April 2010

Most of us have heard about the health benefits of drinking tea, but did you know you can also “eat your tea”?  Robert and Mary Lou Heiss, the authors of two fabulous books about tea–The Story of Tea and The Tea Enthisiast’s Handbook–provide several enticing recipes for cooking with tea in this article from Delicious Living Magazine.  Bon appetit!

shrimp and corn assam soup


There’s a great deal of nutritional information written about the health benefits of Omega-3 fats in our diets.  A recent article from Eating Well Magazine adds to the growing literature.  Do you like sardines?  If so, you’re in luck as they are “the #1 food you should eat (and probably don’t)” according to health and environmental experts.  “These nutritional powerhouses are one of the best sources of omega-3 fats, with a whopping 1,950 mg/per 3 oz. (that’s more per serving than salmon, tuna or just about any other food) and they’re packed with vitamin D. And because sardines are small and low on the food chain, they don’t harbor lots of toxins like bigger fish can.”  Because more and more people are consuming fish oil pills to receive the health benefits of Omega-3 fats, there is a growing concern about the sustainabilty of this practice.  Sustainabilty is not a major concern with sardines, however, because “they’re . . .one of the most sustainable fish around. Quick to reproduce, Pacific sardines have rebounded from both overfishing and a natural collapse in the 1940s, so much so that they are one of Seafood Watch’s ‘Super Green’ sustainable choices.”

If you simply can’t bear the thought of consuming sardines, try these recipes  (scroll down to find the “Healthy Sardine Recipes”) to make them more palatable.

The Health Department in Baltimore, Maryland has come up with a “Virtual Supermarket Project” which is designed to make healthy food more accessible to people “in communities where major supermarkets are scarce.” Residents of Baltimore can order their groceries online, and then go to two local branch libraries to pick up their food items the next day! Public libraries exist, after all, to serve their communities, so this is a wonderful way to be an even more integral part of the community.  I’m guessing that many more city communities will give this idea a try as the word of its success spreads.

I think I saw a Twitter tweet, I think I saw a Twitter tweet!  I did, I did see a Twitter tweet!  In the Library of Congress Twitter archive!

tweety bird

Did you know that the Library of Congress has archived “every public tweet . . . since Twitter’s inception in March of 2006”?  Read about this project here.  This incredibly detailed archive of people’s daily lives will be fascinating to read in, say, 50 years.  For better or worse, social media tools like Twitter have given us the ability to connect with friends, family, and colleagues in ways like never before.  Technology has certainly transformed our modern lives.

There is an interesting article in THiNK Magazine, Stony Brook University’s “first progressive campus publication,” about whether or not the iPad will revolutionize Higher Education.  “Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania will be handing out iPads to their entire incoming freshman class this fall, and George Fox University will give students an option between a Macbook and an iPad for their freshmen.  Both schools have expressed hope that devices like the iPad will reduce the number of textbooks needed by students and make other common academic necessities—PDF files, PowerPoint presentations, online components like Blackboard—available all in one place.”

How might an iPad “reduce the number of textbooks needed by students”?  Well, these schools are banking on the hope that students will be able to download digital textbooks–which will lighten their backpacks–and extract less money from their wallets–as digital textbooks are “much cheaper” than conventional printed ones. 

“David Parry, an assistant professor of emerging media and communications at the University of Texas-Dallas, . . . wrote in a piece for the Chronicle of Higher Education.”  Parry states, “imagine . . . if the iTunes model for music were applied to textbooks. Students buying individual chapters at a time rather than the full book. Students renting textbooks for a few weeks as necessary. Those innovations were what revolutionized the music industry in iTunes. Can the same be done for textbooks?”  I can see this being a huge industry.  Perhaps students in the same class could purchase different chapters and share the expense!?  If the iPad can lighten a student’s burden–both physically and financially–then Apple just might just start an educational revolution with the iPad.

There’s a great article in the April 9th Washington Post by Jenna Johnson about how Reference Librarians are underutilized by students when they need to write a research paper.  Jenna points out that Reference Librarians can “help [students] get started, even if [they] don’t understand [their] topic”, are “Google experts”–that is they can point students to such useful tools as Google Scholar and show them how to do a more precise search, and “have access to information that [they] didn’t even know existed.”  I’m a student’s “secret weapon”–I like it!  I make it crystal clear during my information literacy sessions with students that I am available for them every step of the way for their research.