200 Years of Darwin

This past week marks the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, discoverer of the theory of evolution. This theory remains to be one of the greatest scientific achievements of all time. Thus, I thought it would be nice to forward a couple of interesting pieces.

Closing Suburban Newspapers

Chicago Public Radio reported today that the Sun Time Group is closing down 12 suburban newspapers. While none of these papers are in the MVCC district, this does mark another step in the shift from traditional media (TV, Cable, Newspapers, Magazines, etc) toward a more blended and complex media landscape that includes streamlined media outlets, bloggers, and other social media.If you’re interested in this topic, here are a couple of CQ researcher articles that you might find worthwhile:

Grant Park, Yesterday & Tonight

Tonight, the world’s eyes turn to Grant Park once again. Many of us who have lived in the Chicago area pass through or near Grant Park without much thought. As host of The Taste of Chicago, Blues Fest, 4th of July, Lollapalooza and many other festivals, Grant Park has become a regional (national?) gathering spot where we mix and mingle with others (mostly in warmer months). Tonight, Grant Park plays host to the Barack Obama rally which brings the city’s native son home after a very long campaign. At this writing, we do not know if this will be a victory party or not.

For the first part of its existence, Grant Park housed squatters, refuse, and railroad lines (see Grant Park from the Encyclopedia of Chicago). Up until tonight, it may be most remembered as the site of the protests and eventual riots in 1968 (see Protesters Gather in Grant Park in 1968). Now, after 40 years, we have to have some pride in the fact that we nominated the first African-American to head a major party presidential ticket. There is something fitting that Grant Park, which hosted riots in 1968, will play host to celebration tonight. (We should celebrate victory or loss.)

This article from Bloomberg news outlines of the issues facing tonight’s rally and contrasts them with 1968: Chicago Girds for Obama’s Rally, Amid Memories of Violent 1968.

We’ll miss you Studs Terkel

It was with great sadness that I saw the headlines relating the passing of Chicago (American) literary icon, Studs Terkel. Mr. Terkel was a storyteller like no other. His chronicles of the lives of average Americans captured the untold stories of the 20th century, and for his work, he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and a National Humanities Medal. Studs Terkel has visited the Moraine Valley campus in the past, and he is one of the true, great literary icons from Illinois. He will be missed.We have a number of Studs Terkel’s books in the MVCC Library.You may also want to take a peak at Richard Stern’s 1995 interview with Studs Terkel published in the Antioch Review (MVCC ID required to view).Here is a remembrance from NPR: So Long, Studs Terkel, and ThanksHere is a short clip from the Associated Press about Terkel:

Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio wins Nobel Prize in Literature

Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio of France has been awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature. The Nobel Committee in their annoucement stated that the “author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization.” We are trying not to let the negative statements about Americans made by Horace Engdahl of the Swedish Academy (which selects the recipient of the prize each year) tarnish our view of Clezio, who has had an amazing career.  Enghal commented on why an American has not won the prize since Toni Morrison in 1993.  He said,

The U.S. is too isolated, too insular. They don’t translate enough and don’t really participate in the big dialogue of literature. That ignorance is restraining. (read more about these comments here.)

So, the Swedish Academy is giving us restrained and ignorant Americans a chance to learn more about a great French novelist. If you’d like to read more about Le Clezio, you may want to visit his author page in our LION database (click on the criticism link for articles and reference link for biographical info, a MVCC ID is required to access this from off campus).

Fragile Reef, Boiling Point, Blue Vinyl, Rachel Carson

Four new DVDs on Green-related topics that have just been added to the library collection. We hope that you’ll drop by to check them out.

  • The Fragile Reef: This program travels to Chumbe Island Coral Park, Zanzibar ; Mafia Island Marine Park, Tanzania ; and Ras Mohammed National Park, Egypt, to study the fragile ecology and amazing biodiversity of coral reefs and the impacts of tourism, pollution, overfishing, sedimentation, and climate change. Commentary provided by Mark Spalding and Ed Green, coauthors of the World atlas of coral reefs, and experts from the World Wildlife Fund, the Zoological Society of London, and Zanzibar’s Institute of Marine Sciences
  • Rachel Carson: Natures Guardian: In this program, Bill Moyers pays tribute to environmental crusader Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring. Grim footage of ecological degradation from the pre-Carson era is combined with generous excerpts from actress Kaiulani Lee’s one-woman play about Carson’s life called A Sense of Wonder to honor the legacy of an individual who, heedless of personal cost, sounded the alarm that launched the environmental movement. Moyers also talks with photographic artist Chris Jordan, who turns the statistics of consumerism into indelible images of consumption and waste–Container
  • Boiling Point: This program spotlights three trouble spots that epitomize the intensifying competition for freshwater and efforts being made to manage it: the Okavango River which flows through Angola, Namibia and Botswana, the Rio Grande, a source of agricultural irrigation for both the U.S. and Mexico and rainwater reservoirs in the West Bank
  • Blue Vinyl: With humor, chutzpah, and a piece of vinyl siding in hand, Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand and co-director and award-winning cinematographer Daniel B. Gold travel to America’s vinyl manufacturing capital and beyond in search of the truth about vinyl.