Brian X. Chen writes: “Firefox is back. Mozilla released a new version late in 2017, code-named Quantum. It is sleekly designed and fast; Mozilla said the revamped Firefox consumes less memory than the competition, meaning you can fire up lots of tabs and browsing will still feel buttery smooth. Most notably, Firefox now offers privacy tools, like a built-in feature for blocking ad trackers and a ‘container’ that can be installed to prevent Facebook from monitoring your activities across the web.”
New York Times, June 20
An illuminated manuscript is a handwritten book in which the text is decorated in gold or silver and the pages are filled with illustrations and decorative motifs. Due to the amount of work involved in creating them, illuminated manuscripts have been regarded throughout history as valuable religious relics. Contemporary historians see them as dazzling works of art, while collectors often seek out individual leaves for decorative purposes as they are among the most affordable artifacts from the pre-Renaissance period.
In Good Taste, June 18
The “Scrap House” memorial to Hurricane Katrina was built by New Orleans artist Sally Heller, and unveiled on August 29, 2009, the fourth anniversary of the storm. It stands across the street from the city’s Convention Center, where many refugees lived after their homes were destroyed. The battered shack in the limbs of the tree has its porch light knocked askew. Mardi Gras beads hang from its eaves and gutters, apparently heaved there by visitors.
Ian McNulty writes: “Sometimes it seems like Louisiana speaks its own language in the kitchen. Gumbo, jambalaya, étouffée? These words just don’t come up much in everyday American cooking. Fortunately, the best way to learn Louisiana’s edible lingo is simply to sit down and start eating. There’s a good chance gumbo will be on the menu. This rich, stew-like dish turns up everywhere, though there’s nothing standard about it.”
Torsten Adair writes: “Once again, librarians of all sorts are converging on New Orleans for the 2018 ALA Annual Conference. ALA was one of the first organizations to book a convention in a city recovering from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, for its 2006 Annual Conference. They returned in 2011 to a city still rebuilding. It was this conference that tested the concept of an Artist Alley, where comics artists could exhibit and sell merchandise directly to librarians, who have long known that comics are a gateway drug to literacy.”
The Beat, June 21
Mark Ray writes: “In 2013, I was asked to be part of Project Connect, a Follett School Solutions initiative exploring the role of school libraries in 21st-century schools. That pioneering work led to Future Ready Librarians, an extension of the national Future Ready Schools initiative at the Alliance for Excellent Education. Future Ready Librarians are essential leaders and educators in 21st-century schools. They offer students, teachers, and administrators an inimitable combination of skills and abilities.”
eSchool News, June 20
Kelsey Wiggins writes: “Throughout history, there are many examples of world leaders who for their gender expressions and sexual orientations would today be seen as members of the LGBTQ community. In some regions or eras, a range of expressions of gender and sexuality were accepted and even encouraged. These historic LGBTQ rulers have been immortalized through coins from their eras. The National Numismatic Collection has several examples of such coins.”
O Say Can You See?, June 20