A library loses its books (on purpose)

The Boston Globe reports on the Cushing Academy, a private school that will be doing away with its 20,000-volume library of books in favor of a digital "learning center" and electronic readers such as the Kindle or Sony eReader.

"When I look at books, I see an outdated technology, like scrolls before books," said James Tracy, headmaster of Cushing and chief promoter of the bookless campus. "This isn't 'Fahrenheit 451' [the 1953 Ray Bradbury novel in which books are banned]. We're not discouraging students from reading. We see this as a natural way to shape emerging trends and optimize technology."

There are some good arguments for digital collections, but I have to admit that this decision to completely remove all books doesn't sit very well with me. For one thing, what will people read during power outages?

Then again, the numbers do suggest that the books aren't exactly flying off the shelves: "School officials said when they checked library records one day last spring only 48 books had been checked out, and 30 of those were children's books."


Say Goodbye to Hyphens

About 16,000 words have succumbed to pressures of the Internet age and lost their hyphens in a new edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.

Bumble-bee is now bumblebee, ice-cream is ice cream and pot-belly is pot belly.

And if you've got a problem, don't be such a crybaby (formerly cry-baby).
Read the rest at Reuters.


RIP Beau Velasco of The Death Set

The Death Set are one of my favorite Baltimore bands (whose haunts also ranged up to NYC and Philly). They're responsible for the only show I've attended that involved me getting hit in the head with a soon-to-be demolished disco-ball.

So I'm sad to report the death of one of the groups two founding members, Beau Velasco. Details are scarce (it was announced last night via Twitter) but for now the best remembrance is in the music:

More videos at Brooklyn Vegan.


Mary Travers, rest in peace

Mary Travers, a third of the beautiful voices in Peter, Paul, and Mary, has died at the age of 72.



Done Dancing

Patrick Swayze, 57, is dead after a long fight with pancreatic cancer.


Wal-Mart at War

In Virginia, Wal-Mart has won the right to build a store close by the site of the Battle of the Wilderness, one of the top ten battles with the most casualties in the Civil War. Writes the Washington Post:

Wal-Mart and its supporters dismiss ... opposition as exaggerated, because the store would not sit directly on parkland or on what is known as the core battlefield, where the most intense fighting took place. Instead, the site is in what was the Union rear.
via Kathleen


On September 11th

A 9/11 widow contemplated her loss eight years later.

World's Oldest Person Dies

Gertrude Baines passed away in Los Angeles, CA at age 115.

Featured on local television newscasts when she voted last year, Baines, who is black, said she backed Obama ''because he's for the colored.'' She said she never thought she would live to see a black man become president.

Read her full obit here.

A Grizzly End

The effects of disappearing salmon are beginning to show in the declining grizzly bear population, reports the Globe & Mail.

Mr. McAllister said it used to be easy to visit salmon streams in the Great Bear Rainforest, a large area of protected forest on the central coast, and see 20 to 30 bears a day feasting on salmon.

“Now you go out there and there are zero bears. The reports are coming in from Terrace to Cape Caution … the bears are gone,” he said.

“And we haven't seen any cubs with mothers. That's the most alarming part of this,” Mr. McAllister said.
via Kathleen