The Smell of Books

I went to the library today – it was the first time that I’d been there in a few months, and when I walked in, I was immediately struck by the smell.

Now, I don’t mean that the library smelled bad. Quite the opposite.

It was the smell of books, and it was heavenly – almost heady.

There’s just something about the smell of books – it’s the smell of literature, the smell of information – it’s the smell of knowledge.

Walking down the stacks is a sensory experience to which nothing else compares. The smell of the books – the rows and rows and rows – the feel of their heft in your hands.

When I was at university, I did a research project for which I got to use original source materials. Where I went to university they had an amazing collection of old books, and when I tread – oh so lightly and in an almost euphoric state – among the stacks of the old book collection, it was like being in the presence of history itself. Books that I picked up and opened were from other centuries, and had leather bindings, gold leaf letters, and unslit pages.

I was humbled.

And they smelled divine.

Now don’t get me wrong – I really like my Kindle too.

But nothing – ever – will take the place of books.

What Does This Word Mean?

Quick – what do you think this word means? No fair looking it up! I want to know what you think it means!

Points for the best definition (correct or not!)

The word is:


Can You Get Bird Flu from Eggs?

Here’s an interesting and scary thought: can you get bird flu (avian flu) from eggs?

To be honest, I hadn’t even thought about this possibility, until I read today that a food expert from the European Food Safety Authority is advising people that you don’t have to worry about getting bird flu from eggs – if you cook the eggs well.

Well, great. While my raw-egg drinking days are over (ok, they never started), it seems that the only way to be sure that you don’t contract bird flu from eggs is to cook them well, which means, to me, that it is theoretically possible to get bird flu from an uncooked egg, such as in, say, real mayonaisse.

I wonder if going vegan would be as relatively easy as has been going vegetarian?

I Still Don’t Get the Space Elevator, But I Think It’s Cool!

I think that the space elevator is a pretty nifty idea, even if thinking about it makes my brain hurt.

The concept, as I understand it, is to have this very thin, very strong, and very long piece of cable-like material known as “nano tubes” stretch from the earth, miles into space. It will stay erect through some laws of physics which I don’t understand, but which I am assured by those who do will work.

The latest news about the space elevator is that perhaps the only thing harder about the space elevator than my wrapping my brain around it is coming up with a proof of concept. NASA recently offered $100,000 in prizes for its Space Elevator Games, in which there were two challenges:

“The Beam Power Challenge tasks designers with building an unmanned machine, weighing 50 to 100 pounds (22 to 45 kilograms), capable of pulling itself up a 4-inch (10-centimeter) wide, 200-foot (61-meter) long ribbon suspended from a crane, and powered only by the energy beamed up from a 10,000-Watt xenon searchlight.”

And the Tether Challenge, in which “four teams offered their best formulation for an ultra-light, ultra-strong ribbon material. During one-on-one tug-of-wars, each of the entrants were tested to their breaking points.”

It is telling that nobody won either challenge, and all $100,000 remains locked in the NASA vault.

Still, it’s all very interesting.

It’s About Time

…that I got a personal blog up and running again.

The Accidental Evangelist was good while it lasted but it fell into disuse, mostly because things like life interceded. Maybe I’ll resurrect it again. But maybe not.

But in the meantime, I needed a new blog, to just jot down stuff that I want to share with you.

Here it is.

And anything older than this post was ported over from the Accidental Evangelist. R.I.P.

Let the spirit move

I was walking through a bookstore today, when I saw – I kid you not:

“The Idiot’s Guide to Communicating with Spirits”

I’m pretty sure that if you’re an idiot, they don’t wanna communicate with you.

Anne (I don’t think they meant semaphore with a bottle of Jim Beam)