Posts

Showing posts from October, 2016

Historical Wonders of Anyang, China

Image
Anyang is one of the seven ancient cities in China, and is considered the place where Chinese culture originated. Historically, Anyang is significant because it is where the oracle bones scripts, the foundation of modern Chinese characters, were found. Of the three oldest writing systems in the world, only oracle bone inscriptions were developed into a form of writing that has remained in use to this day. Anyang was also where the tomb of Fu Hao, a queen and military general from the Shang Dynasty, was excavated. The well-preserved objects and oracle bone inscriptions in the tomb of Fu Hao proved the existence of the Shang Dynasty and its highly developed agricultural society.
The Shang Dynasty was founded around 1599 BCE, although its origins are unknown. For a variety of reasons, the dynasty moved its capital city several times but the twentieth King, Pan Gen, moved his capital to Yin (the current Anyang) around 1300 BC and settled in this city.

In 1899, a scholar, Wang Yirong,…

Ready, Set, VOTE!

Image
Election Day is right around the corner. People across our country are gearing up to head to the polls and cast their votes for the United States of America’s 45th President, as well as to make their choices for congressional representatives, state constitutional amendments, and local officials. Registering to vote is the easy part (as long as you took care of it by New Jersey's October 18, 2016 deadline). Now is the time to prepare to make informed choices when it comes time to have your voice heard via your votes.

There is a lot of information coming at us no matter where we look, especially as we get closer to Election Day. Political analyses of speeches, debates, and campaign strategies are being reviewed and deconstructed with new critiques for us to consider in our choices. Updated polls and numbers are available to us almost on a daily basis. We continually acquire more information about the election from radio news and talk shows, television news programs and TV ads, as w…

Wordless Picture Books

Image
Recently, I ordered three picture books that included no words other than their titles.

I wondered if I had made a mistake and should have passed on these book selections. So, I perused these wordless picture books first by myself, and then I shared them with children ages two to five who attended story time. The children had wonderful comments about the books; let me share the books and their responses!

Near, Far by Silvia Borando (published by Minibombo Books and digitally created by Candlewick Press)
As I turned the unnumbered pages, every child focused on the vivid drawings and colorful background pages. As I flipped through the first two pages, their faces looked puzzled and their voices asked, "Miss Sue, what is that?" I said, "Wait and see." Then I flipped to the next page and they saw an object (an alligator). The children exclaimed, "Look! It's an alligator, a bird, a worm, a rabbit, a mouse, a porcupine, and a rhinoceros!" One preschooler…

Library Love

Image
Like many of the wonderful people who work for the Mercer County Library System, I was a patron before I became an employee. I enjoyed a multitude of books and movies the library had to offer its residents. When I was being driven crazy in my house with three babies under the age of four, the library became a sanctuary of sorts and even a place to meet other moms in the same situation as myself. Baby time classes and story times for kids were regularly and religiously attended by me and my brood. The stories that were read to my babies made their imaginations flourish and gave me a much needed "mommy break." They did puzzles, shook maracas, dressed up as super heroes on Halloween, and developed a love of books. The crafts offered as part of story time were great for my children's imaginations because who says a horse can't be purple and turtles can't be rainbow colored? The best part was that I did not have a gluey, glittery mess on the table at MY house to clea…

Self-Driving Cars: Where Are They Right Now?

When some people think of “self-driving cars,” they probably imagine a car that seems to completely have a “brain” of its own; a car that can safely drive without any human intervention at all; a car that is able to think and solve problems on its own; a car that can successfully recognize any object it comes across on the road. But many of these same people might also conclude that such cars—for legal or practical reasons—will never be commonplace, street legal and safe. However, there are indeed a number of companies currently investing a lot of money in self-driving car technology, and they appear to have very ambitious aims as far as how truly self-driving such cars will be. Uber just hired a large team of talent from a robotics lab at Carnegie Mellon. The Chinese company Baidu—as well as many other big-name auto manufacturers and tech companies, including Tesla, Google, and Ford—has applied for permits from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test its self-driving ca…

Sensory Play for Babies & Toddlers @ Your Library

Image
Babies and toddlers come standard with a natural and often far-from-quenched desire to learn about the world they live in. Every day they are taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of life all around them. There is an increasing trend among parents and early childhood educators to allow children to get messy and play (read “learn”) with their senses.

This is called sensory play, defined on the PBS Parents website as “any activity that stimulates your young child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. Sensory activities and sensory tables facilitate exploration and naturally encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore.”

A great tool for sensory play is play dough! There is so much to talk about, from the texture, to the colors, to the smell. Older children can let their imaginations run wild and create different things from the moldable dough while little ones can squish it in their hands or inside a clear Ziploc baggie …

Books To Get You Thinking

Image
Over the last decade, there have been profound changes in the information technology framework with the advent of Big Data, the Internet of Things, and over 3 billion smartphones connected through broadband and wireless networks. Along with social media portals, internet search engines and massive database systems, this has enabled instantaneous communication and transfer of data, dramatically changing many aspects of life and entire industry segments. Powerful new sensor technology and software applications have enabled the use of cell phones to record and transmit medical data while new imaging methods and devices are leading the way to the digitization of medicine, introducing new ways that patients are diagnosed and treated. The question is whether this intersection of technology and medical science would enable us to overcome the many challenges facing the delivery of healthcare services and the discovery of new treatments and cures. This month we offer a selection of books from …