The Grizzly Den

Knowledge is Power

Archive for September, 2008

Read All About It!

Posted by grizzlymedia on September 30, 2008

First Lady Laura Bush and daughter Jenna Bush Hager read their new book Read All About It to a group of children and adults at the National Book Festival Saturday at the National Mall in Washington. The book, inspired by one of Mrs. Bush’s former students, is about a young boy who at first did not enjoy books until he got caught up in the stories. Mrs. Bush is a former librarian and reading advocate, and Jenna is a teacher. The two combined their effort to publish a book about what they knew–kids and reading. The book reading to about 300 children looked like it was going nowhere until the mother-daughter team decided to forego security concerns and move the children in closer for a cozier experience. After the reading, the authors signed answered questions and signed copies of the books. The annual book festival, organized by the Library of Congress, has grown from around 30,000 attendees in 2001 to over 120,000 last year. Go to the Library of Congress website’s page for the 2008 National Book Festival for more information.

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I’m Stuck on Stixy

Posted by grizzlymedia on September 25, 2008



Why haven’t you tried Stixy? Don’t you know that Web 2.0 applications get lonely, too? Well, apparently they do. I signed up a while back for Stixy, forgot that we were friends, and then Stixy sent me a needy email begging me to come back and play. So I, being a kind person, did. You can post “stuff” onto stixy boards and allow your friends to view them so that you can share information such as pictures, documents, post-it notes, and  to-do lists. As with many Web 2.0 sites, you can invite your friends to join you. Stixy works sort of like a wiki in which all the friends can share and edit each other’s information, only prettier.  Once you decide if you want a note, picture, document, or to-do, you just drag it onto your stixyboard. You can resize it, change the color or font (except not on the to-do note—apparently they are always sacred pink!). Then upload the document or picture you want onto your document or picture area. You can even do all four options in one stixy! Then you click on options and save your stixy, decide if it is public, whether or not you want to invite friends, save the URL if you wish, and voila! A star is born! Well, maybe just a planet. Or whatever they’re calling Pluto these days. 

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How Are You at Juggling?

Posted by grizzlymedia on September 25, 2008

We all know that you’re more likely to accomplish your goals if you write them down. Likelier still if you tell someone about it. So why not tell millions of strangers? Oh, come on; they’ll cheer you on! That’s what 43 Things is all about. You can create a list of up to 43 things you want to do with your life. You can encourage the hopes and dreams of others, and they (maybe?) will encourage your ambitions. Don’t have any purpose in your life? That’s OK. You can study everyone else’s and then be a copycat. Sure you’ll feel like an underachiever for not thinking of it sooner. But at least you’ll be on your way to accomplishing a goal you needed to complete. After you set your goals, you can also look at comments from those who say “I’ve done this” (Who knows if they’re telling the truth…) and get some advice, for better or worse. You can give advice, too, on goals you’ve already accomplished. You can share your progress, and follow the progress of others with the same goals, or interesting goals. One of the guys who cheered my goals is studying Latin and Ancient Greek! Is that cool or what! I feel like such a slacker now… 

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Meister Your Mind!

Posted by grizzlymedia on September 25, 2008


You know, you can never have too much brainstorming. Sure, you’ve got your Inspiration. And maybe you remember from a previous Web 2.0 newsletter. But suppose you want more? Enter Mindmeister! And now there are cool new features on Mindmeister, such as the ability to add task information to your ideas: things like priority, completion, due date, and owner. You can also add attachments to your ideas. Upload file attachments to ideas and preview images through inline thumbnails. “Wunderlink” allows you to magically add links via an invisible Yahoo! background search. “Wundernote” uses a freebase database lookup to enable you to add notes to your ideas. The geistes blitz feature lets you insert ideas directly into your mind map from your Windows desktop with brilliant speed. There’s also an automatic text wrap feature, email support, and the ability to share maps. There’s also a better printing option, more formatting options, and…well, some more stuff. It is a cool and fun option for your own mindmapping or to share with your students, if you are a teacher-type person. Because their lovely little brains need to stay in shape!  

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Sputtr Doesn’t Stutter

Posted by grizzlymedia on September 25, 2008


Ahhhh, Sputtr. You are so pretty, customizable, clean, and simple. And fast. But not in the way your Mama warned you about. Sputtr is this cute little search engine that is really three dozen search engines in one. You just type in what you want to search for, then click on the appropriate button for one of thirty-six different sites, and then you are immediately searching for your topic on that site. Not happy with the 36 choices that make Sputtr happy? Not to fret! You can customize this lovely little site and delete any of those, or add dozens more. Still not happy, you demanding person, you? Well, then, you can submit even more sites to Sputtr, and if you ask nicely, they just might add your favorite site as an option. Maybe. And don’t forget to save your page when you’re finished customizing. You can even ask the nice Sputtr people to open your searches in a new window. I like to do that; I don’t know why. I guess I’m just a multi-window type person.

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Do You Know What Time It Is?

Posted by grizzlymedia on September 24, 2008

Well, now I just feel totally bored with the clocks in our library. A new clock at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge, England, cost over a million pounds, which is about $1.8 million to you and me. Plus it’s more like a work of art than a mere clock. It doesn’t even have hands like a real clock, and it’s designed to run in an erratic fashion, slowing down and speeding up whenever it’s in the mood. Kind of like people. Which is sort of the idea behind the “Corpus clock” designed by inventor John Taylor who built it with his own money in honor of British genius John Harrison. In 1725 Harrison invented the “grasshopper” escapement, a device that helps regulate the movement of clocks. As a visual pun on the grasshopper idea, Taylor designed a whimsical grasshopper which sits atop the clock. The grasshopper is called a “time eater” or chronophage. The long needle teeth and barbed tail of the insect are vital components of the clockworks. The grasshopper’s jaws begin to open halfway through each minute and then click shut at fifty-nine seconds. Its eyes, which are usually a lackluster green, sporadically flash a bright yellow. The clock has become the showpiece of the college library, which was also donated by Taylor. Taylor made his fortune with his other inventions, which include controls for electric tea kettles. Not nearly as exciting! To learn more about the clock, and how it is supposed to remind us of our own mortality, read an article at the FoxNews website.

Posted in History, Libraries | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Nick & Norah Hit the Big Screen!

Posted by grizzlymedia on September 18, 2008

If you haven’t read Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Creekview favorite authors Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, you’d better hurry, because the movie is set to hit theatres October 3! In her MySpace blog, Rachel confesses that there are a few differences between the book and the movie, but she thinks they only make the movie better. If you’ve already read the book, you may have noticed one major difference in the trailer. In the book, it’s Nick who asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes, but in the movie, it’s Norah who asks Nick to be her five-minute boyfriend. Way to be a twenty-first century woman, Norah! You can visit Rachel’s website to learn more about Nick & Norah and all of Rachel’s other books, including her latest book, You Know Where to Find Me. You can also visit David’s website to read more about all of his other books, including his latest, How they Met. Hurry up, Grizzlies, and finish reading Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist before October 3 so you’ll be ready when it hits the theaters. It sounds like it’s going to be great!

Posted in Authors, Books, Movies, Reading | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Give it Up for the Large Hadron Collider!

Posted by grizzlymedia on September 10, 2008

It’s a big day in science news as the Large Hadron Collider fired a beam of protons inside a circular 17-mile-long tunnel underneath villages and cow pastures along the French-Swiss border, paving the way toward the recreation of post big bang conditions. The experiment went off without a hitch as physicists and engineers inside a control room cautiously shot the beam down part of the tunnel, stopping it before it went all the way around. One hour later, the beam completed its way successfully around the tunnel to raucous applause. The collider had first been proposed over twenty years ago and the beam had been in construction for ten years. The findings could help resolve some of the biggest mysteries of the universe, including the existence of the “God particle” which is thought to give all other particles their mass. You can read a great article about the Large Hadron Collider in National Geographic or if you don’t wait too long, Google has an entire search devoted to it online today.

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“Elect to Read a Banned Book”

Posted by grizzlymedia on September 3, 2008

The Creekview High School Library, in cooperation with the American Library Association (ALA), is celebrating Banned Books Week, September 27-October 4, 2008. The Office of Intellectual Freedom (OIF) of The ALA has recorded more than 7,800 book challenges since 1990. A challenge is a formal, written complaint asking that a book be removed from school curriculum or library shelves. About seventy-five percent of these challenges involve schools and school libraries; the remaining twenty-five percent involve public libraries. The OIF estimates that only about one-fourth of the book challenges are actually reported. In support of the right to choose books freely for ourselves, the Creekview Library and the ALA are sponsoring this year’s Banned Books Week, with this year’s theme “Elect to Read a Banned Book.” Here is a list of the most challenged authors of 2007, according to ALA:
1. Robert Cormier
2. Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
3. Mark Twain
4. Toni Morrison
5. Philip Pullman
6. Kevin Henkes
7. Lois Lowry
8. Chris Crutcher
9. Lauren Myracle
10. Joann Sfar
And here are the most challenged books of 2007:
1.“And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
2. The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier
3. “Olive’s Ocean,” by Kevin Henkes
4. “The Golden Compass,” by Philip Pullman
5. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain
6. “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker
7. “TTYL,” by Lauren Myracle
8. “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou
9. “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris
10. “The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
You can check out the ALA website for more information and check out the Creekview High School library for a list of our banned books.

Posted in Books, Reading | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

So You Think You Want to Be a Copyright Pirate?

Posted by grizzlymedia on September 3, 2008

You know how Ms. Hamilton and I whine and whine about copyright violation to you, but now you have the opportunity to see for yourselves how harmful it can be to someone you “know” when her rights are violated. Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series which many of our Blatant Bibliophile Creekview readers love, had her heart broken last week when someone she trusted had a partial draft of her latest book, Midnight Dawn, published on the Internet. The book was distributed online without Ms. Meyer’s permission, leaving her so disappointed that she no longer has the desire to finish the book. She’s even embarrassed, because the draft wasn’t fully edited and was not up to her usual standards of perfection, so those who do read the draft will probably be disappointed. She worries that if she does try to finish the book in her current state of mind, the series might have an unhappy ending, and who wants the bad guys to win? Copyright is important, and this is a great example of why. Just because you buy a copy of a book or a song or a DVD, doesn’t mean you have rights to make copies or distribute it. Only the creator maintains those rights, which is only fair. Some day when you become a famous author, song writer, or filmmaker, you’ll appreciate people respecting your rights, too.

Posted in Books, Copyright, Reading | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »