Sunday, 18 April 2010

Sunday April 18th, 2010 Secret Alien Technology

A hundred years ago, Nikola Tesla, inventor and mad genius, had advanced knowledge of ionized gas, commonly known as plasma. “From the theoretical comments in his Colorado notes, it is quite clear that he understood how to create electro-magnetic plasmas seventy years before the term was even coined. His patents were named as the source of the idea of a plasma shell weapon for zapping spy satellites which was built, tested and shown to work as part of the Star Wars project,” says Robert Lomas, author of The Man Who Invented the Twentieth Century: Nikola Tesla, Forgotten Genius of Electricity (621.3092 TES LOM). Tesla’s research eventually lead to HAARP, the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, “an anti-missile shield which could destroy the electronics of hostile missiles or satellites, [it] is the realization of Tesla’s Death Ray.”

According to a random source on the internet, such an energy field was used on the USS Eldridge in 1943 for experiments in cloaking that may have really been experiments in time travel that went horribly wrong. Supposedly, Tesla was involved in this experimentation. I’ve also read on the internet that a) Tesla communicated with aliens and/or b) Tesla was an alien himself!

Is this why his work was labeled Top Secret by the government?

Tesla may or may not have been an alien, but he was certainly ahead of his time and WW2 necessitated many secrets. For instance, there is apparently secret Nazi research that discusses “how the Nazis built small, remote-controlled, circular craft whose engines ionized the atmosphere, causing it to glow,” according to Jenny Randles, author of UFO Retrievals: the Recovery of Alien Spacecraft (001.942 RAN). Those mysterious craft have been referred to as Foo Fighters or Ghost Rockets. The story goes that alien plasma, the supposed cloaking field of the USS Eldridge, can open a portal in space-time. That’s given as the reason why the Eldridge disappeared from view in Philadelphia and reappeared in Norfolk, Virginia, a distance of over 400 kilometers away, in just fifteen minutes. That’s about 1600 km/h, unless, of course, space-time was warped instead of traveled across.

In order to get to another galaxy (or dimension), you must somehow bypass space-time. The distances are just too great and the limitation of the speed of light would cause any object with mass to become infinitely massive and require infinite energy to break that barrier, a physical impossibility.

Leslie Marder, author of Time and the Space Traveler (530.11 MAR) says that “The most conceivable energy obtainable for a given mass of fuel is obtained in the complete annihilation of matter with antimatter…,” although this method might be impracticable. “[I]on thrust,” however, “in which charged particles are ejected by means of an electric field is another possibility, but is practicable only for low-thrust propulsion…”. Hydrogen bomb propulsion is also considered feasible; but, by manipulating quantum fluctuations, “we can potentially reduce or eliminate inertia, which would be in essence like reducing or eliminating the mass of an object – which would make accelerating it to high speeds a whole lot easier,” says Jeanne Cavelos, astrophysicist and author of The Science of Star Wars (500.5 CAV) .

The trick to space-time travel, then, seems to be to somehow manipulate matter, energy and space-time so that the traveler has no mass, no inertia, abundant energy and, I’m guessing, a mind capable of transcending physicality to withstand the rigors of hyperspace. So, are plasma fields and UFO’s the first steps towards a galactic empire? Maybe some place far, far away.

Happy reading, live long and prosper!

Chris Waite, Public Services Assistant

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Sunday April 11th, 2010 TBPL Reads

While I am a regular browser of library shelves, I can just as regularly be found browsing the shelves of a local bookstore for new ideas or suggestions. Often I will go straight to the “staff suggested” area for my next selection. This habit got me to thinking about the eclectic reading tastes of the public library staff. I sent out an email to find out what everyone is currently reading and was amazed at the wide variety of responses I received. With such a range of literary tastes I won’t even try to group them but will let the following suggestions stand on their own and speak for themselves.

Author Amit Goswami is a theoretical physicist who uses empirical scientific evidence in quantum mechanics to provide veracity for quantum consciousness, or God in the 2008 book GOD IS NOT DEAD.

MILLION DOLLAR BABY by Amy Patricia Meade is a delightful Depression era novel. It is part screwball comedy and part mystery with a hint of romance. When British ex-patriot Creighton Ashcroft buys a mansion with a shadowy past, he’s thrown together with mystery writer Marjorie McClelland as both try to sleuth out the crime, unfortunately the closer they get to the solution, the closer the killer gets to them.

One staff member is currently working her way through everything to do with Spain’s Camino de Santiago de Compostela. She started with the travel guide ALL THE GOOD PILGRIMS by Robert Ward, then moved on to WHAT THE PSYCHIC TOLD THE PILGRIM by Jane Christmas and THE CAMINO by Shirley MacLaine.

Another staffer is reading VEGAS PRO 9 EDITING WORKSHOP by Douglas Spotted Eagle (and according to him is interesting where it lacks in entertainment value).

The response I found most interesting was from someone currently reading EATING ANIMALS by Jonathan Safran Foer. She described it as a great read, very educational, not a feel good read but one book everyone should read. She goes on to explain her interest in this topic coming out of how debatable factory farming has become and that knowing how food is manufactured is a good idea. A review from Booklist states it is an indelible book that should reach a diverse audience and deepen the conversation about how best to live on a rapidly changing planet. I don’t know about you, but I’m not too sure I want to shatter my illusions about how chicken makes its way to the dinner table.

Among the many other staff suggestions available, I found some lighter reading material with BEST OF FRIENDS by Mariana Pasternak. It chronicles a twenty year relationship between the author and domestic diva Martha Stewart. Other books currently being read include THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Stieg Larsson, SIZE 14 IS NOT FAT EITHER by Meg Cabot, SUDDENLY by Bonnie Burnard, HOW TO BE SINGLE by Liz Tuccillo, WHEEL OF TIME by Robert Jordan and LIFE, THE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING by John Carnell. One brutally honest person admitted to trying to read THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE but not getting very far due to falling asleep with the book open on their face.

For anyone interested in more staff suggestions, thoughts and opinions on reading material, check out the Best of the Backlist Blog . There you will find discussions on all sorts of books that staff have loved or hated. A recent post describes THE CROSS GARDENER by Jason Wright. According to the blog post this book brings a comforting message to anyone who has ever been distressed that their loved one was alone when they died. It’s a wonderful book and brings a message of hope to anyone who has ever grieved.

Everything from light hearted fiction to deeply intellectual physics, this experiment demonstrated exactly what I hoped it would - you can’t judge a book by its cover and the best way to find out more is to ask questions.

Jesse Roberts, Head of Reference Services

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Sunday April 4th, 2010 Books on Fire

I am excited to be writing my first library detective column, but choosing a topic was not as easy as I thought it would be. I wanted to write about something that was never written about before in library detective but was also interesting to me. I was finally inspired by the firefighters in my family and decided to write my column on firefighting.

My research led me to find many interesting books in our library collection. I found books about the history of the profession, manuals on how to become a firefighter, books for children, and even fictional stories where fighting fires is not the only hot topic.

Since I was little, I remember hearing stories about the fantastic meals the guys at the hall cooked up. I think this book could really be useful for the fire hall chef. Fire Hall Cooking with Jeff the Chef: Surefire Recipes to Feed Your Crew, by Jeff Derraugh, a veteran firefighter, provides easy to follow recipes that are sure to feed any hungry crew.

If you ever wondered when the first fire engine was built or how fires were extinguished in the 19th century, then I suggest reading A Canadian History of Fire Engines or The Story of Firefighting in Canada by Donal M. Baird. These books are filled with great pictures and interesting facts about how the firefighting profession developed throughout Canada.

For anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in firefighting, the library has several manuals to help you get there. The Complete Guide to Becoming a Firefighter : The Ultimate Recruitment Guide for Canadian Firefighters by Kory Pearn, includes information and tips on firefighting schools and courses, creating cover letters and resumes, preparing for the written and physical tests, and much more. There is also information on the requirements for becoming a firefighter in America in the McGraw-Hill's Firefighter Exams by Ronald R. Spadafora , which we also have as an ebook -- available online now!

Looking for a love story with a hunky, good looking fire fighter? Then pick up Lime Ricky by Jill Winters or The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks; a love story between volunteer fireman Taylor McAden and Denise Holden, a single mother. Find out if Taylor takes another risk in his life…falling in love.

If a love story is not for you, then try Firestorm by Iris Johansen, the story of an arson investigator who tries to stop a psychopath killer. Or The Smoke Room by Earl Emerson where Jason Gum, a rookie firefighter, must get himself out of a web of blackmail and deceit.

Finally, the library has tons of books on firefighting just for kids! Here are a couple of titles that might spark an interest in your little one. Firefighters to the Rescue by Kersten Hamilton; Fire Engines by E.S. Budd; or A Day in the Life of a Firefighter by Linda Hayward.

I had a lot of fun writing my library detective column and look forward to writing one again. Enjoy!!

Lindsey Long, Reference Librarian