The following is a guest post by Nicholas Taylor, Information Technology Specialist for the Repository Development Group at the Library of Congress.
Prompted by questions from Library of Congress staff on how to more effectively use web archives to answer research questions, I recently gave a presentation on “Using Wayback Machine for Research” (PDF).
I thought that readers of The Signal might be interested in this topic as well. This post covers the outline of the presentation.
The Wayback Machine that many people are familiar with is the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. The Internet Archive is an NDIIPP partner and a Founding Member of the International Internet Preservation Consortium.
Their mission includes creating an archive of the entire public web; the Wayback Machine is the interface for accessing it. While the Internet Archive has been primarily responsible for the development of Wayback Machine, it is an open source project.
Internet Archive also devised the name “Wayback Machine;” it is a reference to The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show’s homophonous “WABAC” Machine, a time machine itself named in the convention of mid-century mainframe computers (e.g., ENIAC, UNIVAC, MANIAC, etc.). The contemporary Wayback Machine thus appropriately evokes both the idea of traveling back in time and powerful computing technology (necessary for web archiving).
In Mombasa on the coast of Kenya is a place called Haller Park. People flock there to see 180 indigenous species of plants and trees, and a variety of animals including hippos and giraffes.
In The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times, Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams (Gail Hudson is an additional author), discuss the park as an example of how our injured Earth can be restored and healed.
At one point the park was “a monstrous five-hundred-acre scar where almost nothing grew” because a cement company created a quarry that ravaged the land. The company’s CEO decided to repair the damage and slowly, year by year, with horticultural tending and introduction of wild animals, the area was transformed.
This is probably a question that you might have heard once or twice in conversations: Did food taste better in the past? It’s one of those things that just kind of gets tossed around as common sense sometimes—the idea that food, and particularly produce, just isn’t like it used to be.
Unfortunately, we can’t go back in time and pluck a strawberry from a 1960s grocery store and compare it to one found in a supermarket today. Even if we could do that, it’s unlikely that everyone would agree that today’s strawberries are less flavorful than a fresh berry from decades ago.
In some ways, taste is pretty objective. There are currently five recognized kinds of taste—sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. When we eat food, various receptors (otherwise known as taste buds) react to those tastes and send a signal to the brain telling us what’s going on. But, in other ways, taste can be perplexingly subjective.
Certain types of health conditions can impair your sense of taste, as can your mood, along with plenty of other environmental and genetic factors. For example, some people are more sensitive to bitter tastes, making foods that are particularly bitter less palatable. And this is often because of their genetics: Some folks who are more sensitive to bitter flavors—often dubbed supertasters—have a gene named TAS2R38, which heightens their perception of bitterness.
Mercury springs into action in the last two weeks of October, offering its best morning appearance for 2021.
Venus, by contrast, hangs low in the southwestern sky all month. Jupiter and Saturn dominate the evening sky, visible through midnight. And late-evening binocular views of Uranus and Neptune beckon more adventurous observers.
Let’s begin in the evening sky. Venus is visible soon after sunset, low in the southwest. It begins the month at magnitude –4.2 and brightens to –4.5 by Oct. 25.
The planet lies in Libra for the first week of October and crosses into Scorpius Oct. 7. Venus spends part of Oct. 15 crossing a small corner of Ophiuchus, before returning to Scorpius and passing 1.5° north of Antares on the 16th. It returns to Ophiuchus Oct. 21 and stays there through the end of the month.
“Now that I have preached about a dozen sermons I find I am repeating myself,” a young minister wrote despairingly in his diary in 1915.
He was barely out of school and only a few months into his first call, at Bethel Evangelical Church in Detroit. “The few ideas that I had worked into sermons at the seminary have all been used, and now what?”
It would be fourteen years before anyone else read those words, published under the title “Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic.”
It would take even longer for their author, Reinhold Niebuhr, to become one of the best-known theologians in the country, famous for works such as “The Irony of American History” and “The Nature and Destiny of Man.”
Any dog owner knows how hard it is to leave their pup for an extended period of time.
We wonder: Do they miss us when we’re gone? Do they know how long we’ve been gone for? Or even worse, do they think we’ve abandoned them?
The way humans are excitedly greeted by their dogs upon return — and the way many whine when we leave — suggests they recognize our absence, and mourn it. However, it’s hard to know what is really going on in a dog’s brain — perhaps they just miss the food we give them? — partly because we can’t really communicate with them.