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Librarian Blog

WHO cares?

For my last cooking class here at the library, I cooked some vegetarian fare, notably because of the report issued by the World Health Organization last month that eating red meat and processed meat could kill you.

Maybe you saw the story in the papers or on TV. It seems that stuff like bacon and sausage will cause cancer over time. Eat enough over a lifetime, and these things might kill you before a heart attack, skin cancer, car wreck, climate change or an accidental war.

Lots of folks have now come to the defense of processed meats. One, writing last Sunday in the New York Times, said the report was the result of junk science. The Wall Street Journal had a story last Thursday out of Frankfurt, Germany, not debunking the science but deriding the idea that something so close to the German heart as sausage should be labeled as bad for you.

In these regards, I am reminded of a couple of familial connections: One, my grandfather always counseled that one should take all things in moderation; and, two, my father ate bacon or ham nearly every day of his adult life and lived to be 83 years of age. He did not die of colorectal cancer; instead, he died of a combination of factors, among them prostate cancer, which is not caused by eating processed meat.

Run and read

Several library branches in the Phoenix area are helping their patrons do something besides just sit there and read.

They have installed treadmills.

Yep. You can now read and walk at these libraries.

A $20,000 grant from a city fitness/wellness group provided the funding.

Why not?

I once knew a history professor who would walk across campus while reading a book. He ran into lots of people and almost got hit by motorists who expected him to obey pedestrian traffic laws.

So, it's not like there aren't people out there who'd like to do juggle more than one task at a time.

Lots of sharing

A new report out today says American teens continue to embrace Instagram, but have not completely abandoned FaceBook.

I'm a little surprised since Instagram, which is for photos and videos, is so much like FaceBook in terms of facilitating "sharing." (Boy, am I sick of that term.)

Thirty-three percent of teens say that Instagram is the most important application out there. Only 14 percent say FaceBook is.

FaceBook is probably seen as something for old people.

Way down the list of most important apps is Pinterest, and that, too, is no surprise. Pinterest is a little girlie for guys.

That Instagram is so liked tells me a lot about how many photos are being taken with smartphones.

Is there anything that hasn't been shot?

About face

Amazon opened its firsts bricks-and-mortar store today in Washington State, and it appers that it is much like every other bookstore on the planet.

There is an exception, and it is of singular importance, I think.

All the books in the inventory at the store are shelved with the cover facing outward. The browsing visitor can see entire cover, not the spine.

Bookstores traditionall do best-sellers with a cover-out shelving scheme and then float a few others here and there in their collections.

The issue is space. If you face books outward, there is limited room for other books. That's why most libraries don't have face-out shelving schemes. We'd have far fewer books if we did.

Obviously, Amazon sees this as a must way to do things. And that means that what they have to offer for sale in that physical space will be very limited. Maybe they don't care because they don't intend to sell a deep and broad collection, just what's current and hot on the market.

At least, that sounds like their strategy.

Comments? Really?

Ever since I started this blog a couple of years ago, I have received periodic comments on this or that posting.

At first, there was a clear pattern: Some group of foreign students, barely educated in the use of English, tried to get me to approve their comments. I wondered if this was part of some class assignment. I had no way of knowing. And I still don't.

Then, I started getting comments that wanted me to post them with referrals to oiutside websites. These, I figured, were blatant attempts to drive traffic somewhere else.

Those continue.

And I continue to delete them.

If one of these or something like it makes it through the filtering system, it's my fault. Just don't pay attention to them. I'm trying to be vigilant, but the whole process is a pesky nuisance.

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