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Celebrating Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities at the Bologna Children's Book Fair

March 30, 2015 | Deb | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Bologna Children’s Book FairEvery spring in Italy, in a vast indoor space that rivals the size of the Colosseum, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair brings together thousands of people with a passion for children’s publishing. This year’s fair, which begins on March 30, 2015 and runs for four action-packed days, is hosting writers, illustrators, publishers, booksellers, and librarians from over 70 countries, all eager to share their expertise and ideas with others.

Inside BolognaNoisy, vibrant, and supercharged with lots of caffeinated enthusiasm -- there's nothing like the Bologna fair. It's where brand-new children’s books are shown off, important publishing deals are negotiated, innovative projects (think apps, digital storytelling and more) are launched, and the best of recently-published books for children are feted and recognized for their imaginative achievements.

At a press conference held today at the fair, Sharon Moynes and Leigh Turina of the Toronto Public Library spoke about a list of books that is currently receiving lots of buzz: The 2015 IBBY Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities, a biennial selection of 50 titles published around the world that are for and about children and young people with disabilities. IBBY is, of course, the acronym for "The International Board on Books for Young People."

2015 IBBY Selection of Outstanding Books for Young People with DisabilitiesLeigh is the lead librarian for The IBBY Collection of Books for Young People with Disabilities housed at the Toronto Public Library. She highlighted some of the titles that were recently selected for this prestigious list, including the following three books from Japan, the Netherlands and France. The catalogue of the 2015 Outstanding Books, which includes all the annotations shown below, is hot-off-the-press and available at the IBBY stand at the fair. The catalogue will also be digitized and available online in the near future.

 

 

Tenji tsuki sawaru ehon: Sawaru meiro [Touch picture book with Braille: Mazes by touch] designed by Junko Murayama. Shogakukan, Inc.

Mazes spread
Eleven mazes showcase what can be accomplished with bright colours, eye-catching patterns and lines of Braille in this innovative and entertaining book. Children use their fingers to follow paths made of Braille lines while avoiding breaks in the lines and routes that lead to dead ends. Printed on durable cardstock, the mazes range from basic to complex; each maze has a clearly-marked start and finish. The mazes will appeal to a wide variety of puzzle players: children with vision loss who are already familiar with Braille; children who are just starting to use and read Braille; and children with low vision. Puzzle players without any vision loss will also benefit as they gain a practical hands-on understanding of what it is like to read Braille by running their fingers over the raised dots. A distinctive aspect of this book – it has been printed on one large sheet of cardstock – makes it possible for all the pages to be unfolded, laid out together and enjoyed by several children simultaneously.

Planet Willi [Willi’s planet] written and illustrated by Birte Müller. Klett Kinderbuch Verlag GmbH. 

Planet Willi

Author and illustrator Birte Müller draws on her own experiences as the mother of a son with Down syndrome in this picture book about a young boy with special needs who stands out from everyone else. Willi has strong reactions to the commonplace sights and situations he encounters; for the people around him, especially those who don’t know him, it is as if Willi comes from another planet. Bold, energetic illustrations done in a primitive, child-like style depict the world that Willi finds himself in: a busy place full of exciting, scary and confusing things. Willi’s family are always close by and clearly happy to be with him; at times, however, their faces reveal the inevitable confusion, dismay and fatigue that they feel while being in Willi’s company. Readers who look closely at the artwork will notice that Willi sometimes uses sign language to communicate with his family. These signs, along with others, appear on the book’s endpapers.

Une feuille, un arbre [A leaf, a tree] written and illustrated by Bruno Gibert. Albin Michel Jeunesse.

Une feuille

How does a leaf resemble a tree? In what ways are an atom and the solar system alike? Can a puddle ever appear to be a lake? This arresting book features 23 pairs of similar-looking objects and shows the connections that exist between the members of each pair. Changes in scale, perspective and context are used with great effectiveness to influence the way readers view the objects and the relationship between them. The bold graphic style of the artwork and the minimal text in the form of identifying labels make this book accessible to a wide range of readers including children who have developmental or learning disabilities. With its high contrast artwork, this book will be of interest to children with low vision; it is also suitable for sharing with a group.

* * * * *

Interested in learning more about The IBBY Collection of Books for Young People with Disabilities? You can find out more by clicking on the IBBY logo below:

Ibby logo

Yonge Street Line, the First in Canada

March 30, 2015 | Ann | Comments (4) Facebook Twitter More...

More Yonge Street Subway images from tpl.ca
Photo courtesy of Toronto Public Library. March 30, 1954 opening ceremonies outside Davisville station.

Yonge Street is one of the longest streets in the world.  Holed up underneath, the first subway line in Canada hummed with anticipation.  On Tuesday, March 30, 1954, the passengers (shown above) embarked on their first historic ride from Davisville Station to Union Station.  

Prior to this momentous day, Yonge Street was designed with an earlier period in mind when horse-drawn carriages rolled along at a slower pace.

 Great Western Railway Station; Freight Offices Yonge Street, east side, north of Esplanade East in 1873 from the TPL Digital Archive

Photo courtesy of the Digital Archive from The Toronto Public Library

With the turn of the twentieth century, this street became the main passageway through the city.  

As more businesses established their storefronts along this street, traffic congestion increased.  Larger and wider vehicles, including the public transit cars, jockeyed for travel space.  Speeds during rush hour could grind down to a standstill.  

Even pedestrian traffic filled the sidewalks with little room to maneuver. This situation showed a dire need for an alternative way to move people around the city quickly and easily.

Toronto.ca:  Canada's First Subway.  Why a Subway?

Courtesy of the City of Toronto Archives. November 18, 1941 Series 71, Item 15073. Looking north on Yonge Street from Granby Street, showing rush hour congestion.

Proposals were held at the turn of the twentieth century to create a subway line to run underneath Yonge Street.  The social and economic changes from the First World Warthe Great Depression, and the Second World War affected the first half of the century to thwart this undertaking.  

After the Second World War ended, the city looked forward to a brighter future.  On January 1, 1946, a majority of voters approved the building of a new subway line.  On September 8, 1949, subway construction went underway underground.  And the rest is history.

Here is the original 1954 map of this monumental subway line:

Yonge Street Subway Line in 1954
TTC Subway Map courtesy of the City of Toronto Archives: TTC Ephemera

For comparison, this is the current 2015 subway map.  

There are many interesting and noteworthy resources available online on the Toronto Transit Commission, Yonge Street, and the history of Toronto.  Have a glance through these written articles and vintage images:

  1. Toronto Subway Project is a summary of Jay Young's (2012) dissertation on, “Searching for a Better Way: Subway Life and Metropolitan Growth in Toronto, 1942-1978." The full dissertation is electronically available from this website.  
  2. Before the TTC from ttc.ca is an incredible 'blast from the past' on how public transit operated prior to the arrival of the Toronto Transit Commission. 
  3. The TTC story:  the first 75 Years is an article written by Mike Filey offering a preview to his book (listed below) by the same name.  Filey has written more titles on the City of Toronto that are available from the library.  
  4. TTC free Wi-Fi now available Bloor to Union Station was published on Friday, November 28, 2014 in The Toronto Star and written by , Transportation Reporter.  Passengers may freely pass the time accessing the Internet on their digital devices while waiting for their trains to arrive.
  5. Subway Milestones - Expansion is an article from The Archives of Ontario.  The TTC subway system has expanded over time from 1959 to 2002.  See how the other subway lines including the University, the Bloor/Danforth, the Scarborough RT, and the Sheppard Avenue lines came into being.
  6. Images of the Toronto Transit Commission from TPL Pinterest provides a beautiful archive of images, flyers, maps, and other ephemera pertaining to the TTC.
  7. Pictures of Yonge Street from The Digital Archive are available in the public domain and provided from our library website.  
  8. Tunnels: A short guide to Toronto’s nether regions from The Toronto Star was written by  , Staff Reporter, and published on Friday, February 27, 2015.  There are several hidden tunnels lying within this city.  Some are fabricated stories, some may be haunted, and some were used in past movie sets.
  9. Vintage Toronto is located on Facebook and provides images of, "the road, the people, and the architecture," across the city.  The page was started on January 12, 2012 but the images go as far back as the mid-1800s.  Every day new entries are added and visitors share their own personal insights to these vintage images.  

 

The North York Central library has a good selection on these topics.  Come visit the library and browse through our local history collection.  

Transit in Toronto: The Story of the Development of Public Transportation in Toronto, from Horse Cars to a Modern, High Speed Subway System The Yonge Street story: an account of letters, diaries, and newspapers, 1793-1860 by F. R. Berchem The TTC story: the first seventy-five years by Mike Filey Mind the doors please: the story of Toronto and its streetcars by Larry Partridge
Opportunity road: Yonge Street, 1860 to 1939 by F. R. Berchem Toronto streetcars serve the city by Kenneth C. Springirth 200 years Yonge: (2nd ed) a history by Ralph Magel Toronto: biography of a city by Allan Gerald Levine

Tour the sights in the Canadiana Department for more information on Yonge Street in North York local history.  Visit the department and meet Henry, The Golden Lion, who is a resident of this great street and used to stand above the entrance to The Golden Lion Hotel

 

Toronto Digital Archive:  Golden Lion Hotel, Yonge Street, 1878-1948.  This hotel was located at the southwest corner of Sheppard Avenue, Toronto, Ontario
Photo courtesy of The Toronto Public Library

 

If you have a personal story about Yonge Street you would like to share, the Toronto Public Library released an interactive online exhibit in 2013 called, youryongestreet.  You can upload audio files, pictures, videos and stories as well as browse other people's submissions.  Some contributions may be included as part of our TPL Digital Archive.  

youryongestreet is an interactive online exhibit of people, places and events along the world’s longest street. It brings together stories, documents, maps, photographs, oral histories, and videos to create a living history.

 

As many commuters will agree, the subway system remains a crucial and speedy way to travel through the City.  The Yonge Street line may have opened up faster travel through the heart of the City in 1954, future projects are currently underway (and some will hope for a possible subway extension to Square One in Mississauga) to make the TTC an even more accessible way to get around.

Has Poetry Kicked the Bucket?

March 27, 2015 | Maureen | Comments (12) Facebook Twitter More...

In 2013, a Washington Post headline asked, “Is poetry dead?” A few weeks later, an answer seemed to come from the UK newspaper, The Independent: “Poetry is dying. Actually, it’s pretty dead already…”  Another nail seemed to be hammered into poetry's coffin with this article title: "Poetry is dead. What the hell happened?" (PiD magazine) As the librarian responsible for the Canadian poetry collection at North York Central Library, I’d just like to say that reports of poetry’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

Poets today rarely, if ever, attract the readership that popular fiction writers do. Still, poetry continues to be written, quoted, loved. If I were banished to a desert island for a year and could bring only one book, I’d choose a fat poetry anthology over fiction (even though I adore fiction.) If I was offered a swap -- my fat poetry book for a sack of fiction -- I’d refuse. With all that spare time on my hands on the island, I'd glut myself on poetry, I'd swallow it whole, memorizing it, furnishing my mind palace with a tyger, tyger burning bright, and a Jabberwock with eyes of flame. Christina Rossetti's little goblin men tramping down the glen would have a place there, too. (Rossetti's poem "Goblin Market" really makes me hungry. See the first verse of this trippy poem at the bottom of this post, if you want to know why.)

Don't get the idea I'm trying to twist your arm to get you to read poetry, even though April is National Poetry Month. Let poetry speak for itself. You decide if poetry deserves to die.

We have hundreds of poetry books at North York Central Library -- the biggest circulating collection in the Toronto Public Library system. All the poetry books you could ever want to tuck into your backpack and read lying in a Toronto park on a sunny day, or rattling to work in the tin can poetically known as “the rocket." People may not realize that poetry comes in eBook format, too, which is why I feature only eBook and eAudiobook poetry below, available in Overdrive, which you can access via the Toronto Public Library webpage. (Look for the "Downloads & eBooks" tab.)

Accessible Poetry

Aimless Love - Billy Collins Dog Songs - Mary Oliver The Poetry of Robert Frost
Oh Pray My Wings Are Gonna Fit Me Well - Maya Angelou Annabel Lee - Edgar Allan Poe The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses - Robert W Service

Poetry Anthologies

The Knopf National Poetry Month Collection The Griffin Poetry Prize 2014 Anthology The Nation's Favourite Poems

Canadian Poetry

Book of longing -- Leonard Cohen The dream world -- Alison Pick Morning in the burned house -- Margaret Atwood

American Poetry

Pleasures of the damned -- Charles Bukowski Collected poems 1947-1997 -- Allen Ginsberg Ariel -- Sylvia Plath

Children's Poetry

Pizza, pigs and poety  -- Jack Prelutsky Alligator pie -- Dennis Lee Dirty beasts -- Roald Dahl

Classic Poetry

The Odyssey -- Homer Shakespeare's Sonnets -- William Shakespeare

Paradise Lost -- John Milton

 

Here's the first verse of Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894). See if you crave fruit after reading it!

Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpeck’d cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheek’d peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries;—
All ripe together
In summer weather,—
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy:
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;
Come buy, come buy.”
 
 
 

Free Science Events in Toronto for April 2015

March 26, 2015 | Jeannette | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Science and Technology Department of North York Central Library compiles a monthly calendar of free science and applied science events in Toronto. Applied science includes health, gardening, pets and food; all subjects found in the department's collection. Here is the April calendar (PDF).

April's highlights include:

  • April 9: Epigenetics: A New Frontier, human epigenomes is the 'instructions' which tell the DNA whether to make skin cells or blood cells or other body parts. In this talk, the speaker will introduce the topic and the data and outline some of the challenges.
  • April 14: Debunking the Top Cancer Myths, leading experts from Sunnybrook's Odette Cancer Centre will discuss the myths relating to colorectal cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer.
  • April 25: 6th Annual Black Diabetes Expo, presented by the Canadian Diabetes Association and its Caribbean Diabetes Chapter, this educational event brings together products, resources, speakers and experts to show how you can help prevent and manage diabetes while improving your overall health.

The Toronto Public Library also offers many free science and applied science events:

April's highlights include:

  • April 1: Common Misconceptions About the Universe: From Everyday Life to the Big Bang, at Bloor/Gladstone branch. A fun introduction to astronomy by learning and "correcting" common misconceptions about the universe, from everyday life to space aliens, black holes and the birth of the universe - the Big Bang. No science background needed.
  • April 9: Mental Health 101, at Eatonville branch. Presented by Reconnect Mental Health services, this information session will review the current mental health system and where we have come from. An overview of mental illnesses and treatments will be described as well as supports available and how to access services.
  • April 14: Music to Better Your Health: Ideas from a Music Therapist, at Annette Street branch. Research increasingly shows that music has positive effects on our physical and emotional health. This evening will provide an information session about music therapy, followed by an interactive workshop exploring ways everyone can use music to improve their health and well-being.
  • April 22: Rosetta: Deciphering the Language of Comets, at North York Central Library. In November 2014, the world witnessed the first time man landed a spacecraft on a comet. How did we get there? What will we learn? Highlights from one of the most exotic places ever visited with Sebastian Daemgen.
  • April 25: iMovie for Beginners, at Fort York branch. An introduction to using iMovie on the Mac. Basic video editing techniques will be taught like using transitions and titles, adding audio and a soundtrack, cutting and splicing, and using the timeline.

Can't attend a program or want to read more about the topics covered? Try some of these titles:

Epigenetics  Cancer  The African American guide to living well with diabetes  The universe

Complete mental health  Music therapy  Comets  IMovie

Sea Otters Holding Hands

March 20, 2015 | Jeannette | Comments (4) Facebook Twitter More...

Sea otters holding hands
By Joe Robertson [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Did you know sea otters hold hands? I didn’t. I recently discovered this insanely adorable fact through a colleague. She asked me the same question. Then told me to look it up online. Instantly, I fell in love with the images of sea otters holding hands that popped up on my screen.

Sea otters spend most of their time in the water. They eat, sleep, hunt, mate and give birth in the water. To prevent themselves from floating away in the swirling sea while they sleep, sea otters often entangle themselves in forests of kelp or giant seaweed to provide anchorage. This is also the reason why they hold hands. They do so in order to prevent themselves from drifting away from the group.

This little known fact went viral when a video of two sea otters holding hands from the Vancouver Aquarium was uploaded online. Within 2 weeks, the video had one million views. As of today, there are over 20 million views. If you haven’t seen the video, you can watch it below.

The Vancouver Aquarium also has a live webcam of the sea otters exhibit. You can watch what the sea otters are up to, as they eat, swim and play. You may even catch them holding hands!

As cute as they are, like all livings thing, there is a dark side to sea otters. They were seen raping, and in the process killing, juvenile harbor seals off the coast of California.

To learn more about sea otters and otters, here are some books from the library:

The nature of sea otters  Otter  Otter country  Otters - Ecology, behaviour and conservation

The library also has DVDs about sea otters.

I hope you enjoy seeing these cute little sea otters holding hands as much as I did. Do you know any interesting facts about animals? If you do, please share them below.

 

Homelessness In Canada

March 16, 2015 | Emoke | Comments (11) Facebook Twitter More...

Healing homeRecently, I attended a training session on homelessness which opened my eyes to the topic and the actions that we must take as a society to put an end to this unfortunate and inhumane social issue. The speaker was Stephen Gaetz, a Professor at the Faculty of Education at York University and the Director of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and the Homeless Hub. He is also the President of Raising the Roof, a leading Canadian charity that focuses on long term solutions to homelessness.


Here are some facts that I learned from his lecture (statistics are rough estimates):

  • Over 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness in a year
  • 35,000 people a night are homeless
  • 47.5% are single adult men (25-55 years old)
  • Living on the streets is unsafe for women as family violence is a major reason women are homeless
  • Youth 16-24 years old make up 20% of the homeless population. The causes are unique and include abuse, low income from minimum wage jobs and lack of affordable housing
  • In Toronto, 18% of homeless are Aboriginal
  • New Canadians are a growing homeless population

Homelessness as a Problem:

  • Society created the homelessness problem
  • High paying jobs are disappearing
  • Incomes have declined at the same time as increasing housing prices
  • There is a focus on tax credits in Canada - instead of spending more directly on childcare for instance
  • Reductions in welfare payments
  • Wages haven't kept up with inflation
  • From 1980s-1990s, the government reduced spending on affordable housing to balance the budget
  • National investment in housing decreased (including rental)
  • Rise in homelessness in 1990s was a result of shifts in government policy

Causes of Homelessness

  • Family conflict, job loss, accidents (disability), mental health and addiction
  • Racism, discrimination and homophobia 
  • Patients that are discharged from hospitals without any support or guidance
  • Less rehabilitation programs

Myth: people choose to be homeless - most leave home (or a desperate situation) not because they want to but due to a violent situation, sexual abuse, etc.

  • When they leave, they lose everything: family, natural supports, friends and guidance from relatives
  • Health worsens- mental health impacted, depression, disease, nutritionally vulnerable
  • Addictions follow to “numb the pain”
  • Sexual exploitation arises especially for women on the streets that need to make some money
  • Gangs and criminal involvement increases - for self-protection and to feed a drug habit
  • Homeless are victims of crime as whatever little they own is stolen on the streets, shelters, etc.
  • 38% of young homeless women were sexually assaulted in the past year

Canadian Response to Homelessness should be:

Prevention
Emergency Response
Housing and Supports

  • We have come to rely on emergency services too much
  • What we really need are prevention and housing supports
  • Alberta - is way ahead of Ontario on homelessness as they have a provincial strategy to end homelessness
  • Medicine Hat has virtually ended homelessness as the city has invested in affordable housing

Ending Homelessness

What is Toronto Public Library Doing:

  • Toronto Public Library has partnered with Toronto Public Health and the City of Toronto’s Streets to Homes to launch a pilot program. The program is currently available two days per week at Toronto Reference Library and Yorkville branch
  • Toronto Public Health nurses help people connect to health resources for mental health and addiction
  • Nurses rove around these branches, checking in with security and librarians about what help is needed

Bookmobile Outreach to Family Shelters

  • Bookmobile outreach and storytimes at Toronto shelters serve women with children
  • Staff register library cards for kids and residents enabling them to borrow books from the bookmobile for extended loan periods
  • Shelter residents don’t get fines and can return books in their shelter

 

The Toronto Reference Library will also have a program in April with Stephen Gaetz as part of their Thought Exchange programming :

 

For more information about this important issue, please see the following books, which can be borrowed from the Toronto Public Library:

Homelessness & Health in Canada  Youth work  Homelessness  Homelessness, housing and the experiences of mental health consumer-survivors

Almost home  Homeless  Children living in transition  Homelessness comes to school

DVDs:

Home safe. Toronto a documentary

Crowe, Cathy, 1952-; MacDonald, Laurel; Sky, Laura; Strong, Phil

Year/Format: 2009, DVD, 1 videodisc (96 min.)

Additional reading:

Youth homelessness in Canada: implications for policy and practice

Housing first in Canada: supporting communities to end homelessness

The State of Homelessness in Canada 2014  (PDF)

Monopoly : The Board Game

March 2, 2015 | Aleks | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

British_monopolyMonopoly; the game of trading and the fast-paced world of real estate. Entering its 80th year in the game board market, Monopoly is licensed in 103 countries, available in 37 languages, and more than 275 million copies have been sold worldwide. To win the game, a player must have complete domination in the market over the other players, usually through bankrupting others. 

The illustrious Monopoly has a deeper history then the 80 years claimed by owner Hasbro. It is argued that the game was originally created by Elizabeth Magie.  She had created a Landlord's Game in 1903 as a way to protest against American moguls. This is in opposition to Charles Darrow who has been accredited of having invented Monopoly in the 1930s and selling it to Parker Brothers. Find out more in this article or Mary Pilon's new book, Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World's Favorite Board Game.

Monopolists - Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World's Favorite Board Game

You can also listen to the story The Secret History of Monopoly on The Current at CBC.ca.

There are many ways to spend this March Break with your family. If you are interested in getting out of the cold, here are some great books on board game fun for the family.

Under the Boardwalk The Games we Played The Story of Dungeons and Dragons 
The Grand Parents Handbook Unbored Games Serious Fun for EveryoneParty Games for Adults

There are also many opportunities to play board games at the library. We have programs for all ages. Board games can offer many life lessons, such as patience, diplomacy, and negotiation as children engage with their family and friends. 

In addition to being able to borrow board games at select libraries, there are also chances to visit cafes and pubs across Toronto for a time and place to dominate your opponents or to have a friendly match:

Snakes & Lattes

600 Bloor Street West , Toronto

 

Castle Board Game Cafe

454 Spadina Street , Toronto

 

Roll Play Cafe

10A Edward Street , Toronto

 

Snakes & Lagers

488 College Street , Toronto

 

Rooster Coffee House

479 Broadview Avenue , Toronto

 

 

Free Science Events in Toronto for March 2015

February 26, 2015 | Jeannette | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Science and Technology Department of North York Central Library compiles a monthly calendar of free science and applied science events in Toronto. Applied science includes health, gardening, pets and food; all subjects found in the department's collection. Here is the March calendar (PDF).

March's highlights include:

The Toronto Public Library also offers many free science and applied science events:

March's highlights include:

Can't attend a program or want to read more about the topics covered? Try some of these titles:

Garments of paradise   Real food all year   Climate change   The essential guide to home herbal remedies   Healthy meals for less   Arduino for beginners   Teach yourself visually Microsoft Excel 2010   The complete visual guide to building a house

The Beautiful Brain: How Do We See the World?

February 20, 2015 | Jeannette | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Edit: Please note that the talk "The Beautiful Brain: How Do We See the World?" has been rescheduled (date and time to be confirmed). Tonight's talk will be delivered by Derek Wilson (York University) on "What Happens When Proteins Go Rogue".

I recently had surgery to correct my vision. I've needed glasses since sixth grade so it's been quite a different experience not having to wear glasses or contacts. Being able to wake up and see things clearly has been simply wonderful.

Working together, the eyes and brain allow us to perceive the world around us. As light hits the retina of the eye (which allows us to see), signals are sent to the visual cortex of the brain. There, visual information is processed.

So whether you are looking at a work of art or engaging in a daily routine such as driving, our visual sense and powerful brain let us react with adequate behaviours.

Join Dr. Georg Zoidl from York University, for a talk on the brain and visual perception on Wednesday, March 4 from 7 – 8 PM at North York Central Library in the Auditorium. He will explain what our perception of the physical world mean for us as individuals and as social beings.

Presented in collaboration with York University’s Faculties of Science and Health, this talk is part of the Neuroscience: How Your Brain Lives, Works… And Dies lecture series.

For more information about the brain, take a look at these books:

Brain structure and its origins  The human brain book  A very short tour of the mind  We are our brains

Here are some DVDs about the brain:

How does the brain work  The intelligent brain  The nervous system  Your best brain

There are also books about visual perception:

Basic vision  An introduction to the visual system  A tour of the senses  Vision and brain

Tutankhamun's Uncommon Encounters

February 13, 2015 | Ann | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

 

National Gegoraphic featured video:  King Tut's Tomb
Photograph of King Tut's Mask courtesy of v.williams46 (flickr) under the Creative Commons licence 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

This year Ontario celebrates Family Day on Monday February 16.  It is a great day for people to share time with family and friends.  For those who like to spend their time immersed in ancient history, February 16 celebrates the 92nd anniversary of the discovery of King Tut (aka King Tutankhamen).  This day in 1923, Howard Carter discovered the inner burial chamber and gave rise to a social phenomenon rich in scientific research and folklore. 

Tutankhamun endured some (mis)adventures in life and in the thereafter.  These include physical injuries that hastened his untimely death, possible spontaneous combustion of his mummified remains during entombment, and the recent unfortunate breaking and hasty reattachment of the beard on his death mask.  

Other intriguing issues related to King Tut can be shelved under folklore.  These include the ever popular "mummy's curse" upon the opening of King Tut's sarcophagus and the successful plot to murder the young king.  In the late 1960s, scientists examined King Tut's remains using X-ray photography.  The initial images showed a crack in the lower back area of the mummy's skull.  This evidence suggested that King Tut may have been bludgeoned to death.  Ay(e), a  middle-aged close relative and counselor to the king, was the prime suspect in the young king's demise.  Ay(e) had a great deal to gain in murdering the child king and marrying the equally young queen, Ankhesenamun.  

Further scientific analysis debunks this initial theory.  Recent CT scans discount Ay(e) as the Tutankhamen's murderer.  The crack in the skull most likely occurred in the mummification process.   King Tut may have died due to an infection resulting from a serious fracture to his left leg.  The scientists did report two unusual occurrences while they performed a CT scan on Tut's remains.  They jokingly suggested that the sudden shutdown of power to the CT scanner and illness to one of the scientists may be caused by the mummy's curse for performing this "penetrating" procedure.  

 

The library has a good assortment of titles that would interest readers fascinated with topics on Tutankhamen and the history of Ancient Egypt: 

Discovering Tutankhamun: from Howard Carter to DNA.  By Zahi Hawass Tutankhamun's funeral.  By Winlock, Herbert Eustis, 1884-1950 Amarna sunset: Nefertiti, Tutankhamun, Ay, Horemheb, and the Egyptian counter-reformation.  By Dodson, Aidan, 1962- In the valley of the kings:  Howard Carter and the mystery of King Tutankhamun's tomb.  By Meyerson, Daniel
The golden king:  the world of Tutankhamun. By Hawass, Zahi A. The treasures of Tutankhamun and the Egyptian Museum of Cairo.  By Amenta, Alessia Tutankhamun's armies: battle and conquest during ancient Egypt's late eighteenth dynasty.  By Darnell, John Coleman A passion for Egypt: Arthur Weigall, Tutankhamun, and the "curse of the pharaohs."  By  Hankey, Julie

 

For those readers who would like to find out more on the possible murder plot on the young king, here are some gripping suggestions: 

The murder of Tutankhamen: a true story.  By Brier, Bob The shadow king:  the bizarre afterlife of king Tut's mummy.  By Marchant, Josephine The murder of King Tut: the plot to kill the child king: a nonfiction thriller.  By Patterson, James, 1947- Secrets of the dead. Ultimate Tut (DVD)

 

As new innovations in scientific research develop, the analysis of King Tut's artifacts and remains will continue to reveal a better understanding of how people in Ancient Egypt perceived life and death.  Perhaps not everything about King Tut will be answered--speculation and folklore will attempt to fill in those gaps.

Whether it be murder, archaeology, science, or Egyptology, you will find something intriguing in the titles and the online articles suggested here.  Come visit the Society and Recreation Department at the North York Central Library to browse our Ancient Egypt collection.  And please visit the Toronto Public Library Pinterest site for more amazing images on all things Tutankhamen. 

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