Monday, April 21, 2008

File under government, sexism, comics, history...

PS Magazine
Originally uploaded by fifteeniguana
The wonderful folks at Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries have digitized PS, the US Army's preventive maintenance magazine. From the 1950s through the 1990s they used comics to teach mechanics how to take care of army equipment. For the first twenty years the art director was none other than the legendary cartoonist, Will Eisner, creator of the Spirit, and inspiration for almost everyone in the business. Not surprisingly, a whole lot of top notch cartoonists put in some time at PS.

The lady on the cover, by the way, is named Connie, and contrary to what you might expect, the beautiful blond is the smart character in the comic, keeping the soldiers from screwing up.

Monday, April 14, 2008

An amazing book, 3

Third and last unofficial screen capture from the magnificent new Census Atlas of the United States. This is my salute to the rugged individualist. The Census form asks people to identify their ancestry and most people meekly admit to being Swedish, or Native-American, or Italian-English-Irish, etc.

But there will always be somebody who sets his/her jaw, folds his/her arms and says "I'm an American!" This table shows the percentage of people in each county who identified their ancestry as "United States, a state name, Southerner, American or Northern American." The darker the color, the higher the percentage. The darkest represents about 7% of the respondents.

An amazing book, 2

Another unofficial screen capture from the Census Atlas of the United States. The red arrow shows migration to California between 1955 and 1960. The blue arrows show the reverse trend between 1995 and 2000.

Everyone who lives in Washington knows that a lot of Calfornians moved up here in the late 1990s (60,000+). But how many know that 40,000 Washingtonians headed to the Golden State in the late fifties? I sure didn't.

An amazing book

Our library just received its federal depository copy of the Census Atlas of the United States. It is just a wonderful piece of work. You can see it on the web but I respectfully suggest you find a library that has the hardcover. That way you can stick your nose down into the details.

I'll put up a few unofficlal screen captures for your enlightenment. See this one? It shows the (census) year of maximum population for each county in the United States. The brightest yellow means the highest number is 2000 - the county is bigger now than it has ever been. That's true of my home, for example.

But the darkest colors are reserved for counties that reached their pop peak BEFORE 1860. Wow.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Encyclopedia of Earth

Originally uploaded by miqul

This is pretty cool. The Encyclopedia of Earth wants to be the largest reliable source on environmental issues. It is free, online, and sort of a controlled Wiki. Approved authors can change each others' work but there are assigned editors, and nothing is done anonymously.

They borrow (with permission) articles from government agencies and other reliable sources. So, for example, the article on Rachel Carson comes from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (her former employer) but there is a separate article on her environmental ethics written for the Encyclopedia by a philosophy professor in Colorado. (There is a brief bio of each author, so you can judge their reliability.) This is followed by a dozen other articles that mention Carson.

Very nice work. We could use a hundred more in different fields.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Historians Heart Librarians

Heart shaped book
Originally uploaded by Trash Queen
My favorite history blogger is Ed Darrell of Millard Fillmore's Bathtub.
Recently he wrote a little piece in praise of librarians and gave a long list of librarian blogs with interesting names. A subset lies below. (I repeat his warning that they haven't been checked to see if they are safe for work viewing.)
(Not So) Bad Girl Librarian
Library Snark
Love the Liberry
Miss Information
Naked in the Public Library
Tiny Little Librarian
Vampire Librarian

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

About a theft

Vandalized book
Originally uploaded by fifteeniguana
Here's the nutshell. Someone stole a lot of maps and similar pages from the library where I work. A lot of people at the university helped catch the alleged thief. You can see the whole story at my other blog, Criminal Brief.