Monthly Archives: March 2006

Computers in Libraries 2006

Yesterday I came home from the Computers In Libraries conference in Washington DC. Recognizing the importance of technology in libraries, this conference has been going on for 21 years, and it was great to be able to attend the 2006 edition.

If I were asked to name one underlining theme of the conference it probably would be Library 2.0, the library specific counterpart to Web 2.0. Web 2.0 refers to the latest generation of web sites, which are more interactive, collaborative, personalized, and customizable (using tools like AJAX, blogs, wikis, podcasts, RSS feeds, etc.). One speaker said that traditionally, libraries have been somewhat behind the technological times, or as he put it, “Libraries: giving you yesterday’s technology, tomorrow.”

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A cold start to Spring

Today is the first day of spring (in the northern hemisphere). Here in Madison it’s been pretty cold and windy. It reminds me of a song written by David Gray, “What Does It Matter,” an outstanding version of which is on Mary Black’s excellent CD, Shine.

What should it matter if the sun don’t rise
Its midnight forever in my Janie’s eyes
What should it matter if it comes on spring
When I’m finding winter in everything

Lived in this cold wind city all of my life
Walking around still looks the same
Same people coming and going
It doesn’t feel right
See it all now
From so far away

All of the wisdom that I held so high
Shining and useless as this April sky
The hedgerows are singing and it comes on spring
But I’m finding winter in everything

The hype before the storm

All day today, the weather folks have been telling us about a winter storm headed our way. By this time tomorrow, the Madison area is suppose to have 5-7 inches of new snow on the ground.

After supper tonight, I needed to head to the store for a few groceries. When I got there I couldn’t believe the number of cars in the parking lot. Lines at the checkout were so long it was like the day before Thanksgiving. It looked to me like people were buying enough provisions to last for weeks. I only had a few things on my list and that’s all I bought (made it out pretty quick in the 15 items or less lane). I was not about to succumb to the hype before the storm.

Seeking out new life

There’ve been a couple of interesting science stories in the news lately. First, marine biologists have discovered what can best be described as a furry lobster in the South Pacific. Every time scientists discover a new species on our planet I’m amazed. Humans have been on the Earth for how long, and we’re still seeing things we’ve never encountered before.

Yesterday, NASA announced their Cassini spacecraft has photographed water geysers spouting from one of Jupiter’s moons. Scientists are speculating that having geysers on the small moon could mean it has “a warm, water-based environment reasonably close to the surface — one that could be conducive to living organisms.”

Discoveries like these are exactly why we need to maintain funding for exploring our universe, both on and off our humble little world. I wonder how many other exciting things are out there, just waiting to be discovered.