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Oyarsa's Observances

This blog is created for my random thoughts and opinions. Conflicting opinions are always welcome, but comments or remarks left in a disrespectful or distasteful manner (to be determined by myself) will be either ignored or deleted. This blog has a zero-tolerance policy for spammers. Don't waste your time, spammers, go elsewhere.


"Oyarsa" for those who don't know, is the name of an archangel (or "god" with a little 'g') in C. S. Lewis's Space Trilogy. I liked the character, so I stole the name. Who am I? I am a library science student in Illinois who has a variety of interests--too many to list! I have worked in libraries for five years and counting.

Are you a good person?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Top Science Stories of 2005

Scientific American has compiled a list of the top science stories of 2005.

Dover Intelligent Design Trial

Preparing for a Pandemic

Plan B Blocked

Reading the Oxyrhynchus Papyri

Chimp Genome--and First Fossils--Unveiled

Ice Core Extends Climate Record Back 650,000 Years

Brain Scans Helps Scientists "Read" Minds

Tenth Planet Discovered

Stem Cell Meltdown

Hurricane Katrina

Scientists Find Soft Tissue in T. rex Fossil

Gamma-Ray Mystery Solved

Live Giant Squid Photographed for First Time

Chunk of Universe's Missing Matter Found

Genetic Analysis Suggests Human Brain Is a Work-in-Progress

Conservationist Plan Would Give Lions, Elephants a Home on the Range

Flexible 'E-skin' Could Endow Robots with Humanlike Sense of Touch

Cave Bear DNA Sequencing Could Be Boon for Human Evolution Studies

New State of Matter Is 'Nearly Perfect' Liquid

Darthmouth Student Lied, Soldiers died?

Perhaps a slight stretch, but it does have a certain ring to it. An article in the Boston Globe carries the story about the fabrication.

The ALA also weighs in on the matter.

How does this kid know the book is on a "rotating watch list of books" and how would that same kid know about the workings of said list, assuming it exists? Given his known track record of lying, I believe we can maintain a healthy degree of skepticism regarding its existence.

Heretical Librarian did the research and made some other observations, from which I quote part of his findings below:

The ALA article also mentions that the student "requested the book by phone from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst". This raises another question: why didn't the student simply order Quotations via UMass-Dartmouth's ILL service, as the first report of this story indicated? The student could also have used the Virtual Catalogs feature to order Quotations from another Massachusetts library. So why would he try to file an ILL request with UMass-Amherst, whose service appears to be limited to Amherst students, faculty, and staff only? If he simply called Amherst's library to ask about the availability of their copy of the book, would they not have advised him to order the item through his own institution or the Virtual Catalogs? Finally, the claim that the alleged request with Amherst was filed by phone would also make the existence of a record trail less likely, and thus harder to conclusively disprove the story.

Today's other bit of information comes courtesy of Wizbang. This item from the Boston Herald features a comment from the FBI: Complicating matters has been the student, who so far has refused to talk. Boston FBI spokeswoman Gail A. Marcinkiewicz said she has been unable to find evidence that FBI agents visited the student. “We don’t have interest in what people read,” she added.

Given the mounting evidence,I don't think this student should be given a pass. He's not a five year old lying to Mommy about how many cookies he took out of the cookie jar. He knew he was lying. He knew his lie would spread quickly. And if he truly 'didn't know' about the consequences of his lie, then it's all the more reason to put charages against him, before some other person tries the 'didn't know' excuse to leak something more serious.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

As I celebrate Christmas, and not Hanukah or Kwanzaa, I wish all my fellow Americans a very merry Christmas indeed, whether or not you believe in the reason for the season.

May God bless you and keep you all, and may He reveal Himself, His holiness, and His love to all who read this blog.


Saturday, December 24, 2005

Updated My Links

I added yet another Tolkien site: One Ring: The Complete Guide to Tolkien Online. One Ring appears to be a directory of Tolkien websites: everything from books, to fanfiction, to movies, to image galleries and more. This site was a Librarian's Index to the Internet pick, and after reviewing it myself, I thought it was an appropriate addition.


Friday, December 23, 2005

Nina Shea's The Real War on Christmas

Recently, I have been involved in online discussions with some Christians about our concerns with merchants subsituting "Happy Holidays" for "Merry Christmas." One of those participants believed such substitution to be "persecution". Oyarsa vehemently disagrees.

So, while not making light of this latest politically correct trend, I present for my fellow Christians Nina Shea's article, "The Real War on Christmas." Those who have done research in the area of Christian Persecution will know Ms. Shea as the author of In the Lion's Den: Persecuted Christians and What the Western Church Can Do About It.

PacMan in the Library?

Evidently, two students at the University of Michigan came up with a prank to dress as Pac-Man and a Ghost, respectively. The pair ran through the UGLi (the Undergraduate Library) and the Fishbowl (a huge computer lab on Central campus) during finals week. Pac-Man screams in horror as the Ghost chases him yelling "Waka Waka Waka." According to Boing Boing, the video has spread like wildfire on the U of Michigan campus, and killed the original hosting site's bandwidth. Watch the video. (.mov file; make sure you have a player capable of playing it; you will likely need QuickTime. )

Of course, those who played Pac-Man will recall that the "waka" sound was only made by Pac-Man when he ate the pills. The ghosts were silent.

For those who did not grow up playing the game, learn more about Pac-Man through this Wikipedia article.

Chewbacca Sings!

I received this link from a friend. Very funny.

But, don't take my word for it. Listen to Chewbacca sing for yourself.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Have You Seen This Penguin?

A 3 month old penguin was evidently kidnapped from the Amazon World zoo on the Isle of Wight, in southern England on Saturday.

If you know anything about the whereabouts of said penguin, please contact the Amazon World Zoo.


Updated Link List: Environment

Those of you interested in environmental issues might find some or all of these sites interesting.


  • A Better Earth

  • The site aims to introduce readers to "a wide range of alternative environmental approaches, including locally based 'eco-innovation,' outcome-based regulations, quasi-market pricing strategies, corporate and individual stewardship, property rights enforcement as a means of protecting the environment from polluters, and the cultivation of environmental aesthetics."

  • The Commons

  • A site devoted to "the principle of promoting environmental quality and human dignity and prosperity through markets and property rights. Put more simply, it’s about free markets protecting the environment."

  • Competitive Enterprise Institute

  • The Wall Street Journal has called the CEI "the best environmental think tank in the country."

  • Enviro-Truth

  • Envirotruth is dedicated to injecting badly needed truth into the debate about our environment. For too long, some environmental groups have seized the world stage and the public's attention by distorting facts, bending the truth and even committing acts of terrorism against innocent citizens.

  • Green Watch

  • Look here for information about nonprofit environmental groups. According to the group, "These tax-exempt groups orchestrate political, legal and public relations campaigns that aim to protect and improve the environment. But green activism, however well intentioned, often harms the environment it would save from Corporate America."

  • The National Center for Public Policy Research

  • The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today's public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.

  • National Wilderness Institute

  • "Too often we hear how people are going to be the ultimate demise of our environment. At NWI, we believe the opposite to be true, that people using a little creativity together with innovative technology offer the best solutions for our environmental problems."

  • PERC (Property & Environment Research Center

  • This organization uses a free-market approach to resolve environmental problems.

    Cuban Library Updates

    My library brethern in Cuba have some news updates. I refer the interested to read both Secret Prison Libraries Flourish in Cuba and Labor Library Confiscated.

    Once again, I am grateful that I do not live in Castro's Cuba.


    Sunday, December 18, 2005

    Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

    Well, I watched Chronicles of Narnia a second time last night, and saw the trailer for the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie. I was impressed. Looks like it will be as good as the original. (At least, I hope so).

    For the interested, the trailer is available on the movie's official website.


    Tuesday, December 13, 2005

    What don’t you remember?

    Received this challenge from a friend's blog. I filled out hers, so I'm obligated to pass this on. What don't you remember about me?


    “If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, (even if we don’t speak often) please post a comment with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL memory of you and me.

    It can be anything you want - good or bad - BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE.

    When you’re finished, post this little paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people DON’T ACTUALLY remember about you.”

    Monday, December 12, 2005

    My Thoughts on the latest LWW Release (Contains Spoilers)

    For the most part, I thought it quite good when I saw it on Saturday. I thought the little girl who portrayed Lucy was simply adorable. All in all, quite honestly, it turned out to be better than I was expecting, though I was curious as to a number of the changes that were made.

    ATTN: Spoilers from this point forward!

    Repeat. Anything repeated below are synopses of scenes and changes from the movie. If you want to be surprised or do not wish to hear about anything from the movie, DO NOT READ BELOW. If you do decide to be smart, and read below anyway, don't come crying to me.


    As far as the changes from the book....(most of these are minor)

    1. The children did not have to obey a laundry list of rules at the professor's. The only "rule" in the book is that they must stay out from underfoot when the housekeeper is taking guests through tours of the house.

    2. Lucy & Tumnus do not panic and hide from eachother when they first encounter eachother.

    3. The exchange with Peter and Susan and the professor is cut short and altered; it doesn't have the same 'tone' of a logical Platonic questioning the book has.

    4. The scene with Mr. and Mrs. Beaver explaining about Aslan and the prophecies is cut much shorter.

    5. The reason for #4 is that, contrary to the book, the wolves (servants of the White Witch) enter the beaver's dam and nearly catch the children.

    6. Edmund and Tumnus (both imprisoned in the dungeons) have a brief chat. Tumnus was a statue when Edmund first enters the witch's castle, and Edmund was never imprisoned in the book.

    7. A fox helps hide the children from the pursuing wolves (the children climb a tree) and nearly loses his life when one of the wolves begins closing his jaws on the fox's neck & shoulders. The only mention of a fox in the book is a fox that leads a toast with food provided by Father Christmas. (The witch turns the whole drinking party into stone).

    8. Every animal 'knows' that the children are the children of the prophecy. This is never emphasized in the book.

    9. When crossing an ice covered river (not in the book) during the thaw caused by the return of Aslan to Narnia, the children are once again confronted by the wolves, and are swept down river. (Lucy is feared dead by Peter and Susan).

    10. Peter attempts on several occasions to keep his siblings out of the battle and to return them to home (Earth). He intends to stay and rule. (Not in the book.)

    11. The treatment of Edmund by the witch is rather cleaned up.

    12. The rescue of Edmund by the good animals has been altered. In the book, they fall upon Edmund, the witch, and her dwarf servant. (The witch's army had not arrived in the book).

    13. The sacrifice of Aslan is less brutal than it was in the book (understandable, it's being marketed to the child'uns.)

    14. Aslan frees the statue-prisoners of the witches castle, but a scene with him rallying the former statues to help him fight the armies of the witch is noticably missing.

    15. Aslan does not finish the witch by (presumably) biting her head off; in the book, he pounces on her, and they roll on the ground, ending with Aslan on top of the witch.

    16. The dialogue in the coronation scene has been altered.

    17. The end scene with the professor has been changed a bit from the book. (due in part to another bit they altered, see below:)

    18. The children do not hide in the wardrobe to escape the consequences of breaking a window & knocking over a suit of armor. They hide in there to avoid a group of guests being led around the house.

    So, those are the things I noticed. If anyone caught anymore, let me know.

    I think some scenes that were filmed for the movie may have been cut as well, as I remember seeing a scene of a dance (presumably a coronation celebration) during the trailer and don't recall seeing that particular scene anywhere in the movie.)

    LWW is a Blockbuster

    ...and recommended by British librarians, too, as Conservator reports.

    Yes, I saw the movie Saturday. Look for my thoughts of the movie shortly.