Posts Tagged ‘news articles’
This article from The New York Times on the work that the public libraries in Queens, NYC do caught my eye. It is about how they cater and meet the needs of a very diverse polyglot population. I will admit that if I was single with nothing to lose, so to speak, this would definitely be the kind of librarianship I would want to practice: in a diverse multicultural setting where various languages thrive. And I’d be happy too if they sent me to the Feria de Libros in Guadalajara to buy Spanish books (haha, that’d be a bonus). In the end, much of it would be low salary in relation to cost of living issue for me; I probably could not afford to live then in relation to what they pay. Certainly not an academic setting, but maybe the community-mindedness in me, the opportunities and challenges for things like outreach, like instruction (to an extent), working with diverse people that have clear and significant needs are things that make this kind of work appealing to me.I think for a bilingual librarian like me who is comfortable working with diverse populations and is willing to keep on learning this could be a good job.
Anyhow, just some random thoughts.
So I wake up this morning, turn on the news, and lo and behold U.S. Forces finally caught and killed Osama Bin Laden. There are a lot of links out there with the story, and as I am writing this, details continue to emerge. However, I tend to be interested in the more quirky and curious angles of the story. I suppose at the end of the day, this is a small way for me to remember the event, in case anyone asks me where was I sort of thing. For the record, I was at home, getting ready to go to work. I first found out when I turned the tv first thing in the morning to one of the local channels to get the usual weather report and quick local headlines. I usually keep my weekends as free of hard news as possible. Given how crappy news tend to be as of late (not to mention that I can’t stand most of the talking heads and pundits that pretend to be journalists), I try to keep myself blissfully distracted over the weekend.
So, here are some links that may be of interest:
- A sampling of advertisements that featured Osama, usually to hawk some product. I think the condom one could become a classic. (Via Copyranter)
- Can you get an obituary of Osama? Sure, go ahead and ask your friendly librarian. (Via Your Librarian Hates You)
- The Newseum had their online front page exhibit as usual. However, they got one hit too many today. You can get a small sampling of the front pages of newspapers today with some photos via Mashable.
- And via The Atlantic Wire, a sampling of headlines from the Arab world. There is a bit of a contrast if you look closely.
- The blog Circling the Lion’s Den looks at a CRS Report on the cost of the wars on terror since 9/11. This may give a little perspective on the real cost of killing the guy.
- John Scalzi had some thoughtful comments about the event on his blog Whatever.
- Did you miss the end of Sunday’s Celebrity Apprentice because Obama preempted it so he could make the big announcement? Jezebel has the video with the ending here.
- Do you wish to learn more about Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and the region? The New York Times has put together a small reading list.
- UN Dispatch has the most significant story out of Pakistan today, and no, it is not about Osama Bin Laden.
- And according to The Borowitz Report, after today, both U.S. political parties agreed to cancel the 2012 elections. Read for details and enjoy a little humor.
- Via Global Voices, you can get some Pakistani reactions to the event.
- Also via Global Voices, not everyone is rejoicing that Osama was killed. In the Arab world, some are mourning him and even see him as a martyr or hero.
- (Update note: 5/3/2011): Global Voices now has a full section of coverage on Osama Bin Laden’s death.
- (Update note: 5/10/2011): I was meaning to link this one sooner. ProPublica has put together a pretty good Bin Laden Reading Guide. One to help you cut through the nonsense and pundits and get to what is important to know.
I thought this was a pretty neat list. I don’t agree with all of it, but there are some very good items. The two items I would emphasize right away are:
The first one on statistical literacy. This is a must. We need as a society to do a much better job in teaching people about statistics, how to figure basic ones out, and how they are used and misused. I liked the suggested assignment of comparing a liberal blog versus a conservative blog. This assignment is very good, and it should be something an average, well-informed citizen, “well-informed” being the key concept, should be able to do:
Daily Kos Versus BigGovernment.com
Find three examples of the same set of numbers presented in entirely different ways on the liberal blog Daily Kos and Andrew Breitbart’s conservative Big Government site. In each case, show which source is using the more aggressive spin and determine which side—if either—is being more honest in its presentation of the facts.
How often are you watching the news, and you get pundits debating back and forth about the latest numbers of such and such from the CBO (that’s the Congressional Budget Office). You think to yourself, “well, the CBO is nonpartisan, so the numbers must be good.” Sure, the numbers are probably fine, but you have to pay attention to how they are actually being used. And then you have figures and polls from all sorts of agencies, think tanks, nonprofit organizations, so on, which often have a bias or a particular agenda. I am not saying that some of those agendas are bad (personally, I think working towards things like social justice are important), but you still have to keep those things in mind. Expanding on that, this is where I would add a good course on information literacy, where you learn to evaluate information, more than just the statistics. So, if it was me, I would do more than just statistical literacy. We need broad ranging information literacy.
Second, I definitely like the Post-state Diplomacy course. Folks in the U.S. need some serious education on international affairs and how the world works right now. The folks at Wired write:
“Power has always depended on who can provide justice, commerce, and stability. Successful insurgents aren’t just thugs; they offer their members tangible benefits—community, money, education, and a sense of order (even if the rebels are the ones creating disorder in the first place). We must learn how they gain loyalty, even if our goal is to undercut it.”
Again, I don’t think the folks at Wired go far enough. It is not only about diplomacy, although that is extremely important. The statement above is not really a new idea; it is an idea that not many people understand or may be aware of. But we also need coursework on global awareness and citizenship, and I would also add geography.
The rest of the article is worth reading as well. Each skill description does include a “reading list” (I put it in quotes because some of the suggestions may be links to videos or other non-print material) and some questions you may want to consider. Whether you do some of the assignments or not, thinking about them may help you expand your horizons a bit more.
(Crossposted to The Itinerant Librarian)
The Humanist magazine recently had an interview with secular humanist, feminist, and registered nurse Marie Hartman, better known by her stage name of Nina Hartley (don’t worry, it’s the Wikipedia entry). In the interview she discusses her philosophy of life, her work (no, it’s not just porn), porn, and outlook on life. What we get is a very intelligent and thoughtful woman. She also lists some books she enjoys reading, which as a librarian and reader, I do find interesting. An interesting line from the interview: when asked what is one thing that people may be shocked to learn about her, she replies: “They may be shocked to know I’m a doting aunt and a devoted daughter.”
And yes, if you must know, I have seen and enjoyed her adult work too. Anyhow, the interview is worth a look.
A hat tip to Pharyngula.
This small piece is inspired by this article, "Getting a Mental Kick From Tackling Tough Books," by Blake Gopnick in The Washington Post for August 15, 2010.
I may have mentioned before that I tend to read at least three books at any given time. My basic rule is to have a fiction work (novel or short fiction collection), a nonfiction work, and a graphic novel, manga or comics compilation. Having four or five books going at the same time is not uncommon for me. One reason I do it is because I like reading based on my mood. Sometimes I feel like reading fiction in order to escape, and other times I want something serious, or just something cool and/or visual. I try to strike a balance between light stuff and serious stuff, and I think it shows on my annual end-of-year reading lists. Here is my list from 2009 to provide an example.
I read to keep up. I read to expand my knowledge. It makes me a better person. It also makes me a better librarian, and I think it helps me be a better writer.
As readers' advisors, we preach and practice the rule of "don't apologize for your reading tastes." That rule is meant to convey to our clients that we will not judge them when they come in asking for a good book on whatever genre or topic they may be interested in. I may not like a particular genre, but my job is to find that client her next good reading experience. Yet at times we wish some people would pick up a substantial book once in a while. We may not tell our clients this. After all, librarianship has evolved quite a bit from the days when librarians did actively promote reading only for edification, the days when fiction was taboo. We have come a long way, and yet we still have some ways to go. We still talk in our profession about how much we should do to maintain that idea of nurturing an informed and educated citizenry to safeguard democracy. But I am digressing a bit.
When I say that I wish some people would pick up a challenging book, I do not only mean a book that is substantial and dense. I do think readers should challenge themselves with one of those books once in a while. I also mean books that challenge the reader to see opposing views and those who espouse different views and ideas. Sun Tzu advocated in The Art of War that you need to know your enemy. By reading something written by an author that you may disagree with, you are getting to know your enemy. You get to see their side, and this may well help you learn how to counter their arguments and stand your ground.
Plus, reading challenging works also means your brain gets a workout, which is the point the author of the article is making. So, keep reading for fun and amusement. It's ok to have a bag of potato chips once in a while. Yet you also need some serious nutrition, and good books are the nutrition for your brain and your critical thinking skills.