Week in Review: Findings and Firsts

This week, the Matthews Library received a big stack of new books! They are currently being processed and will be ready by next Wednesday. Sorry, everyone’s going to have to wait!

Monday was the first meeting of the Political Puzzles Club. The club brings together students and faculty with a variety of political views to discuss political issues. In the first meeting, the club watched a TED Talk by Michael Sandel on “The Lost Art of Democratic Debate.” The next meeting will be Thursday, September 29 and will focus on the Electoral College and voting access.

This year’s first issue of The Octagon came out on Tuesday. Staffers Jack, Adam, and Benett came into Matthews Library looking sharp!

On Wednesday, 8th grade History classes came in to work on their National History Day projects. This year’s theme is “Taking a Stand in History.” Students found books in the Matthews Library on their topics, including: Title IX, Weather Underground, Harvey Milk, the Newsboys Strike of 1899, Rosa Parks, Flappers, and the Berlin Airlift. We’re looking forward to seeing their projects!

TED Tuesday


Today’s Ted Talk featured Usman Riaz, a percussion guitarist from Pakistan. The 21-year old whizkid learned how to play guitar by watching his heroes on YouTube. In this Ted Talk, Riaz played a song followed by an improv jam session with guitar legend Preston Reed.

Riaz has also been featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Series, which can be found here.

We also showed a video by the impressive acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela:

April TED Tuesday

Today’s lunchtime TED Talk featured poet Billy Collins. In collaboration with the Sundance Channel, several of his poems were turned into animated short films, and five of them are shown during the Talk.

Collins is a two-term U.S. Poet Laureate. He has written over a dozen books of poetry, and more information about him can be found at the Poetry Foundation.

January TED

Today’s TED Talk was by the poet Shane Koyczan. He did a reprise of his popular spoken word poem, “To This Day,” which is a moving story about bullying, survival, and what it means to be “different.”

We followed the TED talk with another great piece by Shane, “The Crickets Have Arthritis,” which is about his time spent sharing a hospital room with a dying 9 year old boy, and what it means to take life for granted.

TED Talk for December

For the final TED Tuesday of 2013, we showed a Talk given by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love. Elizabeth talked about creativity and how we use the term “genius” and “brilliant” incorrectly when it is applied to art and artists. Her suggestion is that instead of calling an artist a “genius,” that we go back to the ancient idea of saying that they “have a genius.”

TED Talk for Poetry Month

In honor of National Poetry Month, we watched a TED Talk by former U.S. Poet Laureate, Billy Collins. The video presents animated versions of several of his poems and a reading of a very funny poem at the end.

Turning Statistics into Art

In case you weren’t able to catch the TED Talk this week, it featured artist Chris Jordan.

Artist Chris Jordan shows us an arresting view of what Western culture looks like. His supersized images picture some almost unimaginable statistics — like the astonishing number of paper cups we use every single day. – TED website