Archive for June, 2008

Climate Change and National Security

That part of the present problem in Sudan was caused by decades-long environmental degradation is highlighted in this UN report. One of its observations is that regional climate change, especially in the Darfur region, has made a significant negative impact. But one should not think that only third world countries and their national security would be adversely affected by climate change. A recently released reportNational Intelligence Assessment on the National Security Implications of Global Climate Change to 2030– states that while climate change may not cause the collapse of any state through 2030, the social and economic disruptions caused by climate change could very well destabilize large parts of the world. Therefore, it is in the best interests of the United States to be a  pro-active participant on the international level as the world deals with mass migrations, depleted water supplies, deforestation, massive storms, and interruptions in trade while trying to mobilize humanitarian aid. Of course, none of this is really new. For a review of global warming, look at this hypertext history. One the names that repeatedly comes up in the literature is that of Roger Revelle, generally considered to be one of the first scientists to investigate global warming, starting in the 1950s. Besides all his other accomplishments, one needs to know that one of his students was Al Gore, who as early as the 1980s was holding Congressional hearings on global warming. You will see the acronym IPCC a lot. That stands for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize along with Mr Gore. Its reports are referenced all the time when discussing this topic, and you will find all three major reports online. However, we recommend you read the synthesis report instead – it still gives the pertinent information, but in a more accessible, abbreviated format. Some additional recent reports that deal with the national security aspects of climate change are: Global Climate Change: National Security Implications from the Strategic Studies Institute; Climate Change Politics in North America: the State of Play from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars;National Security and the Threat of Climate Change from the CNA Corporation, this is an influential report as it was written by retired high ranking military officials; Climate Change: National Security Threats from the Senate, this is composed of testimony from some of the authors of the preceding report; Climate Change and National Security from the Council on Foreign Relations; and An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security commissioned by the Pentagon’s think tank – the Office of Net Assessment. Other very worthwhile sites include the Rand Corporation; the Pew Center on Global Climate Change; and the National Academies of Sciences. Here is an interesting article – “Global climate change, war, and population decline in recent human history.”


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Mediated Shakespeare

 We came across a recent announcement of a free online database which will contain over 4000 references to the works of Shakespeare as they have appeared in either film or televison versions. Presently, this bibliography is 50% complete. While we wait for its final version, you may wish to visit these other sites. Needless to say, sites on Shakespeare proliferate exponentially; this is but a selection of highly valuable sites that have compiled references to media adaptations of Shakespeare’s works. The Folger Library, THE place for Shakespeare research, houses Shakespeare on Screen which focuses on film and video versions; a similarly-titled page is Shakespeare on Screen: An Annotated Checklist. For a listing of works solely on television, try Shakespeare on Television: A Bibliography of Criticism(“Its coverage is exhaustive up to 1999….”); a related site details the history of  Shakespeare’s plays as they were rendered on the BBC starting in 1936.  Another site that will reward your efforts is Shakespeare on Film & Video from the UC Berkeley Library.  For an Asian perspective on Shakespeare and media, please consult this special issue of Comparative Literature and Culture and its extensive bibliography. And we must mention this fine comprehensive site on all things Shakespeare – Mr William Shakespeare and the Internet which will supply you with links to the Bard’s works online. See how closely media versions of his plays correspond to his written word.

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Best Movies Ever

Once again, the American Film Institute(AFI)has issued another “best movie” list, this time it is the 10 Top 10 – an enumeration of the top ten films in ten separate genres ranging from animation to the western.(We are gratified to note that The Searchers heads the list for westerns. In our humble opinion, a best film list is not a best film list without the inclusion of The Searchers.) This new compilation joins others that the AFI has produced, such as the 100 and 400 lists. Of course, not everyone will agree with this newest entry in the field; after all, criteria for these lists are highly subjective or specific. Other efforts at determining the best films can be found at the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry, IMDb’s Top 250 Movies, the decennial lists compiled by the British Film Institute(BFI), Time Magazine’s All-Time 100 Movies, the New York Times Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made, and Yahoo’s Top Rated Movies of All Time for example. And let us not forget the Academy Awards.  Did you know that the Guarini Library has over 3000 films in both VHS and DVD formats, and that they can be watched in our video viewing rooms?  The films range from the 52-part The Unfinished Nation to The Kite Runner to the original Bad News Bears. All you need to do is present a current NJCU GothicCard at the second floor service desk(the films are on the second floor), and you will be allowed to view the film in one of our air-conditioned viewing rooms which can accommodate up to fifteen people. How do you find what films the Library owns? You consult OSCAR, the Library’s online catalog, where underneath the six dialog boxes, you will see a “location” pull-down menu. Limit your selection to “Media(Videos),” enter the movie title in the “Title” dialog box, or look for movies by “Subject,” and the results you will see will be from our video collection. And yes, we do own The Searchers. “That’ll be the day” when we don’t.


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The Internet and the 2008 Election

 This aptly named report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project highlights some interesting facts: that 46% of Americans have utilized the internet, cell phones, or email to garner information on recent politics; that 35% have watched online political videos; that 10% have used social networking sites in seeking political information; and that 6% have made online contributions to political parties. While 28% of those who are wired feel that the use of the internet gives them a more personal connection to their candidates, a larger percentage believe that the internet is home to a great deal of false information. The full report is here. This should be read in conjunction with another Pew study – “Internet’s Broader Role in Campaign 2008.” Several other online sites will provide you with additional, unbiased information as the 2008 elections heat up: the Congresspedia, a wiki-developed site, offers comprehensive information on all things congressional, including the run-up to the presidential elections; and if you are unsure of facts being thrown about by the candidates ,or you just wish to check the veracity of their statements, please use these sites, FactCheck and PolitiFact. And if you want to go historical, there are the always reliable POTUS and the Encyclopedia Britannica’s Guide to American Presidents site.

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Think Tanks for New Jersey Issues

Think tanks are organizations, institutes or associations which analyze governmental policy and render their considered opinions on them. Think tanks come in all shapes and sizes, from the large Rand Corporation to the smaller Milken Family Foundation, from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute to the conservative Brookings Institution, from the free-standing private American Enterprise Institute to the Stanford-based Hoover Institution. Each one has their own agenda/s, and they advocate based on their founding philosophies. Many are players on the national and international stages. However, there are some that deal with issues of great importance to those of us in New Jersey. Herewith is a list of some of them; all of them provide free online reports on a multitude of topics of interest to New Jerseyans, from holding multiple public-sector jobs to transportation solutions: New Jersey Policy Perspective,  Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey, New Jersey Public Interest Research Group, Education Law Center, the Center for American Women and Politics, and the Hall Institute of Public Policy. For those interested in looking up thousands of other think tanks, try here and here.

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Something Wiki’d This Way Comes

 Do you, gentle reader, remember the controversy in late 2005 when the journal Nature released a study comparing the accuracy  of scientific articles in Wikipedia to those in the Encyclopedia Britannica and found that Wikipedia stood up well next to the Britannica?(In LibraryLand, we never refer to an encyclopedia by its full name; it is the Britannica or the Americana. And don’t get us started on reference work abbreviations; i.e., DAB, OED, OOH, DLB. Or the even more mysterious sounding, almost cabalistic-inducing “Code” or “Statutes.” Where is Tom Hanks when you need him?) And how Britannica shot back its objections which were then countered by Nature in a veritable war of the nerds? If you do not, come here for a refresher. It even made the BBC News as well as more than one trade journal. These exchanges unleased a torrent of pro vs con writings on Wikipedia; what we like about these two representative articles are the great following comments sections where the diversity of opinion is so indicative of the Wikipedia question. Find out what Wikipedia’s founder, Jimmy Wales, recently said about using Wikipedia in college. Guess what? In a recent press release, the Britannica has announced the formation of its own wiki which will run parellel to the main content of the encyclopedia. However, to differentiate the vetted encyclopedia articles from the publicly contributed ones, the term “Britannica Checked” will be employed. What goes around comes around.

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2008 NJCU Commencement Photos

For photos from the ceremony at the IZOD Center, please click here and here. You have well over 100 photos to peruse and enjoy!

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