The April vacation is almost over! I can’t believe it either. I hope you all got the rest you needed to finish off the year with plenty of energy and excitement. I wasn’t very productive I’m afraid, but I did almost finish three great little books that I highly recommend to anyone:
- Madness: A Brief History by Roy Porter: We all think we know people who are “crazy”, but how were these people viewed throughout history? Learn how science and culture have helped to define, refine and distinguish madness from sanity. It seems that sometimes having a sense of creativity and a vivid imagination can have disastrous outcomes.
- Rats: Observations on the history & habitat of the city’s most unwanted inhabitants by Robert Sullivan: Just as madness has been with us since the beginning, so too evidently have rats. Peppered with fascinating stories about rats and their long relationship with people and cities. Who would want to read such things? A librarian, of course.
- A Sense of the Mysterious: Science and the human spirit by Alan Lightman: Discovery is the outcome of a curious and restless mind, according to Lightman’s brief book. The author leads us through his own life and discusses how other thinkers including Einstein, Feynman, Maxwell, Teller and Rubin used their curiosity to lead them to fresh insights into the workings of the universe.
Besides reading, I have been checking out what offerings are available on television, and I am pleasantly surprised by a few of my finds:
- America: The story of us: This program airs tonight (Sunday, April 25th) at 9pm on the History Channel. I hope it is as good as advertised and look forward to watching it. Its companion web site offers a bunch of clips and some other goodies.
- Is it possible? : I’ve never actually seen this show on television, viewing it exclusively on the web. From the clips I have checked out, it looks like a modern day version of Ripley’s “Believe it or Not!” with much better video and graphics to prove that the bizarre, extreme and unusual do exist in the world.
- How the states got their shapes: Another offering from the history channel, this video covers a lot of history in 61 minutes and uses good graphics and maps to tell the story. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the video online, but you can view a talk with the author of the book on which the show was based, Mark Stein, via webcast from the Library of Congress collection. (You will need the Real Player app installed to view it).
- National Geographic Channel: I know; how many times can one person recommend the same sight? But NGC gets it right so many times, especially when it comes to its photojournalism. Long before the digital age connected the world, the National Geographic Society’s photographers were taking some of the most stunning pictures we’ve been lucky enough to see. Their website is featuring some of the first photos from NASA’s amazing Solar Observatory Telescope … awe-inspiring.
Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you find something worthwhile. See you all tomorrow
Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2010. All rights reserved.