A three-years-orphaned college professor loses her husband and daughter in a car accident, finds out she was adopted and goes off to find her roots. I don't want to give anything away, but I should warn you, everything in this novel takes forever. And if you're sensitive to misspellings and typos, stop being petty, but in case you can't, brace yourself. (What's up with the lax proofreading Indiana University Press?)
Canadian zine maker Teri's short stories are so good, and I don't even like short stories. (I can call her Teri because we're social media friends, and I've read most of her zines.) Her protagonists come from a variety of backgrounds. Most are young, but there's also a mother (of a stripper in his 20s), and one of them is male. I found all of narrators relatable and real.
I put this book on hold at NYPL after watching the first episode of the TV series. I only made it through one and a half more installments of the show, but when my copy of the book became available, I figured I'd see how it compared. It's better, but not great. Some major plot points are surprisingly different.
The past two weeks have seen a burst of activity at the State Agency Databases Project at http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/State_Agency_Databases. For a full list of activity, see http://tinyurl.com/statedbs14d. Here are some highlights:
CALIFORNIA (Joel Rane)
I recommend adding terminology to http://id.loc.gov/authorities/subjects/sh97008221 "Children of teenage mothers" to: "Children of teenage parents."
In a post titled
How America’s Global Surveillance Empire made it a Helpless Giant at Informed Comment, Tom Engelhardt provides an excellent summary of NSA activities brought to light by Edward Snowden:
In Mother Jones, Will Potter profiles Ryan Shapiro, a punk rocker-turned-PhD student who wanted to study how the FBI monitors animal-rights activists. Through trial and error, and a lot of digging, he devised a perfectly legal, highly effective strategy to unearth sensitive documents from the bureau's 'byzantine' filing system. So now the FBI is petitioning the United States District Court in Washington, DC, to prevent the release of 350,000 pages of documents he's after. If the court buys the FBI's argument here, it could make it harder for scholars and journalists to keep tabs on federal agencies.
Meet the Punk Rocker Who Can Liberate Your FBI File. By Will Potter. Mother Jones. Wed Nov. 13, 2013
According to the Justice Department, this tattooed activist-turned-academic is the FBI's "most prolific" Freedom of Information Act requester—filing, during one period in 2011, upward of two documents requests a day. In the course of his doctoral work, which examines how the FBI monitors and investigates protesters, Shapiro has developed a novel, legal, and highly effective approach to mining the agency's records. Which is why the government is petitioning the United States District Court in Washington, DC, to prevent the release of 350,000 pages of documents he's after.
The Guardian wrote yesterday, "Conservative party deletes archive of speeches from internet." The Conservative Party has attempted to delete from their website -- as well as from the Internet Archive! -- all their speeches and press releases online from the past 10 years, including one in which David Cameron promises to use the Internet to make politicians 'more accountable'.
This is troubling news, but something as old as politicians -- see for example ALA's long-running serial "Less access to less information by and about the US government" which ran from 1981 - 1998. But it should also come as yet another warning to librarians and archivists of the dire need to harvest and preserve government information and store content off of .gov servers.
The party has removed the archive from its public website, erasing records of speeches and press releases from 2000 until May 2010. The effect will be to remove any speeches and articles during the Tories' modernisation period, including its commitment to spend the same as a Labour government.
The Labour MP Sheila Gilmore accused the party of a cynical stunt, adding: "It will take more than David Cameron pressing delete to make people forget about his broken promises and failure to stand up for anyone beyond a privileged few."
In a remarkable step the party has also blocked access to the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, a US-based library that captures webpages for future generations, using a software robot that directs search engines not to access the pages.
NASA has announced that it is making a large collection of NASA climate and Earth science satellite data available to the public via the Amazon cloud.
- NASA Brings Earth Science 'Big Data' to the Cloud with Amazon Web Services, by Ruth Marlaire, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. RELEASE 13-307 (Nov. 12, 2013).
By using the cloud, research and application users worldwide gain access to an integrated Earth science computational and data management system they can use on their own.
The service encompasses selected NASA satellite and global change data sets -- including temperature, precipitation, and forest cover -- and data processing tools from the NASA Earth Exchange (NEX), a research platform of the NASA Advanced Supercomputer Facility at the agency's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.
- NASA NEX, Amazon.
Three NASA NEX datasets are now available, including climate projections and satellite images of Earth.
More information here.
In case you missed the news this week, here is the link to NASA's glorious slideshow of photographs from Cassini, including one of earth as seen from Saturn.
Note: you can download these images...
Great news from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts:
A project providing free online access to federal court opinions has expanded to include 64 courts. The federal Judiciary and the Government Printing Office partner through the GPO’s Federal Digital System, FDsys, to provide public access to more than 750,000 opinions, many dating back to 2004.
The Judicial Conference approved national implementation of the project in September 2012, expanding participation from the original 29 courts. FDsys currently contains opinions from 8 appellate courts, 20 district courts, and 35 bankruptcy courts.
Federal court opinions are one of the most heavily used collections on FDsys, with millions of retrievals each month. Opinions are pulled nightly from the courts’ Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) systems and sent to the GPO, where they are posted on the FDsys website. Collections on FDsys are divided into appellate, district or bankruptcy court opinions and are text-searchable across courts. FDsys also allows embedded animation and audio – an innovation previously only available with opinions posted on a court’s own website or on the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER).
Congress.gov will be the sole source for texts of pending and passed legislation, committee reports, congressional floor speeches and cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office beginning Nov. 19, the Library of Congress announced on Friday.
YAY, another 24 hour!
Croatan 24 Hour is a great 24 hour put on by Brandon Wilson and his family. There is absolutely phenomenal support (The aid stations is amongst the best of any ultra I've ever run at - veggie & chicken broth, potato soup, turkey, potatoes, grits, grilled cheese, burgers, veggie burgers, sandwiches, various kinds of cake, tons of snacks, and all the usual traditional ultra fuel.).
The course has some slight uphills on some of the bridges, and there was one "hill." It's not bad but when it turned dark, I would walk it some of the time. But a lot of the times, I ran the beast. The course is very runnable - I think it is as equally hard as Hinson Lake. It is really pretty, as you are running through swamps and you get to see water and lots of trees, though it can get spooky at night. (Think hallucinations of witches, ghost hands touching you, shrunken heads.)
I was trying for 120 miles, but missed it by just over 10 miles. Booo. Not my day, but I still had a good time hanging out with lots of great friends.
I checked in to get a neat hoodie instead of tech tee (Sweet! I know what my new work-at-home top will be.), and Brandon showed me to the yellow bib area where I could stash my stuff in a tent, which made things a little simpler. (Yellow bib were runners who were being tracked closely, as they had hopes of making the national team/elite runners.) Also, got to have the awesome Jonathan Savage give me blister advice, and his son help me with little things like replacing batteries in my headlamp and opening containers of coconut water. (He is a mechanical engineering and physics college student; I may as well take advantage of that.) It was really great.
Enjoying the view
I started off, feeling like my tummy was a little off. I ran with various people, making new friends, chatting with old friends. It was a blast. I ate vanilla gus and drank water. Because it was a no-cup (for water and gatorade) race, everyone left their handhelds by the aid station and a lot of people just drank a little from their bottles whenever they felt like it.
4:12 marathon. Not bad. I ate carefully, but still felt bleh. 5:17 50k. Keep going.
OMG my blister. The one from The Hard Way returned. I changed my socks and shoes and walked my cramped self back towards the course, where one of the runners asked me how I was. Dan was dropping. I mentioned my blister.
"Want me to pop it?"
"I don't know if you can. There's a callous on top."
What did I have to lose but time? I took off my sock and shoe and showed it. Soon, he was jamming a needle into my toe and squeezing it flat while I squeezed Paula's friend's hand so hard I thought I was going to break it. He put some lube on my tootsie and I hobbled off.
And then I ran. Again. Wooohooo!
The day grew warm, but not too warm. Comfortably warm. It was sunny and I squinted a little below my visor. There were birthday spanks every time I passed Frank Lilley, chatting with Susan and Fred Dumar whenever I passed them, cheers for Paula. It was fun.
Dusk. I changed my outfit completely; I was sweat-soaked. I put on a long sleeved tee, which I ran in most of the race. I was moving enough and it never got that cold, though around 6am, I added an extra shirt.
On one of my first headlamp routes, I thought my tummy started feeling worse. I had some ginger ale.
Yes, it's only a 1.36 mile course BUT OH MY GOD IT WAS SO LONG WHERE IS THE PORT-A-POTTY? I thought abt running in the bushes, but I didn't want to use my gloves (They were my warm ones.) or my socks. And there were not enough bushes in the entire Croatan National Forest for what I needed for.
I ran as fast as I could, hoping, suffering.
And then - relief in the Port-a-Potty. I let myself stay in there for one Bob Marley song and then I was out. Ugh. I took Immodium and went to the aid station for more ginger ale. One of the volunteers gave me a natural gu, and then I got a bowl of grits with some broth (for extra nutrition). I walked a lap with Paula, eating my grits, feeling better but not great. Oh, how I hate my tummy troubles.
I began running again, slower. I hallucinated. Witches. Curled-up dogs. Wolves. Witches. All sorts of things I now can't remember, which is probably a good thing.
I ran alone, with music. I ran with Paula. I ran with various people. I tried to keep food down, which was hard as I had zero appetite. My body hurt all over. I appreciated that the port-a-potties had handles to lower yourself down to pee. Ouch.
I tried to not hallucinate. I failed at that. I smiled. I waved. I cheered everyone on. I had fun.
I ran with a woman I had met at Hinson, Melissa, who was getting revenge for not running 100 at Hinson. We ended up running until the end, and as I suspected the race for 3rd place was close, I convinced her to run with me until the finish. Which she did. And got third place.
Mosi won for the men. Connie won for the women (after being on a cot under a sleeping bag for 2 hours, and having people beg her to get an IV). I was second woman, which was nice. I won a military hat from WWII. My grandpas, were they alive, would like it.
the hat & the buckle
It is the rare piece of literary fiction that I can get through these days, but I sailed through The Ghost Bride. It's literary, also historical and magical. The story takes place in 19th century Malaysia and in heavenly realms.
I kind of hate marathons. There's always the pressure to run really fast, and I always feel like if I don't PR, I suck. And then NYC marathon is crazy expensive and a big hassle.
But it's the best marathon ever. I've run Boston 3x and it doesn't even hold a candle to NYC.
I knew, a week after running 115.6 miles in 24 Hours at The Hard Way, I would be unlikely to PR. But hey, a girl can dream?
Regardless, I decided the best way to run this marathon would be to have fun! I wore my tutu, and got into the spirit of the marathon. I slapped high five, danced, sang along to the music en route, waved, and smiled at EVERYONE. It was a blast.
I went out at 7:30s, 7:40s, and slowed duh around mile 18. My body said, "Duh. You're an idiot. You ran 115.6 miles last week. You are a madwoman. And your legs are tired. We're slowing down."Let's run with COLOUR!
But that was fun. More time to enjoy each moment.
The last mile, it hit me. THIS WAS HUGE. I was 2nd woman USATF the week before in the 24 hour National Championships and a week later, I was running the NYC Marathon. Tears gathered in my eyes and I sobbed aloud the last mile.
And then I was done. It was a beautifully fun day.
On the Verazanno Bridge!
Hmmm, maybe this marathon a week after a 24 hour wasn't such a hot idea?
According to the American Assn of Law Libraries (AALL) "blawg:"
During last week’s Open Government Partnership (OGP) meeting in London, the Obama administration released a preview of its U.S. Open Government National Action Plan 2.0 (NAP). While the second NAP will not be finalized until December 2013, six new commitments to further advance the goals of transparency and accountability in the federal government were announced:
- Expand Open Data
- Modernize the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
- Increase Fiscal Transparency
- Increase Corporate Transparency
- Advance Citizen Engagement and Empowerment
- More Effectively Manage Public Resources
This is great news for open government (though it's still troubling how the administration is walking a very thin, troubling line in re to the NSA and their attacks on whistleblowers). I hope the administration and policy makers on open government will take some cues from our 2010 Letter to Deputy CTO Noveck: "Open Government Publications".