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20 Best Horror Films on DVD

October 26, 2014 | Viveca | Comments (5) Facebook Twitter More...

Wanna see something really scary? Here are 20 of the best horror movies available at the Toronto Public Library. Film critic Robin Wood wrote that the horror film's “true subject is the struggle for recognition of all that our civilization represses or oppresses." This holds true from James Whale's 1931 Frankenstein to the films of David Cronenberg. Haunted houses, sinister children, monsters, murderers and the undead - there is something for everyone on this list. Prepare to unleash the repressed. And let us know if your favourite is not on this list. 

Let the Right One In

The Shining Exorcist
Diabolique Rosemary's Baby

Let the Right One In (2008, Sweden) dir Tomas Alfredson. Based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindquist. Oscar, a bullied 12-year-old boy makes friends with Eli, a young female vampire. It's a moving (and terrifying) story of two outsiders finding each other. Still thirsty for blood? Try Nosferatu or Vampyr, or the Universal films with Bela Lugosi. 

The Shining (1980, UK/USA) dir Stanley Kubrick. Misunderstood when first released, Kubrick's film is now recognized as a masterpiece of the genre. Hotel hallways will never look the same. Keep your eyes peeled for the paintings by Canadian artist Alex Colville. The documentary Room 237 explores the film's symbolism. Based on Stephen King's novel

The Exorcist (1973, USA) dir Willam Friedkin. Based on William Blatty's novel about a 12-year old girl's demonic possession, this film tested the boundaries for graphic horror and spawned many 'demonic child' films, including The Omen

Diabolique (1955, France) dir Henri-Georges Clouzot. A meek schoolteacher plots to kill her abusive husband by enlisting the help of his mistress, played by a smokin' hot Simone Signoret. The plot twist will keep you up at night.  

Rosemary's Baby (1968, USA) dir Roman Polanski. Based on Ira Levin's novel. A pregnant newlywed (Mia Farrow) suspects something is wrong with her unborn child and that her creepy husband may be responsible. Farrow got served divorce papers on the set by Frank Sinatra who reportedly didn't want her to take the role. Cinematographer William A. Fraker explains why this film terrifies in the documentary, Visions of Light

Psycho The Host Nightmare on Elm Street Haunting Devil's Backbone

Psycho (1960, USA) dir Alfred Hitchcock. Critically-acclaimed as one of the best American films of all time, Psycho broke boundaries with its editing, performances, music, and mise-en-scène. The best book ever about Hitchcock?  Hitchcock's Films Revisited by the late, great Robin Wood.

The Host (2006, South Korea) dir Bong Joon-ho. A monster, born of toxic waste, lurks in the Han River and kidnaps a young girl. Both poignant and frightening, this film premiered at Cannes to great critical acclaim. 

Nightmare on Elm Street (1984, USA) dir Wes Craven. Freddy Krueger, a disfigured spirit armed with razored gloves, kills teenagers via their dreams. Watch for a chubby-cheeked Johnny Depp in his first film role. The 2014 documentary, Never Sleep Again, goes behind the scenes of this enduring franchise. 

The Haunting (1963, UK) dir Robert Wise. Based on Shirley Jackson's novel, The Haunting of Hill House. A group of people stay at a haunted house to study its paranormal activity. 50 years after its release, this film still terrifies. Keep your eyes on that bedroom doorknob. 

The Devil's Backbone (2001, Spain/Mexico) dir Guillermo del Toro. Carlos, an abandoned child living in an orphanage during the Spanish Civil War, sees terrifying visions of a ghostly child. By the director of Pan's Labyrinth.  

Halloween Innocents The Evil Dead Changling Don't Look Now

Halloween (1978, USA) dir John Carpenter. Around Halloween, ringtones everywhere change to this ominous theme song, composed and performed by Carpenter. A murderer escapes from an asylum, returns to his old neighbourhood and slices up hormonal teens. Best jump scares ever - and features an intelligent heroine played by a young Jamie Lee Curtis. Steadicam technology becomes a staple of the horror film. 

The Innocents (1961, UK) dir Jack Clayton. Based on Henry James classic novella, The Turn of the Screw, Deborah Kerr is luminous in this ghostly psychological tale about a governess and her sinister charges, Miles and Flora. Fun fact: Truman Capote worked on the screenplay. 

The Evil Dead (1981, USA) dir Sam Raimi. A low-budget horror film about students accidently unleashing demons while vacationing in the woods. Its gore, sense of humour, and ironic performances turned it into a cult classic and spawned sequels, a comic book and a stage musical

The Changeling (1980, Canada/US) dir Peter Medak. After losing his family in a car accident, a man moves into a isolated Victorian mansion where he is visited by the ghost of an extremely angry child. Filmed in Canada, this won the first Genie for Best Canadian film. 

Don't Look Now (1973, UK/Italy) dir Nicolas Roeg. A couple moves to Venice after the accidental drowning of their young daughter. Grief turns to dread as they catch glimpses of a little girl following them. Donald Sutherland and Julie Harris appear in an extremely athletic sex scene (shocking for the time) in this exploration of death and grieving. Based on Daphne Du Maurier's short story. 

Black Christmas 28 Days Later The Ring Night of the Living Dead American Werewolf in London

Black Christmas (1974, Canada) dir Bob Clark. Filmed at the University of Toronto in Annesley Hall, with Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, and Andrea Martin. The Dubious Achievment Award goes to the Great White North for making the first slasher film (after Psycho, of course). The terrifying phone call becomes a staple of horror films. 

28 Days Later (2002, UK) dir Danny Boyle. A seminal film of the zombie film renaissance, this post-apocalyptic nightmare was shot in Picadilly Circus and Oxford Street. With Cillian ("Spooky Eyes") Murphy and Christopher Eccleston.

Night of the Living Dead (1968, USA) dir George Romero. Romero delves into the dark recesses of the American psyche and offers scathing political commentary in his zombie series (the sequels are good too, if not better). Birth of the Living Dead is a documentary on the making of this cult classic. 

The Ring (2002, USA) dir Gore Verbinksi. What's that I hear? The shrieks of purists faithful to Hideo Nakata's 1998 Japanese film, Ringu? Sadly, Ringu is currently unavailable, and it is a fact that excellent Asian horror films are regularly remade for North American audiences. Nonetheless, this tale of a lethal video has its moments. Even scarier is having younger audiences ask "What is a video cassette?" 

American Werewolf in London (1981, USA/UK) dir John Landis. Two American students are backpacking in the British moors when they are attacked by a werewolf. One dies and the other...well. The film achieved cult status with its in-jokes and special effects. The early 80s was a hot time for werewolf films which included Joe Dante's The Howling.

And speaking of John Landis and werewolves, re-visit Michael Jackson's Thriller video. (Heads up: some scary images and some pretty intense dance moves...) 

Canadian Opera Company Talk: Don Giovanni

October 24, 2014 | Muriel | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

 


 Canadian Opera Company Talk:

Don Giovanni

Wednesday, November 19, 7:00 p.m.

North York Central Library Auditorium

Come and join Wayne Gooding, editor of Opera Canada magazine, as he delves into Mozart's Don Giovanni, which will be presented by the Canadian Opera Company this winter.  The Canadian Opera Company's new production is directed by one of opera's most talked-about young directors, Dmitri Tcherniakov, whose The Metropolitan Opera in HD staging of Prince Igor recently wowed audiences worldwide.


           Don Giovanni DVD          Opera Canada          Don Giovanni           




      An Introduction to Mozart Don Giovanni              Opera Viva
 

 Be sure to visit NAXOS, the online music library available through Toronto Public Library, and listen to great music spanning medieval to modern - classical, jazz, electronic, world music and more, and find expert educational content.   
 

 

Got the Fever? /ɪˈlɛkʃən/ Fever?

October 20, 2014 | Ann | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Elections - City of Toronto website
Image courtesy of The City of Toronto website

Defining Election

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the general definition for the word election, (pronounced "ɪˈlɛkʃən") is as follows,

The formal choosing of a person for an office, dignity, or position of any kind; usually by the votes of a constituent body. (retrieved from OED.com on October 5, 2014)

On Monday, October 27, 2014, the polls will open and the people of the City of Toronto will have the opportunity to select a new mayor, a councillor to represent each of the 44 City Wards, and 3 school trustees during this municipal election.   A full list of election candidates is available for your perusal.

The link to where to vote is conveniently located on the ballot box below.

  MyVote link to search for your Ward #, ward map location, voting eligibility, ballot samples used, and voting locations

Image: (License: CC0 Public Domain / FAQ  Free for commercial use / No attribution required)

 

"Election Fever" with Guest Speaker, Edward Keenan

Prior to the official election date, North York Central Library is offering a program on Thursday, October 23, 2014 from 7 pm to 8 pm in the Concourse. 

The program is called, Election Fever: Exploring What Makes Our City Great with guest speaker, Edward Keenan who is currently involved in several notable professions including working as a columnist for The Toronto Star and as a talk show host at Newstalk radio 1010.   Please register by calling (416) 395-5660 to reserve a seat.

 

Edward Keenan programs and booksImage Courtesy of Edward Keenan

 

Edward Keenan is also a writer and author of the recently released (2013) book, Some Great Idea:  Good Neighbourhoods, Crazy Politics and the Invention of Toronto.  The Toronto Public Library offers print and e-book versions for your reading pleasure.  

 

Some Great Idea: Good Neighbourhoods, Crazy Politics and the Invention of Toronto by Edward Keenan

 

Suggested Titles to Feed the Election Fever

Come visit the Society and Recreation Department on the 3rd floor.  We have an excellent display of intriguing titles on social and political science encompassing Canada as well as specific books and magazines on Toronto.

 

Society & Recreation Department Display October 2014

 

As the energy for the upcoming municipal election reaches fever pitch, voters may also want to glance through resources pertaining to elections, votes, and political choices in Canada:

Dynasties and interludes: past and present in Canadian electoral politics by Lawrence LeDuc   Dominance & decline: making sense of recent Canadian elections by Elisabeth Gidengil Voting behaviour in Canada Fights of our lives: elections, leadership and the making of Canada by John Duffy
Parties, elections, and the future of Canadian politics by Amanda Bittner and Royce Koop Steps toward making every vote count: electoral system reform in Canada and its provinces by Henry Milner Making political choices: Canada and the United States by Harold D. Clarke The Canadian election studies: assessing four decades of influence by Antoine Bilodeau, Mebs Kanji, and Thomas J. Scotto

 

Enjoy the program, cultivate your knowledge with the best resources available, and select the most suitable candidates to serve the people of the City.

Canadian women win the right to vote...

October 15, 2014 | Aleks | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

The month of October is celebrated as Women's History Month!

The Toronto Daily Star- Canadian women win right to senate seats

Less then a hundred years ago, women were finally given the right to vote in a Dominion election. This was put into effect on January 1, 1919. Canada had held its first federal election where women were allowed to vote and run for Parliament in 1921. After this monumental achievement, women's groups started lobbying the federal government to appoint a woman to the Senate. The Government argued that only "qualified persons" could be appointed. The Act used the word "he" when referring to the individual, which some interpreted to mean that only men could legally be "persons". Emily Murphy of Edmonton, Alberta experienced this first hand in 1916 when on her first day of court, a defendant's lawyer challenged one of her rulings as a judge saying that she was not a "person" and did not qualified to act as a judge. 

Mass meeting for women You ask why we women Votes for women
Above images are from the Toronto Public Library Digital Archive collection.

 
It was only on October 18, 1929 that Canadian women were legally recognized as "persons". The date was declared "Persons Day" in Canada to mark the victory for equal rights. The success of this event comes from the ambition, the networking and the determination of The Famous Five. The group comprised of five relentless women: Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby and Nellie McClung. 

Women are Persons statue Parliament of Canada
Photo courtesy of Parliament of Canada
1938 unveiling of a plaque commemorating the five Alberta women whose efforts resulted in the Persons Case, which established the rights of women to hold public office in Canada
Photo courtesy of Library and Archives Canada

 

Malala_Yousafzai_at_Girl_Summit_2014
This file is licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0

Advocating for women's rights has been an ongoing battle ever since. Many countries around the world are seeing people speaking out for gender equality, even at a price. One of the more recent and famous cases is of Malala Yousafzai who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman two years ago on her way home from school. She stood up for her right to have an education in her home country of Pakistan. She received the Noble Peace Prize on October 10, 2014 for her work against suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education. Prime Minster Stephen Harper has announced that Malala will be coming to Canada on October 22, 2014 to receive a honorary Canadian Citizenship. 

 

On Saturday September 20, 2014, Emma Watson delivered a rousing speech about equal rights, gender stereotypes, and the meaning of feminism to promote the launch of a new U.N. Movement for Gender Equality campaign called HeForShe. In her speech she clarifies what women's rights stands for and corrects any misunderstandings. She calls the voices of both men and women in this fight because it is not just one gender's battle. It was quite shocking to listen as she eloquently stated that, "...sadly I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to receive these rights. No country in the world can yet say they have achieved gender equality." I believe that one of the great strengths of the public library is that it provides voices to all persons.

 

 normaljean2

License  - Standard YouTube License

You can find the voices of many people willing to speak up regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation and more at the library. There are many strong voices out there and below are some books that are inspirational reads on women's struggles and triumphs in light of this month's celebration of Women's History.

A Thousand Splendid Suns A Woman Among Warlords- The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice The good girls revolt - how the women of Newsweek sued their bosses and changed the workplace Mayada, Daughter of Iraq- One Woman's Survival Under Saddam Hussein I am Malala

 

Lean in - women, work, and the will to lead The Invention of Wings A vindication of the rights of woman Infidel Half the sky - turning oppression into opportunity for women worldwide

Great Art Series Talk: "Below the Surface: Paul Kane's First Brush"

October 10, 2014 | Muriel | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

 Great Art Series Talk:

"Below the Surface: Paul Kane's First Brush"

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.

North York Central Library Auditorium


 

 

Infrared reflectography makes visible the underpaintings that an artist may have rendered during the initial development of a painting - the artist's first brush.  New research using infrared reflectography - that recorded the entire Paul Kane collection at the Royal Ontario Museum - exposed Canadian artist Paul Kane's thinking during his studio period revealing his sense of art and documentation, the development of his aesthetic values, his reponse to patronage pressure, and his steadfastness to a realized vision. 

Speaker: Kenneth R. Lister, Assistant Curator of Anthropology, Department of World Cultures, Royal Ontario Museum

You can visit the Royal Ontario Museum for free with a
Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass.



The First Brush Paul Kane and Infrared Reflectography      Paul Kane the Artist Wilderness to Studio      Wanderings of an Artist Among the Indians of North America



 

Get Real: Great Documentaries on DVD

October 6, 2014 | Viveca | Comments (6) Facebook Twitter More...

Prefer your cinema....vérité? Hundreds of great documentaries are available from the Toronto Public Library. While feature films hog the spotlight, documentaries shine the spotlight on their subjects, presenting a version of reality that will entertain, enlighten, and on occasion, even enrage you. Check out the large collection available at the North York Central Library. Here's a choice selection:

20 Feet From Stardom Joan Rivers A Piece of Work Searching For Sugerman Man on Wire Being Elmo

20 Feet From Stardom: Winner of the 2013 Oscar for Best Documentary, Morgan Neville's film honours the sublimely talented backup singers who performed with the biggest names in Motown and rock and roll. Watch Merry Clayton re-live the night the Rolling Stones got her out of bed to record Gimme Shelter. You will get chills listening to her haunting howl that made Mick holler out loud in the recording booth. 

Joan Rivers: A Piece of WorkThe late, great Joan Rivers as you have never seen her before. Ms Rivers walks us through the serious business of comedy and the reality of being an (older) female comic. Directed by Riki Stern and Anne Sundberg. Highly recommended. 

Searching For Sugar Man: Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul follows fans in search of an enigmatic musician, Sixto Rodriguez, who may or may not be dead. This critically acclaimed film won many awards including an Oscar. Sadly, Bendjelloul committed suicide a year after the film's release. 

Man on WireThis Oscar-winning British documentary follows Phillipe Petit's 1974 (highly illegal) death-defying high wire walk between the doomed twin towers of the World Trade Centre. You have to see it to believe it. 

Being ElmoKevin Clash's talent for puppeteering at a young age caught the eye of Jim Henson, the Muppets' creator. Clash went on to invent Elmo, a furry red monster with a high voice. Clash became separated forever from his beloved creation when he left Sesame Street after ongoing controversy in his personal life. Also available in eVideo.

Boxing Girls of Kabul The World Before Her Narco Cultura When Jews Were Funny Blackfish

The Boxing Girls of KabulCanadian director Ariel Nasr examines the challenges faced by an extraordinary group of young female boxers in Afghanistan who hope to represent their country one day at the Olympics. 

The World Before Her: A Canadian documentary about two young Indian women on two very different paths: one is vying to be Miss India, the other trains to join a Hindu nationalist group. Directed by Nisha Pahuja, this film won Best Canadian Feature at the Hot Docs Film Festival. 

Narco CulturaThis film directed by Shaul Schwarz explores the phenomenon of Mexican drug lords glorified in local pop culture via narcocorrido music. More Breaking Bad than Bieber, these 'heroes' are truly terrifying.

When Jews Were Funny: Canadian filmmaker Alan Zweig tells the story of Jewish comedians from the Borscht Belt to present day. Be prepared to laugh your kishkas off watching interviews and performances from the best in the biz. 

BlackfishThis film investigates killer whales in captivity. Focusing on Tilikum, an orca at Seaworld who had killed humans, this film is a passionate defense for exploited marine life. It has also caused waves in many industries - Pixar re-wrote the ending of its upcoming sequel to Finding Nemo because of this film.

Gasland Glickman I am Divine A Brony Tale Into the Abyss

Gasland: Director and activist Josh Fox investigates the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Winner of the Sundance Special Jury Prize, Fox has since released Gasland Part 2

Glickman: The story of the great Jesse Owens' experience at the 1936 Olympics under Hitler is well-known.  Less known is the story of Owens' teammate, Marty Glickman. Glickman, along with another Jewish-American athlete, was pulled from the team the day before his event. Owens protested, to no avail. Glickman went on to become a major figure in sports broadcasting. 

I am Divine: the Story of the Most Beautiful Woman in the World: Director Jeffrey Schwarz traces the life of the legendary Divine.  Born in Baltimore, Harris Glenn Milstead transformed from a bullied outsider to a trailblazing singer, actor and drag queen performer. 

A Brony Tale: Ashleigh Ball, a Canadian voice actor for the cartoon My Little Pony, finds herself an Internet star with legions of adoring fans. Not unusual - except that her fans are mostly Bronies, the male adult fans of the pretty pastel toy ponies. For more on this, watch Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony.

Into the Abyss - A Tale of Life, A Tale of DeathOne never expects films from renowned German filmmaker Werner Herzog to be fluffy.  And indeed, this film is no exception. Interviews with convicted murderer Michael Perry eight days before his execution, with the victim's family, and with law enforcement officials, make this a powerful exploration of the death penalty in the U.S. 

Related links:

Jeffery Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Jack the Ripper, the Zodiac Killer, and Charles Manson

September 29, 2014 | Aleks | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Police News: Jack the RipperRape, torture, and murder. Notorious villains that have inspired many investigators, journalists and authors to dig up the facts, no matter how grotesque, for readers (not for the faint-hearted).

True Crime -- the inexplicable curiosity to delve deeper into the bizarre, the horrific and the encrypted criminal cases. This genre of books brings readers together for their insatiable hunger to explore the facts, interviews and legal files of some of the most notable events in criminal history.   

Recently, the Toronto Star reported that an enthusiast, Russell Edwards has finally solved the age old case of Jack the Ripper. An old blood-soaked shawl found near one of the prostitutes, Catherine Eddowes, had been put up for auction recently. The Ripper-ologist had snagged it and then brought it in for forensic testing. After some investigative work, he believes that he has found proof about the identity of the legendary serial killer. Edwards has been working on the case for the last 14 years and this single piece of forensic evidence adds definitive answer to his new book about the murders.

Although, the most frightening of cases are those too close to home. Recently Global News reported that the jury for the murder trial of Luka Magnotta has been selected. The trial is to be begin on Monday September 29, 2014 at 9:30 am EST. Magnotta has been charged with the first-degree murder in connection to the May 2012 slaying and dismemberment of 33-year-old Jun Lin, a Chinese engineering student. 

  Fingerprints taken by William James Herschel (1859-1860)

This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.

 

Close to home: Canadian True Crime 

Through the glass by Shannon Moroney

Through the glass

A criminal story taken from a different perspective, that of an unsuspecting wife. Shannon Moroney is a newlywed that has her world turned upside down when a police officer arrives at her door to tell her that her husband, Jason, has been arrested and charged with brutally assaulting and kidnapping of two women. In her autobiography she recounts the devastating effects of living with such a harrowing shadow cast by her husband and the healing process that she undergoes.

• eBook

 

Devil among us : how Canada failed to stop a pedofile by Mike McIntyre  

Devil among us how Canada failed to stop a pedofilePeter Whitmore, a notorious pedophile with a horrendous criminal record, shocked the nation when he kidnaps two young Prairie boys in 2006. Mike McIntyre tracks the movements of Peter Whitmore through legal files and interviews as he crosses Canada leaving a trail of records that question the reasoning of why the Canadian legal system allowed such an offender to slip the cracks for so long.

 

 

Post-mortem : justice at last for Yvette Budram by Jon Wells

Post-mortem justice at last for Yvette BudramThe remains of a near-mummified skeleton is found by a jogger on a country road near the African Lion Safari theme park in Southern Ontario. The forensics experts concluded that it was a female victim, non-Caucasian and foul play had led to her death. Jon Wells takes the reader past the yellow tape into the real-life crime scene investigation, the interviews of investigators and with the killer himself.


eBook

 

Famous Cases

Famous cases account legendary criminals that had made headlines for those readers itching to know more about the infamous crimes.

 

Finding me : a decade of darkness, a life reclaimed by Michelle Knight

Finding me  a decade of darkness, a life reclaimed

As a single young mother, Michelle had been kidnapped by a local school bus driver named Ariel Castro. She would undergo unimaginable torture by her captor for the next decade. Amanda Berry joined her in 2003 and Gina DeJesus in 2004 as the three women were held together in captivity. Headlines were made around the world when they had made their escape on May 6, 2013. Finding Me is the heartbreaking detailed story of her life through imprisonment and her efforts on building a new life.

eBook 
eAudiobook

 

Historical Crimes

Murder, robbery, prison breaks, all these types can be found on the historical crimes list which document cases that occurred before 1970.

 

Blood acres: the wild ride of Benny Binion , the Texas gangster who created Vegas poker by Doug J. Swanson

Blood acres the wild ride of Benny Binion , the Texas gangster who created Vegas poker This fast-paced thriller of a spectacular story follows Benny Binion on his stage of murder, money, and the making of Las Vegas. He had been a cowboy, a pioneering casino owner, a gangster, a killer, and a founder of the World Series of Poker. Binion is depicted as one of the most revered figures in the history of gambling that would come to dominate the Vegas scene. Journalist Doug J. Swanson reveals once-secret government documents to construct the story of Binion as he destroys his rivals and adversaries.

 

 

Catching Killers 

The thrill of catching killers takes a reader through the discoveries of profilers and forensics pros to help crack a case of a mind game or the slightest trace of evidence that catches a real-life killer.

 

Stiff : the curious lives of human cadavers by Mary Roach

Stiff the curious lives of human cadavers by Mary RoachThe oddly compelling, often darkly humorous exploration of our bodies’ postmortem, Stiff looks into the thousand year art of cadavers. From testing France’s first guillotine to riding the NASA Space Shuttle, cadavers have found many interesting ways to research new surgical procedures over the centuries. Mary Roach uses engaging, witty and thoughtful writing to bring to light the story of our bodies after we are no longer with them.

Audiobook
eAudiobook

 

The poisoner’s handbook : murder and the birth of forensic medicine in jazz age New York by Deborah Blum

The poisoner’s handbook  murder and the birth of forensic medicine in jazz age New YorkThe Jazz Age of poisoning cases chronicles the story of New York City’s first forensic scientists as they begin their chemical detective work during an era when poisons were untraceable making it the nearly perfect crime. Charles Norris and Alexander Gettler investigate a family mysteriously stricken bald, Barnum and Bailey’s Famous Blue Man,   factory workers with crumbling bones, a diner serving poisoned pies and many others.

 

Largeprint
Talking Book
eBook
eAudiobook

Sustaining Hope Through Architectural Innovation

September 26, 2014 | Maureen | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

How many times have you noticed paper tossed into a garbage bin, even though there is a clearly marked recycling bin right beside it? Maybe your answer is the same as mine – which is, too many times to count. The distance from one bin to the other is less than the distance a person’s arm travels between a potato chip bag and their mouth. The tiny legs of an ant can travel it in a couple of seconds. If the slight arm movement needed to cover a few centimeters is too much effort to make for the sake of the environment, how realistic is it to hope we'll make the bigger changes needed to ensure a healthy planet? Thinking about those few centimeters can be unhealthy for my sense of hope.

It's hard to be optimistic about theSept 22 2014 health of the environment these days, but there are reasons for hope. The hundreds of thousands of people all over the world who participated in The People's Climate March on September 21 made me forget about the indifference I see in those few centimeters between the bins. Another hopeful sign is innovation in the field of sustainable architecture. On Wednesday, October 15 Terri Meyer Boake, a professor at University of Waterloo's School of Architecture, will give a presentation on sustainable architecture and design at North York Central Library. Professor Meyer Boake will illustrate the talk with many images. It's sure to be an interesting and hope inspiring night. The talk begins at 7:00 p.m. Please call 416-395-5639 to register for this free program.                            

Marchers filled the streets of New York. Creative Commons: Greg McNevin, 2014 - See more at: http://tcktcktck.org/2014/09/hundreds-thousands-take-streets-climate-action/64529#sthash.oIxqehw2.dpuf

If you have an interest in sustainable architecture, you may be interested in one of these items, available at the Toronto Public Library:

Marchers filled the streets of New York. Creative Commons: Greg McNevin, 2014 - See more at: http://tcktcktck.org/2014/09/hundreds-thousands-take-streets-climate-action/64529#sthash.oIxqehw2.dpuf
Marchers filled the streets of New York. Creative Commons: Greg McNevin, 2014 - See more at: http://tcktcktck.org/2014/09/hundreds-thousands-take-streets-climate-action/64529#sthash.oIxqehw2.dpuf
Tiny, a story about living small Inovative Houses, Concepts for Sustainable Living 150 best sustainable home ideas
Sustainable design, a critical guide Prefabulous homes, energy efficient and sustainable homes around the globe Inspired homes, architecture for changing times

Photo of People's Climate Change March in New York City used with permission by Avaaz.org

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

 

Add a Pinch of Seasoning to Your Autumn Travels

September 15, 2014 | Ann | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

More beautiful images by Ian Muttoo on Flickr
Rays of autumn light in Trinity Square, Toronto. Photo credit: Ian Muttoo (This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.)

There is only one week of summer remaining. Labour Day may have unofficially marked the arrival of Autumn, but the Fall Equinox begins on September 22nd.  

Daylight hours continue to shorten, skies continue to darken, and outdoor temperatures continue to plummet. Sweaters, long pants, and warm fuzzy hats become more necessary for enduring the impending cold. Autumn also proclaims the return of bountiful harvests, cozy blankets, hot apple cider, fresh pumpkin pie, crackling embers aglow in wood burning fireplaces, and quiet time for introspection.  Wikihow offers more ways to celebrate the Autumn season.  

The most remarkable Autumn phenomenon occurs to the deciduous trees in North America. The green leaves change to reds, yellows, and golds in a natural colourful array. SUNY-ESF offers a good explanation for the changing colours.

The places to witness the changing leaf colours include: 

For more scenic places to travel in Ontario, have a look at the following guidebooks:

Backroad mapbook, cottage country Ontario outdoor recreation guide by Mussio Russell A paddler's guide to Algonquin Park by Kevin Callan The explorer's guide to Algonquin Park by Michael Runtz Great country walks around Toronto - within reach by public transit by Elliott Katz
A camper's guide to Ontario's best parks by Donna May Gibbs Carpenter Ontario provincial parks trail guide by Allen MacPherson A camper's guide to Ontario's best parks by Donna May Gibbs Carpenter A paddler's guide to Quetico and beyond by Kevin Callan

 

If you would like to add some haut goût to your Fall reading, try these historical titles from various disciplines. Some topics below may agree with your taste:

Seasons in the sun - the battle for Britain, 1974-1979 by Dominic Sandbrook Five seasons - a baseball companion by Roger Angell Season of the witch - enchantment, terror, and deliverance in the city of love by David Talbot A season of splendor - the court of Mrs. Astor in gilded age New York by Greg King
Early in the season - a British Columbia journal by Edward Hoagland Fifty seasons at Stratford by Robert Cushman Fever season - the story of a terrifying epidemic and the people who saved a city by Jeanette Keith Seasons of misery - catastrophe and colonial settlement in early America by Kathleen Donegan

 

Enjoy the changing fall colours and the many notable rituals, events, and celebrations pertaining to the Autumn season before the snow dusts the ground. 

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