Awesome Random Little Libraries

These are Little Free Libraries, a movement that started in Wisconsin and is spreading around the U.S., that has people building little hutches, about the size of dollhouses, in their front yards. They usually have a sign on them that says “Take a book, leave a book, or both” and has helped people strengthen communities. The movement was started by Tod Boll, as a way to honor his late mother, a book- loving teacher.

I’m not sure if these are part of the Little Free Library movement, but they sure are cute.

This is in Brazil, where they are apparently doing this sort of thing to promote literacy. That is an actual bus stop. How cool is that?

I have no idea where this is from but it’s pretty awesome.


I have no idea who came up with the idea for this, but I’m pretty sure they’re a genius.


Theodore Roosevelt Quote

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

-Theodore Roosevelt


Allow me a moment to geek out, if you will. I love Batman. Not a little, but a lot. And not just in a “I like the character” or “I think it’s awesome the way he punches people in the head” although god knows that’s true. What I love about him is his darkness and how he fights it, his torment and how he turned it to good, how he stands side by side, and even above, the greatest superheroes that DC comics could come up with, almost all super- powered, and all he has is his strength, his intelligence and his raw will. He never gives up and he never stops. He may lose hope but he will never stop trying. He will always find a way. He is the most human and the most superhuman of all the characters I have ever run across, and I love him for it. And when I go to the midnight showing of “Dark Knight Rises” I am fully prepared for the strong possibility of his death, though I will likely end up sobbing like a little girl in the theatre. They brought in Bane, and that can only mean one thing, not to mention both Chris Nolan and Christian Bale have both said they won’t be doing another Batman movie. I have a faint hope that he will simply be paralyzed and live the rest of his life that way, happily and with Catwoman, but I realize that his is not a character that lends itself to a happy ending.
But anyway, this movie promises to be epic and I cannot wait.

The Dark Knight Rises (Blu-ray/DVD Combo+UltraViolet Digital Copy)

Movie: “The Golden Compass”

This was just a terrible movie. Just- just terrible. Like, I was watching the climax and I turned to my sister and asked how much longer we had left. That’s how bad this movie was. I hadn’t read the books before, I’ve just started the first one today, but I could tell you even then that it was clearly a good story that was incredibly clumsily translated to movie form. Like, the shift from book to screenplay severely hurt it and then the same guy who did that tried to direct it. And if I had to guess I’d say he had never, in his entire life, directed a movie before. It’s the only explanation. And they changed things that made absolutely no sense. Like Lyra’s uncle/ dad in the movie is a good guy, complicated, but by all appearances a good guy. I’ve read about fifty pages of the book and a quick peek at the ending and already I can tell you he is very much not. And they made how Lyra ends up in the cupboard to overhear the stuff about Dust and to save her uncle from poisoning way more complicated in the movie than in the book. Isn’t it usually the other way around? What was the point of that? And also, the chick who played Lyra was kinda obnoxious. I almost expected a golden glow to pop up around her head during this movie, proclaiming her role as the Chosen One. She never showed any fear or doubt or hesitancy, any of the things that one would expect from a, what ten year old girl, who’s on a big, life threatening adventure. There’s no character development or insight into who she is. They call her brave, but as she never shows any fear, I wouldn’t call her brave. Without fear, there is no courage, so if she had no fear, she had no courage, I don’t care what they said.

On the upside, it had Ian McKellan in there and I always enjoy him. And the giant, talking warrior bears was mildly interesting. Not as much as I expected mind you, and not nearly as interesting as that last sentence really called for, but they were what, in any other movie, I would call a high point. I’ll let you know about the book, but honestly it can’t be worse than the movie. I’m not sure that that’s possible.

Martian Landing

When Curiosity Almost Took Men to Mars


Analysis by Amy Shira Teitel Fri Jul 13, 2012 01:01 PM ET


We’re less than a month away from one of the most highly anticipated Martian landings of all time.

On Aug. 5 (Pacific Time, Aug. 6 Eastern), NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity will land in Gale Crater. The incredibly sophisticated rover is a mobile laboratory designed to run tests on soil to determine whether or not the Martian environment ever had the conditions to support life.

But in the 1960s, the future of Mars exploration looked very different. In many instances, there were men aboard the spacecraft that were designed to fly by the red planet rather than land on it.

PHOTOS: When Discovery News Met Mars Rover ‘Curiosity’

In the 1960s, NASA considered flyby missions almost as readily as it did landing missions. The proposals, like some of the more interesting missions to Venus, came from Bellcom, a division of AT&T established in 1963 to assist NASA with research, development, and overall documentation of systems integration.

A 1966 Bellcomm proposal cites the weight of a spacecraft bound for Mars as the mission’s limiting factor. That’s unsurprising. It takes a lot of fuel to send a spacecraft into orbit, and more to send it to an interplanetary destination.

But the planets can actually lend a hand on these long distance missions. If a spacecraft passes a planet at the right point, its gravity will slingshot the spacecraft away adding momentum to its interplanetary flight. This is how the Voyager spacecraft managed their impressive tours of the outer solar system. The same gravity assist maneuvers can be equally effective in the inner solar system, and while it might seem counter intuitive, Bellcomm engineers found that a mission to Mars could benefit from flying by Venus on its way to the red planet.

PHOTOS: Seven Minutes of Terror for Mars Rover Curiosity

A September 1967 proposal outlines a possible triple-flyby mission that would send a spacecraft to Venus and Mars on. Based on the geometry of the planets — taking advantage of optimal alignment — the ideal launch date for this mission was May 26, 1981. The spacecraft would launch towards Venus, reaching the planet on Dec. 28. It would whip around and head for Mars, making its contact on Oct. 5, 1982. The inbound leg of the journey would take it back by Venus on March 1, 1983 before returning to Earth on July 25. The mission would last 790 days.

The launch window for this proposal was 30 days. Launching on another date in the window would change the duration of the mission, making it last anywhere from 720 days to 850 days.

Three-planet flybys were thought to be rare; the 1981 launch window came as a surprise to the Bellcomm engineers. It inspired them to look for similar opportunities and they found that conditions for triple-flybys are actually fairly common. By October 1967, the company had identified a dual-flyby mission, one that would send a spacecraft to Venus then Mars and back to Earth with the option to revisit Venus on the inbound leg. In this scenario, a launch on Nov. 28, 1978 would take the spacecraft by Venus on May 11, 1979, Mars on Nov. 25, 1979, and Venus again on Jan. 29, 1980 before returning to Earth on Jan. 31, 1981.

HOWSTUFFWORKS: How the Mars Curiosity Rover Works

For possible crews aboard these missions, they would have a long trip likely filled with astronomical observations punctuated by exciting days spent flying by Venus and Mars. Both proposals sent the crew within 1,200 miles of the surface of Venus; in 1970 this would happen on the day side of the planet while the 1980 opportunity would take them into the planet’s dark side. Of course, infrared sensors and mapping radar would work either way. For the engineers and NASA, this was a cost efficient way to send men to Mars.

These kinds of proposals would probably never gain any serious traction in NASA’s current climate, especially not for manned missions. The duration alone would likely draw criticism, though it’s not much shorter than the roughly 500 day mission most direct missions to Mars are expected to take. But a swing by Venus could return valuable data, and give the crew not one but two fascinating sights during their mission.

Image credit: NASA/JPL


All I’m saying is, I really hope we go to Mars sometime soon. Like, at some point in the.. let’s be generous and say twenty years, I really, really want to see an astronaut on Mars. How badass would that be?

Libraries in Movies

This is part of my Awesome Libraries series, but these are all from movies. I thought it would be fun to include them.

I had to look pretty closely, but I’m pretty sure this is from “Star Wars”, “Clone Wars” if memory serves.

“Beauty and the Beast.” You had to know this one was coming. It was every little nerd girl’s dream.

This one is obviously a screenshot but hell if I know what movie it’s from. If anyone knows, please tell me in the comments, I would appreciate it.

This is from “Fullmetal Alchemist”, a badass anime from a few years ago. Not sure if it ever appeared in the series, but this kind of scene had to have happened at one point or another, whether they showed it or not.

I’m not sure if this is a screenshot or just a photo, but whatever. It’s cool either way.

Okay, not technically a movie scene, but it’s movie themed and it is a library, soo… yeah, I’m calling it good.

This isn’t any one movie or book specifically but I liked it and it sort of fit, so there you go.

Oh and I found this too. It was too awesome not to share.

“Blood Poison” by D.H. Dublin

I’m not sure what to make of this book. It started off strong, I liked it, it was going well and then it started to lose me. It faded in the last.. half? Quarter? Bit. It faded in the last bit. I’m not entirely sure when it started to fade, but fade it did by god.

Okay, so it’s a mystery, which is a bit unusual for me. Normally I don’t go for mysteries. I tend to get impatient and read the end and then lose interest once I know who did it. Self defeating, I realize, but it’s really just not my genre. That and I have a hard time finding an author I like or characters that I like within that genre. I don’t really know why. But anyway, this one was interesting and on sale for a dollar so I figured I didn’t have much to lose. I’m not sure if I did either.

It starts off with a murder of an anonymous woman as the prologue, which is then pushed quickly to the back burner for the much more interesting case of… the guy who died of apparent natural causes in his kitchen. I thought they were trying for a thing. I decided to go with it. While the crime scene people are waiting for the paramedics to show up to take the body away, the victim’s father shows up at the guys house- while the body is still there. Awkward. The main character, Madison Cross, then strikes up a sort of friendship with the guy. She’s trying to be nice, she hangs out with him while their waiting for the van to come for his dead son, they play cards, they talk etc. And then she gets, to my mind, like way too involved in this guy’s life. She calls his doctor to get a prescription for Valium, since he’s had quite a shock, she picks it up for him, she calls social services to get him a helper, she calls his doctor for his medical records when she’s told by social services that they would need them, she goes by his house at least once a day to see him. She bends over backwards for a complete stranger. I mean, maybe I’m just not that good of a person, god knows that’s a possibility, but this is a grown ass man. Let him try to sort things out for himself first before charging in and getting all up in his business. She even goes to the son’s funeral for him. All this after hanging out for a few hours with him on a bad day. It seems a bit much. I mean, apparently her mother was murdered when she was a girl and her father emotionally abandoned her after that, soon followed by actual abandonment, which, as I understand it, can lead to that kind of behavior, but it just seemed weird. Like, every time I turned around, she was talking about Horace, going to visit Horace, needing to ask Horace some questions, investigating the death of Horace’s son and the various and sundry other people who had died in his proximity throughout his life. And then the first murder, the one that is definitively murder, the one that the book opened with for god’s sake, seems like it’s forgotten or pushed to the side. Instead, she focuses virtually all her attention on Horace, his dead son, his dead wife, his dead doctor and his apparently criminal missing son. And never once, until the end, does she ever really consider Horace as a real suspect. Dude, just because the guy’s in a wheelchair doesn’t mean he can’t find a way to kill someone. Or several someones. Honestly, he was my only suspect all along. If a good mystery novel can be judged by how much it kept you guessing, then this one was not good. When it was revealed that Horace killed everyone, including the mystery woman at the beginning, a coincidence of epic proportions that has me rolling my eyes, I was not surprised. My reaction was more along the lines of “Well, duh.” I mean, the wheelchair explanation, Munchausen syndrome, was a bit of a surprise, but the rest of it, no. (Munchausen, for anyone who isn’t familiar with it, is a psychological disorder that causes someone to pretend that they’re sick or disabled to garner attention. There’s also Munchausen by Proxy, which is when someone, usually a parent, makes someone else actually sick to garner attention. Don’t tell me television doesn’t teach you anything.)

Anyway, like I said, I liked it at first, but by the end I was rolling my eyes at the constant references to Horace, her obsessive personality and how she seemed blind to the fact that the one common factor in three separate deaths is one person. Honestly, that person either has the worst luck in the world or they’re a killer, and as a person at least associated with the cops, if not a cop herself, she should always land on the killer side first, just to be safe. Makes you wonder how good she actually is at her job.