Showing posts from October, 2011

Halloween image of the past

Here's an image from the Norm Lyon collection when he worked for the Mount Pleasant Daily Times, a newspaper, in the 1930s. It shows a Mount Pleasant, Mich. gift store's windows painted for Halloween. Scenes include a witch riding a broomstick with a cat, and a full  moon, and a field with bare tree. I wonder how much it cost then to park at the meter. A penny? Happy Halloween everyone.

US satellite hacked

The BBCNews reports today that 2 U.S. satellites were hacked 4 times between 2007 and 2008. Experts believe that  they were hacked through a ground station in Norway which is linked to the Internet. The  experts provide some interesting thoughts about security and how the satellites today provide infrastructure for national and international commercial and governmental operations. Today our government and military computer systems are not stand alone, but linked with and to publicly accessible systems like the Internet. This report of hacking is very serious if it is actually true. Doesn't it remind you of a James Bond movie? A draft issued by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission blames China for the hacking of the satellites. To read this article click here  I would like to know why this is just getting out to the press now.

There have been many hacking reports of late. On Thrs CNN reported that 760 companies have been …

Blackbeard's cannon raised from sea after 300 years

For those who love archaeology, something from the homefront. Blackbeard's ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, was found off the N.C. coast. Many artifacts have been found including a large number of weapons. Here are images of one of the huge cannons being raised. I can't wait to visit the related museum! Click here to see the video

controversy over magician's house

One of the entertainment professions I ran across in my circus and carnival research was magic. There is of course the intriguing Magic Museum and the very fine research center on magic in Marshall. Indeed, internationally known magicians conduct research at the center. The links to MI and the Blackstone family are well known in the magic world. I read with interest in the BBCNews Oct. 22 that there is a home in Bangladesh of a very famous Indian magician named PC Sorcar. He died while performing in 1971. The name of his ancestral house  means magic house, Jadu Bhaban, in Bengali.   Developers now want to tear down his house. Don't buildings have historic status in India? Someone probably didn't file the requisite paperwork on time. Magicians are protesting the demolition of the house by holding magic shows in the area. Sorcar was a 7th-generation magician. I find this interesting because so many entertainment performers are part of families with very long history in performan…

Wikileaks stops publishing info, looking for funds to survive

Yesterday the BBCNews-Europe reported that Wikileaks has stopped publishing classified information.  W is now struggling to raise funds to continue its survival.  A number of financial companies refused to provide access to the company, depriving it of donations after W released classified government and diplomatic information which minimally embarrassed the US and possibly endangered lives and operations. W is beginning litigation action in several countries against the financial companies including Bank of America, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union. If they are fighting to survive, where are they going to get the funds to sue such financial giants? How the mighty W has fallen. Looking at history, in the past, a few important men controlled information and history, decided to go to war, but no more. The explosion of information, good and bad, on the internet and over various media, has changed that forever.  For more on this read the article at…

A new Stuxnet worm may be coming

BBCNews on Oct. 19 warned that researchers believe a new Stuxnet worm, Duqu, may be on the way to computers. The new worm creates files with the prefix DQ, thus the name. A security firm, Symantec, recognized the problem. Some parts of Duqu are almost the same as those of Stuxnet, so it may have been created by the same creator or someone with code access. It is designed to gather information from systems for a future attack, not to attack industrial systems itself, like Stuxnet did to Iran's nuclear production facilities. It is very sophisticated, clearly designed for one purpose. It is not an accident or the result of a hobbyist. Duqu is apparently designed to remain hidden within an infected computer and removes itself within 36 days. Part of the systems components include a stolen digital certificate to validate identity, in this case the certificate was stolen in Taiwan. The certificate has been revoked but it may be too late. I have written on my blog about the Stuxnet worm …

British government documents disposed of in public trash bin.

The BBCNews reported on Oct. 20th that British government documents were disposed of in trash bin by a Mr. Letwin, "who is responsible for developing policy across government" on his way to work over the last 6 weeks into garbage cans in a park. Apparently he read them on his way into work and being done with them, dumped them. He maintains that none of them were classified. The documents include parrliamentary papers, constitutents' letters, and correspondence between two senior Tory MPs about Parliament investigating claims as to what the UK knew about terrorists, specifically al-Quaeda in Pakistan. Clearly he doesn't know how to properly dispose of such materials. He should read his records manual!!!! If I was one of those constituents, I would be pretty ticked. The article does not say if they were originals or copies.  Letwin is being investigated as to if his behavior constituted a breach of national security. He says no. Isn't that comforting? Still, these…

British library criticized

The very respected British Library has a link on its site to Booksellers are mad because it takes business from local bookstores,  more than 800 have close din the past five years, of which 1/2 were independent. The BL defended itself by saying it gains no monetary reward and was trying to offer options to patrons. Will there be anyone left selling books but Amazon in the future? Isn't that called a monopoly? I love the convenience of Amazon. But, it is wonderful to wander through bookstores as well. So many are going under due to costs, competition, convenience, timeliness. How things change. Hmm.  For more on this read the article at

"Hugely significant" Viking burial found in Scotland

A Viking burial in Scotland included a boat, shield, knife, sword, and axe, symbols of an important warrior. Really cool. Click on BBCNews to read and see more.  Additional coverage about his other equipment and the boat he was buried with are in this article. Here's another article about it

hackers hit new low

Sesame Street's YouTube page was hacked by porn hackers. As someone once said to me,"that is lower than a snake full of buckshot." Within 20 minutes the site went offline. Here's an internationally respected child-centered,  child-affirming site someone wanted to take a stab at. The hacker's address was traced but the person found denies culpability. Perhaps it was someone using his id. How sad, but, unfortunately, not surprising. We will see more of this type of thing in the future I fear. I wonder how Ernie is taking all this. For more info the Oct. 16th  article is at CNN's Tech site.

Black Death genetically decoded

By extracting dental pulp from London plague victims' skeletal remains, scientists have reconstructed the genetic code of the bacterium. The plague killed about 50 million people between 1347 and 1351, and as we know, strongly negatively impacted the population, development of trade, agriculture, the arts, learning, faith, and so many other aspects of cultural life. While all that is very cool and interesting, here's the shocking news. All current strains in the world which exist today are all direct descendants of the Black Plague. And, it's current strains are in the world and still killing about 2,000 people a year.  Now that the genetic code has been reconstructed, scientists are looking at other major factors which may have contributed to the horrible destruction the Black Plague wrecked across Europe including its virulence, other pathogens that then existed, and the climate, among others. To read this fascinating article which involves history, science, and better u…

National Archives News

Did you know a new National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis will be dedicated on Sat. Oct 15th?  It is one of the largest operations of NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) and the repository for both military and civil service US govt employees.  It will have the capacity to store 2.3 million cubic ft of records. Imagine that much space full of records! Imagine finding 1 record in that place. They have over 100 million Official Military Personnel Files, Organization and Auxiliary files, and Official Personnel Folders of former civilian personnel who left service before 1973.  There are over 700 staff and 14 other federal agencies in the building. They have a state-of-the-art preservation lab for conservation, 2 large research rooms, exhibit spaces and various other meeting rooms. Too bad we can't join the dedication. I wonder if they shall eat cake.

For more information check out the National Archives news page at

Georgia ER Archivist Job announcement

Position Title: State Records Officer (SRO)   Location: Morrow, GA – Archives
Hiring Salary Range: $57,289.84- $78,707.37  Pay Grade: 20
Posting Date: Oct. 07, 2011  Application Deadline: Postmarked by Oct. 25, 2011
Announcement Number: 2011-0029  Position Number: 00127324

DESCRIPTION: The State Records Officer (SRO) plans, organizes, directs, and evaluates the Digital Archives of Georgia, statewide records management programs, and the State Records Center, as part of the Division of Archives and History. The SRO works closely with Division staff and with state and local government agencies throughout Georgia. This position is a highly visible with statewide influence on the direction of digital and information management  programs in Georgia that requires the ability to think strategically and innovatively, extensive knowledge of records management and digital archives, and the ability to work well with colleagues, government employees, and elected officials.  

DUTIES   Manages the d…

Computer virus repeatedly hitting US drone fleet

I read an interesting article in CNN Mon about a computer virus which has hit and continues to hit and re-hit the US drone fleet. The virus is in every cockpit of US Predator and Reaper drones. These are the drones fighting our enemies overseas. It records every keystroke while the pilots fly missions. It was detected nearly 2 weeks ago and all efforts to remove it have failed and continue to fail. US officials don't know if it is benign malware or not. You would think they would find out, wouldn't you? If I was the head military brass I'd call the CEO of the manufacturer of the electronic system and have them run a diagnostic check and get an answer now.  If I was a pilot flying over Afghanistan and my every move was recorded, it would make me nervous. I might think it likely someone was trying to 1) trail me and shoot me down 2) determine my target 3) destroy the functionality of my drone, or 4) learn how to control all the drones of my drone's type. Further in the a…

Gov. Snyder fights cyber crime

MI Gov. Snyder has a plan to fight cyber crime. He wants to start a command center for emergencies and a response team to support state govt and "critical" businesses and agencies if they are hacked. "Critical" is not defined in the article.  I wonder if his idea of what constitutes "Critical" is the same as mine. It would be great if MI could get involved with effective cybersecurity. To do this, you need educated and trained people following mandates that work from other states. So, this is not an idea which will end our unemployment issues or help the undereducated. I would like to know how he plans to pay for this command center and response team. The MI State Police are to coordinate emergency cyber responses through the command post. Funding for the MSP was just cut. Government and universities are to work together and develop high school and college curriculums for the field. Does that mean the colleges and high schools, get funding for this? How m…

White House executive order to stop cyber leaks.

Two interesting news bits about cyber crime or security showed up over the weekend. One I will post now, one tomorrow.

On Friday, the White House issued an executive order to stop the leak of classified information. The order includes a 7-month review of government protected classified info, establishing a task force to deter "insider threats" or leaks by US govt employees. There is another committee to report to the president as to the progress being made by each agency.  This results from Army Pfc. Bradley Manning leaking confidential State Dept. records in May 2010, and undoubtedly the increasing number of cyberattacks American governmental units and companies have faced recently. There is already debate about how slow this is in coming and how effective it will be, but it does change the responsibility from IT to leadership, which is important. In government, stuff that is enforced at the top usually trickles down, not the other way around. The article was in the HuffPo …

Nazi death camp guard investigations to be reopened in Germany

What is probably the last effort to build cases against Nazi death camp guards who are still alive is beginning in Germany. The conviction of John Demjanjuk in Oct. 2011 is the catalyst behind this decision to reopen Nazi death camp guard case files and move forward. Investigators believe that hundreds of suspects are still alive and free. Demjanjuk was convicted of being a guard at a death camp and an accessory to murder of 28,000 people. They will revisit primary source materials documenting the camps, mass murders, testimonies, photographs, etc. Yad Vashem's collections in Israel will likely be the main sources of evidence. Sometimes archives document unpleasant events and people, but if we didn't prosecutions like this wouldn't happen. For more information see the cnn article at

Steve Jobs is dead

A major creator and visionary of computers and information has died, Steve Jobs. His impact on information will affect archivists and users of his products into the future and his effect on other information visionaries will remain ongoing, both the good and the bad.

I don't own anything Jobs invented. I don't have an Apple, now do I use one at work, nor do I own an iPod, iPad, or iPhone. And I don't Tweet. I don't want to. I don't see the point. Great products, but I don't need them. My arty friends in college and the people I knew at PHMC used Apples to create images and glossy image-filled periodicals, unlike the rest of us who used IBMs or more recently Dells. Most people I know who own Apples love them. I'm happy for them.

I don't always want to be so connected, sometimes I long for peace and quiet. I am not interested in being connected to everyone every second so I can read how they burned their bagel or can't find a parking space or they hav…

report from one of my summer intern students, Veronica Rohr.

This 2011 summer, I helped archive the Jonathan Boyce Lumber Company records at the Clarke Historical Library.  I had been interested in a career in archiving before my internship, and my experience solidified my goals.  

I spent my time organizing alphabetically and chronologically the company's business correspondences, advertisements, financial records and personal correspondences of Jonathan Boyce.  While sifting through the dirt and papers, I learned about Jonathan Boyce, his business, and his personal life.  I organized and took detailed notes of photographs of Boyce's farm, lumber camps, ships, and family.  The faces in the photographs that made me think about the lives of those portrayed, and my interest grew in the history I was uncovering. 
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Clarke Historical, enjoyed the work, and the people.  I looked forward to going in everyday, and loved the mystery that slowly unraveled as our work continued. I now look to finish school, and s…

Archivist's serenity prayer

Archivist's serenity prayer. Thanks to Jennie Thomas for posting it.

The Archivist's Serenity Prayer: Grant me the serenity to accept the collections I cannot decline, Courage to decline the collections I can, And the funding to process the backlog.