23
Nov09

Get Started today with SimplyMap-A New Snell Library Trial

Posted by: Amy Lewontin

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simplymap

SimplyMap is a very exciting new web-based mapping application that lets you quickly create professional-quality thematic maps and reports, using thousands of US demographic, business and marketing data variables. Want to know the top 10 wealthiest ZIP codes in Massachusetts or Maine? How about the top 25 counties in California with the most elderly residents? With SimplyMap, the answers are at your fingertips.

SimplyMap includes all kinds of variables such as consumer expenditures, quality of life, retail sales, CPI, employment, education, income, housing, population, race, language, ethnicity, ancestry and transportation.  All can be built into your map!

Note: In order to save your work on SimplyMap, you need to create a free account.  All Northeastern students, faculty and staff are welcome this month to get started and create their accounts and save their work, or download it!  Please create your accounts from on-campus to get started, and then you will be able to use it from home.

To get started today, visit the Library’s trial page for SimplyMap

Posted in: Business, Library News and Events, Research Online

20
Nov09

Great Name = $100!

Posted by: Amanda Rust

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Win $100 for the NU Bookstore in a naming contest for a new comfy reading area in Snell Library.

Thanks for your interest, but as of midnight December 9th we are no longer accepting submissions. We’ll choose a new name and notify the winner by December 21st, and please come visit the new collection when it’s done!

We’re excited to announce a new better-than-ever leisure reading collection right in the heart of Snell Library. Coming in Spring 2010, you will star gaze upon bestsellers, literary fiction, graphic novels, DVDs, and prize-winning non-fiction all in the same place. We hope this new area becomes your first stop when you need an ohhhm break, are searching for that special book to challenge you, expand your horizons, or simply to make you laugh out loud.

The winning name will be used on the Library’s website as well as on signs. The winner receives: A) immense personal satisfaction and B) $100 gift card to the NU Bookstore.

To enter, see rules and submission form at http://www.lib.neu.edu/namingcontest.

Thanks for your participation! Questions? Contact Maria Carpenter at m.carpenter@neu.edu or 617-373-2821.

Posted in: Library News and Events, Read, Listen, Watch

17
Nov09

Should screenplays be read?

Posted by: damong

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The opening of Paul Schrader’s screenplay to Taxi Driver is a powerful one, an unabashedly visual character study. It starts with:

Travis Bickle, aged twenty-six, the consummate loner. On the surface he appears good looking, even handsome; he has a quiet steady look and a disarming smile which flashes from nowhere, lighting up his whole face. But behind that smile, around his dark eyes, in his gaunt cheeks, one can see the ominous strains caused by a life of private fear, emptiness and loneliness. He seems to have wandered in from a land where it is always cold, a country where the inhabitants seldom speak. The head moves, the expression changes, but the eyes remain ever-fixed, unblinking, piercing empty space.

This is a combination of adjectives, similes and facial description that has been used time and time again, not just in screenplays. But the techniques natural home seems to be screenwriting; screenplays need to be both concrete and suggestive, and not much else. The actor needs material to extrapolate on and the director needs a picture to form in his head.

In the following paragraph, Travis is described in greater detail: “He wears rider jeans, cowboy boots, a plaid western shirt and a worn beige Army jacket with a patch reading ‘King Kong Company, 1968-70.‘”

All of this makes for great reading in itself and the finished product, the film Taxi Driver(1976), consequently makes for fascinating viewing. But that is just the issue; a screenplay is only a part of a sum. In the end, it is the director who brings the actual film to life. The director and screenwriter may be the same person (in the case of Taxi Driver, they are not), but the screenplay remains only part of the advancement. It is a mean, and not an end.

Snell Library has a good collection of diverse and interesting screenplays: Mike Leigh’s Topsy Turvy, Alain Robbe-Grillet’s Last Year at Marienbad, Ingmar Bergman’s Persona. Yet as a movie-goer and screenwriter myself, I sometimes question how necessary they are for the general public. Ideally, a screenplay is just for the director, the actors and the film crews. It is not literature; it is not meant to expand knowledge or ‘open minds,’ it is meant to provide a framework for moving imagery. This should be the first task on a screenwriter’s mind, rather than providing entertainment, or food for thought, for the general readership. Thus the notion of publishing screenplays has led to the intention of having them published even prior to the making of the film. This in turn has led to screenwriter arrogance and overzealousness. The Coen Brothers publish anthologies of their screenplays; Werner Herzog has boasted of his screenplays, which he publishes himself, as being “new forms of literature.” Charlie Kaufman, the newest, hippest screenwriter to get name recognition, is hailed as a screenwriter with a distinctive style that shines through in each film he makes. As a result, he has the inclination to write the same film again and again, with different elements of genre-bending, and louder levels of zaniness being shook up in a jar and spilled on to a page.

There may be a value to reading screenplays. They are interesting insofar as they give a glimpse in to a film’s development. It is interesting, for instance, to read scenes that were left out of the film, or details that did not come to pass. A writer named David Kipen has written a book called The Schreiber Theory, posing the idea that it is screenwriter, not directors, who are more accurately the author’s of their films. Whether or not this theory holds true does not excuse the fact that screenplays are parts and not sums.

I would encourage readers to be cautious when reading screenplays. One must at least realize that screenplays are, as Ingmar Bergman put it, “skeletons” through which images should flow. Taxi Driver is one pretty skeleton. Perhaps we should keep it in it’s closet.

Posted in: Read, Listen, Watch, Serendipity

12
Nov09

Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet

Posted by: Stephanie Knutson

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If you’ve ever wondered why “going green” and “sustainability” have become such big issues, Mark Lynas’ book, Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet, should definitely be on your reading list. Lynas read tens of thousands of scientific articles about global climate change and its potential consequences in preparation for writing this book. He took all of that information and broke it down by degree. Each chapter in the book lays out the likely results of an additional degree Celsius of average global temperature.

The chapter on one degree of warming details changes in climate that we are already beginning to see: increases in floods in some places and droughts in others, the loss of Arctic and glacier ice, loss of biodiversity. By the time he gets to six degrees Celsius of average temperature increase, Lynas is describing a world unlike any most of us can imagine living in. This level of warming would cause plant and animal extinctions on a scale not seen since the time of the dinosaurs. This would be a world that was extremely hostile to human life, in which we would struggle to keep ourselves sheltered and fed in an increasingly chaotic environment.

Lynas is optimistic about our ability to avert disaster on the six-degree scale, but only if we can control our levels of greenhouse gas emissions before we get to three degrees. At that point, we begin to reach a series of tipping points that will send the climate careening out of control and emissions cuts will no longer make any discernable difference. So, if you’ve wondered at all about why this sustainability stuff is important or what’s really at stake, I would strongly recommend that you read this book.

Posted in: Green Piece, Read, Listen, Watch, Sustainability

10
Nov09

Is Everything Black and White?: Art Exhibit Nov. 12

Posted by: RJ Duggan

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The pleasure of your company is requested at the opening of the art exhibition:

IS EVERYTHING BLACK AND WHITE?

Selected works from the Arthur S. Goldberg Collection

 Thursday, November 12 @ 6 pm

 Gallery tour with Arthur S. Goldberg, MEd’65

Gallery 360, Ell Hall

Art preview and reception at 421 Snell Library to follow

Complimentary parking validation will be provided for the Gainsborough Parking Garage.  

Please reply to Sylvette Di Martino at 617.373.7630 or s.dimartino@neu.edu.

Visit http://www.northeastern.edu/campusmap/ for directions.

 

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Posted in: Library News and Events