Sunday, September 6

Can a School Library Be Replaced by E-Readers? Apparently, it Can

I wrote this to couple of my friends some time time back talking about how kindles are improving the carbon footprint:

Random thoughts. I am now using calibre which is an e-book library management system. The number of books, papers and articles in an electronic format became unmanageable few months back. And after pairing it with iPhone, stanza book reader system which I also further linked to various booksellers and has the ability to hook into Gutenberg as well as websites and email, it's getting pretty close to 'good' status. Most weekdays, I don't even pick up a paper copy of a book but my Reading frequency and book completion rates have actually shot up. Would say 16-20%. 

But this is another rather regrettable but understandable step. I quote:

Instead of the 20,000 books the school currently has, the students of Cushing Academy will have 18 e-readers at their disposal. The learning centre – the replacement for what was once the school’s library – will also have three large TVs, a coffee shop, and laptop-friendly booths.

The cost of this makeover will be nearly $500,000, but the folks at Cushing think it’ll be worth it. “Instead of a traditional library with 20,000 books, we’re building a virtual library where students will have access to millions of books,’’ says James Tracy, headmaster of Cushing.

He also has an interesting view on books in general. “When I look at books, I see an outdated technology, like scrolls before books (…) This isn’t ‘Fahrenheit 451’. We’re not discouraging students from reading. We see this as a natural way to shape emerging trends and optimize technology.’’

Sad that the world of libraries are now slowly vanishing away. I further posted this link yesterday on FB. Will we lose pictures like this?

Sad, sad sad….

Bomber had half kilo of explosives inside his body

This is a very dangerous evolution in terrorism. Reminded me of the scene in Papillion where the chaps kept money inside their rectum, but in this case, the chap had 1/2 a kilo of plastic explosive inserted in his rectum which was triggered by a mobile phone which was embedded inside the explosive and triggered the detonator. I quote:

Suicide bomber Abdullah Asiri had inserted around half a kilogram of explosives into his own body to carry out his failed assassination attempt of Prince Muhammad Bin Naif, Assistant Minister of Interior for Security Affairs, last week.
As more details emerged of the events surrounding the attack that took place at the Prince’s home in Obhur, sources told Okaz newspaper Friday that Asiri’s mobile telephone was equipped with two SIM cards, one of which was used to speak to call members of the terrorist organization in Yemen, and the other to detonate the device located inside Asiri’s rectum via a call from the group.
It was also revealed that the explosive material was placed in small hardened packs of a non-metal substance, resulting in a scenario far less devastating than it might otherwise have been. Investigators are currently trying to identify the type of explosives used in the act.
According to the sources, Asiri told palace officials while waiting for Prince Muhammad to arrive that he would have to “have a lie down” due to fatigue if the Prince was late, something which analysts say could have been due to the presence of the explosives in his body.
Asiri had reportedly not eaten nor consumed any liquid for 40 hours, fearing that they might disturb the effect of the explosives. Asiri reportedly waited less than an hour until the arrival of Prince Muhammad and the Prince sat next to him in an uncustomary position in a corner of the room to hear him better, only an arm-rest separating them.
Investigators are reportedly working on the theory that the telephone call made by Prince Muhammad to Asiri’s fellow terrorists to assure them that Asiri had arrived safely at the Prince’s house was a signal for them to detonate the device hidden in Asiri’s body.
Officer Thamer
It is believed that “Thamer”, a name mentioned in the telephone call between Asiri and Prince Muhammad is the officer assigned to accompany Asiri from Najran to Jeddah after the suicide bomber had illegally crossed the border from Yemen into the Kingdom on his own initiative. – Okaz/SG