Kelly Hand

Debunking Electoral College Myths

In most U.S. elections, the winner of the popular vote is the winner of the election. As we have seen many times, that is not always the case in the presidential election due to our Electoral College system. In particular, the winner-take-all laws in many states have resulted in the winner of the popular vote losing the election. This has led to millions of votes being effectively ignored and swing states, and swing state issues, carrying more weight than others.

Many people, for many years, have felt that the Electoral College system is unfair. It is a system that came about because of slavery and the result is that some votes count more than others. Since 1797, there have been roughly 800 attempts in Congress to get rid of the system. These have come from states both large and small and from both sides of the aisle. Defenders of the Electoral College point to reasons like: It protects small states. It’s what The Founders wanted. The way it works is written into the Constitution. Democrats will always win without it.

These are all myths. There is a way to fix it. Watch this short, informative video from The New York Times to find out more. To delve even deeper into the topic, these books from the MVCC Library are a great next step.

How America Lost 200,000+ Lives to Covid-19

The United States has been preparing for a pandemic like Covid-19 for 15 years. The U.S. wrote the global pandemic playbook that lays out instructions for testing, contact tracing, masks, social distancing and communications. So how is it that the United States, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and seemingly the most prepared, accounts for 20% of Covid-19 deaths while having only 4% of the global population?

The New York Times took a deep dive into the data and the 15 year timeline to examine why we’ve wound up with so many preventable deaths. They share what they found in this video, America Wrote the Pandemic Playbook, Then Ignored It.

Six-Word Memoirs

Can a story be told in only six words? Consider these six. “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” This story has been attributed to Ernest Hemingway who it is said made a bet with friends that he could write a story using only six words. It is also said that he won that bet. There is considerable doubt as to the veracity of this Hemingway attribution, but nonetheless, it is indeed a very moving story –and very short story. 

Recently, The New York Times has been asking people to write their own really short stories, or six-word memoirs, about their experiences during COVID and quarantine. In only six words, people have managed to depict our times and tell the story of the pandemic. Here are a few that they’ve collected:

  • Cleaned Lysol container with Lysol wipe. 
  • Fall wardrobe refresh — three new masks. 
  • Tired of hearing, “Mark, you’re muted.” 
  • My dog loves having us home.
  • Freedom comes through following the rules.
  • Same earrings, six months, why change
  • Apparently, rock bottom has a basement.
  • I am smiling under this mask.
  • Working from home. Bored. Lonely. Lucky.
  • Stayed in, needed less, valued more.

What about you? If you were to write your six-word memoir right now, what would it be? Send an email to handk3@morainevalley.edu, or comment if you are seeing this on social media, and I’ll share our MVCC memoirs in a future post. Here’s one that is a variation of a t-shirt that I bought for my son.

2020: less toilet paper, more Zoom

New Free Release from J.K. Rowling

J.K Rowling has a new children’s book to share called The Ickabog. It’s not Harry Potter and it’s not about magic. It’s something entirely different. She wrote it years ago and read it her children as she was working on it. She had intended to publish it after the Harry Potter series, but decided to do some writing for adults instead. The Ickabog went up to the attic.

Then the pandemic happened. Wanting to do something special for children everywhere, she dusted the book off and gave it another read. She made some changes, re-read it to her now much older children, and then put some things back they way her children had remembered and loved them from before. The Ickabog will be released in print this coming November. But before that, starting today, she is releasing the book online for free. She will release a chapter or two at a time over the next 7 weeks.

In addition to sharing the book with everyone, she’s also encouraging children to send in illustrations for the book. The selected ones will appear in the print version when it is published.

Read all the details, and of course The Ickabog, at the official website for the book. theickabog.com

You can also read more about the Harry Potter series and J.K. Rowling herself in the library collection.

Scooby-Doo Because RFK?

Movies theaters have been closed for some time now. Many movie release dates have been delayed until audiences can once again gather in great numbers. But some productions have taken a different route and are bypassing the theater altogether, going straight to on-demand. This strategy proved quite successful for the recent on-demand release of the movie Trolls World Tour. The sequel made more money in 3 weeks on digital than the first Trolls movie made in 5 months in theaters. And I gotta say, I’m pretty excited about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s announcement this week that the Hamilton movie, originally scheduled for theatrical release in October of 2021, will be streaming on Disney+ this July 3rd!

Another movie going straight to on-demand tomorrow is Scoob!, the newest CGI feature film starring Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. gang. Scooby-Doo has been enjoyed for generations in 16 television series, 2 live-action films, 35 direct-to-DVD movies, 20 video games, 13 comic book series and 5 stage shows. That’s quite a run. How this all began is pretty interesting.

In the 1960’s, children’s cartoons were becoming increasingly action-packed and violent. Society was becoming more and more concerned about the effects of media violence on children. Robert F. Kennedy, father of 11, had always been a champion of children’s causes. As Attorney General, he worked with the FCC to improve children’s programming. It was his assassination in June of 1968 that led to real change and to the creation of Scooby-Doo itself.

Hours after Kennedy was shot, President Johnson announced the formation of the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence. One of the things that came out of this was demand from groups all over the country to curb media violence. Looking out for children became a sort of tribute to Kennedy. This sent the creators of Saturday morning cartoons into a tailspin. In response to public demand, they suddenly had to move away from the scary, violent shows that had become their staple.

Hanna-Barbera, the largest children’s television animator at the time, answered this call with Scooby-Doo. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? premiered on CBS on Sept. 13, 1969. The goofy talking Great Dane with his equally goofy best bud Shaggy, along with Daphne, Fred and Velma, stumbled upon adventures but they were never really in danger. The villains always turned out to be, not monsters, but regular humans in disguise. It was just what audiences needed at the time. The shows have kept this formula for decades and the gang has been solving mysteries in their groovy van ever since.

You can read more about children’s television, Robert F. Kennedy, and enjoy some Scooby-Doo comics in the MVCC Library resources.

Recently Discovered Shipwrecks

In just one week last month, two historic shipwrecks were unearthed on the shores of Lake Michigan. On April 20th, near Manistique, an early 20th century schooner was discovered. Rapidly on its heels, a mid 19th hull washed up near Ludington on April 24th.

The Great Lakes have served as a transportation and recreation hub for hundreds of years. Many areas of the lakes are quite treacherous to navigate and it is believed that upwards of 6,000 ships lie wrecked in their waters. The cold, fresh water found in the Great Lakes preserves the wreckage exceptionally well. Recent years have seen some of the highest water levels on record. This has resulted in shoreline erosion and the in washing up of more and more shipwrecks.

The map pictured above is a snapshot of an interactive map of shipwrecks in Michigan waters. You can explore the map and lots more information on this Michigan History Center Shipwrecks site. And the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, at Whitefish Point Light Station on Lake Superior, provides even more information about shipwrecks across all of the Great Lakes.

Find out more about the history and ecology of the Great Lakes and about shipwrecks in MVCC Library resources.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the 1862 victory of the much smaller Mexican Army over the French Empire in the Battle of Puebla. Puebla, Mexico still celebrates this date with an art and food festival and battle re-enactments, but it’s in the United States where the day has really taken off. Over the years, Cinco de Mayo has become a much bigger celebration in the United States than in Mexico. Cities across the country honor Mexican-American culture, highlighting music, dance and food from our neighbor to the south. Celebratory gatherings won’t be happening this year, but we can still enjoy some Mexican food! The library as many e-cookbooks available for some delicious recipes. Click here to see our selection.

MVCC Jigsaws

Are you missing campus? Here’s a fun way to visit MVCC from afar. Below you will find 4 jigsaw puzzles that I created of scenes from campus. I used the website jigsawexplorer.com. On the site you will find lots of puzzles that you can solve, with a new one added daily. You can also create a puzzle from a picture that you provide, making them as difficult or as easy as you like. I used the site to create some puzzles from family photos to send on Mother’s Day.

As you can see, these puzzles start out pretty easy and then get harder. Give them a try and reveal scenes from campus.

For Its Birthday, Hubble Is Celebrating Yours

This is an image of a small portion of the Cygnus Loop supernova remnant, which marks the edge of a bubble-like, expanding blast wave from a colossal stellar explosion that occurred about 15,000 years ago.

The Hubble Space Telescope just celebrated the 30th anniversary of its launch. A joint effort of NASA and the European Space Agency, Hubble orbits Earth from outside of the distorting effects of the atmosphere. This has allowed it to capture some amazing images and has led to unprecedented understanding of space.

Since April 24th 1990, Hubble has been in operation 24/7, gathering 1.4 million observations of things like exoplanets, and distant galaxies. The data collected have led to discoveries about black holes, gravitational waves, dark matter, and much more. It has spotted things both inside and outside of our solar system that were previously not known to exist.

NASA has collected 366 of its most stunning images and is showcasing them on its What Did Hubble See on Your Birthday website. Select a date and NASA will show you what it saw. You can share the image on social media using the hashtag #Hubble30.

You can also see some of Hubble’s amazing images and read more about the history and future of Hubble in this CNN article Hubble Space Telescope Celebrates 30 Years of Discoveries and Awe-Inspiring Images. Find out even more through the MVCC library collections on Hubble, space exploration, and astronomy. You can use the limiters on the left of your results to select e-resources.

Switch to Green Power

As part of our Earth Week explorations, we’ve been talking about different forms of climate action that we can take. The last piece that we’ll look at is energy.

Right now, stay at home orders and social distancing are having an effect on energy consumption. Numbers vary across regions, but electricity suppliers have seen usage rates drop between 2% and 18%. This gets even more interesting when you factor in the time of day of current electricity usage coinciding with peak times for solar activity. Read more about all of this and what camel and duck curves mean in this article from grist magazine:

How Coronavirus Is Changing Electricity Usage in 3 Charts

But, what about the rest of the time? While the amount of energy we use is important, so is the source of that energy. We’ve already looked at the harm that fossil fuel consumption does to the planet through the greenhouse effect. Use of renewable forms of energy, such as wind and solar power, can alleviate that harm. We are making progress. Ten years ago, renewable energy sources made up 10% of electricity use. This year they’ll make up 20%. How can we get that number even higher?

Adding solar panels to your house or business is one way to accomplish this. In Illinois, Com Ed’s My Green Power Connection is a place to start for information on generating your own power and connecting to the energy grid.

Another way is by switching to a green energy provider. ComEd offers you a choice in electricity supplier. They will still bring the electricity to your house, but that electricity will come from the company that you choose. Find out more here. You can compare this list of certified green energy providers to the list of companies that ComEd works with.

Read more about solar power, wind power, hydropower, and geothermal energy in the MVCC Library Catalog and Databases.

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com