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The Power of the 21st Century Librarian

Michael D. McDonald, Dr.P.H.

It can be argued that libraries have their origins in the swarm behavior of individuals and groups acquiring and sharing cultural artifacts (e.g, pictographs, books) as the fundamental repositories of knowledge within a community and the broader society.  Librarians have played a key role in the founding and differentiation of  America at its origins.  Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, for example, played key roles in deepening and broadening the tradition of knowledge sharing within the early United States. 


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Social Innovation in Venice California

Venice, California has long been a center of innovation within Los Angeles.  Its boardwalk is a spectacle of creativity and entrepreneurship in an open community setting, where the LA megalopolis meets the beach and the Pacific Ocean.  This combination attracts millions of visitors a year in a very small area.

As a result, Venice -- in addition to its opportunities, also struggles with significant and growing challenges with homelessness, drugs, and crowd control, amongst the other problems that all communities face in an economic downturn within a time of energy descent. 

The result?  Both the opportunities and the problems now require creative energy from the Venice community itself to shape what Venice wants to be in the early 21st century. 

Please place your comments on how Venice community members might think about shaping their community to enhance it during the challenging years ahead. 


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Jeremy Rifkin: The Third Industrial Revolution: Toward a New Economic Paradigm


Our industrial civilization is at a crossroads. Oil and the other fossil fuel energies that make up the industrial way of life are sunsetting, and the technologies made from and propelled by these energies are antiquated. The entire industrial infrastructure built off of fossil fuels is aging and in disrepair. The result is that unemployment is rising to dangerous levels all over the world. Governments, businesses and consumers are awash in debt and living standards are plummeting everywhere. A record one billion human beings--nearly one seventh of the human race--face hunger and starvation.

Full Coverage: Southern California Blackout

submitted by Luis Kun

The Los Angeles Times - September 8, 2011


Diannyra Bolata, 25, and her son Diego, 2, rest on the floor in the terminal at San Diego's  Lindbergh Field after all outbound flights were canceled. Credit: Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times

Most power-stricken customers in San Diego County will be without electricity until the end of Friday, the president of utility serving the area said Thursday night.

San Diego Gas and Electricity President Michael Niggli said that power had been restored to three substations that service areas in southern Orange County. He also predicted that a "few more" areas would have electricity restored by midnight.

"After that," he told reporters at a news conference, "it's going to be a slow march throughout tomorrow" to restore power.

 PHOTOS: Blackout leaves millions without power

He said about 3 million people in the county were affected by the massive power outage.

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Under NYC's Streets, Power Lines Stayed Safe


Photograph by Eduardo Munoz, Reuters

AP Business Writers - by Jonathan Fahey and Peter Svensson - August 28, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) -- Below the streets of New York City, a network of pipes, cables and tunnels up to 200 feet deep transports power, gas, water, Internet traffic, trains, sewage and more. When Hurricane Irene hit the city Sunday, this underground network was largely protected from major damage.

On the island of Manhattan, only a handful of its 1.6 million residents lost power. And roughly 50,000 households in the city's outer boroughs of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island lost power.

Elsewhere, Irene left millions of East Coast residents without power, as winds knocked trees into above-ground power lines.

But while the city's buried infrastructure is safe from wind, it is vulnerable to flooding. Some experts say the city simply got lucky that the flooding wasn't more severe. The subway system is especially at risk, which is why transportation officials preemptively shut it down.

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Chicago Announces $40 Million Building Retrofit Program

Green Roof on Chicago's City Hall - July 13, 2011

After the monthly board meeting of the Public Buildings Commission of Chicago, the city's mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the launch of the Guaranteed Energy Performance Contracting program, a new energy efficiency initiative.

The program plans to retrofit as many as 100 of the city's public buildings through upgrades in lighting, mechanical retrofits, and inserting better water conservation technology. 

Cumulatively, the initiative will retrofit 6.5 million square feet of office space; as a result, the program is expected to create almost 375 direct jobs and 1,100 manufacturing and related jobs.  Once complete, the energy retrofits will save tax payers an estimated $4 million to $5.7 million annually.

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Switching The Energy Economy Of San Antonio

NPR - July 8, 2011

San Antonio's mayor says he wants to make the city a hub for alternative and renewable energy businesses. Ira Flatow and guests discuss how a city can change its energy habits. Plus, smart meters let utilities know how much energy a house is using minute by minute. Who should own the data? Can consumers use the info to save money?

IRA FLATOW, host: This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. We're in San Antonio this week, broadcasting live from the Witte Museum here, and one thought keeps popping into my mind: I hope the air conditioning keeps working.


FLATOW: Because here in Texas, it's July, and it's really hot outside. The mercury is hovering around 100, as it does almost every day in the summer. A blackout like the one we had in the Northeast a few years ago or the one they had in Texas earlier this year could really be deadly this time of the year.

Managing the electricity grid and keeping those air conditioners humming can be a challenge for electricity providers, and are sure to get even more complicated when renewable energy is added to the mix, something San Antonio is planning to do.

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