Monday, November 26, 2007

One less hassle for librarian travelers - New York's Library Hotel

An annoyance that has prevented librarians from visiting New York City is the absence of a good, clean hotel laid out according to the Dewey Decimal system. That, I'm happy to report, is no longer a problem; the "Library Hotel in New York City is the first hotel ever to offer its guest over 6,000 volumes organized throughout the hotel by the Dewey Decimal System.* Each of the 10 guestrooms floors honors one of the 10 categories of the DDC and each of the 60 rooms is uniquely adorned with a collection of books and art exploring a distinctive topic within the category or floor it belongs to."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fixing cultural public diplomacy: the public respond

Slate has now published Fred Kaplan's promised follow-up article to the piece he wrote last week calling for readers' ideas for future cultural diplomacy. There are some fascinating responses. Very well worth reading, and passing on. This passage should have resonance for most of us.

"Eric Henry, a doctoral student at Cornell who has spent much time in Shenyang, China, recalls that the U.S. Consulate used to open its libraries, film screenings, and Fourth of July celebrations. Now, he says, the consulate is a "razor-wired compound"; an American friend of his was recently arrested for taking pictures of the front gate. "Expats and Chinese who used to visit the consulate quite regularly now only grouse about the things that used to go on there," he writes."

Here is the URL for the full article:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


"The mission of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is to empower the children of developing countries to learn by providing one connected laptop to every school-age child. In order to accomplish our goal, we need people who believe in what we’re doing and want to help make education for the world’s children a priority, not a privilege. Between November 12 and November 26, OLPC is offering a Give One Get One program in the United States and Canada. During this time, you can donate the revolutionary XO laptop to a child in a developing nation, and also receive one for the child in your life in recognition of your contribution." (from

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Your chance to fix cultural public diplomacy

The invaluable online magazine Slate has run another article by Fred Kaplan, bemoaning the current state of US public diplomacy, and calling for the restoration of USIA. In addition though, the article, focusing on the role of culture in public diplomacy, poses the following questions:

"What could we send out to the world that might have the same impact on, say, Arabs and Muslims today that rock, jazz, and B-movies had on Russians and Europeans during the Cold War...... If you were president, or chairman of this revived USIA, how would you promote our values and culture? "

He asks his readers to send him their ideas, and promises to publish a summary of the replies. Now is your chance!

The URL for the article is:

Monday, November 12, 2007

CQ Politics

CQ Politics is a free service from the Congressional Quarterly group, with lots of information about the campaigns, Washington, and the issues.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Wikipedia postings

If you've been putting off getting a life, and would like to tary a bit longer, Wikipedia vision is one place to hang out - strangely captivating. Here's how NPR describes it...

Morning Edition, November 1, 2007 · Wikipedia Vision is a new online map which spins across the globe, tracking the changes people make to the encyclopedia. You can see what was edited, when and where. So this morning we know that someone in Hong Kong changed the definition of a Rolls Royce Phantom. Someone in Australia corrected the entry for a bearded dragon lizard. And someone in California updated the definition of a Poltergeist curse. As a wired blogger points out, this isn't exactly crucial information, but watching the map is mesmerizing. It gives you what he calls a "god-view of the Internet."

Bullshit generator

Sometimes writing position descriptions or narratives about your accomplishments - or mine, at any rate - can be a real strain on the imagination. If your business is internet related, the official internet "bullshit generator" is a huge help. It puts some great verbs, adjectives and nouns at your disposal, and strings them together for you in punchy lines - punchlines, if you will. If you type in something uninspired, like "respond to audience needs", out comes something impressive, like "harness viral schemas." Best of all, you can use your same, tired phrases over and over again, and each time the BS generator comes up with something fresh and new. Ingenious!!!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Overseas Voter Registration

A new site offering fast and easy voter registration was recently announced by the Overseas Vote Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, in cooperation with the Make Voting Work initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts.

According to an article in Government Computer Week, the site, still in beta, "automatically loads required questions for the appropriate state and county, prompts users through the answering process with drop-down lists, and generates a completed PDF application that can be printed, signed and mailed."

This should be of great interest to posts in countries with a significant American citizen presence.

The URL of the site is at:

Related articles can be found at: (Government Computer Week)
and (Haaretz)