After I finished my library degree, I had the privilege of living in southern Oregon for three of the most adventurous years of my life. Back then, wildfires were frequent, but they rarely turned into the monsters they can be today. Recently, the largest fire in Oregon, the Bootleg Fire, was said to be creating it’s own weather – it even spawned a firenado! This fascinating article by Wired magazine entitled Oh Good, Now there is an Outbreak of Wildfire Thunderclouds, will explain how they do that and what they mean for climate future. For more resources about wildfires, pyrocumulonimbus clouds, or other environmental research questions, please Ask a Librarian for help.
In the Headlines
Blog posts about big news stories and issues (i.e. not local news)
Have you noticed that milky haze across the sky? That’s smoke in the upper atmosphere from Western wildfires. There are 80 fires burning across 13 states and the smoke from those fires reaches across the entire US. Check out this NY Times story, See How Wildfire Smoke Spread Across America. (MVCC students and staff can sign up for a free account on the NY Times through our library).
Late last night, Naperville residents had about 3 minutes between hearing their local emergency sirens and the formation of a huge tornado with winds possibly over 100 mph. Residents in Naperville, Woodridge, and Darien suffered damage to their homes and communities. A few individuals ended up in the hospital and many lost their homes. Trees damaged power lines and many lost power. Tornadoes don’t leave a lot of time for you to react, so the best way to deal with them is to prepare ahead of time.
While this event didn’t impact the MVCC campus directly, tornadoes can affect any community. Here are some resources that will help you be ready in case the next disaster is in your area:
Tornado Preparedness Resources:
Apps and Social Media for Monitoring Severe Weather:
- NOAA Weather Radio (iOS)(Android)
- FEMA (iOS)(Android)
- National Weather Service Chicago (Twitter)(Facebook)
Want to help?
The United States is no stranger to fuel crises. The most recent disaster centered on the Colonial Pipeline, which is located in the southeastern part of the country. “It is the largest pipeline system for refined oil products in the U.S. The pipeline is 5,500 miles long and can carry 3 million barrels of fuel per day between Texas and New York.” The company stopped transporting oil after its system was hacked (May 7) by a ransomware attack. This pipeline supplies 45 percent of the fuel used on the East Coast. The vulnerability of fuel lines, government installations, companies, hospitals, etc. has many cyber security experts concerned. The gas line has resumed service after the company paid $5 million to the hackers.
The 1970s experienced two major gasoline shortages. Conflict in the Middle East caused a gas shortage in 1973. OPEC initiated an oil embargo in response to the United States siding with Israel during the Yom Kippur War. “At the time, OPEC accounted for an average of two-thirds of American oil imports in the 70s. ” Long lines, limited hours, and increased costs were just some of the problems that consumers faced. The second fuel shortage took place in 1979. The Shah of Iran was deposed and replaced by the Ayatollah Khomeini who used Iran’s oil as a tool to restrain the economy of the West.
Hopefully, future fuel sources will not depend on any specific countries or leaders to move cars or planes. Hybrid and electric cars are becoming more the norm but they still have issues that must be addressed. Researchers are studying hydrogen, which is another potential source of fuel. Conceivably, scientists will be able to discover a cheaper and cleaner source of energy.
Do you remember at the beginning of the pandemic when many were saying that masks don’t protect against Covid-19? At the time, based on a long standing myth in the physics, it was thought that the virus could not be airborne because the particles were too large to remain aerosol. Last summer, a group of scientists challenged that thought which finally lead the World Health Organization and CDC to acknowledge that SARS-CoV-2 is, in fact, airborne. You can read about the origin of the myth and the research that lead to uncovering it in Wired magazine’s article, The 60-Year-Old Scientific Screwup that Helped Covid Kill. You can also read about it in this British Medical Journal editorial, Covid-19 Has Redefined Airborne Transmission or this government document Dismantling Myths on the Airborne Transmission of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). If you would like to do more research on SARS-CoV-2 or any other scientific topic, you can try one of the Moraine Valley Library’s science databases or our nursing and biological science databases. For help with this or any other research inquiries, the librarians are always happy to help. Just Ask a Librarian.
In the new iPhone update (14.5), iPhone users will have the ability to “Ask App not to Track.” This is a new feature with this update that makes your online privacy stronger. For more information, take a look at this Washington Post article: Facebook now has to ask permission to track your iPhone. Here’s how to stop it. (Note: enter “Moraine Valley” as your institution and then use your campus login to read it.)
The new iPhone update 14.5 will be pushed to phones over the next several weeks.
Last night, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (also known as “The Academy”) gave the award for Best Picture of the Year to the movie Nomadland. We don’t own the movie yet, but the library does have copies of Nomadland, the book both in print and as an e-audio book. The book and movie tell the story of a woman who lives out of her van while traveling around the American west looking for work. A few of the actresses in the movie are actual van-dwelling nomads in real life. Hopefully we will have the movie soon, but in the meantime, you can check out some of the previous Best Picture winners from the library. Click on the image below to get to a list with descriptions and available options (including the books if we own them and they share the same name as the film).
Started in 1978, Women’s History Month observes the contributions of women to culture, history and humankind. President Jimmy Carter first declared the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week in 1980. The following year, U.S. Congress passed a resolution that made the week a national celebration. In 1987, The National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned Congress to expand the celebration to the entire month of March.
To celebrate check out these free virtual programs being offered by Illinois institutions to recognize some important contributions of women to the world. Registration is required. Click on the title of the program for registration information.
Saturday, March 20, 2021 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm
High Tea at Hall: The Women of Hall Branch — Archivist Beverly Cook will discuss the librarians and patrons of the past from the Chicago Public Library Hall Branch in Bronzeville; including Vivian Harsh (branch manager), Charlemae Hill Rollins (children’s librarian), and Gwendolyn Brooks (patron).
March 25th, 2021 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Title IX – The Landmark Legislation that Transformed American Sports — Join Jackie Joyner-Kersee, the co-authors of the definitive book on Title IX and others to discuss the impact of the 1972 legislation that vastly expanded opportunities for women in sports at the high school and college levels. Brought to you by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
March 25, 2021 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Virtual Artist Talk: Miranda July on Mail Art — Filmmaker, artist, and author Miranda July and others join for a conversation exploring the history and practice of mail art, a form of art that has re-established itself in this era of social distancing. Hosted by the Art Institute of Chicago.
Source information: https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/womens-history-month, Image credit: https://alltogether.swe.org/2021/02/celebrating-womens-history-month/
With the third Covid-19 vaccine approved by the FDA, there has been a great of talk comparing “vaccine efficacy” rates. You may be trying to figure out what all of this means? What is “vaccine efficacy” and can we use it to compare the different vaccines? Well, this NY Times article “What Do Vaccine Efficacy Numbers Actually Mean?”really helps. Ihttps://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/03/03/science/vaccine-efficacy-coronavirus.html?smid=url-sharet offers some clear explanations.
Happy Lunar New Year! The Chinese New Year falls on February 12, 2021 and the celebration lasts for several weeks. “The Chinese Zodiac, a system that has existed in Chinese culture for more than 2,000 years, dictates which animal represents a given year.” The cycle repeats every 12 years, and 2021 is the Year of the Ox.”
The Moraine Valley Library extends a Happy New Year to our International Students from China.