📺 Global Political Expert and Author Dr. Brian Klaas on Tavis Smiley (PBS)

Global Political Expert and Author Dr. Brian Klaas from PBS
The political expert and author discusses his latest book, The Despot’s Accomplice: How the West is Aiding & Abetting the Decline of Democracy. Dr. Brian Klaas is an expert on global democracy, democratic transitions, American politics, Western foreign policy, political violence, and elections -- and the security and economic risks of all these challenges. Klaas is the author of The Despot's Accomplice: How the West is Aiding & Abetting the Decline of Democracy. He is a Fellow in Global and Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics. Klaas has advised governments, US political campaigns, the European Union, multi-billion dollar investors, international NGOs, and international politicians.

It seems like every time I watch this show I need to buy another book. This time it’s The Despot’s Accomplice: How the West is Aiding & Abetting the Decline of Democracy.

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📺 Journalist and Author Naomi Klein – Part 1 of 2 on Tavis Smiley (PBS)

Journalist and Author Naomi Klein – Part 1 of 2 from PBS
The journalist and author discusses her latest book, No is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need. Part 1 of 2. Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of the international bestsellers, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate (2014), The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007) and No Logo (2000). In 2017, Klein became Senior Correspondent for The Intercept. She is also a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute and contributor to the Nation Magazine. Recent articles have also appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, the London Review of Books and Le Monde. Her latest book is called No is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need.

An interesting little episode. I’m glad there are two parts, but I already find myself wishing there were three.

👓 Something New For Baby To Chew On: Rocket Science And Quantum Physics | NPR

Something New For Baby To Chew On: Rocket Science And Quantum Physics (NPR)
The books introduce subjects like rocket science, quantum physics and general relativity — with bright colors, simple shapes and thick board pages perfect for teething toddlers. The books make up the Baby University series — and each one begins with the same sentence and picture — This is a ball — and then expands on the titular concept.

Ooh! We definitely need more books like these in early childhood education.

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The Last Bookbinder on the Lower East Side | Literary Hub

The Last Bookbinder on the Lower East Side: An Ancient Trade, Alive on Henry Street by Dwyer Murphy (Literary Hub)

Continue reading “The Last Bookbinder on the Lower East Side | Literary Hub”

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5 business books you should read this year | World Economic Forum

5 business books you should read this year (World Economic Forum)
Fortune round-up 5 business books to learn from.

Continue reading “5 business books you should read this year | World Economic Forum”

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👓 Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds | The New Yorker

Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds (The New Yorker)
New discoveries about the human mind show the limitations of reason.

The vaunted human capacity for reason may have more to do with winning arguments than with thinking straight.
The vaunted human capacity for reason may have more to do with winning arguments than with thinking straight. Credit Illustration by Gérard DuBois
Continue reading “👓 Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds | The New Yorker”
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Why You Should Use Zotero To Track Your Reading | BOOK RIOT

Why You Should Use Zotero To Track Your Reading (BOOK RIOT)
An overview of an app for tracking your reading that offers different tools than Goodreads or Litsy
Zotero logoI’ve been using Zotero, a free, open-source application, to track my reading for several years now. Originally designed for scholars, Zotero has a number of features that make it ideal for readers who want to track a bit more about their books and reading habits than sites like Goodreads or Litsy allow. Of course, I have accounts on Litsy and Goodreads and I still use Zotero. I just use them for really different things (it’s also possible that I’m a little too uptight about tracking my reading). If reading Emma’s post that outlined 8 Reasons to Catalog Your Books got you itching to start tagging and cataloging, I’d strongly suggest Zotero. Continue reading “Why You Should Use Zotero To Track Your Reading | BOOK RIOT”
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When Couples Fight Over Books | WSJ

When Couples Fight Over Books (WSJ)
People feel possessive of books because they help form our beliefs. How couples keep, display and discard books can be the stuff of heated debate.

After bickering with her husband nonstop for a week recently, Amber Fallon made a huge sacrifice for love. Four books.

This represented an appeasement in the ongoing book battles between Ms. Fallon and her husband, John. Both are big readers. Both own many books. His are alphabetized in a floor-to-ceiling bookcase in their bedroom. Hers take up three of his shelves, fill their home office and stack precariously in a “To Be Read” pile in a corner.

When books start to spill onto tables and countertops, Mr. Fallon—who gives away many of his books once he’s read them—demands answers. Why does his wife need two copies of the same title? Why keep ones she’s already read? “She believes in some form of immortality by having books around,” says Mr. Fallon, 39, a systems technician.
Continue reading “When Couples Fight Over Books | WSJ”

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Chris Aldrich is reading “My Favorite Books of 2016”

My Favorite Books of 2016 (gatesnotes.com)
Bill Gates shares his list of best books he read in 2016. The list includes “String Theory” by David Foster Wallace, “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight, “The Gene” by Siddhartha Mukherjee, “The Myth of the Strong Leader” by Archie Brown, and “The Grid” by Gretchen Bakke.

“The Gene” by Siddhartha Mukherjee, “The Myth of the Strong Leader” by Archie Brown, and “The Grid” by Gretchen Bakke all sound the most interesting.

I’ve heard there was a lot of dubious science discussed in Mukherjee’s book when it came out, but Gates doesn’t mention any of the controversy in his review. The last two books I listed above are lesser known, and I hadn’t heard about them previously. I’ll have to take a look at them over the coming holidays.

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City of Los Angeles and Little Free Library Executive Director Honor Local Library Stewards

Little Free Library #8424

About two years ago, I registered Little Free Library #8424 and a year and three months ago it opened up with a just a few books to serve the Adams Hill neighborhood in Glendale, CA. Along the way during the intervening time, we’ve had almost 500 donated books go through our humble metal doors. In addition to our local library, some of our donated books also go to help seed several dozen similar libraries in surrounding communities, many of which are considered book deserts, meaning that there are few outlets (public libraries, school libraries, or bookstores, etc.) for books or reading available to people in those communities. As a result, and unsurprisingly, the literacy rates in these neighborhoods are not as high as they should be.

A Surprise Invitation

Several weeks ago I was pleasantly surprised to receive an invitation from Little Free Library stewards and founders of The Literacy Club, Doug and Jean Chadwick, who said they would be hosting a steward meet-up for people running Little Free Libraries in the Los Angeles area.

Little Free Library & The Literacy Club Presents:  An evening with Todd Bol

Come meet Todd and your fellow stewards for an evening of fun! You’ll get to talk Little Libraries and books, enjoy snacks, beer, wine and soft drinks, and swap stories with everyone in attendance.

Part of the motivation for the event was because Todd Bol, co-founder and executive director of the Little Free Library movement was coming to Los Angeles on Thursday, November 3rd.

The Little Free Library outside of the Chadwick's home with The Literacy Club's van behind it.
The Little Free Library outside of the Chadwick’s home with The Literacy Club’s van behind it.

It seemed like a great excuse to meet some of my fellow library stewards in the area and swap stories, and exchange advice.

Little Free Library #50,000

At the time I didn’t know that Todd was coming out to the West coast from Wisconsin in part to celebrate the unveiling of Little Free Library charter number 50,000 in Santa Ana, California, the day after he met with us. To help put the growth of the movement into perspective, remember that I registered library #8424 about two years ago.

Chris Aldrich, steward of LFL #8424, meets Todd Bol (right), steward of LFL #1.
Chris Aldrich, steward of LFL #8424, meets Todd Bol (right), steward of LFL #1.

The Literacy Club

As I was to discover when I arrived, Todd came not only to meet several library stewards in the Los Angeles area but to help honor all our efforts. In particular to honor the efforts of the Literacy Club which has helped to set up and run over 50 Little Free Libraries in the Los Angeles area including in hospitals, various neighborhoods, and every police station in the city (except two, which are on their to-do list). They’ve also built and host libraries in Ohio and Wisconsin as well.

I was very impressed with their efforts and even a tad jealous that I hadn’t thought to set up dozens of libraries like this, though trust me, the amount of work involved is no small potatoes–it’s obviously a full time hobby and then some.

As a small comparison, I opened up Little Free Library charter #8424 a year and three months ago, and we’ve had almost 500 books move through our library; the Literacy Club is moving thousands of books a month!

Awards

Paul Krekorian, Councilmember of the Second District of the City of Los Angeles, had sent a Certificate of Appreciation to present to The Literacy Club for all of their fantastic work in the city. Our little soiree included a lovely presentation by Field Deputy Sahag Yedalian (who was representing Krekorian’s office) to the Chadwicks for their work on The Literacy Club’s behalf.

Sahag Yedalian representing Paul Krekorian's office presents a certificate of appreciation from the City of Los Angeles to Jean and Doug Chadwick for their work on The Literacy Club's behalf.
Sahag Yedalian representing Paul Krekorian’s office presents a certificate of appreciation from the City of Los Angeles to Jean and Doug Chadwick for their work on The Literacy Club’s behalf.

Shockingly to me, after a whirl-wind presentation, I too had such a lovely certificate in my hands!

20161103_210324 After catching my breath, I was a bit sad that the certificate wasn’t made out to the Little Free Library #8424, which is really the true recipient of the honor. While I did do a good bit of work to put the library together and erect it in front of my house, it really is the neighborhood and community that do all of the work in supporting and using our Adams Hill treasure. So I’ll take a moment to say thank you to all my neighbors and friends in and beyond Adams Hill in Glendale for supporting our neighborhood Little Free Library.

Paul Krekorian, Councilmember, Second District, City of Los Angeles
in Certificate of Appreciation presented to Chris Aldrich on behalf of Little Free Library #8424 on November 3, 2016

 

Many other LFL stewards in attendance were also presented with certificates of appreciation for their help in seeding book deserts in the surrounding Los Angeles areas.

Sahag Yedalian representing Paul Krekorian's office (left) presents a certificate of appreciation from the City of Los Angeles to Executive Director Todd Bol on behalf of the Little Free Library organization.
Sahag Yedalian representing Paul Krekorian’s office (left) presents a certificate of appreciation from the City of Los Angeles to Executive Director Todd Bol on behalf of the Little Free Library organization.

Swapping stories

During the evening it was great hearing some stories and ideas from many in the room. In particular it was nice to hear the story of Little Free Library #1 that Todd built and thereby started the growing movement of book exchanges.

It was also interesting to hear his philosophy of treating the Little Free Library organization as a “reverse franchise” set up. Most franchise operations perfect the concept of their business before spinning it out into thousands of locations. He prefers to have a few interesting ideas to put out into the community, which is likely to be wildly more creative and perfect those ideas or come up with incarnations and offshoots that the small staff at headquarters couldn’t have possibly created. Then, once perfected, headquarters can help disseminate the ideas to everyone and everywhere else. I though this was great advice for non-profit organizations like this.

Also at the party, I also got to meet the President of the Burbank noon Kiwanis Charles Chavoor  who was present to show support for The Literacy Club and their efforts. The Kiwanis there are funding a large Little Free Library to be dedicated shortly.

We also got to hear advance news about a major pending announcement for which we were all embargoed until November 14th, so you’ll have to wait until then for more details.

Todd also shared some of his work in growing the Little Free Library movement in Indonesia as well as several partnerships including the U.S. Army which is stewarding a large number of libraries.

Little Free Library Stewards from the Los Angeles area enjoy several stories at the party. (Photo courtesy of The Literacy Club.)
Little Free Library Stewards from the Los Angeles area enjoy several stories at the party. (Photo courtesy of The Literacy Club.)

Doug Chadwick shared a somewhat heartbreaking story based on his volunteer experience. He said that an unintended consequence and benefit of putting Little Free Libraries into police stations around the city is that police stations are often the site of court mandated child exchanges between divorced parents who don’t always get along or respect each other. At least while waiting during drop offs and pick ups, the children who are caught in the middle are able to sit down and not only read a book or two while they wait, but they can take them home with them as well.

Doug also shared a previous story of receiving the Little Free Library’s “Master Builder Award” and Todd indicated how rare these original Amish planes were to be able to establish such an award.

The Little Free Library Master Builder Award which had previously been presented to Doug Chadwick.
The Little Free Library Master Builder Award which had previously been presented to Doug Chadwick.

The Book Room

When I came to the party, I thought it would be a nice gesture to bring a book or two from my own library for the hosts or to swap with some of the other stewards. I noticed that a few other attendees did the same. Our gracious hosts also had the same idea, but, like the Literacy Club with its grand mission, they managed to pull their version off in even grander style.

As I was leaving, I was invited into The Book Room. Now, I’ll preface this with the fact that I’ve been into the offices and stock rooms over more than a dozen nice sized specialty book shops. The book room in the Chadwick’s home handily put most of them to shame. I was immediately surrounded by shelves with hundreds of stacks of books each with a dozen or more copies of the same book all waiting to be pulled off to create restocking boxes for any of the various Little Free Libraries around town that The Literacy Club stewards.

While I often try to have lightly worn or like new books in my library, every book in this room was brand new and sure to make a proud treasure for the thousands of children who were soon to receive them. It’s exactly the kind of room every library steward dreams of having in their own house.

I was thrilled to be sent home with not just one box full of books, but three boxes. Thus Little Free Library #8424 will soon have some new children’s selections, and, much like an early Santa Claus, I’ll be dropping off many books at some of the surrounding LFLs in the Eagle Rock, Glendale, South Pasadena, and Pasadena areas to spread the wealth and cheer and help continue seeding libraries nearby.

In the meanwhile, I’m dreaming about how I might be able to add on an additional room to the house for books…

Thanks

Thanks again to The Literacy Club and to Doug and Jean Chadwick, who have impossibly edged me out as the #2 most enthusiastic Little Free Library steward after Todd Bol. And thanks again for hosting such a lovely little party to bring us all closer together. I’m glad to know I’m not alone in my love for what we’re all doing. I’ll be in touch shortly about volunteering some of my time to The Literacy Club’s efforts.

Thanks also to The Little Free Library organization which provided guests with lots of great items like The Little Free Library book, buttons, book marks and more.

And finally, thanks yet again to all my friends, family, and neighbors who help to support Little Free Library #8424.

Would you like to help?

You can help in a variety of ways from donating your lightly used books, volunteering your time, starting your own library, or even making a financial contribution. We welcome your help and know that it will help make our communities better one book at a time. After seeing some of the excellent work that The Literacy Club is doing, you could also help support their GoFundMe campaign.

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David Quammen on Books

David Quammen (1948 ― ), science, nature, and travel writer
in The Boilerplate Rhino: Nature in the Eye of the Beholder

 

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How can we be sure old books were ever read? – University of Glasgow Library

How can we be sure old books were ever read? by Robert MacLean (University of Glasgow Library)
Owning a book isn’t the same as reading it; we need only look at our own bloated bookshelves for confirmation.

This is a great little overview for people reading the books of others. There are also lots of great links to other resources.

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Forthcoming ITBio-related book from Sean Carroll: “The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself”

Physicist Sean Carroll has a forthcoming book entitled The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself (Dutton, May 10, 2016) that will be of interest to many of our readers.

In catching up on blogs/reading from the holidays, I’ve noticed that physicist Sean Carroll has a forthcoming book entitled The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself (Dutton, May 10, 2016) that will be of interest to many of our readers. One can already pre-order the book via Amazon.

Prior to the holidays Sean wrote a blogpost that contains a full overview table of contents, which will give everyone a stronger idea of its contents. For convenience I’ll excerpt it below.

I’ll post a review as soon as a copy arrives, but it looks like a strong new entry in the category of popular science books on information theory, biology and complexity as well as potentially the areas of evolution, the origin of life, and physics in general.

As a side bonus, for those reading this today (1/15/16), I’ll note that Carroll’s 12 part lecture series from The Great Courses The Higgs Boson and Beyond (The Learning Company, February 2015) is 80% off.

The Big Picture

 

THE BIG PICTURE: ON THE ORIGINS OF LIFE, MEANING, AND THE UNIVERSE ITSELF

0. Prologue

* Part One: Cosmos

  • 1. The Fundamental Nature of Reality
  • 2. Poetic Naturalism
  • 3. The World Moves By Itself
  • 4. What Determines What Will Happen Next?
  • 5. Reasons Why
  • 6. Our Universe
  • 7. Time’s Arrow
  • 8. Memories and Causes

* Part Two: Understanding

  • 9. Learning About the World
  • 10. Updating Our Knowledge
  • 11. Is It Okay to Doubt Everything?
  • 12. Reality Emerges
  • 13. What Exists, and What Is Illusion?
  • 14. Planets of Belief
  • 15. Accepting Uncertainty
  • 16. What Can We Know About the Universe Without Looking at It?
  • 17. Who Am I?
  • 18. Abducting God

* Part Three: Essence

  • 19. How Much We Know
  • 20. The Quantum Realm
  • 21. Interpreting Quantum Mechanics
  • 22. The Core Theory
  • 23. The Stuff of Which We Are Made
  • 24. The Effective Theory of the Everyday World
  • 25. Why Does the Universe Exist?
  • 26. Body and Soul
  • 27. Death Is the End

* Part Four: Complexity

  • 28. The Universe in a Cup of Coffee
  • 29. Light and Life
  • 30. Funneling Energy
  • 31. Spontaneous Organization
  • 32. The Origin and Purpose of Life
  • 33. Evolution’s Bootstraps
  • 34. Searching Through the Landscape
  • 35. Emergent Purpose
  • 36. Are We the Point?

* Part Five: Thinking

  • 37. Crawling Into Consciousness
  • 38. The Babbling Brain
  • 39. What Thinks?
  • 40. The Hard Problem
  • 41. Zombies and Stories
  • 42. Are Photons Conscious?
  • 43. What Acts on What?
  • 44. Freedom to Choose

* Part Six: Caring

  • 45. Three Billion Heartbeats
  • 46. What Is and What Ought to Be
  • 47. Rules and Consequences
  • 48. Constructing Goodness
  • 49. Listening to the World
  • 50. Existential Therapy
  • Appendix: The Equation Underlying You and Me
  • Acknowledgments
  • Further Reading
  • References
  • Index

Source: Sean Carroll | The Big Picture: Table of Contents

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