At MIT’s Media Labs, researchers Roy Shilkrot, Jochen Huber and others are working on the “FingerReader,” a ring-like device that straps itself around your finger and reads printed text out loud with a synthesized voice, thanks to a mounted camera and heavily modified open source software. Read more: MIT’s FingerReader Helps The Blind Read With A Swipe Of A Digit | TechCrunch.
I learned to print my name almost before I could read it — for the sole purpose of getting my own library card. I was so young I had to stand on tiptoe to see over the check-out desk and hand the librarian my application. When the librarian, in turn, handed me a library card with my own name typed on it — not my mother’s — I was ecstatic. I literally wore out the card in a few months, off and running toward becoming a lifelong reader.
Recognizing the role the library played in my becoming a book lover (and a career children’s editor), I herded my kids into the library as soon as they could toddle. Libraries had changed a lot, of course, but — just as I did — my kids quickly felt at home there. The children’s librarian came to know them, helped them select books, and, even better, encouraged them to also choose their own books. Libraries have played such an essential role in our family that I’m almost gobsmacked when I encounter families who don’t share my enthusiasm. Some say that the children’s rooms of libraries are an anachronism in a world of mobile screens with books on demand. But I say that while childhood has changed quite a bit, children have not. Read more: 5 Good Reasons to Take Your Kids to the Library Today | Christine French Cully | HuffPo
The sounds of libraries today reveal the impact of libraries throughout our lives — from the excited giggles of toddlers in storytimes to the “aha’s!” of young people engaged in inquiry to the quiet conversations of senior citizens discovering new authors and using computers to research. All types of libraries — school, public, and academic — form a library ecosystem that provides and supports lifelong learning.
For example school librarians teach children the 21st-century skills they need to build knowledge, create and share their own ideas, successfully complete their high school education, and prepare themselves for college and career. Academic librarians enable students to complete their college degrees, building on the skills taught by school librarians, and support academic research and scholarship. Public librarians extend the work of school and academic librarians by providing homework help, literacy resources, and after-school and summer programming. Public librarians take up the mantle of support for lifelong learning by providing resources, services, and programs tailored to meet the needs, interests and aspirations of all of their community members.
Under this view of a library ecosystem, all types of libraries work together to deliver learning opportunities for people of all ages. However, a threat to one part of the system stresses the entire system.
At this moment we are facing a serious threat to school libraries, and thus to the entire library ecosystem. Read more: Our Library Ecosystem Is Under Threat | Barbara K. Stripling | HuffPo.
TNT has greenlit 10 episodes for a series based on The Librarians franchise, slated to air in late 2014. The TV movies told the story of a group of extra special librarians who live beneath the Metropolitan Public Library in New York and safeguard mystical relics from forces of evil by slapping them with outrageous overdue fees. The plot is a messy stew of Indiana Jones, National Treasure, and Hell Boy …but the product is less than the sum of its parts. Read more: TNT greenlights ‘The Librarians’ franchise as a series | Inside TV | EW.com.
The renaissance of the long play record isn’t just an anecdotal trend. Even as physical record sales decline, people are buying more vinyl than they have in decades. In 2013, sales increased 31-percent to about 6 million units year-over-year. It’s not a single-year bump either, either. Sales have climbed to 6 million from after having been at about a million in 2007…The “why” behind it, though, is a little more elusive. People don’t have to buy vinyl, and yet, they’re increasingly choosing to do so. It seems that in a world where CDs are obsolete, and digital files are intangible, the vinyl record still has a physical value that gives you your money’s worth. If the music industry wants to survive, it better pay attention to why people are buying records.
You’ve heard it all your life: Being humble, kind, and calm is the “right thing to do.” But if that isn’t enough to convince you, consider this: humility, kindness, and calmness can actually help you get ahead in life. Read more: How Being Humble, Kind, and Calm Will Make Your Life Easier | LifeHacker
A papyrus fragment that mentions Jesus’s wife is likely ancient, probably dating between the sixth and ninth century, latest research shows.
When Karen L. King, the Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, announced the fragment’s existence in September 2012, there was a widespread debate over its authenticity. The fragment, known as the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,” probably originated from Egypt. It’s written in Coptic and contains the phrase “Jesus said to them, ‘my wife…,’” never before seen in any ancient text. It also mentions Jesus’s mother and a female disciple, who may be identified as “Mary.”
Now, James Yardley, senior research scientist in the Center for Integrated Science and Engineering at Columbia University, and Alexis Hagadorn, head of conservation at Columbia, used a technique called micro-Raman spectroscopy to determine the papyrus fragment’s age. Furthermore, Malcolm Choat from Macquarie University examined the fragment’s handwriting. Combined, their findings indicate that the papyrus and the ink on it are ancient and not a modern forgery. Read more: Papyrus Mentioning Jesus’s Wife Is Likely Ancient and Not Fake, Scientists Say | Mashable.
A huge pyramid in the middle of nowhere tracking the end of the world on radar, just an abstract geometric shape beneath the sky without a human being in sight: it could be the opening scene of an apocalyptic science fiction film, but it’s just the U.S. military going about its business, building vast and other-worldly architectural structures that the civilian world only rarely sees.
The Library of Congress has an extraordinary set of images documenting the Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex in Cavalier County, North Dakota, showing it in various states of construction and completion. And the photos are awesome. Read more: A Pyramid in the Middle of Nowhere Built To Track the End of the World | Gizmodo
If you’ve been thinking about getting started on the rocket project that’s been on your mind for ages, now is a good time to get serious. Next week, NASA will release a massive software catalog with over 1,000 projects. It’s not the first time the space agency’s released code, but it is the first time they’ve made it so easy.
The breadth and variety of the software projects that NASA’s about to give away are difficult to express. It’s not just a bunch of algorithms and star-finding software, though stuff like that is in there. The crazy geniuses that land rovers on Mars are actually releasing code for ultra high-tech NASA stuff like rocket guidance systems and robotics control software. There’s even some artificial intelligence.
And did I mention it’s all free? Read more: NASA’s About To Release a Mother Lode of Free Software | Gizmodo.
See also: NASA Technology Transfer Portal