; it reminded me of something I learned about at the Big Data Business Meetup in New York.   Artificial Intelligence Powered by Many Humans.  Another example of this is Crowdsourcing Big Data

What is happening in Big Data is truly fascinating.  The crowd sourcing part is not a new idea, Google uses a system called EWOQ where it cleans and rates it searches with quality raters.
I find this kind of thing very interesting.

One particular idea that comes up occasionally when I think of big data is a system for identifying books which a person might like based on what they have read previously using very big data sets.
I joined the NYC Data Business Meetups and am going regularly but still have not figured out why.  Big data seems to crop up regularly lately in my readings.

I am not quite sure where I fit in all of this.  I am not a data scientist or a developer.  It is more of being an interested bystander.

Web Bits

Beyond the Headlines: E-books in Libraries of the Future

Five Ways to Make Your Social Media Better Right Now

What the DPLA Can Mean for Librraies

Harvard's Alternative to Google Books Universities Launch A Digital Public Library

Ebooks, Human Rights, and Social Justice
There is another side to this.  Although, there is some focus on the public domain, there really has not been a solid educational initiative to bring classic out of copyright e-books to the classroom.  This needs to be done on a national scale.