Archive for the ‘eLibrary’ Category
It is groundhog day again–it seems like the last one was only yesterday. A few years ago, a colleague did a great post on Groundhog Day itself, so I won’t repeat that here, but I started thinking about rodents (the groundhog is one). Here are a few rodent morsels on which to chew. (Ew, that didn’t sound right.):
–Rodents are from the order Rodentia, and they account for around half of all mammal species. (Note about this link: This takes you to the subject browse area of eLibrary. Anything with a yellow star next to it includes a Research Topic page.)
-The word “rodent” comes from Latin word meaning “to gnaw.” This makes sense, considering that their large front teeth and gnawing habit are probably the things that most define them in our minds. They gnaw because those front teeth grow continuously and failure to wear them down would result in death from starvation or impalement of the skull.
-The smallest rodent is the pygmy jerboa, only about an inch long. The largest rodent in the world, currently, is the capybara, but its extinct cousin Josephoartigasia monesi was the largest ever, measuring in at eight feet. And just for the awwwww-factor, here is a picture of two cute baby capybaras with their mother.
-Among the common animals that are mistaken for rodents but are not, are the rabbit and the opossum, which is a marsupial. (Speaking of marsupials, here is a crazy one: the Tasmanian wolf. It became extinct in the 1930s, and scientists had hoped to bring it back through cloning. He sure doesn’t look like a kangaroo.)
-Most rodent species are highly social. In an interesting experiment, a researcher showed that rats show empathy by working to free others from cages.
-While they were once killed in huge numbers for their pelts and to eliminate them as pests, beavers, the second-largest rodents, are becoming respected for the benefits they provide, including erosion prevention, improvement of fish and wildlife habitat and soil enrichment.
-On the other hand, some rodents can carry diseases deadly to humans, including plague and hantavirus.
On January 31, 1606, four men were dragged by horses (drawn) through the streets of London to the place of their execution. One by one, they were hanged by the neck until nearly dead and, while still alive, cut into four pieces (quartered). After having watched the three men before him suffer so horribly, Guy Fawkes was spared the agony by either falling or jumping from the scaffold and breaking his neck.
Fawkes, Robert Catsby, Thomas Percy, Thomas Wintour and John Wright, along with a number of others, had planned to blow up the House of Lords and King James I on the opening day of Parliament in November of 1605. They had hoped that the Gunpowder Plot, as it became known, would spur a revolt that would bring a Catholic monarch back to the throne and end a long period of persecution against Catholics.
The conspirators had managed to place 36 barrels of gunpowder in the basement of the House of Lords, but Fawkes was discovered guarding the powder and the assassination was foiled. Authorities had acted on an anonymous letter that tipped them off to the plan. Fawkes was tortured into giving up his associates, and all were tried and found guilty of treason. Somewhat ironically, the incident only spurred increased pressure on Catholics.
The foiling of the plot was celebrated with an official national holiday until 1859, and the tradition of Guy Fawkes Night (or Bonfire Night) on November 5 persists to this day. Traditionally, the revelry included the burning of a Guy Fawkes effigy made from old newspaper-stuffed clothes and a grotesque mask. Children would go through town asking for “a penny for the Guy” to pay for the effigy and for fireworks. The word “guy” eventually entered everyday language, coming to refer to any male person.
Follow the links above to find more information, and be sure to do your own searches in eLibrary to find lots of articles, images, websites and our Research Topics on thousands of subjects.
In January 1977, a miniseries aired on ABC, and it would essentially change the face of television.
“Roots,” based on Alex Haley’s novel “Roots: The Saga of an American Family,” won nine Emmy Awards, as well as a Golden Globe and a Peabody Award.
It tells the story of Kunta Kinte, an African adolescent who was brought to Colonial America and forced into slavery.
The story was based on what Haley claims to have discovered after conducting research to trace his ancestry.
eLibrary offers a multitude of additional information related to the subject matter of “Roots,” including these Related Topics:
This Friday the 58th U.S. Presidential Inauguration will take place at our nation’s capital when Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president. Here are some interesting facts about the history of the ceremony and related events that you may not know.
In his second inaugural address in 1793, George Washington spoke just 135 words, the shortest inaugural address ever given. Juxtapose that with the speech William Henry Harrison gave in 1841. Harrison delivered an 8,495-word speech lasting one hour and forty five minutes in the middle of a snowstorm without a hat or coat. Harrison’s presidency also is known as the shortest. He died a month after the inauguration from complications of pneumonia. Many believed that the long exposure to the elements during his lengthy speech contributed to his death.
The first inaugural ball was held the night after James Madison was sworn into office. A ticket to the ball? It cost just $4, which today would be worth around $60. Tickets to Donald Trump’s inaugural ball are estimated to range from $25,000 to $1,000,000.
As part of Abraham Lincoln’s 1865 presidential inauguration, African Americans were allowed to participate in the inaugural parade for the first time ever.
Even though much of this past election was downright rancorous, Barack Obama and Hillary and Bill Clinton are expected to be in attendance at Donald Trump’s inaugural swearing in. At Andrew Jackson‘s first inauguration in 1829, outgoing president John Quincy Adams did not attend. The bitter campaign for president left a bad taste in both men. Jackson blamed offensive verbal attacks by Adams and his supporters for the death of his wife.
The first inauguration of Barack Obama in 2009 smashed the record for attendance (estimated at 1.8 million) previously held by Lyndon B. Johnson’s second inauguration attendance of 1.2 million in 1965.
Official Day of Inauguration:
Most presidential inaugurations from 1797 to 1933 (John Adams to Franklin Delano Roosevelt) were held on March 4. Since 1933, with a few exceptions, the ceremony has been held on January 20. One reason the inaugurations were held on March 4, prior to 1933, was to give precincts and states time to hand count and deliver all the votes, all with little technological help. The extended period between the election and the day of inauguration also meant an extended lame-duck session in Congress. So in 1933, with a more modern communications and systems of voting, Congress passed the 20th Amendment to establish the new inauguration day of January 20.
When January 20 falls on a Sunday, the official oath is still given on that day, but the ceremony, and another ceremonial oath, takes place on Monday the following day.
Location of the Inauguration:
Thomas Jefferson was the first president inaugurated in Washington, D.C. Jefferson was also the first to be inaugurated at the Capitol building in Washington. Most of the inaugurations were held outside on the eastern front of the building until after Jimmy Carter‘s presidency. Since 1981, beginning with Ronald Reagan‘s presidency, most ceremonies have been held on the spacious west side to accommodate more spectators.
There have been some exceptions to the standard location over the years. For Franklin D. Roosevelt’s final inauguration the ceremony was held in the White House. Roosevelt would die three months later, and Harry Truman would be sworn into office in the Cabinet Room of the White House.
The weather during Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration was so cold (minus 7 degrees) the event had to be moved indoors to the Capitol Rotunda, which was very much unlike his first inauguration in 1981 when the temperature hit 55 degrees.
Lyndon Baines Johnson owns the infamous title of being the only president ever to been sworn into office on board an airplane. Following John F. Kennedy‘s assassination in 1963, Johnson, accompanied by Jackie Kennedy and over 25 other dignitaries, squeezed into the stateroom of Air Force One. As the jet powered up, the oath of office was administered and Johnson became the 36th president. This event also marked the first and only time a woman has administered the presidential oath of office (Federal Judge Sarah T. Hughes).
You can find out more about the U.S. presidential inaugurations by exploring eLibrary. Check out eLibrary’s Research Topics browse page or do a basic search of each president, and be sure to check out the page on Presidential Inaugurations.
Here are more resources:
“On Friday noon, July the twentieth, 1714, the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travelers into the gulf below.” That is the opening line of Thornton Wilder’s 1927 novel, “The Bridge of San Luis Rey.” Makes you want to read more, does it not? In Wilder’s story, five people were walking on a century-old Inca rope bridge, a bridge which many in Peru thought would never collapse. Well, collapse it did, killing the five people who were walking across. The incident was witnessed by a Brother Juniper, a Franciscan monk, who began to wonder if the accident occurred due to a divine plan, or if it was simply a random tragedy. His curiosity led him to investigate the lives of the five victims in order to prove that God intended those people to die together at that moment in time. After his research, he wrote an enormous book about the subject that was found to be heretical by the Church, resulting in both Brother Juniper and his book being burned in a town square. But, in a creative device used by Wilder, one copy of the monk’s book survived, which is supposedly the basis of the novel.
A year after “The Bridge of San Luis Rey” was published, Wilder wrote to a friend: “It seems to me that my books are about: what is the worst thing that the world can do to you, and what are the last resources one has to oppose it. In other words: when a human being is made to bear more than human beings can bear—what then? . . . The Bridge asked the question whether the intention that lies behind love was sufficient to justify the desperation of living.” What makes Wilder’s book the enduring novel it is has everything to do with the questions it poses about our purpose on Earth. It begins as a book about truth, and ends as a book about love. The end of the novel goes as follows: “But soon we shall die and all memory of those five will have left the earth, and we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.”
The year 2017 marks the 90th anniversary of Thornton Wilder’s novel. Even after all this time, it is still read in many high schools, often assigned along with a reading of Wilder’s play “Our Town.” The novel has appeared on TIME Magazine’s list of the 100 best novels since 1923, and it ranked 37 on the Modern Library’s list of the 100 Greatest Novels of the 20th Century. I recommend blocking off a few hours this year (the novel is very short: I remember my brother’s copy was around 125 pages) to read Wilder’s excellent story. And while you are at it, please use eLibrary to brush up on Thornton Wilder and his other famous works.
Thornton Wilder was the winner of three Pulitzer Prizes: for his novel “The Bridge of San Luis Rey” (1928); for his play “Our Town” (1938) and for the play “The Skin of Our Teeth” (1942).
“The Bridge of San Luis Rey” has been filmed three times: in 1929, 1944 and in 1994. The latest version starred Robert De Niro, F. Murray Abraham, Kathy Bates and Harvey Keitel.
“Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future,” Steve Miller wrote in his 1976 hit, “Fly Like an Eagle.” And so, time has once again quickly slipped into a new year. Many long to forget 2016 with its spate of notable personality deaths. Instead of lamenting the year past, let’s begin by wishing an early happy birthday to a man who became a “cultural icon” by writing about the beginning of time and the universe.
This coming Sunday marks the 75th birthday of the one of the most prominent scientists of our time, Stephen Hawking. Dr. Hawking is well known for in scientific circles as a theoretical physicist and cosmologist which has led to a pop culture following outside that realm. Dr. Hawking is a favorite scientist of Dr. Sheldon Cooper on TV’s The Big Bang Theory. An intimate portrait of the man was made into a 2014 movie, The Theory of Everything, starring Eddie Redmayne who won the Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of Hawking.
Born January 8, 1942 in Oxford, England, Hawking knew from a very young age he wanted to study mathematics. Unable to pursue a degree in mathematics at University College, his father’s alma mater, Stephen studied physics and gained first class honors at graduation. This led to graduate research in cosmology and a PhD in applied maths and theoretical physics at Cambridge. It was during his studies, at age 22, he was diagnosed with a slow-progressing form of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Despite his physical limitations, Dr. Hawking has not let his disease limit him professionally. For thirty years, from 1979 to 2009, he served as the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, a position once held by Isaac Newton.
In 1988 Hawking achieved worldwide acclaim with his bestselling book, A Brief History of Time. He wrote the book to make topics in cosmology like the Big Bang and black holes more understandable and attainable. Ever the research scientist, Professor Hawking continues to research and lecture on topics related to mathematics, cosmology and theoretical physics. A current area of interest is the search for extraterrestrial life in the universe.
Talk about your twist endings! If you are an educator looking for ways to round out the ELA curriculum before the Christmas break, you might consider having your elementary/middle school class read O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi.” Full disclosure: I was aware of this short story for many years but never really took the time to read it until recently. As short stories go, this one is very short; it can be read in about 15 minutes or less.
O. Henry (aka William Sydney Porter) was known for unexpected endings to his stories. “The Gift of the Magi” provides a good example of comic irony. You all know the story: A young couple (Jim and Della Young) lives in a small apartment in the city. They each have one possession in which they take much pride: Jim, his grandfather’s pocket watch and Della her beautiful long, flowing hair. It’s Christmas Eve, and Della has only $1.87 to spend for her husband’s Christmas gift. She wishes to buy him a fob chain for his watch. To get the rest of the $21 she needs, Della cuts and sells her beautiful hair (evidently a common practice at the turn of the 20th century). She then buys the watch chain and hurries home.
If you haven’t guessed by now, Jim arrives home from work, stunned to see Della with her hair shorn in a chic Audrey Hepburn boy-cut! She presents him with the watch chain. Here comes the twist: Jim, surprised that she has cut her hair to buy him a gift, now gives his Christmas gift to her: a set of combs for her long hair. But, to get the money to buy the combs, Jim had to sell his watch. And, if you surmised that after this the couple grows bitter with the loss of their cherished belongings, drifts apart and that their marriage ends in a messy, public divorce…you would be WRONG!
O. Henry’s story was first published in The New York Sunday World in 1905 and later in book form as part of a short-story collection called “The Four Million” (1906). The tale has been adapted several times into plays and TV specials. One version that immediately jumps to mind is Disney’s “Once Upon a Christmas” (1999) in which Mickey and Mini Mouse play the lead roles. Another adaptation is a short-film anthology called “O. Henry’s Full House” (narrated by John Steinbeck), in which “The Gift of the Magi” is featured (1952). It can often be seen on Turner Classic Movies this time of year. Other than “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, this is probably one of the most-loved stories read during the holidays. The title, of course, gets its name from the Three Wise Men who presented the Christ child with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Using eLibrary’s resources, teachers can find adaptations of “The Gift of the Magi” that would be perfect for an upper elementary or middle-school in-class play. If you want to teach your students about comic irony, or if you just want to present a heart-warming example of self-sacrificial love, take a few minutes of class time and read O. Henry’s classic tale.
American Literature (Research Topic)
Common Core ELA Grade 8: Literature (Research Topic)
Features of a Short Story (Hutchinson Encyclopedia)
The Gift of the Magi Classic Play (Scholastic Scope Magazine)
The Gift of the Magi Play (Scholastic Action Magazine)
The Gift of the Magi Adapted Play (Storyworks Magazine)
A Reading of O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi” (CBC Radio Website)
Using Irony (Website)
“National parks are America’s largest classrooms.”–National Park Service
A visit to a national park, actual or virtual, is a valuable learning experience. The state of Utah offers abundant learning opportunities as home to five national parks: Arches, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef. This week marks the 45th anniversary of Capitol Reef being established as a national park. On Aug. 2, 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Capitol Reef a national monument. President Richard M. Nixon signed legislation establishing Capitol Reef as a national park on Dec. 18, 1971. I would like to commemorate Capitol Reef’s anniversary by sharing some interesting facts about this beautiful park.
Capitol Reef National Park is a hidden treasure located in south-central Utah. Capitol Reef received its name because early settlers observed that the white domes of Navajo Sandstone resembled the dome of the U.S. Capitol building. Prospectors in the area called Waterpocket Fold, a ridge in the earth’s crust, a reef because it was a difficult barrier to transportation. The park encompasses 241,904 acres. It is the state’s newest and least-visited national park, attracting almost 750,000 visitors every year.
I recently got to explore this often overlooked park, and I can tell you that if you take the time to visit this wondrous place, you won’t be disappointed. The park contains colorful canyons, red sandstone cliffs, ancient Fremont petroglyphs, diverse wildlife, the historic Fruita orchards, and amazing geological features. Capitol Reef National Park is defined by the Waterpocket Fold. The classic monocline extends for nearly 100 miles. The majestic park’s prominent landmarks include Cassidy Arch, Chimney Rock, Hickman Bridge, Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Moon, and my personal favorite, the Castle.
I was impressed by Capitol Reef’s geologic features, but I was equally impressed with the park’s unique history. People have lived in the area of Capitol Reef for thousands of years. The earliest inhabitants of the Capitol Reef area were archaic hunters and gatherers, the Fremont people, and Mormon pioneers who settled in the area that is now known as the Fruita Rural Historic District.
As much as I enjoyed learning about the park’s history and seeing the spectacular scenery, because I am an animal lover, the highlight of my visit was spotting mule deer. Capitol Reef is home to 71 mammal species, 239 bird species, 15 reptiles, 13 native fish species, and 5 amphibians.
I am so grateful that 45 years ago, Capitol Reef was reclassified as a national park. Since there are so many gorgeous destinations to visit in Utah, I have a feeling that if Capitol Reef had remained a monument, there is a chance I would have missed out on this remarkable place.
In the malls. At the restaurant table. On your car radio.
This time of year, you can practically hear Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” EVERYwhere! That’s because it is one of the world’s favorite holiday songs, and it was first performed 75 years ago, on Christmas Day in 1941.
Want to find out more about the man with the smooth voice singing this famous tune?
eLibrary also offers lots more information about Christmas Day itself, including its origins and traditions.
Here are other Related Topics you might find interesting:
50 years ago today, the world mourned the loss of one of its most beloved figures. Walter Elias Disney died of acute circulatory collapse brought on by lung cancer. He passed away at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank, California on Dec. 15, 1966. He was 65 years old.
Disney had undergone surgery for the removal of a lung tumor on Nov. 21. The tumor was discovered while he was being treated at the hospital for an old neck injury he had sustained during a polo match. He returned to St. Joseph’s Hospital for a “post-operative checkup” on Nov. 30. He remained in the hospital until his death.
Walt Disney was born in Chicago, Illinois on Dec. 5, 1901. Walt Disney is regarded as one of the most influential figures in the entertainment industry during the 20th century. He created the beloved cartoon character Mickey Mouse and revolutionized the theme park industry by building Disneyland. Walt was an innovator and visionary leader who became a cultural icon.
He co-founded the media conglomerate that is now known as The Walt Disney Company with his brother Roy O. Disney in 1923. He was a pioneer in the animation industry, a film and television producer, an entrepreneur, and a dreamer. He was even the original voice of Mickey Mouse.
Although Walt Disney has been dead for 50 years, his legacy lives on. Generations of children have grown up watching his animated classics and live-action films, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Mary Poppins. Millions of people, including myself continue to enjoy his theme parks each year and The Walt Disney Company has become an entertainment empire.
On the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney’s death, I encourage you to explore more about his life and legendary career by checking out these resources available in ProQuest eLibrary and SIRS Issues Researcher:
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