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Everything you wanted to know about statistics...but were afraid to ask

September 16, 2014 | Cathy | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Numbers

Image courtesy of www.research-live.com

 

"Statistics is the grammar of science." Karl Pearson

Statistics is important in understanding and interpreting science especially with respect to research...but everyone can enjoy a basic understanding of statistics for their everyday life. For example, when I took my first statistics course, we were asked to calculate the odds of winning the 6/49 lottery. I knew the odds were not good, but I was shocked to learn the chances of winning was just 1 in 14 million (actually, over 14 million). I remember those odds everytime I feel like buying a ton of lottery tickets so that I can quit my job. 

There are a couple of fun ways to learn more about statistics:

  • Come out to Dr Eric Mintz's presentation, "Everything you wanted to know about statistics...but were afraid to ask" at North York Central Library on Wednesday, September 24 at 7 pm. Don't worry, this won't be a snoozefest--Dr. Mintz aims to make it fun, entertaining and informative!

More traditional ways to learn about statistics:

  Correlated
The Tao of statistics: a path to understanding (with no math) by Dana K. Keller Correlated: from square dancing and bumper stickers to Trekkies and ketchup, surprising connections between seemingly unrelated things by Shaun Gallagher Risk savvy: how to make good decisions by Gerd Gigerenzer
Understanding uncertainty by D.V. Lindley The improbability principle: why coincidences, miracles and rare events happen everyday by D.J. Hand The cartoon introduction to statistics by Grady Klein

 

Toronto Poetry Slam Team performance: not your grandma's poetry!

September 12, 2014 | Maureen | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

In the beginning was the word…”

Then came poets and storytellers, doing spoken word performance, painting with words inside people’s minds. If you love the beauty, the power, the magic and the music of words, come to North York Central Library on Friday September 26, where a feast is being prepared for lovers of the spoken word. The Toronto Poetry Slam Team, a group of spoken word poets who have performed across North America, will take to the stage in the North York Central Library auditorium at 7:00 p.m. to perform their original work. And I do mean perform. This is NOT a poetry reading. These spoken word artists don’t recite their poetry, they perform it -- energetically, emotionally and passionately.

Be advised: as it says on the Toronto Poetry Slam website, "this ain’t your grandma's poetry!" It can hit hard, be provocative, political, raw. Please call 416 395 5639 to register for this free Culture Days program. There are more than 40 free Culture Days programs offered at library branches across the city. This Canada wide celebration of arts and culture takes place on Friday September 26 and Saturday September 27.

Would you like to learn more about poetry slams? Reserve one of these items and have it sent to a library near you!

Stage a poetry slam Take the mic The complete idiot's guide to slam poetry
The spoken word revolution The spoken word revolution redux Louder than a bomb
This anthology includes a CD with over 70 minutes of electrifying live poetry in a wide variety of styles. Includes a CD with over 75 minutes of slam poetry, dub poetry, hip-hop poetica and more. This video follows four Chicago-area high school poetry teams as they prepare for and compete in the world's largest youth slam.


Video used by permission of the Toronto Poetry Project

Science Literacy

September 5, 2014 | Jeannette | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

September 22-29 is Science Literacy Week. The Toronto Public Library will be joining the University of Toronto’s Gerstein Library to highlight and promote science and science literacy through displays and programs.

Last week, the CBC reported that Canadians' science literacy was ranked highest in the world. According to the National Science Education Standards, scientific literacy means a person has the ability to:

  • Ask, find, or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences
  • Describe, explain and predict natural phenomena
  • Read with understanding articles about science in the popular press and to engage in social conversation about the validity of the conclusions
  • Identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions
  • Evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it
  • Pose and evaluate arguments based on evidence

The Science & Technology department, in particular the Science Fair collection, at the North York Central Library, contain books that can help understand and improve science literacy:

The art of science  Everyday practice of science  The language of science  Reading and understanding research

Science matters   What counts as credible evidence in applied research and evaluation practice  What the numbers say  Why science 

Want something to read right now? Access and download these popular science magazines through our Zinio database:

Astronomy   Discover   Earth  Popular science

Also, access our Science in Context database for journal articles, news, videos, images and audio on major science topics:

Science in Context

Science Literacy Week is a good opportunity to brush up on your science knowledge or learn something new through the library’s programs, books and displays.

 

Picture Labour Day...Over A Century Ago

August 29, 2014 | Ann | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

  More Labour Day images from The Toronto Public Library Pinterest website

Labour Day in Toronto along Queen Street West near Claremont Avenue in 1905 (Photo courtesy of The Toronto Public Library)

Hours of Operation

Welcome to the first day of September which happens to fall on the first Monday of the month.  As this day marks the Labour Day statutory holiday, all public libraries, post offices, government buildings, and private businesses are closed for the day. The library will re-open for regular hours on Tuesday.  Sunday hours will resume for District branches and Research and Reference libraries including North York Central Library and the Toronto Reference Library.  Sunday, September 7, 2014 is the first Sunday the library will open in the Fall at 1:30 pm and close at 5:00 pm.

 

Picture Labour Day in 1905 (close-up view)

Going back one hundred and nine years ago, visualize standing on a raised wooden platform from the main street and looking up at the cool misty grey sky. A photographer gages the weather and scans the procession.  Beside him, balanced on a tall wrought iron tripod, rests an early-period camera.  He peers through the camera lens and squeezes a rubber bulb connected to the camera.   A crisp image materializes showing marchers moving westward along Queen Street West with crowds gathering on sidewalks across the north and south sides of the street.

A conductor leads the parade and he exhibits stern confidence.  Behind him, the musicians keep pace while performing on their trombones, tubas, trumpets, and drums.  The band appears loosely dispersed along the street to ensure enough space to safely perform, march, and read their sheet music.

Drawn forward by the rousing tunes from the band, hundreds of men marching are decked out in suits, peaked caps, and what appears to be long cloth pendants pinned and draping from the marchers' left breast pockets.  These uniformed men line and fill several street blocks.  

The women in the crowd wear long flowing dresses with big fancy bonnets worn over their hair.  The girls are adorned in knee-high dresses with their pretty hair beribboned and braided in flattering bows.  The men observing the parade appear immaculate in their dress suits and assorted hats--consisting of bowlers, panamas, and fedoras.  Some men are seen whispering quietly amongst themselves. On the upper right-hand side in the photograph, the crowd gathers under opened umbrellas and store awnings to avoid the drizzling rain.  Behind the wooden post on Claremont Avenue, a man sits in his horse-drawn carriage watching the parade go by.

 

Queen Street West and Claremont Avenue a Century Later (Google Maps Image)

The current image of Queen Street West and Claremont Avenue shows some structural changes since 1905.  For instance, the building that housed the Bunker Brothers Carriage and Wagon Works on the northwest side of Claremont Avenue in 1905 no longer exists.  In its place currently stands a Starbuck's coffee shop.  On the northeast side stood the Cairo Bros. store in 1905.  Today, the Sanko Trading Co., which sells Japanese food and various types of artifacts, maintains the original building in fine condition.  

 

Celebrate Labour Day (Google Images of Past Parades)

Fair pay, safe working conditions, fair rights for all workers, and the ability for employees to voice their concerns continue to be important issues for workers' unions to address, negotiate, and achieve with employers.  For more information on the history of Labour Day in Canada, please have a look at the website, Canada's History - The First Labour Day.

In March 2012, The Toronto Public Library defended against budget cuts and library closures as discussed in Maureen O'Reilly's March 14, 2014 Toronto Star article, When will the city learn to love its librarians?  The library continues to provide programs, print and online resources, and an environment for the public to learn, relax, and connect.  

Listed below are some worthy titles pertaining to labour, work, and industry:

The workers' festival - a history of Labour Day in Canada by Craig Heron A good day's work - in pursuit of a disappearing Canada by John DeMont All labor has dignity by Martin Luther King, Jr. Work, industry, and Canadian society by H. Krahn
Social work under pressure - how to overcome stress, fatigue and burnout in the workplace by Kate Van Heugten Working without committments - the health effects of precarious employment by Wayne Lewchuk Work - a very short introduction by Stephen Fineman The quality of work - a people-centered agenda by Graham S. Lowe


Every year on Labour Day Monday, the marchers gather between University Avenue and Dundas Street West in the morning.  By 1:30 pm the parade proceeds south to Queen Street West and then westbound towards Dufferin Street and finally southbound through the Dufferin Gates into the CNE.  Come see and support us on our march along the way!

Free Science Events in Toronto for September 2014

August 26, 2014 | 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 September calendar (PDF).

September's highlights include:

  • September 5, 6 & 7: 30th Annual Vegetarian FoodFestival, free talks and cooking demonstrations from leading vegetarian experts.
  • September 16: Testicular Cancer, part of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre's Lunch & Learn program where physicians and researchers speak on a variety of cancer topics.
  • September 23: Forgetfulness - When Should I Worry? Leading Sunnybrook experts will discuss mild cognitive impairment, the role of genetics, diagnosis of dementia and how to train your brain.

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

September's highlights include:

Let's Go To The EX!

August 18, 2014 | Ann | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Visit the CNE website for current events!
This image, which was originally posted to Flickr.com, was uploaded to Commons using Flickr upload bot on 15:56, 13 April 2010. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Mid-August is upon us.  Two weeks of summer warmth remains--and more warm days ahead if Indian Summer occurs.  The Canadian National Exhibition opened its doors on Friday, August 15, 2014 and closes on Labour Day (Monday, September 1, 2014).  Admission cost varies with age and a group discount fee is available.  The exhibits, attractions, merchandise, and rides continue to draw huge crowds everyday to the CNE.

The Canadian National Exhibition takes place at (you guessed it) Exhibition Place located on 200 Princes' Boulevard which is just north of Lakeshore Boulevard between Strachan Avenue and Dufferin Avenue. 

This historical extravaganza was originally named, The Canadian Industrial Exhibition, opened in 1879, and promoted the buying and selling of goods and services.  Shown below is a lithograph representation on wove paper of the representatives of this committee.  

  Canadian Industrial Exhibition resources on tpl.caPhoto in public domain courtesy of the Toronto Public Library.

The original copy is available to view in the Baldwin Room at the Toronto Reference Library

Also, more glorious historical images are available from the Toronto Public Library Pinterest website:

More Pinterest CNE Images from The Toronto Public Library
(Archived Flyer Courtesy of The Toronto Public Library)

In 1912, the name changed to The Canadian National Exhibition.  Acronyms in recent decades became popularized in social media.  People today refer to this two-week festival as, "the CNE" or, "The EX."

There are many events occurring every year at the CNE.  One of the most popular attractions are the unusual food concoctions available.  The new foods on the menu (as listed on Toronto.com and on theex.com) include some renditions of the following:

For those who enjoy titles on food and culture, here are some tasty topics to tantalize your taste buds:

Eating Asian America - a food studies reader   Educated tastes - food, drink, and connoisseur culture Gastropolis - food and New York City The tastemakers - why we're crazy for cupcakes but fed up with fondue
Food and the city - urban agriculture and the new food revolution The real cost of cheap food The industrial diet - the degradation of food and the struggle for healthy eating Bet the farm - how food stopped being food

 

The Canadian National Exhibition is a celebrated tradition for over a century.  Many people have memorable experiences of this annual event. 

Blogger and podcaster, Mike Boon (also known as Toronto Mike), offers up his own experiences having worked at the CNE from 1989 to 1991.  His collection, I Worked at the CNE. I Have Stories to Share, are filled with nostalgia and humour. 

Celebrations occur across the world and have their own origins, traditions, and histories and below are some festive titles to enjoy:

Around the world in 500 festivals - the world's most spectacular celebrations A year of festivals - how to have the time of your life Festivals of the world - the illustrated guide to celebrations, customs, events and holidays World party - the Rough Guide to the world's best festivals
Celebration, entertainment and theatre in the Ottoman world Off the beaten page - the best trips for lit lovers, book clubs, and girls on getaways Celebrate - a year of British festivities for families and friends Dancing in the streets - a history of collective joy

If you are heading down to the CNE, take in the various attractions, food, and exhibits.  Otherwise, enjoy the summer season whereever it takes you.

Celebrate Simcoe Day. Scenic Sensations Await!

August 1, 2014 | Ann | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

John Graves Simcoe on Ministry of Government and Consumer Services Photo Credit:  Ontario Ministry of Government Services Archives of Ontario. This file is free of known restrictions under copyright law.

Welcome to the last warm summer holiday weekend before Labour Day.

In Toronto, we celebrate Simcoe Day to honour Colonel John Graves Simcoe (1752-1806) who was the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada.  He founded the Town of York (which would eventually be renamed the City of Toronto in 1834), authorized the first troops to be stationed at York, and proposed The Anti-Slavery Act of 1793 to strongly influence the abolishment of slavery in Canada.

Simcoe Day holiday also provides an opportunity to enjoy recreational activities in this City.  Have a look at the City of Toronto webpage on Simcoe Day Recreation, Simcoe Day Festivals and Events, and the Toronto Festival Guide for inspiration.

For those who want to experience Simcoe Day with re-enactments of fighting troops in full military gear from the late 18th century, a visit to Fort York is highly recommended.

Friends of Fort York News and Events websiteThis photograph is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Genericlicense.

To read up on the history of Fort York, here are some interesting titles available:

Setting a fine table:  historical desserts and drinks from the officers' kitchens at Fort York by  Elizabeth Baird and Bridget Wranich Searching for the forgotten war: 1812 Canada by  Patrick Richard Carstens Capital in flames:  the American attack on York, 1813 by Robert Malcomson The Battle of York by Carl Benn

 

If you are planning a hike, walk, or an easy stroll around the neighbourhood, take these titles along with you on your journey:

Great country walks around Toronto:  within reach by public transit by Elliott Katz Stroll: psychogeographic walking tours of Toronto by Shawn Micallef Historical walking tour of Lawrence Park by Barbara Myrvold and Lynda Moon Toronto fun places-- for families by Natalie  Prézeau

 

Enjoy the long weekend, the warm days remaining in this summer season, and an appreciation of the history behind this Civic Holiday in Toronto.

 

Free Science Events in Toronto for August 2014

July 26, 2014 | Jeannette | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

FlowerThe 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 August calendar (PDF).

August’s highlights include:

  • August 7: Testing Einstein’s Remarkable Theory, Dr. Aaron Zimmerman will discuss two famous predictions of General Relatively: the bending of starlight by the Sun, and gravitational waves. Enjoy a planetarium show after the lecture.
  • August 16: Wheels on the Danforth, this event hosts Toronto’s only on-the-street judged car show. Featuring an assortment of classics, exotics, tuners, muscle cars, hot rods and motorcycles.
  • August 24: Wild Blueberry Festival, cook, taste and celebrate blueberries with chef demos, a wild blueberry pie bake-off and workshops for the whole family.


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

August’s highlights include:

The Fruit Hunters

July 24, 2014 | Cathy | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Summer is the best season of the year—not only for the warm, sunny weather, but because of all the fresh fruits and vegetables. During her talk on Nutrition and Brain Health, Dr. Carol Greenwood recommended that half of our plate of food should be vegetables and fruit.  And forget concentrating on the latest superfood—eat the fruit or vegetable that you like the best.  Letting produce rot in your fridge will not be doing your body any good. Studies have shown that eating the fruit or vegetable is more beneficial than popping a vitamin.   

For an entertaining look at how seriously some people view fruit, enjoy a free screening of the documentary, The Fruit Hunters, at North York Central Library on Wednesday July 30, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.  No registration required.

Fresh FruitsImage courtesy of www.canned-fresh.com

'Rock Star' Author Coming Home to North York

July 18, 2014 | Maureen | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Dyer's Bay 2014 080I like to match my vacation reading to my vacation destination. My pleasure in the book is enhanced, and my appreciation for the scene around me is deepened. Recently, I brought Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda with me on a trip to the rocky shores of Georgian Bay, the setting for much of the book. The story revolves around three characters: Bird, a Huron warrior who seeks vengeance for the death of his wife and daughters at the hands of the Iroquois; Snow Falls, a young Iroquois girl Bird abducts and adopts, and Christophe, a Jesuit missionary intent on turning the "savages" away from their satanic ways and towards Christ.

This is a dramatic tale of warring tribes, and clashing cultures, set at a crucial point in history, the beginning of French colonization in the 1600s. But it is also about the everyday life of the Huron, the cycles of planting and harvesting the "three sisters" (squash, corn and beans), their spiritual beliefs, such as the conviction that everything in the natural world -- animals, trees, lakes -- has a spiritual force, or orenda, and their customs, such as the Feast of the Dead, in which the bones of the dead are dug up, lovingly cleaned, and richly dressed and displayed in a festival of gift giving, mourning and feasting that lasts for days.

In interviews, Boyden has said that one of the reasons he wanted to write the book was to make it clear that before European colonization there were complex societies living in North America for thousands of years. Reading The Orenda made me want to know more about these societies, their beliefs and customs, and their early interactions with Europeans. The books Boyden read when doing research for the novel would be a great place to start. At the end of the novel, Boyden lists some of the books which he said "deeply enriched" his work. I was delighted to discover that every book Boyden credits in his acknowledgments is available in the Toronto Public Library. Here is the list:

 

Words of the Huron. John Steckley.

The Jesuit relations: natives and missionaries in seventeenth-century North America. Allan Greer.

The children of Aataentsic: a history of the Huron people to 1660. Bruce G. Trigger.

The death and afterlife of the North American Martyrs. Emma Anderson.

Huronia: a history and geography of the Huron Indians, 1600-1650. Conrad E. Heidenreich.

Huron-Wendat: the heritage of the circle. Georges E. Sioui.

An ethnography of the Huron Indians, 1615-1649. Elisabeth Tooker. (reference only, at North York Central Library, Canadiana Department, and Toronto Reference Library)

If you enjoyed The Orenda, or Boyden's other critically acclaimed books, Three day road, Through black spruce, or Born with a tooth, get a nice bright marker and circle Tuesday September 30 on your calendar. That's the day Joseph Boyden, the "literary rock star" (as dubbed by Now Magazine) who grew up in North York is coming home to speak at North York Central Library. The fun begins at 7:00 p.m. Please call 416-395-5639 to register for this free program.

The Orenda is available in the following formats:

Three day road is available in the following formats:

Through black spruce is available in the following formats:

Born with a tooth (short stories) is available in the following formats:

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