Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dog trapped in hot car: What it feels like


On a “typical summer day” (outdoor temperature of 95 degrees), veterinarian Ernie Ward spends 30 minutes in a parked car.

At 10 minutes in, even with all four windows cracked, Ward relates that the heat is “oppressive; that’s the best word for it.”

At 30 minutes, the car’s temperature is 117 degrees. Dog owners, please watch this video and leave your precious animal at home.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Copyright treaty expands print accessibility

Three delegates applaud during World Intellectual Property Organisation treaty signing in In Marrakech, Morocco
Image credit: International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
The amount of materials available to people with print disabilities is expected to substantially increase, with the adoption of a treaty on Thursday among member states in the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

Weeding in libraries: It’s best to have a policy

In a post at Nitty Gritty Gal, Regina Powers explains what happens when weeding goes bad. For a short time, Powers worked for a library manager who underwent what Powers called Get-Rid-Of-It-Syndrome.

Friday, June 28, 2013

QR code in Biblioteca Universitaria

Friday cat blogging: Ribbon yarn ‘Kryptonite’


What other reason could I possibly have for knotting ribbon yarn on the spokes of my bicycle than to tantalize Starfire? Ribbon yarn is Starfire’s Kryptonite.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Marriage equality: It’s Oregon’s turn


Ashland Daily Tidings/Southern Oregon Media Group 

Same-sex couples and allies of marriage equality gathered Wednesday in Ashland Plaza, in response to U.S. Supreme Court rulings in the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Marriage equality: Victory in court

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this morning that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. As related by Amy Howe via “Cover It Live” at SCOTUS Blog: “DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty.” The ruling is a clear victory for same-sex couples and allies of marriage equality.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Jackson County schools lag in bullying prevention

I am concerned about news that Ashland, Medford, Central Point and Rogue River schools lag behind in Oregon’s efforts to stop harassment and bullying. As a survivor of childhood peer abuse that included school-wide shunning, I stand in solidarity with students who are bullied today.

Marriage equality rulings expected Wednesday

Marriage equality social media avatar: Pink equal-sign on red background
Marriage equality social media avatar
Tuned in this morning during SCOTUS Blog’s live coverage of U.S. Supreme Court rulings, powered by the “Cover It Live” journalism platform. Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act cases remain to be decided.

According to Amy Howe with SCOTUS Blog, referencing U.S. Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., “Tomorrow at 10 a.m. will be the last day and we will release all the remaining opinions.” SCOTUS Blog will begin live coverage at 9 a.m. Eastern time.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Internet research: Web accessibility

In the course of taking an online class in advanced Internet searching, I am researching Web site accessibility.

According to Katie Cunningham, author of the Accessibility Handbook (O’Reilly Media), web accessibility can cover four groups: people with visual, physical, hearing and cognitive impairments. As a woman on the autism spectrum, I am a personal stakeholder in web accessibility.

Marriage equality in U.S. Supreme Court

SCOTUS Blog, sponsored by Bloomberg Law, will live-blog expected U.S. Supreme Court rulings in California’s Prop. 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. An editor’s note above Amy Howe’s “plain-English” analysis anticipates a ruling at 10 a.m. Eastern on Tuesday.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

‘Friends’ newsletter warns of library closures

Library card: Jackson County Library Services in Oregon
The June newsletter for Friends of the Medford Library warns of possible furloughs to close a budget gap of nearly $400,000 for Jackson County Library Services beginning in July. “Library administrators are exploring ways to absorb these cuts, but most likely it will mean a furlough, temporarily closing every library in the county for 2-4 weeks.”

Ashland Book and Author Festival

At Southern Oregon University’s Hannon Library: “Three floors will be dedicated to the celebration of all things literary” today during the Ashland Book and Author Festival. A precede by freelance writer Vince Tweddell can be read at the Ashland Daily Tidings website.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Yarn Bombing @ Your Library: Mid-Continent Public Library

Tree trunk covered in knit and crocheted swatches of many colors. Across a panel circling the trunk, four words are centered in four lines of text: 'One World. Many Stories.'

Circa June 3, 2011: Lee's Summit volunteers (Mid-Continent Public Library, Jackson, Clay and Platt counties, Missouri) organized a yarn bombing to celebrate its summer reading program. Details at http://www.mymcpl.org/blog/weve-been-yarn-bombed.

Review: ‘Cat Girl’s Day Off’ by Kimberly Pauley

Book cover: "Cat Girl's Day Off" by Kimberly Pauley
Cat Girl’s Day Off by Kimberly Pauley (Tu Books) is a thoroughly enjoyable book with memorable feline and human characters.

The story is set in an alternate-world Chicago, where some people have extrasensory abilities. The protagonist, Nat, is able to talk to cats — an ability she is convinced is on the level of “party tricks” compared to the remarkable talents of everyone else in her family.

Nat and her friends are propelled into a mystery with the arrival of a celebrity blogger, Easton West, to cover the filming of a movie called Freddy’s Day Off.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Yarn Bombing @ Your Library: new tags, images

Crocheted pansies nestled among shrubbery, bearing tag: "Yarn Bombing @ Your Library"
With photos the only surviving evidence of my first tags since moving to Ashland, Oregon, new images have been curated and added to the timeline for Yarn Bombing @ Your Library.

For International Yarn Bombing Day on June 8, I crocheted pansies and placed them in the landscape at Southern Oregon University’s Hannon Library and at Jackson County Library Services’ Ashland branch library. A couple days later, the tags were gone.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

‘Without a Net’: Digital divide explained

Book cover: "Without a Net: Librarians Bridging the Digital Divide" by Jessamyn C. West
Jessamyn C. West explores the facets of computer use and Internet accessibility in her book, Without a Net: Librarians Bridging the Digital Divide (Libraries Unlimited, 2010).

The digital divide, according to West, is about:
“Some people lacking skills that other people consider basic, starter or remedial, and not having a peer group or an educational system that can teach you. It’s also about people assuming, ‘Oh, everyone knows that,’ and moving right on by. The digital divide isn’t about not having a computer, though that can be part of it. The digital divide isn’t really about not knowing how to use a computer, though many people I work with can’t. The digital divide is about not knowing anyone who knows how to use a computer well enough to teach you. It’s about not being part of a tech-literate culture and not knowing a way out of that setting.”

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Treecat Wars: Compelling YA science fiction

Cover art: "Treecat Wars" by David Weber and Jane Kindskold
Treecat Wars by David Weber and Jane Lindskold is a Young Adult science fiction novel that will be published this October by Baen Books.

Treecat Wars is the continuation of a story that began with A Beautiful Friendship and continued in Fire Season. The series tells the story of first contact between a young girl, Stephanie Harrington, and a race of beings called Treecats on the planet Sphinx.

Harrington and a treecat, Climbs Quickly, formed a telepathic bond and, as Treecat Wars opens, Harrington has been offered an opportunity to go off-world for special training.

Back on Sphinx, a treecat clan whose territory was destroyed during the recent fire season is bereft of land and faces starvation if it cannot find a new territory.

People with print disabilities: Petition supports global access

The American Library Association (ALA) urges members to sign a petition asking the Obama administration to help ensure a global right to read for people with print disabilities.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is set to meet next week in Morocco. In recent email correspondence, the ALA declared its support for a copyright exception to a WIPO international treaty.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer reading at Jackson County libraries

Summer reading programs for children, teens and adults began today at Jackson County Library Services. Most significant to this library student, volunteer and advocate is the adult program, “Groundbreaking Reads.

JCLS promotes the summer reading program as an antidote to “Summer Slide.” An infographic on its Facebook page cites studies showing that access to books during the summer prevents a loss of reading skills among students.

U.S. mining data from Internet ‘partners’

Has your online communication fallen under government surveillance? The Washington Post and the Guardian reported Thursday that the U.S. government is collecting data from top U.S. service providers -- Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Lisa Khoury’s ‘Internet drubbing’: comment platform created hostile environment

Mug shot: "The Spectrum" student journalist Lisa Khoury
Lisa Khoury
At PBS: MediaShift, Dan Reimold shares six lessons from the “Internet drubbing” of college journalism student Lisa Khoury. In February 2012, Khoury authored a counterpoint opinion opposing tattoos for The Spectrum student newspaper.

Khoury’s commentary appeared in print adjacent to the companion “pro” piece but was posted by itself online.

A year later, Khoury and Spectrum editor-in-chief Matthew Parrino said they learned six lessons from “the viral hate they faced and the steps they took to cope with and counter it.”

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday cat blogging: YA sci-fi with cats

A Booklist webinar featuring new titles in fantasy and science fiction was particularly worthwhile; cats were prominent on a to-read list that I took with me from the webinar.

Treecat Wars by David Weber and Jane Lindskold

Book cover: "Treecat Wars" by David Weber and Jane LindskoldTreecat Wars is a Young Adult science fiction novel that will be published this October by Baen Books. Treecat Wars is the continuation of a story that began with A Beautiful Friendship and continued in Fire Season.

The series tells the story of first contact between a young girl, Stephanie Harrington, and a race of beings called Treecats on the planet Sphinx. Harrington and a treecat, Climbs Quickly, formed a telepathic bond and, as Treecat Wars opens, Harrington has been offered an opportunity to go off-world for special training.

Stephanie Harrington is the ancestor of Weber’s character Honor Harrington, an officer in the Royal Manticoran Navy who has a telepathic bond with a treecat named Laughs Brightly.

Cat Girl’s Day Off by Kimberly Pauley

Book cover: "Cat Girl's Day Off" by Kimberly Pauley
Among titles published by Tu Books, Cat Girl’s Day Off by Kimberly Pauley appealed to me so much that I immediately placed a hold on the title through Jackson County Library Services.

Tu Books publisher/founder Stacy Whitman described Cat Girl’s Day Off as a comedic fantasy set in an alternate-world Chicago. According to Whitman, the title has had a lot of success with cat bloggers. In one, the blogger’s cat interviewed the book’s lead feline character.

So that’s one direction my summer reading is going to take: YA science fiction and fantasy with cats. I look forward to sharing the adventures in Treecat Wars and Cat Girl’s Day Off.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Review: ‘On the Wrong Track’ by Steve Hockensmith

Book cover: "On the Wrong Track," a "Holmes on the Range Mystery," by Steve Hockensmith
Advance praise by author Steve Hockensmith for Colin Fischer by Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz put me in mind to re-read Hockensmith’s Holmes on the Range.

Holmes on the Range tells the story of Gustav “Old Red” Amlingmeyer in frontier America, patterning himself after magazine-story detective Sherlock Holmes. To his brother Otto, “Big Red,” falls Dr. Watson’s task of chronicling the detective’s exploits.

A search of my library’s online catalog revealed the presence of a new (for me) adventure, On the Wrong Track (St. Martin’s Minotaur, 2007).

On the Wrong Track picks up where Holmes on the Range left off, with “Old Red” and “Big Red” seeking employment as Pinkerton detectives. The pair are hired as undercover operatives by the Southern Pacific Railroad.

The trip begins poorly -- “Old Red” is motion-sick -- and quickly goes from bad to worse with the abrupt appearance of a decapitated body. “Old Red” and “Big Red” must piece together a mystery that involves railroad bandits, mysterious cargo and passengers traveling with secrets.

Holmes on the Range and its sequel, On the Wrong Track, offer an inventive and unique approach to the exploits of Sherlock Holmes. A particular delight is the wild-west flavor that “Old Red” brings to the science of deduction: “detectifyin,’” he calls it. A touching subplot to On the Wrong Track involves “Big Red’”s reluctance to submit for publication his account of their earlier exploit.

Hockensmith’s books are also a tribute and testimonial to the power of stories: “Old Red” teaches himself a detective’s skills through his brother reading aloud whatever Holmes tales they can find on the frontier. From their original chance encounter with “The Red-Headed League,” “Old Red” and “Big Red” are reinventing themselves.

Jackson County libraries threatened with closure

For the Ashland Daily Tidings, Vickie Aldous reports that a loss of revenues threaten Jackson County libraries with closure. Perhaps now might be a good time to consider a permanent financing district, as approved during the November election in Multnomah County, Ore.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Just say no, Adam Bryant, to scary face-vibe

Mug shot: Adam Bryant
Adam Bryant on LinkedIn
I have mixed feelings about a post by Adam Bryant on LinkedIn about nonverbal cues. A subordinate asked Bryant, “Are you mad at me,” reaching this conclusion based upon something he or she had read in Bryant’s face.

From the incident, Bryant said he learned “a memorable lesson that day about how people can read so much into subtle, and often unintended, cues. From that moment on, I found myself making much more of an effort to be aware of my body language, particularly with the team of reporters I was leading, and to always show energy, confidence and optimism, even if I was on a tight deadline and wrestling with a difficult problem.”

I think Bryant is correct that people will look to a leader for guidance and watch his or her every move. And being aware of the impression you are making is certainly good advice.

I have severe misgivings, however, about “picking a face” and then consistently displaying that same face all the time.

I have a difficult enough time interpreting nonverbal cues from facial expressions and body language without their being compounded by an unnaturally blank expression or one that appears not to quite fit with what’s going on. A furrowed brow is less ambiguous even if my conclusion is wrong.

Your carefully neutral expression will more likely give off the scary face-vibe and then I’ll really wonder if you’re angry at me.

I was directed to Bryant’s post via a blog entry by Steve Buttry.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Ari Ne’eman analyses DSM-5 autism criteria

For the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative, Ari Ne’eman analyses DSM-5 autism criteria and its potential impact on services.

The fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), released on May 18, combines Autistic Disorder, Asperger Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder -- Not Otherwise Specified under a single diagnostic category of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Concerning the loss of Asperger syndrome as a separate diagnosis, Ne’eman indicates, “Many state agencies and school districts have implicit, and occasionally explicit, policies against allowing those with a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome or PDD-NOS to access services associated with an autism diagnosis.”

Like Ne’eman, I don’t share the views of critics who “couched their arguments in terms of culture.” Ne’eman reproduces a statement by Michael John Carley of the Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partership speaking to National Public Radio: “I personally am probably going to have a very hard time calling myself autistic.”

As reported by Ne’eman, Carley added “that he would find it difficult to share a diagnosis with ‘somebody who might have to wear adult diapers and maybe a head-restraining device.’”

Ne’eman, in response, states that “Carley and others are missing an opportunity to fight prejudice against all those on the spectrum, regardless of their support needs. ...

“By unifying our identity, we can include in our struggle those whom chance and circumstances have placed in separate diagnostic categories. Beyond that, there is something vaguely repulsive about maintaining the Asperger syndrome diagnosis solely to avoid prejudice and presumptions of inability. Shouldn’t we be trying to eliminate stigma and low expectations for everyone, rather than just shifting it to those who are less equipped to fight it? We can and should use this collective diagnosis as a chance to reinforce the relevance of human rights and self-advocacy for all of us.”

The concern that Ne’eman feels carries the most validity is if everyone who qualified for an autism spectrum diagnosis under DSM-4 will continue to do so under DSM-5. He does point out that for the first time, under DSM-5, people can meet criteria both “currently or by history” and that criteria explicitly acknowledges learned strategies and coping skills.

But Ne’eman echoes sentiments I have heard elsewhere and also believe: that the real test of the DSM-5 will come when it is applied in the field.

Ne’eman is president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, and one of President Obama’s appointees to the National Council on Disability. His report is part of a series of articles exploring the DSM-5.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Big Library Read: an initial success

In eReader: "The Four Corners of the Sky" by Michael Malone
Image source: OverDrive
According to Mercy Pilkington, writing for GoodEReader.com, the Big Library Read saw an initial success of more than 7 million cover impressions, or views, for its featured title, The Four Corners of the Sky by Michael Malone (Sourcebooks, 2010).

Pilkington quotes Steve Potash, CEO of Overdrive who, with Dominique Raccah, CEO of Sourcebooks, talked about early results during BookExpo America:
“There are a lot of so-called industry experts who don’t know the library market and don’t the value that libraries bring to authors. I said ‘Let’s try an experiment.’ I naturally called Dominique, who is an entrepreneur on 360-sides of this book business. I came up with a check list to demonstrate very quickly how libraries are helping readers connect with authors and get authors discovered.”
During their joint experiment, the Big Library Read promotion, The Four Corners of the Sky was made simultaneously available to all patrons at more than 7,500 OverDrive partner libraries. I accessed the title through the Oregon Digital Library Association’s Library 2 Go OverDrive platform.

The Four Corners of the Sky is at once a romance and espionage tale, centering around the relationship between a U.S. Navy pilot, Annie P. Goode, and her father, Jack Peregrine, a con artist. When she was 7 years old, Jack abruptly left her with his sister Sam and her housemate Clark and disappeared.

On her 26th birthday, Annie is unexpectedly drawn into an investigation involving a gold statue of the Virgin Mary. The Cuban government and a Miami diocese both have an interest in the statue while Annie has never been sure the statue existed, as it was one more fantastic tale told to her by her father. Annie has questions of her own for her father, about the identity of her mother.

The story is fast-paced and enjoyable, with characters whose personalities are vividly conveyed. Malone’s story caught my interest in its opening pages and I am enjoying the adventure.

I’ll allow Pilkington the final word declaring the promotion a success: “With over 40,000 public library patrons currently reading the title, it would seem so. Libraries are already ordering a copy of all of Malone’s other works, but Potash predicts that sales to libraries are going to take off.”

Saturday, June 1, 2013

‘United for Marriage’ in Oregon

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley speaks at Portland Sunnyside Church during Oregon United for Marriage's "Summer of Love" kick-off
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley speaks at Portland Sunnyside Church during
Oregon United for Marriage’s ‘Summer of Love’ kick-off
Image credit: Oregon United for Marriage
Oregon United for Marriage kicked off its “Summer of Love” canvass for marriage equality at several Oregon locations today, including downtown Ashland. The campaign’s objective is to collect the 116,284 signatures necessary to place a marriage equality measure on the November 2014 ballot.

Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship hosted the Ashland kick-off event. Cass Cole, a field organizer with Basic Rights Oregon “held down the fort” while volunteers canvassed for supporters at the downtown farmers’ market.

As a marriage equality ally newly arrived in Oregon, I want to see my state overturn its 2004 constitutional ban defining marriage “between one man and one woman.” The “Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection Act” would allow same-sex couples to obtain a license for civil marriage.