Science

It's Your Lucky Day with the Libby App!

It could be your lucky day!

Skip the waitlist for new, in-demand titles through the Libby app from OverDrive! Libby now offers select eBook and audiobook titles on a first-come, first-served basis. Browse the app’s “Lucky Day” section for available books. The selection will change as titles are returned and new books are added, so check back often!

In addition to “Lucky Day” titles, readers can browse the “Always Available” list in Libby to find all immediately available eBooks and audiobooks. Libby also offers current issues of popular magazines like Newsweek and TV Guide.

If you’re new to Libby, you can download it from the app store, create an account using your Library card number and password, then start browsing! The Libby app is available for Apple and Android devices. eBooks can also be read on Kindle devices.

Hey DJs: the Traktor Kontrol S2 Is Here!

Live DJing has come a long way since the days of keeping the party going by simply playing one song after another. The turntable revolution of the 1980s established DJs as performers in their own right—songs on vinyl records became the raw materials sonic artists mixed, "scratched," and re-fashioned into amazing new musical statements and creative experiences. Then came the next game-changer that made individual records themselves optional: by using digital controllers—some of which emulate the look and feel of a turntable and mixer setup—today's DJs are limited only by their imaginations and the number of audio files on their computers.

January 17th is Kid Inventors' Day

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The world needs terrific inventors—so every January 17th, the world celebrates Kid Inventors' Day! Encourage the creativity of a young inventor you know by reading these inspiring tales of creation and innovation together.

If I Built a House Chris Van Dusen 

Inventing requires imagination—and there is no shortage of that in this hilarious picture book. Young Jack tells his mom about all the unique ways he would build a house. A space-age robot that cooks and cleans? Slides? Art Room? They're all here in Jack's house! What would a house you built look like? Recommended for ages 3–5.

First-Ever Virtual Reality Camp an Adventure for Tech Fans

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When the Library introduced a virtual reality console to its Digital Creativity Center last year, Jeannette Lehr wanted to do more than just demonstrate its entertainment value.

“We didn’t want people to think of VR as something to passively consume, or just some tech novelty,” said Jeannette, who coordinates programming for Level Up at the Main Library. “We wanted them to think creatively and practically about the possibilities of virtual reality, and incorporate it into their own projects and ideas.”

Radical Fun Project: More Stop Motion Animation!

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Stop Motion is a magic filming technique that makes inanimate objects look like they are moving all by themselves. All it takes is a simple iPad app and some playdough to make a Stop Motion masterpiece.

Kids at this month's Radical Fun program got creative with playdough and other materials in order to make their own Stop motion animation videos. It's so simple you can even make your own stop motion videos at home! If you've miss out on our previous Stop Motion blog post, click here for instructions on how to create your own Stop Motion animation. 

Check out some of the awesome Stop Motion videos our Radical Fun kids made on November 9th and November 17th!

 

Thinking in Numbers: on Life, Love, Meaning and Math

It's a cliche, but people often say that if you excel at math, you'll have little talent for language and vice versa. Transplanted Londoner and Parisian resident, Daniel Tammet proves the falsehood of this statement.

In 25 essays that examine life from a mathematical perspective, Tammet enthralls and enlightens the reader on many things especially the beauty of mathematics. Einstein's son Hans Albert said that his father's character was more like an artist than that of a scientist because his highest praise for a theory "was not that it was correct nor that it was exact but that it was beautiful."

Tammet begins this collection with an essay describing his family and numbers theory. In fact, he attributes his first interest in math due to the fact that his neighbors' great interest in his family occurred because there were nine children.  And as he explains it, there were 512 possible ways to spot him or his siblings around town in various combinations.

Family Secrets

Remember reading the Old Testament and seeing the list of “begats” that seemed to last forever?  This book examines human history as recorded in our DNA.  It’s full of fascinating lore: recently geneticists and statisticians have proved that African countries where the slave trade was rampant  have not only a much higher sense of distrust toward friends and strangers, but also have much poorer economies today over a hundred fifty years later.

And Genghis Khan really did father thousands of children, yet at the same time he lived up to his name as the Destroyer. During the two centuries of the Mongol raids that he initiated, 40 million people died. So many that much of the inhabited earth became reforested. This was the only time in recorded history that the CO2 in the atmosphere actually dropped enough to measure.

Genghis Khan also lives on for his particular Y chromosome. Not only did he pass this on to countless sons, but he and his armies killed so many men with different Y chromosomes that his became the predominant one in many parts of Asia.

From the color of Your Eyes to Your Type of Earwax

If the last thing you learned about genes was Gregor Mendel’s pea pod experiments, you might want to try this easy to read science book to get up to speed about many fascinating changes in hereditary theory.

For instance, humans have only 20,000 to 25,000 genes, downgraded from a previous estimate of 100,000.  In comparison, a tiny water flea--barely visible to our naked eye--has about 31,000.

You’ve heard the word genome in the news and on PBS. Your genome is your full set of genes. Every cell in your body gets a copy of the full set although each cell cannot read all of them.  By the way, the word “cell” came from Robert Hooke, the first person who saw them in the 1600s. When he first discovered them under a microscope, they reminded him of monks’ cells.

Other interesting facts about your genome.  The chromosomes scientists have discovered have something to do with either inherited diseases or traits. For instance, chromosome 1 is associated with deafness, schizophrenia and maple syrup disease.  (You read that right!) If you have red hair, thank chromosome 2.  Blue or green eyes?  Chromosome 19 is for you.  And yes, previously scientists thought that there were only two possibilities for eye color: brown or blue.  Those green eyes, they just tagged as a variant of blue.

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