Are You an Infovore?

Ever wonder why we “go crazy” in a doctor’s examination room when we don’t have anything to read–or why we feel we must constantly check our e-mail?  It turns out that studies of cognitive neuroscience are starting to figure out why we do this. 

For an interesting article about why people continue to seek new information, read “Humans Need Novelty, Our Natural High,” by Irving Biederman re-printed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Thursday, July 24, 2008, Section/Page A13.  This article in the @issue section is not available via the AJC’s online web site but may be read at: http://www.newsobserver.com/print/tuesday/opinion/story/1157434.html 

More information about this “infovore” theory and reactions to it may be found at the sites listed below

http://www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/articles/infovore-marketing.htm 

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wwftd/message/1070

Wow what a match, infovores and libraries!!!

Published in: on July 29, 2008 at 7:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Is Educational Equality a Reality in the U.S.?

This thought provoking work, The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America by Jonathan Kozol holds that:

“. . . conditions have grown worse for inner-city children in the 15 years since federal courts began dismantling the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. First a state of nearly absolute apartheid now prevails in thousands of our schools. The segregation of black children has reverted to a level that the nation has not seen since 1968. Few of the students in these school know white children any longer. Second, a protomilitary form of discipline has now emerged, modeled on the stick-and-carrot methods of behavioral control traditionally used in prisons but targeted exclusively at black and Hispanic children. And third, as high-stakes testing takes on pathological and punitive dimensions, liberal education in our inner-city school has been increasingly replaced by culturally barren and robotic methods of instruction that would be rejected out of hand by schools that serve the mainstream of society.”

Reading this book is a heart-breaking experience. The reader is tormented by the lost hopes and dreams of the children in the highlighted schools and the fact that these dreams were destroyed usually by those making the important decisions in these children’s lives. How can we feel proud as a society if we leave these children behind, with no real futures?

To learn more about the beliefs of this author and researcher, go to http://www.learntoquestion.com/seevak/groups/2002/sites/kozol/Seevak02/ineedtogoHOMEPAGE/homepage.htm To learn more about his views on education and educational equality, be sure to go past the introduction to social equality, then educational advocacy page.

More information about Jonathan Kozol can be found in Wikipedial and Americans Who Tell the Truth

For a list of Clayton County’s books written by Jonathan Kozol

Published in: on July 28, 2008 at 8:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Frugal Feasting – Gourmet Dining in a Recession

In this time of high fuel costs, we find ourselves trying to cope with, among other things, higher food prices.  We are probably just barely eating well; now we have to further compromise the quality of our diet by buying and consuming cheaper food, just to get it on the table.  But some observations by one of America’s best chefs give some insight on how to stretch our food dollars, and, with five others, offer gourmet recipes that won’t break the bank. (Some of which I’ll try in coming weeks; more on that in a moment).

 

TIME Magazine put a challenge to six chefs to create a gourmet meal for around $10.  Reading the article, you get the impression that it wasn’t an easy thing for these chefs.  Restauranteer and Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio, while shopping for the challenge, was surprised at how much the average consumer pays for food:  The cost of pasta took him completely by surprise!  Colicchio points out to writer Joel Stein that a key to food buying is to look for values:  Better to buy a whole chicken at 99¢ a pound than boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $4.99 a pound!  Processed foods can add to the price tag:  A can of beans costs about the same as a bag of the dried ones, but the bag will yield more food in the long run. 

 

 
Chef Tom Colicchio and TIME writer Joel Stein dish up Colicchio’s pork and pasta meal

 

But Colicchio also recognizes a problem:  Smart shopping takes time, and people don’t have it.  Their busy, demanding schedules barely leave them time to cook, let alone spend an hour or more shopping.  While the culture of the 30 minute meal, led by Food Network maven Rachael Ray, has helped us get dinner on the table quickly, many of the ingredients in those quick meal recipes can tend on the pricey side, like the boneless, skinless chicken breast.  In the end, we pay for the pre-prep and processing that helps us make quick meals.  What a dilemma!  

But there is help!  Tips for managing time and food budgeting can be found on the internet, such as these from US Department of Agriculture (don’t let the food stamp heading put you off!), as well as tips for shopping, like these from The Frugal Shopper.  Even if the savings seems miniscule from week to week, and the discipline of management irksome, it’ll be worth it when you see the benefits over time.

I plan to cook a couple of the recipes in the coming weeks, after which the staff and I will do a taste test.  I’ll then post the results in a future blog:  The first of a series that I’ll call “The 641 Project,” which will discuss food, cookbooks and other food topics.  Stay tuned!

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Many 30 minute and quick cooking recipes and websites can be found on the internet by searching “30 minute meal recipes,” “quick meals” or “quick dinners.”  Try the quick recipes at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s EveningEdge.com.

Rachel Ray’s 30 minute meal books are available at CCLS and through PINES.  Her recipes can by found on the Food Network website.

Here are more tips for cutting down your grocery bill from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution website.

Published in: on July 19, 2008 at 4:37 pm  Comments (1)  

K-Mart of information?

At first blush, I really didn’t care for that description of our beloved library but context, can be everything and this is an illuminating article which includes interviews with the building’s architects and our Director of Library Services.

“The Clayton County Headquarters Library has been described by designers and architectural critics as the “K-Mart of information.” The architects, who designed the award-winning building 20 years ago, said they wanted it to be open, so everyone could feel like they could walk in and get what they wanted.”

Read the full article.

Well, OK, I do like to think we’re open and inviting, so K-Mart it is.

Another fun fact – did you know the black and white mottled exterior of the building was inspired by old-fashioned library boxes? I bet you thought we had cows in mind. Not so.

Library’s avant-garde architecture stands test of time“, Clayton Daily News, July 2nd, 2008 by Daniel Silliman.

While we’re strolling down memory lane, you can also view a slide show of old-school polaroids taken during the construction of the library in 1987-88.

Published in: on July 2, 2008 at 6:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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