Technology to the Rescue

The role of technology in the 2020 pandemic will be dissected and discussed for decades. The part that technology has played to combat the COVID-19 is amazing. “Tools such as supercomputers, software apps, virtual reality, big data and algorithms are now in play.” This technology is on a seek and destroy mission to eradicate the virus as quickly as possible.

“Today we want everything yesterday, and technology has complied.” Unfortunately, that is not happening with this virus. The medical field is learning quickly that the old ways of handling epidemics or pandemics do not work. There may not be a cure yet, but the scientific community has been able to quickly use some older technology and adapt it to control the virus. The “new” containment tools are proving extremely effective. Telemedicine, for example, is able to keep patients in their homes, enables doctors to communicate with their patients, and keeps the virus from spreading in medical offices or hospitals. “The COVID-19 pandemic may be the trial by fire that telemedicine finally needs to prove its worth, especially in the U.S. Despite the fact that apps and technology for virtual health visits have existed for several decades, uptake in the country has been slow.”

Silcon Valley has also joined in to help stem the spread of the virus. Apple and Google are working to help track the advance of Covid-19. Some people are concerned on how “this may impact user privacy.” For now, most people would probably agree that surveillance may be a necessary evil.

Hopefully, the combination of technology, scientists, and governments will work together and find a vaccine.

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.

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

How This Pandemic Will Go Down in History

From the Library of Congress: “As part of our “National Book Festival Presents” series, Jill Lepore (bestselling historian and Harvard professor) and John Haskell (director of the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress) discuss how the current pandemic, its effects and our reaction to them say something very real about America in this moment and in the historical record that will emerge from it.”

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.

Did Woodstock Really Take Place During a Pandemic?

By now most of us are familiar with the history of 20th century pandemics and how they affected America. I recently read an account about the Hong Kong flu pandemic that took place between 1968 and 1970. The article, written by Jeffery Tucker, describes the pandemic and how the most famous rock concert played to over 300,000 fans with absolutely no social distancing. The article goes on to describe how America handled the virus that “killed 100,000 people in the U.S., mostly over the age of 65, and one million world wide.”

I was amazed that Woodstock Occurred in the Middle of a Pandemic. MVCC librarians always tell the students to determine if the information is credible. I decided to practice what I preach. I reacquainted myself with the MVCC Library Guide on News Literacy. I continued to research the topic and I found numerous articles that questioned the way the author presented certain facts.

Let this statement guide you on your research journey. “We all have a world view, a set of beliefs that we use to understand the world around us. These beliefs often develop into biases, a preference for a particular perspective that upholds our worldview. These biases aren’t necessarily bad, but they do often obscure vital pieces of information that may lead to a fuller understanding of a story. This section of the News Literacy Guide provides resources for how to recognize your own bias, how to recognize bias in the news and media you consume, as well as some strategies for getting a fuller picture of news events and issues in the media.”

De-stress with Nature

Spring is my favorite time of year. I love all the flowers, ornamental trees, and seeing everything turn green. I find spending time in nature definitely helps lower my stress level. This year, because of the pandemic, many natural areas are closed or restricted, but there are still many open.

According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the following state parks in Northeastern Illinois remain open for limited day use: “Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park / North Point Marina, Chain O’ Lakes State Park, Goose Lake Prairie State Natural AreaIllinois and Michigan Canal State Trail (includes Buffalo Rock, Channahon, Gebhard Woods, and William G Stratton), Kankakee River State Park, Moraine Hills State Park, Silver Springs State Fish & Wildlife Area, Volo Bog State Natural Area.” “Parks will be open from sun-up to sundown. Guests will be allowed to engage in activities such as wildlife observation, hiking, biking, equestrian use and fishing (both from the bank and boats with a limit of two persons per boat. For additional information on recreational boating, please see guidance issued by DCEO) and mushroom hunting. All visitor centers, campgrounds, playgrounds, shelter reservations, interpretive educational programs, beaches, special events and concessions will remain closed; turkey hunting will remain suspended at state parks.” Remember to social distance and to only gather with members of your household.

Some of the Forest Preserves of Cook County are also open for day use, with restrictions that are currently in place until May 31st. “We urge you to follow social distancing guidelines and wear a mask when in the forest preserves.” They also ask that you only visit with members of your household, do not use the picnic tables, and if you need to, step off the trails to maintain 6 feet of distance from others. For more information on their restrictions and for a list of closures, please refer to the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Covid-19 news page. You should also know that other counties may be restricting usage to residents only.

I wish I had a spring photo of the geese at Saganashkee Slough, but this one from March will have to do.

“I’m several degrees happier that my family is healthy” : Honors Students’ Journal Project

MVCC’s Honors Program and Library are partnering to capture the experiences of Moraine Valley students during this unprecedented time. Honors students have agreed to journal their experiences. They have given us permission to share their thoughts during this time. Read previous entries in this project at this link.

April 18, 2020
There are rumors that the 2020-2021 school year might be online, which is my worst nightmare because I’m taking organic chemistry in the fall and spring semesters, so it’s very scary right now. I feel like I pushed through these past 4 weeks, they were extremely busy, and adjusting to online turned out to be harder than I expected, however I got through it and these next couple weeks till the end of the semester are pretty chill, there’s less assignments and more exams so it’s a little scary but I’m able to have a more flexible schedule now. The stimulus checks were given out this week, which is very helpful to many of us, especially considering the big household I’m in. I have my classes picked out for fall, however I’m just too scared to press the register button because it’s still a very uncertain time, and I feel like the world is becoming blind to the power of this virus. It’s not going to go away in one day, it’s a virus not a bad snow day. Yet many citizens are protesting for the states to lift the social distancing dates, which confuses me, I understand that some people need to go back to work to make money for their families, but this is only going to make the virus worse, I think the virus is going to strike harder this time, and our country is going to face the consequences. 
-Kairia Hamad

April 20th, 2020
The look my fellow colleagues is a look of exhaustion and defeat. Working 13-14 hours shifts multiple days in a row, never leaving the patient’s room.

Watching the patient’s monitor as their vitals fluctuate but knowing they are maxed out on medications and that all you can do is watch and hope they can get back to a more stable position until more medication can be administered.

Watching families scream at the security guard that will not let them pass- fear and anguish in their voices just trying to get a glimpse of their loved one that is somewhere right out of their reach. Wanting to see them while still alive but all they are able is to glimpse them on their phone as the nurse holds the ipad in their room so the families can talk to them.
The pain the nurses feel knowing that they can’t do anything more for their family when you can clearly see that all they want to do is to be able to smuggle them in. Feeling that very same way yourself.

Walking the empty hallways that were once filled with life, everyone with their eyes downcast only a slight empty smile that doesn’t reach the eyes as we walk past one another in silence.

In the break room watching a colleague facetime with their child she had to send away to minimize carrying something from the hospital back home with her. Seeing her heartbreak after hanging up only to compose herself, suit up to head back into a room to try to save someone else’s loved one.

The feel of everyone’s emotions. The truth of knowing that this will be our everyday normal for quite some time, unknowing when the trend will lessen only for phase two to rise up again.
-Alex Vlahos

April 22, 2020
It’s been a minute. You’d think that things would be less hectic staying home, but that just is not the case in my house. I thought I had this online stuff handled, but this week has been kind of rough in terms of motivation and productivity. Getting assignments done on time is posing some challenges, but we move. It’s also been very frustrating to see people protesting the stay-at-home order. I’ve watched so many people post about hanging out with their friends, and all I have to say to that is it’s not quirky or cute and you’re not finessing the system or whatever. You are posing a real threat to our healthcare system and people actually following the law.

On the bright side, my application at Walgreens finally went through after a month of waiting and I was able to start working this week! It’s nice to know that I’ll be able to pay for my own tuition next year. I was a little worried about going to work because I thought I was being selfish, but it is essential. People need their medicine, and this gives me the chance to take some of the financial burden off my parents.

I do have one teacher who has got a lot more picky with grading. It’s like she’s allergic to perfect scores. The rest of my teachers have been very considerate when it comes to attending class and turning in homework. It’s really nice to know that they’re here to support you and understand that sometimes you can’t prioritize their class as much as you want to. All I have to say is that I’m glad I made the decision to start at Moraine.
-Noor Awaidah

April 23, 2020
…On the birthday that I had last week, I went to get a Starbucks drink (to try and pretend I could have a good day) with my free drink birthday benefit, but all of them near me were closed.

And then, a couple of hours ago, my Father coughed. A nothing cough. Wham-bam-done cough. Except… Courtesy of this whole endeavor, there’s no such thing. You’re not allowed to not be worried about a cough, because when your activities are restricted and your education is restricted by an illness that causes lots of coughing, every cough from a loved one is panic-inducing. So, he coughed. And school doesn’t bother me as much (I’m still unhappy with it), social life doesn’t bother me much (I really didn’t have a very active one before all this), and nothing bothers me because, when your father explains “wrong pipe!” and places his drinking glass down on the table beside him, you’re happy to know that it really was a wrong pipe, since you can’t seem to do anything fun anymore anyways.

I’m still unhappy with all of these changing plans, but I’m several degrees happier that my family is healthy.
-Brien Heuser

April 26, 2020
Hi. People are drinking diluted bleach now. To think that this situation couldn’t get any worse than it already is.

Quick side note. I noticed I was journaling every four days. Not on purpose, but at least that’s some consistency in our lives.

Anyways, people are drinking bleach and a box of 50 masks is $50 so the news airs DIY masks out of old t-shirts on T.V. I wish I could tell you this is some comedic skit, but then I’d be lying. The stay-at-home order has been extended until May 30th, but non-essential businesses are opening back up again so I’m not sure if that’ll do us any good.

In other news, it’s the month of Ramadan! We say that Ramadan usually comes around when faith in people is at its lowest so it could not have come at a better time. I’m sad that I won’t be able to go to the mosque after iftar (which refers to the meal we eat to break our fast) and host family dinners, but I’m excited for the chance to sort of cleanse my spirit.
-Noor Awaidah

April 27th, 2020
I have had a few days off from work, and it is weird being stuck in a spacious house but not allowed to leave my room. With working in a hospital in order to keep my grandparents safe (I live with them) I have to quarantine myself in my room. While I have a computer and television and all my books and homework to focus on- even after working all week with people for 13hrs a day– after the first few days it gets a little bit lonely and boring. There is only so much TV and homework available to do.  
-Alex Vlahos

May 1, 2020
We’re heading towards finals week, and I’m actually not stressed out! I’m ready to finish this crazy semester off, and I’m excited to start my online summer semester. Some states are reopening but Illinois, as of today, is still on lockdown, which makes me scared because once the whole country opens again, will the virus strike back stronger? Will that cause us to be in quarantine till the end of the year, meaning the Fall 2020 semester is cancelled?! It’s definitely a scary time and I completely think it is too early to open up anything. Even if the states open up again, my family will not go out because we all believe that the virus is going to strike back even harder and people are choosing to be blind by that possibility. There is news going around that college students are protesting and asking for a part of their tuition back, the ones who go to universities, because not only has their housing been banned on campus, but labs are closed, and everything is online, I strongly believe that universities and colleges need to stop running a business and instead put their students first. 
-Kairia Hamad

This will be my last post. I am beyond disappointed with how this whole thing is going so why am I going to put in more work when I can’t even receive the help I need myself???

My friends at Moraine are more lost than I am and I’m spending the time to online video chat and help them and my own family with their math homework and what not. So sorry, because our teachers and education system has failed us, I will be dedicating the time I could be spending on this to teaching myself my classes and helping out my friends and family with their work to at least pass. School is no longer worth my stress and my mental health…My GPA is ruined, my mental health is declining, and frankly I’m done trying. At this point, why keep stressing myself out when no one gives a shit. C’s get degrees so I guess that’s where I’m at, but I will not be giving any extra time to a facility that can’t give me the basics of what I need.
-Koralyn Aggen

May 1st, 2020
It’s been a while since I sat down and really wrote down my thoughts, and that’s because of my life being a complete stress inducing circus show. As silent and peaceful our parks, restaurants, and school are; there isn’t a single soul to be found. There is chaos underneath every roof because of lockdown. So let me fill the readers in, my dad was tested positive for COVID-19 the last weeks of April and well, I’ve been taking care of him with the help of my siblings. Imagine quarantining in a quarantine, we all were assigned rooms in my house and no more than one person was allowed to walk in on my dad to give him the necessities for a speedy recovery (in which he did recover). He’s doing well now but the roller coaster I was on trying to process and work under pressure while juggling studying and working was like climbing a mountain with this imagined and fictitious endurance. My mom (a cancer patient w/ a non-existent immune system) needed to get out of there as soon as possible; she stayed at my older sister Hiba’s house. This was around the 9-20th of April, she was safe and away from the virus. We over supplied the house with disinfectant wipes and spray, there was a mandatory wiped down every so hours. 
-Dunya Yasin

May st, 2020
A lot has happened within the last few days. 3 days ago on Tuesday, Illinois reported 144 new deaths in the state, the highest number of the deaths since the virus outbreak began. Today there were 3,137 new cases of the virus in the state, also the highest number since the outbreak began. A part of the reason why there’s so many cases is because testing is being expanded. The USA has also reached a milestone of more than 1 million cases of the virus. 

Yesterday, my mom came home from work early because she felt dizzy and had a headache. She’s also been dealing with a dry cough lately and so she made the important decision to get tested today. My dad and her went to a drive through location and my mom told me that she was asked to swab her nose for 15 seconds. I was a little shocked that the testers didn’t swab her nose for her; videos online of people being tested show the tester conducting the swabbing instead. The testing facility said that the results should come in after 3-5 days. As of now, my mom has been “quarantining” downstairs and away from us (she makes visits up here more often than she should). My dad also found out today that a patient he treated yesterday tested positive for the coronavirus. This means that my dad is also looking to get tested for the virus soon. He doesn’t have any symptoms and as of now, he feels well. This might be because he’s always washing his hands and has a mask on every second he’s at work. 
-Parth Pandya

Self Care During Social Isolation Park 2: Mental Illness, Suicide Prevention, and Domestic Violence

Librarians host a discussion with MVCC Counselors about staying mentally healthy during this time of social isolation. This is part 2 of the discussion which focuses on Mental Illness, Suicide Prevention, and Domestic Violence.

Why Be a Pirate When the Library Has Movies for Free?

Arrr… I see ye be lookin’ to watch some movies! Be they… legal?

The BBC recently reported that due to “lockdowns”, visits to film piracy sites have increased dramatically in many countries. This includes the U.S., where visits to those websites increased by 41% between February and March.

Sure, you could sail the choppy waters of illegal films on the internet…. OR, hear me out, you could just borrow movies for free from the library. You can save your doubloons and stay on the right side of the law with what MVCC library has to offer.

You can select a film from this curated collection:

Click on the image below to view the collection: to Stream from MVCC Library

Or you can browse some our different streaming services:

Your MVCC login and password are the key to free movie treasures untold!

Hoopla – Streaming popular movies, television, eBooks, and eAudio

Swank – Popular Hollywood films

Kanopy – Popular films and documentaries

If you run into trouble with any of these library services, you can always ask a librarian for help!

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.

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