Showing posts from July, 2015

New megacomputer for US

Recently the Saudis built a supercomputer and by this action became one of the top ten nations with a mega high performance computer. The nation with the #1 high performance computer is China.  On Weds., July 29th, Pres. Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI). The NSCI will use "strengths" from various government units to develop an American supercomputer to "advance core technologies ... solve ...computational problems." The goal is that this will happen in the next 10 years and that the new American supercomputer will outrank [and therefore outmaneuver] the others mega computers of the world. If we don't develop it, we will fall behind the other nations. That would really blow to American pride, ingenuity, and we would remain prey to hackers. We may still remain prey, but we will likely feel more superior regardless. It is hoped the new computer will help with "complex simulations and scientific re…

half of the world's online users are on FB

At least monthly, if not more often, half (1.49 billion) of the world's  online users (3 billion) check into Facebook. In the US people spend 1 out of every five minutes on their smartphones on FB. Over 65% use it daily. As the number of users soar, so too does FB stock value and the impact FB makes on many people and the world. These stats are fascinating. I'm sure FB could give us stats about which age group (I'm guessing teen girls) are the most avid users, what are the trendy topics, how many hours/day people are actively engaged, how many selfies are shared, etc. I wish that every time you checked into FB you actually learned something positive that was helpful to you. I don't really think anyone is on FB to learn, just to connect and share idle info and look cool. Every time there is an option to share info or change  the way your image looks people do it. Nobody cares what your vacation was like, but we all share info about it regardless. Where is FB going in th…

Jamestown skeletons found and tested

Skeletons of four of the earliest leaders of Jamestown were found in 2011 when the site of the original 1608 church was found and excavated. The skeletons were found buried in the church's chancel, a high status burial area. In 2013 the archaeologists returned to find the graves and see if they could determine their identity. Tests and research in records to identify them took two years. Now archaeologists know that two of the skeletons are of men from the first expedition to arrive in Jamestown in 1607 including: the first Anglican minister in America, Rev. Robert Hunt, who arrived in 1607 and died within a year of arriving, and Capt. Gabriel Archer who hated Capt. John Smith. The other two skeletons are of men who arrived in the [fourth] 1610 expedition including: Sir Ferdinando Wainman who died shortly are arrival, becoming the first knight buried in the new world, and his relative, Capt. William West, who was later killed by Indians. Both West and Wainman were buried in coffin…


While we all know of Stone Henge, there are also many other henges in the world. Two of them, Marden and Wilsford henges, near Wiltshire, England, are being excavated as part of a 3-year cooperative effort between several historical and academic institutions. These two henges do not have huge stones anymore like their neighbor, Stone Henge, rather they consists now solely of large earth formations which are clearly man made in the middle of what has become farm country. A number of artifacts have already been found. Recent excavation at Wilsford henge found a 4,000 year old Bronze Age skeleton with a necklace of amber, probably a child's skeleton. Everyone is excited and hope tests will show the child lived nearby. Read more about it here

FB loses another court battle to protect personal data

FB just lost what may prove to be an important case in NY state court of appeals. FB wished to not honor broad search warrants in order to protect users digital information. The search warrants were issued in a large social security fraud investigation case. Privacy rights advocates are concerned that all the data collected will be kept for an unspecified amount of time, and that for some of the people whose data is being collected there is no plan to charge them with a criminal offense, so why collect their data? The case is against 100+ NY city retired cops and firefighters who authorities believed lied about their physical and mental conditions, which can be disproved by their social media accounts, in order to get benefits they don't deserve totaling nearly $25 million. The feds requested access to the social media accounts of 381 people, but only 62 were charged in the case. 108 have so far pled guilty. The feds demanded that FB turn over all the data, without informing the p…

what do you have that is hackable?

Here are info systems on your stuff that can be controlled by forces other than yourself. Car breaks in a Jeep Cherokee can be hacked by digital radio broadcasts hacking car entertainment systems. Read more about it here  Smartwatchs also may have security problems with passwords and data encryption. Read more about it here  The latest update is 1.5 million vehicles are being recalled due to the Jeep hacking incident. Read more about it here

Chrysler is now recalling hackable cars. There are 1.4 million of them including models of Vipers, Rams, jeeps, Durango, Chargers and Challenger. Read more about it here

blog entry from my student intern Andrea Meyers

ultimate museum item: Neil Armstrong's space suit

If you are Neil Armstrong's space suit in which humanity first walked on the moon, you are beginning to fall apart, you need some conservation work. Fundraising efforts are underway to conserve the suit. An estimated $500,000 is needed. Don't all museums wish they had such an iconic item with which they could lead a campaign fund? To see a picture of Armstrong looking totally 100% the American hero that he is and to read more about it click here

Early Koran fragment found

Birmingham U in the UK has discovered in its collections what it believes to be one of the oldest known fragments of a Koran. This one is so old that specialists believe it very possible that the person who wrote them could have lived at the same time as the Prophet Muhammad. The parchment dates between 568 and 645 A.D. Muslims believe that the Koran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad between 610 and 632 A.D. A final version of the Koran in book form was completed about 650 A.D. The fragment volume is written in an early form of written Arabic called Hijazi script. BU plans to display the fragments in October. The Koran fragments volume is part of the Alphonse Mingana Collection of over 3,000 Middle Eastern books and documents collected in the Middle East in the 1920s by Mingana, who was an Iraqi Chaldean priest. Read more about it here

Federal system remains at high risk to hackers

Federal personnel files remain vulnerable to hackers according to an audit completed Friday July 17th. This does not bode well.  Three Dept. of the Interior units have not yet taken adequate steps to prevent their networks from being hacked. The chief info officer insists that steps are being taken, but due to the lack of central authority, it is difficult to react in a timely manner. Read more about it here

A more detailed discussion in the New York Times states that although the government has been warned for years, it continues to move slowly and ineffectually to reduce hacking risks. FAA officials said they tried to implement needed change, but at the end didn't have the budget to do what needed to be done. The Dept. of Energy and IRS both made what they thought were…

to unfriend or not the dead and gone

Here's something I've thought about as friends and acquaintances die with whom I have some type of social media connection. Do you unfriend them once they are dead or go out of your life (perhaps you move or your kid passes into another school?) Is that seen by yourself or others as cruel? Do you keep them, and why, and for how long? I know a lot of people who remember their dead relatives birthdays and the anniversaries of their deaths and marriages online and/or at the cemetery. I was not brought up to do that, so I don't do it,  and I see no value in doing it either in person or online. For me, graveyards are where the remains are, not the spirit, which I hope, with my faith, to meet again. If visiting/remembering in person or online works for some people, great, but it doesn't work for me, not at all.  Sometimes, from what I observe, it only makes people more upset instead of bringing them a sense of peace. I assume they are looking for peace, but maybe they aren&#…

UCLA hospital system hacked

The UCLA hospital system has been hacked. Now I've never been to UCLA, but the thought that 4.5 million people have had their data hacked, including private info, is not a good one. For more info about it read here

This comes right after hearing that the data of 21.5 million federal government employees and retirees had their data hacked. Instead of all the news reports about all the hacking, I would like to hear/read about what the government, major banks and companies and hospitals with our private data plan to do to combat this. The lack of anti-hacking measures and efforts does not inspire confidence. The UCLA hospital system apparently took measures and was attacked weekly, but the hackers still got through their firewalls and precautions and their security company.How to fight it? I'd like a special news report on what is being done nationally to fight all the hacking and to fight back against the hac…

new dino species was fluffy bird

Info about dinos is always expanding. The first biologist who others laughed at when he postulated that birds were dino descendants [British biologistThomas Henry Huxley] is now justified. Velociraptor has a newly discovered cousin who was covered in fluffy feathers with wings.  The feathers are thick, fluffy, and visible in the fossil. This dino is an entirely new species. The new dragon bird dino has a Chinese name. It looks like a scary velociraptor but covered in fluffy feathers. See interesting short video here

BBC releases home movies

The BBC has released to the public, digitized copies of various home movies, including some of the earliest believed filmed, of different families and groups at a plethora of events. Some of the films were very fragile and required conservation before being digitized. Very nice. It does provide a different perspective on those alive in the past than you get viewing a formal still photos. Read more about it and see a short, fun video here

Luedtke Jobs boxes

As noted in my previous post, my students continue to process Luedtke Construction Co. records. Right now they are in the Jobs files which records through a plethora of materials the various jobs they performed, dredging, building breakwaters, etc. Here is what has been processed so far.Only 39 cubic feet more to go in Jobs! I'm hoping my students can get through Jobs before the end of summer. The remaining series, No-Low-Bid, meaning Luedtke bid for the job, but didn't get it because they were outbid by another company, may have to be processed by my fall students.

Dredging in Milwaukee

My students continue to process Luedtke Construction Co. folders. They are currently in the middle of the jobs folders, which include documentation of all the marine construction jobs the company completed from the 1940s through the 1990s. In the files of Job 577 , dredging and building a breakwater in Milwaukee from 1982 to 1984, there are some earlier photographs of similar work in Milwaukee done by tough men in wetsuits working for the S. M. Siesel Engineering Company. They look cold and brave. Cudos to Andrea for finding such cool photos.

what happens next?

I'm back.

I'm still waiting to hear what exactly the US is going to do about the personal data of millions of past and current federal government workers and their partners, which was hacked. It is believed China and its minions (not those of recent film fame) hacked into the system. The hack was found in April but announced only last Thrs. An initial statement said the data of 4 million was hacked, but a later announcement estimated it was the data of 21.5 million. For more info see The head of The Office of Personnel Management has resigned. Now that the scapegoat has been eliminated, what happens next? Will the data be dumped, sold, used to access bank accounts, passwords to government sites, webpages, to identify people, soldiers, spies? More importantly, what is our government going to do moving forward to protect people whose personal data has been hacked, and those whose …

Loyola History Conf. posting

Here's a Loyola History Conf. posting.
Conference Recap: Destablilizing Normativity, Public Engagement, LGBTQ Histories, and More For more info see

Happy 4th. I'm gone until the 15th.

Clarke position


Position summary: Responsible for managing, coordinating, and assisting in the planning and development of the Library’s reformatting operations (digital and microfilm) in reference, production, and outreach. Applications review to begin July 10th. For more info see positing at

Dick Moehl's papers

Richard L.  "Dick" Moehl was a leader in the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Assn. (GLLKA). Through him the Clarke received the GLLKA records, including documentation of people who grew up living in lighthouses, lighthouses the group worked to save from destruction and restore, including St. Helena, saving the ice cutter Mackinac and making it into a museum vessel, their fight to get MI declared the national lighthouse state, periodicals they generated, and the topical photographs that they accumulated. Now we have his papers, approx. 65 cu.ft. in two piles in our hall.  It's in various size boxes so it won't fit on the stacks shelves without reboxing, so we are going to let it sit until we can get it processed. We will tackle Dick Moehl's papers soon. To read more about the other collections he donated click here
To learn more about the GLLKA collection click here http://catalog.lib.cmich.ed…