Archive for the ‘General Discussion’ Category

GOOD NEWS, NEW HAT

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Bring on the sunshine; I have a new hat.  I’m coming to Maine on August 13 for only one week, so get ready to party.

Here I am lurking in Minneapolis,  shade-testing the hat and managing not to do a Mary Poppins on an almost windless day.

 

Book questions: I found two new-to-me authors’ books that I liked a lot: Elsa Hart’s The Jade Dragon Mountain and The White Mirror (1700’s, southwestern China, librarian, Jesuits) and Joe Ide’s I. Q. and Rightous (East Long Beach, CA wholly new to me, and oh! the sounds of language!)  Question: what algorithm finds more like them?

Another Question:  Does anyone do CIA, Asia, and problems of now, e.g. quantum computing and personal identity, better than David Ignatius in The Quantum Spy?  His earlier book, The Directorate, ostensibly about hacking, reads like the front page fights within the NSC —  perhaps as written in “his” Washington Post.

Scott says Roseledge is ready.  The harbor is waiting.  So many good times to be had.

And don’t we deserve it?

DAY AMAZER

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

I think I might be petrifying.

I have more and growing kidney stones, gallstones, calcified granuloma in my lungs, appendicoliths in my “normal appendix” which I thought had been removed when it ruptured in 2013 (the amazing part of the Day Amazer title ), pelvic phleboliths, and calcifications of the abdominal aorta and its major branches, or so my recent x-rays and CT scans document.  Clearly I am calcifying, but petrifying?

You scoff, but just check out these definitions from Google:

TO CALCIFY: harden by deposition of or conversion into calcium carbonate or some other insoluble calcium compounds

TO PETRIFY: change (organic matter) into a stony concretion by encrusting or replacing its original substance with a calcareous, siliceous, or other mineral deposit.   Synonyms: ossified, fossilized, calcified

Need I say more?

If i’m right and we are all turning to stone, then we can stop worrying about preserving our remains. No more looking for the best peat bog, cloner, cryogenics lab, mummy maker, or taxidermist. Instead, we can think yoga and assume a pose or posture useful for a stony (stoned?) hereafter, e.g. as a lamp or table base, a cello holder, an all-purpose scarecrow, an art class model…. (Enough, Luis!)  The good news is that we can think about all the possibiities AND how not to be called a fossil at the same time.

To sum it all up: if kidney stones weighed a lot, I’d be a lot thinner now.

It’s been a long and icy winter, folks.

GOOD INFORMATION IS TOO LITTLE WITH US, PART THREE

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

REGARDING SOURCES: 

If an argument is only as good as its sources and there are so many sources and so many kinds of “good,” how does an inquiring person decide which of the many sources is or are the “best possible, under the circumstances?” Well, she said modestly, you could call the librarian.

Or you can hope that Steven Brill’s proposed rating process, which sounds promising, actually works. Rating systems are usually iffy when applied (Think movies.), but they can be a start.

And I love that Paul Allen, whose mother was a librarian, is, with a $125 million donation to his Brain Institute, trying to add “common sense” to artificial intelligence  This is exciting, if daunting, because a lack of common sense seems to be the common denominator among the clueless.

Finally. for diy’ers and those who think the search is as much fun as finding out, the NYT has a raft of ways you can use to evaluate your sources.  I especially like the suggestion that you find out where the information came from, how it got to you, and who did or could have changed it along the way. This brings back grand memories of the mantra of the enlightened Information Management Program at St. Kate’s: How does the information move and why and who can change it and why would he or she do so?  Adding social media and self-publishing would change the timing, paths, and influence appreciably, mostly by removing filters and adding sources and outlets, but it might help to advance the cause of sensible argument and therein, save our democracy.

Know your sources, argue wisely, convince your neighbor to checkout candidates.

AN AFTERTHOUGHT:  Just finished two good novels  about information moving.   David Ignatius’ The Quantum Spy is about quantum computing and the ways China and US try to keep tabs on each other.  I like David Ignatius a lot and learned a lot.  Then I read his earlier book, The Director, which is about hacking, about which I know too little, but  could also be a primer about the McCabe fiasco, among other intelligence service quandaries.

 

GOOD INFORMATION IS TOO LITTLE WITH US, PART TWO

Saturday, March 3rd, 2018

What sources of information do the muddlers trust? It used to be that the checks and balances of scientific research, news media, conventional publishing, even government documents were well in place, understood, and able to be challenged or balanced as the user chose. But now, too much information is too much with us and some of us are going crazy.

Remember Pizzagate? A man with a rifle charges into the Comet Ping Pong pizza parlor in Washington, D.C., ready to rid the world of Hilary Clinton’s child pornography ring in the basement. He fired one or two shots and was arrested, No one was hurt. Whew! Of course, there was no child sex ring; in fact. there was no basement. Welcome to the world of the information nitwits.

How could this happen? How could someone agree to be so hideously misinformed? Welcome to the Internet you may not know. To know it and it’s roll in Pizzagate a bit better, start with Reddit’s forum on Trump, 4chan and, the more extreme,8chan alt-right message boards, then go the more familiar YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and from them leap into InfoWars and Breitbart. (The NYT lays it out beautifully. The Rolling Stone digs much deeper. The Washington Post covers the “crisis actors” in the Parkland school shooting and  finds most of the same sources and procedures.)

Cass Sunstein  writes of information spread and conspiracy theories.  Then he watched as his ideas published in little-read academic journals got picked up and distorted by far left, then far right bloggers who then placed articles in lesser-read sources, from which any key parts of the articles  were picked up and spread by InfoWars and Glenn Beck on Fox News.  It is a similar tale of an obscure entity, distorted and spread without challenge to a blindly believable audience who then act, unfortunately.  

Do you see how a pattern for the creation and spread (or production and distribution) of fake news is emerging?  Timing, sources, sequence, changes, spread, audience, authority, and influence all figure in. We as citizens, liberal arts grads, and especially we as librarians and readers, need to understand how information evolves from nothing to something crazy with consequences.   We need to give new, well-argued life to “common sense” and take back our future.

Know your sources.  Love the search.  Spread the word.  Roseledge Books forever.

DAY BRIGHTENER

Sunday, February 11th, 2018

It was 7:00 am on a normal morning at the Kenwood, where I live on the 12th floor. Several of us on the elevator were silently thirsting for that first cup of fresh, hot coffee, when this newbie I had seen but not yet met got into the elevator and said, “You again.”

(i’m hard to miss in my fancy new wheelchair, especially in a filled elevator.) “Well, it’s time for morning coffee,” I said.

“I had a horse who did that,” he said.

Trying hard, but failing, to laugh discreetly. I choked, “It’s an unusual comparison.”

“Horses are smarter than people think.” he said.

“Good to know,” I said, zooming into the dining room with this wonderful morning pick-me-up. I still laugh every time I think of it.

 

Two takeaways:  1.  I think he likes both horses and me.  and  2.  There is never a dull moment in this post-college dorm that is so clearly not a group home, as suggested by Mr. Snotty, who shall remain nameless.

  1. A takeaway on the takeaway is that I could not get rid of this indented 1., so I included it to make it appear less obvious.  There must be a larger lesson there.

GOOD INFORMATION IS TOO LITTLE WITH US

Friday, February 9th, 2018

The world is in a muddle at the moment, but what is one who cares to do?

I am currently readIng Kurt Andersen’s Fantasyland:How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History and Kevin Young’s Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbugs, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post Facts and Fake News to try to understand why people choose such wrong sources of information and Tali Sharot’s The Influential Mind: What The Brain Reveals About Our Power To Change Others to figure out how  librarians can help these people to want and choose better sources. Several years ago,I also liked a lot Farhad Manjoo’s book, True Enough: Learning To Live In A Post Fact Society.

I still firmly believe the world is one giant library, in dire need of the enlightened suggestions of  librarians and the well-informed.  Picky readers of the world, it is time to step up and speak out.  Voting season is upon us.

LIVE FROM TENANTS HARBOR, 2

Friday, August 18th, 2017

Roseledge Books launched its best ever, if first, all out sale, and people came for, or maybe stumbled onto, old new books that were better than new new books — which of course I didn’t have, as I have been away these past two summers. FICTION $1.00 and NON-FICTION $2.00, limit of 5 books/person.

Most Roseledge Books folks came from boats moored in front of Tenants Harbor Boatyard and, as noted, stumbled onto Tenants Harbor’s Destination Bookstore on their way down Sea Street to the General Store. Mention the sale to the brave of mind and watch them buy 5, then  find the faux-readers in the group and bring them in, only to watch the faux’s turn into ringers, and sales soar, well sort of.

“Did you curate the collection?” a newbie asked, and I liked him forever.  I liked his partner, too, who agreed that Titus Welliver is a great Harry Bosch

I tried making 5-b00k piles, e.g. kickass women, 2 piles of mysteries around the world, learning enviroments — maybe my favorite pile, jargoned up a bit for a friend, Maine for a Mainer, Maine for a newbie, fun with food that could be in Maine, in the vicinity of Labrador, really about books, sort of about books.  I had a good time, and almost no one bought the whole pile, which just demonstrates the interesting complexity — okay, weirdness — of the RB reader.  For my North Carolina friends, I’ll leave some unlabelled piles to see if you can find a theme.

Tomorrow, the Minneapolis migration happens.  The summer mornings before 8:30 were cooler than I remember and the undappled sun was hotter.  The off-shore breezes mellowed the days and kept the bugs away.  I will bring more suitably flexible clothes next year.

Next year I’ll see the Fed Ex driver, who, after delivering the second box of wine — thank you, Santa with a bit of a drawl — noted, with a grin, that this seemed to be an unusual bookstore and she would be back.  And so would the three Swedish sailors with books in hand who said they will come back here or go back there next year via the northern route, sometimes called the stepping stones, less often called the Viking route.  I promised to have on hand books about St. Brendan’s earlier-than-the-Vikings voyage to Iceland, which would surely convincingly suggest that the Irish taught the Vikings how to sail the longer distances non-marauding adventures required.  The most amiable of the sailors with pitch-perfect English just stared at me for a minute, maybe stunned, and said, pointing,”Your IRISH taught MY Vikings how to sail?”  I admitted it was just a theory.  “No,” he said, still not sure he had heard right, as he walked away, with a grin and a wave, and said, “See you next summer.”

I love it here, but it’s time to go back.  Next year, for sure, North Carolina.

LIVE FROM TENANTS HARBOR, 1

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

I made it and all is perfect.  Okay, with a glitch or two, but Scott’s rubbery legs have recovered after pulling my 350 pound wheelchair, immobile with a “brake error”, and me, and I am not a feather, up the airport gangway filled with anxious boarders. Who knew a new wheelchair with no brakes could have a brake-error?  Anyhow, thanks to Brian and the van, Roseledge was achieved.

Next morning was a little cool and a lot foggy, but I, with my Darkstar coffee, sat blanket-wrapped on the porch, smelled the salt, imagined the 12 lobster boats and dinghies, and wallowed in the joy of being the only place in the world I wanted to be.

Later, Kris, an angel-in-training who needed a place to stay exactly when I had a need and place for her to stay, and I went to the General Store to discover a few essentials, e.g. Maine-made kettle corn and our wine of the summer, KRIS, surely the best and yes, the least expensive General Store option. Great good news is that I and my wheels can get into the Store and tool around the aisles with no major catastrophes.

Maybe the loveliest happening is running into people who have wondered and worried about the bookstore. The Friendship sloop group had a gathering and asked Susan, who rents moorings, who then asked me almost in the middle of the road, the Ladies Who Walk waved vigorously, the best ever, breakfast bagel sandwich maker stepped outside the bakery to say hello and tell me this is her last season which is very bad news and means I will up my morning indulgence to two/week to make up for lost time, my neighbor stepped away from the party to shout a welcome as with family, we walked down the hill to the Quarry Tavern, and Bobby stopped over and brought his special tomatoes which, atop cheese and crackers, make the best finger food ever.

Speaking of cheese and crackers and implying parties on the porch, we had the most perfect spontaneous event with long time summer friends who go back to my days as early morning desk person at the East Wind when I was nattering away and Ellen walks in with Steve and announces in no uncertain terms, “I know that voice,” and she did and still does, and long time bookstore friends, Tim and Kris, who go back to the days of Harry’s big car nicking his garage door opening two summers in a row, and Harry touching it up as quickly as he could carry in his groceries and carry out his can of paint and brush.

And to make perfect even perfecter,  just before they came, Santa Fed Ex delivered an array of wine, cheese, crackers, and toppings to sigh for — and grin foolishly while wolfing down.  A million thanks, Madeline, and HELLO, NORTH CAROLINA.  So wish you were here.

More news soon about house acquittal, bookstore extravaganza, etc., I promise.

SEE YOU IN MAINE!

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

YES, IT’S REALLY GOING TO HAPPEN, I think. I hope.

I’ll see you on the Roseledge front porch after July 15, barring a Russian-provoked Delta computer glitch or a short-people travel ban. I’ll have the good coffee ready — Dark Star beans from Rock City Roasters — if Scott clears the mouse nest from the very excellent drip coffee maker.

Hope — plus profound stubbornness, very good friends and a ton of arrangements — works.

I can hardly wait.

HELP!

Monday, June 12th, 2017

No Tenants Harbor arrival date set yet, but I remain hopeful.  I asked Scott Hodgkins to post a HELP WANTED notice on the bulletin boards in both the Town Office and the Post Office. Scott tonied it up a bit, but I think it mostly reads:

————————————————————
Usually good-natured person in a wheelchair needs about an hour of home help two times a day at about noon and 5 o’clock this summer from July 15 – August 15. The pay is $20.00 per hour for a total of $1120.00. I know coming to Roseledge cottage on Sea Street twice a day is inconvenient, so how about finding several friends to divvy up the days or times? Or interested students visiting or on vacation? Or stay-at-home moms? Or part-timers going to or from another job? Or a group of goodhearts who need a project with the roughly $1,000.00 going toward a worthy cause?

If four weeks is too long, how many days can you do?

interested persons can call me, Colleen Coghlan, in Minneapolis, MN at 612-331-7643 or Scott who lives nearby at 207-577-6017.
—————————————————————–

And therein lies the problem: I am wheelchair bound and need more help than I did two summers ago.  These arrangements are hard to make long distance but Scott and Brian are godsends.  And please don’t worry; my body misbehaves, but my tongue? Never!

Please keep me in mind when next you wonder how you can best use your summertime near the sea.  And  when Scott cleans the mouse-doo from the coffeemaker, I can almost promise a cup of Darkstar blend with blueberries from the bushes, if you will pick them.

Fingers crossed.