It's coming! The movie release of "Gone Girl"

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 9:54am

It's coming soon to a theater near you! The new trailer for Gone Girl debuted during Monday night's Emmys broadcast and showed more footage of Amy (Rosamund Pike) and Nick (Ben Affleck) loving each other, hating each other and everything in between.

Introducing New Chelsea Cain Characters

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 8:06am

One Kick by Chelsea Cain

Library Copies

Suspense writer Chelsea Cain has set aside her stories about Gretchen Lowell and Archie Sheridan in order to create a new set of characters. In her latest novel she introduces her readers to Kick Lannigan and John Bishop, two characters who are guaranteed to hold your interest. They are both pursuers of justice, hunting for abducted children. They are not exactly partners in their actions but they have an alliance of sorts.

Kick Lannigan was herself abducted as a child and this traumatic occurrence has shaped the rest of her life. Now in her early twenties the person she has become is the result of her imprisonment and miraculous rescue. She keeps herself in top physical condition and has a running knowledge of "missing children" cases across the country. When John Bishop drops into her life she is cautious but willing to help him in his pursuit of information about a child abduction case.

Bishop is a man of mystery, possibly wealthy and possibly working with the government. He does not give answers freely and it is up to Kick and her innate perception to figure out who and what he is. Sometimes she figures right and sometimes she figures wrong.

Cain's previous novels all were part of the Lowell/Sheridan stories. They are required reading for anyone who loves a good, solid mystery. The new story about Lannigan/Bishop is not as comfortable reading as those stories were. With the Lowell/Sheridan series you just opened the pages and you were hooked. ONE KICK takes a little bit more of an effort.

Kick Lannigan isn't an easy character to get to know or to get to like. She is a mess psychologically and is all rough edges and sharp corners. And that is how I would describe the read. It isn't a smooth slide over the pages but rather is a read where you careen from one incident to the next, never feeling steady on your feet as you move. Along the way you pick up a detail here and a detail there, like building blocks offered in order to understand the completed project or in this case person.

Still, though it is a different kind of ride than those offered in the past, it is an interesting one and one that stands in testimony to the generous talents of Chelsea Cain. The lady can tell a story and do it differently than anyone else. She is a distinctive writer who never holds back on her inventiveness, brilliant character development, and ability to surprise.

As you can tell I am hooked on her talent. I miss Gretchen Lowell and Archie Sheridan and definitely want more stories about them in the future, but the same can be said of Kick Lannigan and John Bishop.

reviewed by Jackie K Cooper for the Huffington Post

How To Be Your Own Superhero

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 8:00am

The news is filled with inspiring stories of heroes and altruists among us, like truck driver David Frederickson, who helped save a woman and her baby from a flaming car in Mississippi. But can ordinary people follow in the footsteps of such moral giants? Yes -- and here are some practical ways to get started.

Question your automatic thoughts. When you think about helping someone in a risky situation, your brain's first reaction will often be, "Stop! Don't do it!" That's your automatic fear response kicking in, and while it might be smart to heed it some of the time (self-preservation is important, after all), take a moment to think about your decision logically. Is intervening really as dangerous as you think -- and even if you do run some risk, are you willing to accept it in order to do what's right?

Draw on past pain to serve others. It might seem hard to fathom when you're in the midst of a rough patch, but your struggles can motivate you to help people going through something similar. Psychologist Ervin Staub calls this "altruism born of suffering": People who have endured tragedy, such as a natural disaster, more often express desire to help those in trouble. If you survived an abusive relationship, for instance, you know how devastating it can be -- and that knowledge might inspire you to start a support group for battered women escaping their exes.

Set aside self-focus. As kids, a lot of us want to be heroes because we imagine the admiration we'll get from people around us. But mature heroism isn't about putting yourself on a pedestal; it's about standing up for the greater good, often at personal cost. Take Georgia school clerk Antoinette Tuff, who put her life at risk to have a deep, personal chat with an intruder who wanted to shoot kids. She talked him into dropping his gun, and because of her courageous actions, every student left school that day alive.

Love others -- all of them. Political scientist Kristen Monroe wanted to find out what made the difference between those who sheltered Jewish people during the Holocaust and those who stood by or even participated in the Nazi crimes. She found that heroic rescuers tended to see themselves as connected to all human beings, regardless of their background. When we truly identify with someone, we often want to help them, even at personal cost.

Help a kid crossing the street. Psychologist Phil Zimbardo, founder of the Heroic Imagination Project, advises would-be "heroes in training" to do small-scale good deeds -- the kind they might not get recognition for, but that are worthwhile nonetheless. He believes that when you learn to look at what you can do for people around you, you'll be better primed for future capital-H heroism.

Be a deviant for a day. Heroes must be willing to go against the grain and do things not many others would. (Take advocate Erin Brockovich, who famously worked up the courage to call out Pacific Gas & Electric for putting toxins in the water supply.) So from time to time, Zimbardo has asked students to do something purposely wacky, like painting on a mustache or wearing pajamas in public. The takeaway lesson: The wisdom of the crowd isn't all that matters -- you can flout it and get through the day just fine.

Seek out like-minded people. Just as it's easier to convince yourself to go to yoga class when you know a buddy plans to join you, it's easier to concentrate on serving others when your friends are doing the same. Groups of "real-life super heroes" throughout the country show us all how good friends can support each other in helping those in need.

Sign up for a lifesaving class. You never know when you're going to be called on to perform CPR or the Heimlich maneuver, and you might be the only person in the room who knows how. Research shows that people who've had some kind of rescue training are more likely to intervene when others are in danger. If you have the basic knowledge to resolve a high-stakes situation, you'll be able to act much more effectively.

Get involved in the community. It's not every day you get the chance to save someone from a burning building. Sometimes low-key "everyday heroism" is the most practical path--volunteering for a mentoring program, for example, or a nonprofit that helps people prepare for job interviews. The upside is that helping others makes you feel better, too: Overall, devoted volunteers are healthier and more satisfied with life than non-helpers.

Learn about real-life heroes, and let their stories move you. According to University of Southern California brain-imaging research, hearing stories of people who do inspiring things activates brain areas that help us feel empathy. When such stories truly become a part of you, they can help motivate you on your own heroic journey.

written by Elizabeth Svoboda, author of What Makes a Hero?: The Surprising Science of Selflessness for the Huffington Post

Your Library's Digital Newstand just got better!

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 11:54am


Did you know that you can share articles via email with friends using the iPad Zinio app? Here’s how! 

Patrons can now link to their previously checked-out magazines without checking out an additional magazine by clicking the "start reading" link in the upper-right corner of the Library's eMagazine collection page.

Patrons may now "keep browsing" and check out multiple magazine issues before going to their personal account to read them. 

Start browsing today and enjoy the new features.

Are you new to the Library's eMagazine collection? Learn how to start enjoying this resource.

FUN at the Iowa Arts & Crafts Fest

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 6:36pm

Join us on August 23rd from 9a to 2p for a day of FUN! 
It's the Iowa Arts & Crafts Fest! We're celebrating various artisans around our communities.
This marks the 6th incarnation of an annual festival that has always been completely free and open to the public thanks in part to CPPL, the Town of Iowa, Capital One Bank and Coca Cola Bottling.
Join us at the Iowa Multi-purpose Center (207 Hwy 90 E.) 
Oh yeah, while there, why not make a colorful marble vase. Please register!

It is the truth or just a way of forcing someone to play “the game”?

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 1:42pm

Doll Bones by Holly Black (2013)

Available in standard print children’s book.

Zach and his friends, Poppy and Alice have been inseparable companions their whole lives.  Alice is an orphan, who lives with a controlling Grandmother; Poppy lives with a family that ignores her completely; and Zach is dealing with an estranged father, who has just moved back into his home. To escape the stresses of their daily lives, the trio had invented a make believe world of pirates and thieves, ruled by a ruthlessly powerful Queen, who must be obeyed, despite the fact she is imprisoned in a distant tower. This ever changing adventure had been going on for years, with Poppy coming up with new story lines, and the children acting out the adventures, using dolls and action figures as props. Even “the Queen” is played by a bone-china doll that is shut up in a glass cabinet at Poppy’s house. For each of these children, playing “the game” was almost as important as eating, but everything changes when Zach’s father does the unthinkable. In an effort to force Zach to grow up, Zach’s father throws out all of Zach’s action figures. Angry and heartbroken, Zach cannot bring himself to tell his friends that, for all intense and purposes, his beloved characters are all dead, so he lies to them and tells them that he doesn’t want to play anymore. The girls are crushed, especially Poppy, but Zach’s little white lie sets in motion a whole new adventure, when Poppy insists that the doll they call “the Queen” is haunted by the ghost of a girl named Eleanor, whom they must lay to rest… or else! Despite his misgivings, Zach agrees to join the girls on a very real “quest” to help Eleanor, but is Poppy telling the truth, or is this just her way of forcing him to play “the game”? Read Doll Bones and find out. Here are other titles by Holly Black.

Praise for Holly Black and Doll Bones:

  • "Nobody does spooky like Holly Black. Doll Bones is a book that will make you sleep with the lights on." (Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series)
  • "Every encounter redraws the blurry lines between childishness and maturity, truth and lies, secrecy and honesty, magic and madness. Spooky, melancholy, elegiac and ultimately hopeful; a small gem." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

Post written by C. Ford, staff member in the Collection Services Division of the CPPL System.


A 19th Century Arctic Shipwreck and the 21st Century's Most Wicked Problem

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 1:34pm

Hampton Sides has written one hell of an Arctic adventure story. In the Kingdom of Ice is the tale of Lieutenant George Washington De Long and his crew aboard the USS Jeannette who, in 1879, attempted to find the Northwest Passage through the Arctic. Their ship left from San Francisco, backed by a notorious New York playboy and staked to the idea that a warm northern current would take them through the Bering Strait. They hoped to reach what was then thought of as the"Open Polar Sea," warm waters made for easy sailing to Asia.

Things didn't go according to plan.

De Long and his crew spent two years locked in a churning mass of sea ice that pushed their increasingly crumbling vessel further into frozen ocean. It was a disaster that killed any hope for an expedient current, the Open Polar Sea, and (SPOILER ALERT) a prolonged future for most of the crew and its sled dogs. Sides tells the story through first person accounts from De Long, ship engineer George Melville (distant relation of Herman), and De Long's wife Emma, who wrote the lieutenant heartbreaking letters throughout the Jeannette's journey.

The story is riveting, a non-fiction page-turner on the level of Devil in the White City and Lost City of Z, and when I read it ravenously on a red eye flight from Anchorage to Atlanta I couldn't help but wonder what it had to teach us about the current Arctic crisis. When I talked with Sides after I returned, and he told me the story didn't end in the 19th century, I was thrilled.

Sides told me that the meticulous records De Long and his crew took throughout their time in the Arctic are now being used by Old Weather, a group of citizen scientists who are working the with National Archives to digitize and analyze the Jeannette's log books.

The story of how the log books survived is nearly as compelling as the story of the Jeannette itself. The massive volumes had to be hauled with Herculean effort through the ice and tundra by the starving crew, then carried through Siberia to St. Petersburg and finally by ship to Washington D.C., where they gathered dust for a century.

Sides was astonished when he picked them up.

"I found about these log books by virtue, really, of sitting down at the National Archives and requesting everything they had on the Jeanette," Sides said. "They wheeled these massive books out on a cart and I didn't really know what they were at first, just that they were really heavy, some of them folio-sized, just massive volumes, you know, and I started thinking, 'How did these get here?' And then I thought, 'Why did these get here?'

"Most of these volumes are truly just log books, just measurements of things in ledgers--specific gravity, salinity, water temperature, Barometric pressure readings taken hourly, a lot of stuff I don't really understand or care about as a writer. I looked at all of them and I thought, 'Wow. That was a lot of work that was probably useless.'

"So it was with great surprise and a sense of satisfaction to learn that NOAA and Kevin Wood and his group at Old Weather are using them on their research."

Wood and Old Weather are digitizing log books and journals from the Age of Exploration to find out what they can tell us about how the world -- in this case, the Arctic -- has changed in the past 150 years. And they want to see what these changes can tell us about what's happening to our climate.

What they've been able to see through De Long and his crew's data is scientific proof of just how massive the sea ice loss has been over the past century and a half, something environmentalists have known in theory for years. Now they have primary documentation.

"The value of a single ship's observations is limited," Wood wrote in an email. "Though it does give us a good sense of what the state of the was like at a particular time and place in the past. If it's very different from today, that is a clue to what the scale of change and variability could reasonably be like."

On September 9, 1879 the Jeannette became trapped in sea ice 7-15 feet thick near Herald Island in the Chukchi Sea.

"This area is often ice-free now," Wood said.

He sent a satellite view of the area from a recent day in July, and you can see that it looks chilly, but not deathly.

"This is a month before the date of ice minimum nowadays" Wood wrote,"so I expect there will be far less ice to see on Sept 9, 2014."

Being a scientist, Wood takes a cautious approach to his description of what's happening in the Arctic, careful not to put a dramatic spin on it. Sides takes a more narrative approach.

"The crazy irony is that the Jeannette was designed to test the theory of the Open Polar Sea," he said, "They set out North to find it and didn't, but now, the climate folks are telling us that there will be an open polar sea in some summer soon. There's a deep irony that this mythic thing that's been talked for centuries and centuries might actually happen now."

The irony will be a killer, not only for the indigenous communities who live in the Arctic, the polar bears, walruses, narwhals, and snowy owls who call it home, but the rest of us around the world too. Less sea ice means more climate disruption globally -- more super storms, more droughts, more resource-based conflict. The ice also reflects the suns rays, as opposed to an open sea which absorbs it. Less ice means a warmer Arctic and a warmer climate, which of course means even less sea ice at a faster rate.

"The Arctic explorers, especially the ones who kept going back, were entranced by it, and what they wrote about the ice in particular was poetically and beautifully," Sides said. "Before I wrote this book, I had this idea of the ice as one thing, but it's alive. It's constantly moving and changing, there's pressure ridges, old ice, new ice, fresh water, salt water, all constantly in flux and flow, subject to weather and wind and current. You start to realize it's this living breathing force, not just this slab of stuff that's just sitting there."

It's a living, breathing force that is rapidly dying. De Long and his crew would hardly recognize the Arctic ocean as it exists now. They were a few of the first, and a few of the last, to see the ancient Arctic as it was before fossil fuels. The overwhelming scientific consensus says that the sea ice's disappearance since the Industrial Revolution is due to anthropogenic global warming. The more fossil fuels we burn, the less sea ice we'll have. The late summer sea ice is nearly gone in the Chukchi, and global oil giants like Shell and Gazprom are hoping to exploit its demise. They plan to drill for more of the oil that's causing the sea ice to disappear in the first place. It's enough to make a person renounce the Jeannette's motto: nil desperandum, "never despair.

But there is hope, it will just take some of that 19th century courage to put it in motion.

"De Long took applications from across the country, hundreds if not thousands of people wanted to do go to the Arctic, to see it," Sides said. "There was patriotism, valor, and personal pride in that journey. It seemed like a glorious adventure to huge numbers of people."

The Arctic adventure is different today. We no longer need De Long's 19th century courage of exploration -- we need a 21st century courage of salvation. It's a kind of courage millions of people around the world have already shown by signing up to Save the Arctic. You can join them easily today, and you can also join the Old Weather team as they transcribe data and document events of all sorts found in the logbooks.

"When De Long was making his retreat across the ice and the tundra," Sides said, "he was constantly asking himself, 'Should I be lugging these volumes?' and a lot of his crew were asking that same question. They felt they weren't necessary. But the narrative you hold in your hands with this book was made possible by that decision to keep the books. Who knows what else we can learn from them." 

article from Huffington Post; written by Travis Nichols


Mon, 08/11/2014 - 9:04am
Calcasieu Parish Public Library cardholders can now borrow (download or stream) a great selection of movies, television shows, educational/instructional videos, documentaries, music, and audiobooks via your browser, smartphone, or tablet (via iOS devices and select Android devices).
No waiting lists! No holds! No late fees! Instant availability!
To get started, visit the instruction page HERE!

Hey Scrabble fanatics! Big gifts sometimes come in small packages.

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 8:25am

The word "te" as a variant of "ti," the seventh tone on the musical scale, is a hardworking little gem among 5,000 words added to "The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary," out Aug. 11 from Merriam-Webster.

The dictionary's last freshening up was a decade ago. Entries in the forthcoming book that include texter, vlog, bromance, hashtag, dubstep and selfie were mere twinkles on the racks of recreational players.

But it's the addition of te and three other two-letter words — da, gi and po — that has Robin Pollock Daniel excited. Daniel, a clinical psychologist in Toronto, is a champion of the North American Scrabble Players Association, which has a committee that helps Merriam-Webster track down new, playable words of two to eight letters.

"Being able to hook an 'e' underneath 't' means that I can play far more words," explained Daniel, who practices Scrabble two to four hours a day. "Sometimes you play parallel to a word and you're making two-letter words along the way. I call those the amino acids of Scrabble. The more two-letter words we have, the more possibilities a word will fit."

One woman's te is another man's "qajaq," one of Peter Sokolowski's favorites among the new words. He's a lexicographer and editor at large for the Springfield, Massachusetts-based Merriam-Webster.

Qajaq, he said in a recent interview with Daniel, reflects the Inuit roots of kayak and would require a blank tile since Scrabble sets include just one Q. But it's a rare word starting with "q'' that doesn't require a "u."

A bonus, to a word nerd like Sokolowski: qajaq is a palindrome, though that's inconsequential in Scrabble.

The new words add about 40 pages to the Scrabble-sanctioned dictionary, which already lists more than 100,000 playable words. Definitions are kept to a minimum but parts of speech and whether a plural is available are noted.

To be included in the 36-year-old book — this is the fifth edition — a word must be found in a standard dictionary, can't require capitalization, can't have hyphens or apostrophes and can't be an abbreviation, in addition to being two to eight letters, reflecting the seven tiles players draw plus an eighth already on the board they can attach a long word to for bonus points.

Among the highest potential scorers among the new additions is "quinzhee," a shelter made by hollowing out a pile of snow. Played on the board's top row, ending at the top right through an existing "u," and a player can score 401 points, including the 50-point "bingo" bonus for using all seven tiles.

Merriam-Webster didn't identify all 5,000 new words but released a list of about 30 that also include:

Beatbox, buzzkill, chillax, coqui, frenemy, funplex, jockdom, joypad, mixtape, mojito, ponzu, qigong, schmutz, sudoku and yuzu. Geocache was also added, voted into the dictionary by the public during a Facebook contest in May.

"It makes the game more accessible to younger people, which we're always looking for," Daniel said of the update. "All the technology words make it more attractive to them."

Sokolowski anticipates a transitional period for some players who may need time getting used to the idea that so many new words will soon be in play.

"It is going to be a big step for a lot of people to switch to this," he said, "but at the same time if you're sitting at a Scrabble game after dinner and somebody plays the word selfie and somebody challenges that as not a real word, well guess what? It is."

View article...written by Leannie Italie

Back to School With a Little Digital Lunch Money

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 8:16am

Maybe you are smarter than a third grader? But who is fastest with that i-pad or new smart phone app in your house? Chances are if your home is like most, the younger the faster.

And if you think you are starting to feel like you're getting left in the digital dust now, just wait. When your first grader starts talking about crypto currency, don't be surprised when a piggy bank is about as valued as your house phone.

It's that time of year again, back to school time - and this year your child's syllabus might just include digital currency. At least, that's what some companies, and even kids, would like. A new wave of educational tools, apps, games, and child-friendly crypto-currency has emerged, and they are all aimed at teaching children about digital currency, starting from a very young age.

When I was in third grade, our financial education involved watching Mom write out a check, a practically obsolete skill these days. So it should come as no surprise that, with the Bitcoin surge, crypto-currency would be incorporated into current curriculums. Although it probably won't be on your child's syllabus this fall, it's only a matter of time until digital currency makes its way onto the class schedule. We've seen it before - as technology moves forward, schools are usually forced to catch up by updating their course offerings. After all, how long ago did most schools sadly stop offering Home Economics in favor of Computer Science?

For now, there are still plenty of ways that children can learn about digital currency outside of school. Proponents of a "digital currency revolution" recently released an app entitled "The Bitcoin Alphabet - For Kids and Everyone Else," which explains the ABCs of Bitcoin concepts through illustrations and drawings. Additionally, kids can check out a social media site called BitKidz that is filled with tutorials, recent news on Bitcoins, and even offers both a learning center and children's book featuring success stories of kids between 9 - 12 years old who have earned money with Bitcoins.

At that age I was more concerned with playing outside with other kids (yes, in-person, Generation Y), not delving into the world of digital money. But a look at Reddit threads , and 15-year old Bitcoin entrepreneurs shows that the demand is there. Kids today seem very interested in the subject.

Taking the learning process a step further is Piggy Coin, an actual digital currency designed for kids. Piggycoin is a real, working crypto-currency that children can only earn by correctly answering questions in educational online games. Once earned, the Piggycoins are deposited into each child's digital wallet - today's version of a timeless learning tool, the piggy bank.

I suppose that in an age where children are no longer encouraged to think for themselves - where we even have shoes that vibrate to tell you where to turn (in case your GPS combusts while your Smart Phone suddenly fails)- we should be grateful that children are being rewarded for actual learning.

Once you've earned your Piggy Coins, you can spend them online at the Piggy Store, which I must say does not sound all that rewarding to me. Not only does the Piggy Store have a fairly limited merchandise selection, unless of course you love pigs, but the tangible rewards of learning about money are missing from the equation.

Although an undeniably valuable learning tool for kids, Piggycoins lack some of the basic teaching capabilities of an old-fashioned piggy bank. For example, when the coins are in your physical possession, you can actually count them, and add up the total for yourself - a critical lesson in money that your digital wallet will deprive you of. Not to mention kids will forego the inevitable satisfaction of breaking the piggy bank open and basking in the glory of their earnings.

Smashing the piggy bank is a symbol of success. You work hard to earn and save up all of those coins, and once the bank is full, you throw it, drop it, hit it with a hammer, anything to unleash your coins. Once they emerge from the ceramic animal, like candy from a piñata, you can feel them, throw them, hold them up and let them slide through your fingertips and hit the floor in a wave of sound that signals you're rich. Now that's a rewarding experience - and a far cry from simply checking your account on a computer screen.

It's the same reason coin-free slot machines will never compare to traditional models. When you print out a piece of paper telling you what you've won, it just doesn't stir the same excitement as hearing those coins drop into the tray.

Piggycoin has already forged relationships with several schools, and will be in classrooms for kids of all ages very soon. As the company works to expand upon its network, it's fairly safe to say that downloading a digital wallet might soon be on your child's back to school to-do list.

On the bright side, we already know that kids never leave the house without their smart phones, so at least now maybe they can use them at school for something useful - to pay for their lunch via digital currency.

View article from Huffington Post written by Eric Yaverbaum

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