Twenty Years of Magic

It was twenty years ago this month that Americans first met Harry, Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, Dumbledore and He Who Must Not Be Named. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and the six books that followed changed the worlds of children’s literature, fandom, pop culture and publishing in general. Harry Potter became a phenomenon with children suddenly eager to read 700 page books. It became acceptable for adults to enjoy children’s literature and a whole new culture of publishing emerged leading to more and more crossovers. Movies and theme parks appealing to this huge audience were sure to follow.

Harry Potter’s success happened at a time when internet use was exploding and fandom took off as a result. Suddenly, people had the means to interact with others all over the world who loved the books as much as they did. By talking and writing about Harry Potter, by making music and art related to Harry Potter, people were able to interact with the stories in ways they never had before. The careers of people like John and Hank Green, Cassandra Clare, and Darren Criss started in Harry Potter fandom online.

Twenty years later, we are still reading the books. New movies from the Harry Potter universe are still being released. People travel from around the globe to visit Harry Potter worlds. Quidditch is even played competitively on college campuses. The influence of the Boy Who Lived is unquestionable.

If you find yourself wanting to visit or revisit J.K Rowling’s stories, or delve into what has been written about them, you can find our collection of Harry Potter books, DVDs, ebooks, and audiobooks here.

New Name in Sports

Our local professional sports stadium is getting a new name. After the end of this current MLS season, Bridgeview’s Toyota Park will become SeatGeek Stadium. The 20,000 seat facility opened in 2006 and is the home to Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire and to National Women’s Soccer League’s Chicago Red Stars. Besides the new naming rights, SeatGeek, the online ticket broker, will also work with the stadium’s management to bring more events to Bridgeview including concerts, music festivals, and international sporting events.

Naming stadiums after companies is nothing new. Chicago Cubs owner and chewing gum manufacturer William Wrigley named Wrigley Field back in 1926. But selling off just the right to name a stadium, without any other ownership involved, has become more and more common in recent years. While often very expensive for corporations, naming rights also garner lots of exposure for the brand through on-camera views and audio mentions.

If you are interested in reading more about this topic, here are few resources you might find helpful. To read more about naming rights in sports in general, have a look at these articles from our Academic Search Complete database. For a more Chicago area stadium focus, try these Chicago Tribune articles. Finally, to learn even more about sports stadiums, including some local Chicago ones, this search from our library catalog will be helpful.

 

 

 

Right-hoofed Horses Don’t Win Races

 

Are you right-handed or left-handed? I’m a rightie, which is a pretty good thing to be for us humans. About 90 percent of humans are right-handed and we’ve built our world to favor that majority. Many things end up being more cumbersome if you are left-handed, since humans use hands quite a lot.

What about animals? Do they exhibit signs of handedness? Even ones that don’t use or even have hands? As it turns out, some animals do. Most horses have a preference for right-front, hind-left. This means that most horses prefer turning left and that is why horse races are run counter-clockwise. Marsupials are interesting. It seems that the ones that walk on all fours don’t show a preference for handedness. But, the ones that hop on their hind legs, like kangaroos, do show sidedness and most are lefties.

What is even more interesting is that some bees seem to exhibit a “handedness” preference when flying. About half of studied bees don’t seem to care either way and deal with obstacles going either to the left or to the right. But the other half seem to care quite a lot and will put up with greater hardship to stick to their preferred side.

You can read more about animals and handedness in the article “Bee Sides” in the February 2018 issue of Scientific American magazine. To find out more about handedness in humans these books from our library collection will come in handy.

Chicago Theatre Week


The Chicagoland area has a large and varied theatre scene with over 250 professional theatre companies calling Chicago and its suburbs home. Chicago leads the nation in world premiere productions annually, sending new works to Broadway, across the nation, and all over the world. Chicago Theatre Week has become an annual celebration of all of this.

Now in its sixth year, Chicago Theatre Week offers opportunities to see numerous theatre performances in the Chicago area at discounted ticket prices. It all starts this coming Thursday, February 8th and runs through Sunday, February 18th. Tickets will be priced at $30, $15 or sometimes even less, offering great opportunities to see amazing productions and visit venues that you may not have been to before.

Visit the Chicago Theatre Week website to see a complete listing and to purchase tickets for the 18 different shows, totaling 120 productions, that are being presented this year.

And don’t forget–The Fine and Performing Arts Center here at MVCC hosts a variety of wonderful productions throughout the year.

Reputable News Sources

Sometimes it becomes a bit difficult to know how to evaluate our news sources. Some news organizations have a more liberal bent while others definitely lean more conservative. Some can be relied upon for factual reporting while others contain more fabricated information. This infographic provides a pretty easy to read layout of where different news organizations fall on a scale of how reputable they are. If you’d like to see a larger version click here.

 

 

Lenette Staudinger, Retired Biology Professor

Moraine Valley Community College celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year. To learn more about and to re-live some of what those five decades have been like, the college has been collecting oral histories. Throughout the semester we will be highlighting these videos.

“I loved the job. I thought that was really important–especially to be a role model to young women because when I joined the Biology department I was the only woman.”

Lenette Staudinger was a professor of Biology here for 32 years. She tells about some of the creativity involved in putting classes together in the college’s early days, like stocking the Botany classes with discarded plants from the cemetery. The college has grown and progressed so much and she is proud that Moraine Valley has done so well.

To enjoy more of these oral histories, along with historic photos and documents, visit the MVCC College Archives.

Lenette Staudinger, Retired Biology Professor

Dr. John Donahue, former Board of Trustees Chairman

Moraine Valley Community College celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year. To learn more about and to re-live some of what those five decades have been like, the college has been collecting oral histories. Throughout the semester we will be highlighting these videos.

“What we focused on was making sure the community knew they could get a quality education here.”

Former Board of Trustees Chairman Dr. John Donahue speaks about the college’s 25 year plan and how the college has become a tremendous asset for the suburban community. A good board, teachers who care about their students, and quality education are reflected in a great student body.

To enjoy more of these oral histories, along with historic photos and documents, visit the MVCC College Archives.

Dr. John Donahue, former Board of Trustees Chairman

The Turkey: An American Story

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, you might be thinking a lot about turkeys. If not, maybe you need a little inspiration. Turkeys are interesting birds and have a truly American story. The Turkey: An American Story is a book in the MVCC Library’s collection that covers both myth and fact about the species and the history of how the turkey came to be such an iconic bird in the United States.

Myth: Turkeys are not very intelligent because they have been known to drown in a rainstorm. While it is true that turkeys can drown in a storm, it is due to their anatomy rather than intelligence and they have in fact been shown to be very intelligent.

Fact: Turkeys can be a great help to farmers. Turkeys eat almost anything but they especially love bugs and worms. They are incredibly efficient at ridding crops of pests. Fifty turkeys can clear pests from 100,000 plants.

Here are some other interesting facts to know about turkeys:

  • Wild turkeys can run up to 25 mph and can fly at 55 mph.
  • Turkeys can produce 20 distinct sounds. One of these is the gobble that males produce to attract females.
  • The red, dangly part under the turkey’s chin is called a waddle and the fleshy part over the beak is called a snood.
  • The color on a turkey’s head and throat can change between red and blue depending on its level of excitement or stress.
  • Droppings can tell us the gender of the bird. Males leave spiral-shaped droppings, while females produce a J shape.

Bill Finn, Athletics Director

Moraine Valley Community College celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year. To learn more about and to re-live some of what those five decades have been like, the college has been collecting oral histories. Throughout the semester we will be highlighting these videos.

“Everything we do here and everything I do here is based on the fact that I want people to love Moraine like I love Moraine.”

Bill Finn came to Moraine Valley Community College when he was 22 years old as the head basketball coach. More sports were added the next year and he was asked to be the Athletics Director. His goal was to build a program where every kid in the area would want to go.

To enjoy more of these oral histories, along with historic photos and documents, visit the MVCC College Archives.

Bill Finn, Athletics Director

As Thick As Pea Soup

We are experiencing some wonderfully foggy conditions today. Fog is this librarian’s very favorite weather. I love the way it changes the look and feel of everything around you and the mystery that it holds. It’s somewhat like reading a good mystery novel, when you can’t quite make out what’s ahead.

Fog is a weather condition that results in very low-lying clouds, made up of suspended water droplets. It forms when the difference between air temperature and dew point is less than 4 °F. An area the size of an Olympic sized swimming pool contains about 2 pints of water. Besides just looking really cool, all of this moisture in the air can be environmentally useful. The Redwood forests of California get around a third of their moisture from fog. In desert areas, fog can serve as a source of moisture when nets are used to collect the droplets from the fog.

Here a few other interesting facts about fog:

  • The foggiest place on Earth is Grand Banks off of the coast of Newfoundland, where the cold Labrador Current mixes with the warmer Gulf Stream. The area sees over 200 foggy days per year.

 

  • Shadows that are cast through fog are three dimensional.

 

  • Foghorns use a low-pitched tone because low-pitched notes lose less energy to water droplets than high-pitched ones and thus travel further.

 

  • Fog can be both good and bad for your skin. The moisture in fog acts as a natural emollient for your skin. But, even though fog blocks visible light, you may not realize that it does let through the ultraviolet light that causes wrinkles and sunburn.

 

  • Fog affects our perception of speed. Because of reduced visibility we should drive more slowly and in fog we have to be extra careful to do so. Since the fog obscures our surroundings, our brains don’t perceive the contrasts in the objects around us as well and thus we think we are going slower than we actually are.

 

  • Be sure to use your low beam headlights when driving in foggy conditions. High beams will be reflected back at you in the fog, making it even harder to see.

 

  • Fog helped us win the Revolutionary War. At the Battle of Long Island, on August 27, 1776, George Washington and troops were beginning to be surrounded by British forces and needed to retreat. A heavy fog rolled in and provided cover for just long enough for the retreat of 9,000 Americans. When the fog lifted, the British moved into the area to find it empty.