Website Wednesday: Library of Babel

Website Wednesday is a (mostly) weekly feature in which we highlight one (or a couple) of sites from the Billions floating around the Intertoobz that just might help you with your Herculean task of educating inquiring minds. Any and all suggestions for future editions are welcome.

I love Jorge Luis Borges’ short story, “The Library of Babel” as much for what it is as for the literature it has inspired–especially Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose–but because every time I read a book with a library in it–from Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore or The Strange Library to Carlos Luis Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind (which I didn’t even like that much) to children’s literature like Lissa Evans’ Horton’s Miraculous Mechanisms–I can’t help but think about it again. And there’s so much to think about!

Anyway, you can imagine my delight when I encountered this article about a Brooklyn author who has created a virtual Library of Babel. And then, I found this explanation by the creator himself of his project and motivations.

And then I went to the Library of Babel, itself.

I browsed around a bit, and then decided it would be more fun to search. What did I search for? This: “When others paint a biased and incomplete portrait of all of our contributions, it is critical to state the facts clearly so that everyone at CCC and all of Chicago can continue to rightfully take pride in the great endeavor in which we are involved” and there it was on page 56 of Pkjyfjzj.pbfen Qdbxcp located in 137y3o6u9dvns

Though, to be honest, that’s only one location. According to the search engine there are approximately 10 to the 29th power other matches, too. Kind of a goofy way to spend time, but it beats stewing, I guess, and it definitely beats grading midterms. At least for a little while. And if it doesn’t, then go find some Borges (or something) to read…

Amuse Bouche

Amuse-bouche is a regular feature designed to add a little amusement to your day and celebrate the arrival of the (early) weekend. Suggestions welcome!

From McSweeney’s comes Lisa Nikolidakis to the rescue, just in time for tomorrow’s Humanities Department meeting. Wish I’d had one for DWFDW back on August 10th.

Faculty Meeting Bingo

Also on McSweeney’s is this bit of awesomeness–a Socratic Dialogue featuring Socrates and Taylor Swift.

Can You See the Future?

Both Ephrem and Ivan have been after me over the last couple of weeks to set up another Football Picking Contest and I aim to please (where I can), so here it is.

The site is called “Office Football Pool” but this is just a contest, not a pool. It is free to join and your ‘winnings’ will be entirely ego related. Once upon a time I made certificates and offered non-valuable prizes, but I’m about five years behind on that so you’ll have to come up with your own reward if and when you win.

Once you go to the site, you’ll have to set up an account (unless you have one from last year), but it’s free and easy. Also, like last year’s, you’ll be picking against the spread and earning points based on both the correctness of your picks and your confidence ranking of them (earning 14 points for the pick you are most confident about and 1 for the pick you are least confident about).

Good skill to you!

Amuse bouche

Anybody glad the holidays are over?

Mine were great, nothing like the link, but my best/worst story from this year is about when my cousin stood up and gave a speech about how important it is to “spice things up” before presenting the husbands of her three sisters with not-PG rated “outfits” from Victoria’s Secret picked out for her sisters by her newish husband. As you can imagine, reactions in the room varied.

You? Anybody have a good story?


Amuse-bouche is a (new!) regular feature designed to add a little amusement to your day and celebrate the arrival of the (early) weekend. Suggestions welcome!

Six weeks in is a good time to ask your students, especially the freshmen, if they are still thinking about their BIG goals–the goals they had back in August. Ask them if they’re still approaching every day, every class, every assignment with the enthusiasm that they had back in August, if they are still focused on their ambitions and possibilities–lest they mistake the short-term for the long-term, the urgent for the important, the easy pleasures for the hard-earned one. And if you don’t want to ask them that, you can always ask them what kind of theme music they would pick for themselves…