Sharyn McCrumb to Visit Greensboro Public Library

“In Wise County, Virginia, in 1935 a young college girl goes on trial for the murder of her father.  It was the crime of the century, all right.  Sent to cover the trial, a group of unprincipled national journalists assassinated the mountain culture in order to sensationalize the story.  The residual prejudice of their stereotyping exists to this day in every hillbilly joke you’ve ever heard.”

So goes the plot of The Devil Amongst The Lawyers, the latest novel by New York Times  bestselling author Sharyn McCrumb.

Join us at Greensboro Public Library’s Central Branch at 219 N. Church St. for a special evening with Ms. McCrumb on Thursday, July 8th, at 7 PM.  She’ll be discussing her new book, as well as autographing copies. 

For info call 336-373-3617.

Successful Telescope Viewing at Kathleen Clay Edwards Family Branch!

This is just a brief follow-up to our post on the meteorology/ astronomy program Monday evening at Kathleen Clay Edwards Family Branch, with special reference to the telescope viewing. 

Three telescopes were set up, two of which belonged to Greensboro Astronomy Club President Stan Rosenberg, who also did an excellent presentation during the meteorology segment of the program, and the Club’s Treasurer, John P. Cory, who brought along a fine long-focus 8 inch reflector which he built himself.  In addition, we set up Kathleen Clay’s 8 inch Dobsonian reflector; the mount was a little shaky and needs some work, but we were able to get some good views of the Moon.

One of the highlights of the evening was a weather balloon, which we just happened to spy over head while viewing the Moon.  Mr. Rosenberg commented that it was only the second one he’d seen in 30 years.  Basically, it looked like a silver orb with a tail flapping around behind it.  Seeing a weather balloon was quite a coincidence, coming just after the branch’s meteorology program! 

As Monday was more or less the longest day of the year, darkness came very late — after nine.  About 9:10 or so we picked up some stars and detected Saturn.  Mr. Cory directed his big reflector at the planet and pushed the magnification up to about 300x with a 6mm eyepiece.  Saturn’s rings are close to edge-on now and quite spectacular!

At any rate, it was a great program and we look forward to doing more.

New Human Species Discovered in Siberia: X-Woman

In a followup to an earlier post, researchers with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have made more than one extraordinary discovery this year.

Just before their recent triumph in sequencing a good bit of the Neandertal genome and producing the startling result that non-Africans have a little Neandertal DNA in them, word came that a Siberian hominid they’ve sequenced is a new species that lived about 30,000 to 48,000 years ago and was thus a contemporary of both modern humans and Neandertals.  And here’s another excellent article on the same topic.

A few years ago, the Neandertals were the only hominids known to be contemporary with Homo sapiens.  Coming on top of the surprising discovery in 2003 of Homo floresiensis, an extinct dwarf hominid or “hobbit” who once flourished upon the Indonesian island of Flores, the discovery of this new Siberian hominid means the list has grown to three in just a few years.  Undoubtedly paleoanthropologists are beginning to wonder what other surprises are in store.

The discovery was made by sequencing the mitochondrial DNA from a small finger bone found during excavations at Denisova Cave, located in the Altai Mountains of Southern Siberia.  The sex of the individual is still unclear, but in some quarters it is being called the “X-Woman.”

Since the Institute’s analysis shows that X-Woman shared a common ancestor with Homo sapiens and Neandertals about 1 million years ago, and this doesn’t coincide with known emigrations from Africa at about 1.9 million (Homo erectus), 500,000 (Homo heidelbergensis > Homo neanderthalensis) and 50,000 (Homo sapiens) years ago, it is therefore believed that the discovery of the X-Woman is evidence of yet another emigration ca. 1,000,000 years ago.

If you’d like to read books about human evolution owned by Greensboro Public Library, check out this previous post.

John Lennon Holograph of “A Day in the Life” Sells for $1.2 Million

Lyrics of the famous Beatles’ song, “A Day in the Life,” written in the hand of John Lennon, brought $1.2 million at a Sotheby’s auction today, MSNBC is reporting.

The song appeared on the Beatles’ influential and critically acclaimed album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” recorded in 1967.  Written with a black felt tip marker and a blue pen with additional annotations in red, the lyrics fill both sides of a double-sided sheet of paper; one side includes Lennon’s first draft, the other apparently his second with corrections including the controversial words, “I’d love to turn you on,” which resulted in a BBC ban of the song owing to the implied association with illegal drug use.

If you’re interested, Greensboro Public Library has plenty of books on the Beatles and John Lennon.  Here are just a few of our most recent acquisitions:  You Never Give Me Your Money:  The Beatles after the Breakup by Peter Doggett (on order); The Cynical Idealist:  A Spiritual Biography of John Lennon by Gary Tillery; John Lennon:  The Life by Philip Norman; Life:  Remembering John Lennon 25 Years Later by the editors of Life Magazine; John Lennon:  All I Want is the Truth:  A Photographic Biography by Elizabeth Partridge (juvenile); The Cambridge Companion to the Beatles, edited by Kenneth Womack; “We’re Going to See the Beatles!”:  An Oral History of Beatlemania as Told by the Fans Who Were There by Garry Berman; Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!:  The Beatles, Beatlemania, and the Music that Changed the World by Bob Spitz; Can’t Buy Me Love:  The Beatles, Britain, and America by Jonathan Gould; Meet the Beatles:  A Cultural History of the Band that Shook Youth, Gender, and the World by Steven D. Stark; Revolver:  The Secret History of The Beatles by Geoffrey Giuliano; The Beatles:  The Biography by Bob Spitz; and The Beatles Come to America by Martin Goldsmith.

Upcoming Runoff Primary, June 22, 2010

A runoff primary will be coming up on June 22, 2010.  The polls will open at 6:30 a. m. and close at 7:30 p. m. If you are not registered to vote already, you will not be able to vote or register and vote on June 22. 

If you are a registered Democrat and were eligible to vote in the May 4 primary, you will be able to vote in this one.  The Democratic contests are for the U. S. Senate and Guilford County Sheriff.

If you are a  registered Republican, were eligible to vote on May 4, AND LIVE IN U. S. HOUSE DISTRICTS 12 OR 13, you will be able to vote in this one.  The Republican contests are in U. S. House Districts 12 and 13.

If you are registered as Unaffiliated, then: If you DID NOT VOTE in the May 4 primary, you can vote in the Democratic primary; or, if you DID NOT VOTE in the May 4 primary,  and IF YOU LIVE IN U. S. HOUSE DISTRICTS 12 OR 13, you can vote in the Republican primary.

If you VOTED A DEMOCRATIC BALLOT IN THE MAY 4 PRIMARY, you must VOTE A DEMOCRATIC BALLOT IN THIS PRIMARY.

If you VOTED A REPUBLICAN BALLOT IN THE MAY 4 PRIMARY and you live in U. S. House districts 12 or13, you must VOTE A REPUBLICAN BALLOT IN THIS PRIMARY.

If you VOTED A NONPARTISAN BALLOT ONLY IN THE MAY 4 PRIMARY, you cannot vote in this primary.

If you are registered as a Libertarian, you cannot vote in this primary.

To see a sample ballot, you can to the the North Carolina State Board of Elections website.  Then, click on Click here for sample ballots.  Next, click on your county.  Finally, ORGUIL1 is the Democratic sample ballot.  ORGUIL3 is the Republican sample ballot for U. S. House District 13. ORGUIL4 is the Republican sample ballot for U. S. House District 12.

To find out your precinct and polling place, you also can use the North Carolina State Board of Elections website.  Once there, click on My Election Information.  Next, put in your first name, last name, date of birth, and county.  Your voter information will come up.  Included will be precinct number and polling place.

As a final note, these other categories of voters will not be able to vote in the June 22 primary: 1) Registered Republicans who live in U. S. House District 6; and 2) Unaffiliated voters who chose the Republican ballot on May 4 and live in U. S. House District 6.

If you are eligible, please vote on June 22 and let your voice be heard!

“Stormy Night,” an Evening of Meteorology at Kathleen Clay Edwards Family Branch

Please note that we’ll be having a meteorology program at the Kathleen Clay Edwards Family Branch on Monday night, June 21st, at 7:30 PM.  Sounds like they’ll be doing lots of fun and educational weather-related stuff which the whole family can enjoy.

Also, if weather permits we’ll be pulling out Kathleen Clay’s big reflecting telescope.  I tested it out on the Moon last night, and the view was pretty impressive!  In fact, I think it’s quite likely we’ll have two telescopes set-up for all you star-gazers.    

Hope to see you there!

Unemployment Down Again in N.C.

Just a brief note here that North Carolina’s unemployment rate was down for May to 10.3%, the News and Record reported today.

This is the third straight month of declines since February’s 11.2%.  

As for the national picture, the jobless rate dropped to 9.7%, a decline of .2% versus April, but, according to this MSNBC article, this may be attributable to the fact that lots of folks have simply given up looking.

As always, if you’re looking for work, please remember Greensboro Public Library’s job search page.