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Former Judge Makes Ukulele CD for Library

Bob Cox sends this "story from

Little did Pat Boone, an actor and singer who made female hearts flutter in the 1950s, know that his smooth singing style and artful strumming of a baritone ukulele would one day inspire a fund-raising effort for Homer's new public library.

But it has, said singer-songwriter Jim Hornaday, who was a state judge here from 1976-1990."

New honour for the web's inventor

Pete writes " The BBC reports that the inventor of the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee, has won a prestigious award which comes with a prize bag of one million euros (£671,000).The "Father of the Web" was named as the first winner of the Millennium Technology Prize by the Finnish Technology Award Foundation.The famously modest man never went on to commercialise his work. Instead he worked on expanding the use of the net as a channel for free expression and collaboration."

Dolly Parton to be Named Living Legend by Library of Congress

search engine web writes "Library of Congress will give LIVING LEGEND award to Dolly Parton, according to this story at Honorees are selected by the library's curators and specialists. Previous honorees have included Johnny Cash and Ray Charles; filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese; comedian Bob Hope; and baseball player Cal Ripkin Jr. Here's more about Dolly and her contribution to country music.

Alumna leaves $3.5 million to college library

Anonymous Patron sends" this good news from the Baltimore Sun.
'Each year for Christmas, Katherine Leidy Unger would send novels and biographies as gifts to her nieces and nephews.
So it came as no surprise to family members who learned yesterday that the McDaniel College alumna bequeathed money to the school's library.
What stunned them was the amount: $3.5 million - the college's second-largest gift ever, McDaniel officials said yesterday. The largest gift - $8 million - was given to the school in 1999.'"

Smart People Believe Weird Things

Michael Shermer, author of Why People Believe Weird Things takes a quick look at the confirmation bias in Scientific American. He writes:

"Rarely do any of us sit down before a table of facts, weigh them pro and con, and choose the most logical and rational explanation, regardless of what we previously believed. Most of us, most of the time, come to our beliefs for a variety of reasons having little to do with empirical evidence and logical reasoning. Rather, such variables as genetic predisposition, parental predilection, sibling influence, peer pressure, educational experience and life impressions all shape the personality preferences that, in conjunction with numerous social and cultural influences, lead us to our beliefs. We then sort through the body of data and select those that most confirm what we already believe, and ignore or rationalize away those that do not."

Not that any of us are like that, it's just something worth reading for those other people that are like that.

Baghdadis turn to books once banned

Bill writes "News From Iraq says Iraqis are buying political and religious books and snapping up satellite dishes once banned under the oppressive regime of Saddam Hussein, to quench a thirst for information they were once denied.

On the famed Mutanabi Street book market of Baghdad, shopkeepers and vendors who work right off the pavement shrug off any concern about the sky-rocketing sales of satellite dishes since the end of the US-led war to oust Saddam a year ago. “People are buying more books since the end of the war,� said Mohammed al-Yawi, who owns Al-Naktha, one of the oldest bookshops in Baghdad."

His gift is soundtrack of beloved memories

Bob Cox writes " reports on Harry Fanning, who has music on the brain, symphonies swimming in his head.

On a good day, he awakes to music. Like last Tuesday, when he arose from slumber humming the second movement of a work by Antonin Dvorak. Yes, he could hear the music. He could discern the softest pianissimo from the boldest fortissimo; he could detect the intricacies of interplay between the instruments.

For days like this, the 73-year-old retired junior high art teacher gives thanks. His beloved music remains with him, even if his hearing has mostly disappeared. The joy of inserting a CD into his stereo and enjoying a mini-concert in his living room, a room he designed with a cathedral ceiling to specifically enhance his listening pleasure, is gone, taken by a viral infection that left him with a severe hearing loss."

In The Navy

Peter writes, "Those long days and nights away from home can affect people in different ways it seems.
A book in every port?" An Australian seaman pleaded guilty yesterday to stealing nearly a thousand books from various military libraries worth approximately $270,000.

Sportswriter loves to read

nbruce writes "At his blog this week Nathan Bierma interviews Steve Rushin of Sports Illustrated, and author of travelogue Road Swing: One Fan's Journey into the Soul of American Sports.

". . . “On our family vacations to California when we were kids, I always went to the library, and checked out books on all the places we were going in San Francisco. … My wife [basketball star Rebecca Lobo] and I live in a small townhouse. If we ever get a house, I don't care what it has except a library. I'd like to just sit in a big chair with a goldfish-bowl-sized brandy sifter, and a globe, surrounded by books. We have boxes of books on bookshelves, boxes in our garage. … I was in a used bookstore and picked up a 1200-page biography of Charles Dickens. I will probably finish it in the time it took Dickens to live his actual life, but I will finish it.�"

'Greatest Generation' Struggled With History, Too

"When the U.S. Department of Education reported that in 2001 nearly six out of 10 high school seniors lacked even a basic knowledge of the nation's history, Bruce Cole was indignant and concerned. ... A test administered in 1915 and 1916 to hundreds of high school and college students who were about to face World War I found that they did not know what happened in 1776 and confused Thomas Jefferson with Jefferson Davis."

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