The Mr. Nice Guy Show Blog

Listen to The Mr. Nice Guy Show podcast, too.

My thoughts on what's goin' on in the world,

just like years ago on the radio.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

High Crimes

...of Bob Novak.

The American Prospect has the latest on this traitorious, loathsome, martini-sipping piece of selfish Republican shit.


Oooooh: Well-Stacked!!

A new report: Libraries: How they stack-up.

Everyone, not just me (a librarian), should feel good reading this.


Laugh, Gotta Laugh

Chris Rock on the prez, the news, life.

Funny stuff.


Tuesday, February 10, 2004


Ooooh, this is good.
Reuters reported today...

"Some of George W. Bush's conservative political supporters are increasingly restive and anxious about the president's economic policies as well as his attempts to justify the war against Iraq. Fox television news anchor Bill O'Reilly, usually an outspoken Bush supporter, said on Tuesday he was now skeptical about the Bush administration and apologized to viewers for supporting prewar claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. 'I was wrong. I am not pleased about it at all and I think all Americans should be concerned about this,' O'Reilly said in an interview with ABC..."

Soooo, this documented, serial liar, who many regard as a piece of angry, crude, vicious, Long Island human excrement, has seen the light. Wow.

Okay, so what happens now at the Fox Jazeerah network?
They are hard-line Republicans, taking marching-orders from Fox corporate big-wigs Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes (...and Karl Rove and Big Dick Cheney), BUT

they love money.
Just love it.

So, sensing that the winds of public opinion are going against the prez, will they now start criticizing him, figuring there's more money in that??? Will Britt Hume become a liberal again because that's where the money is?

Will there ever be a point where we can easily distinguish broadcasters from whores?


Sunday, February 08, 2004

Good Press

Nice article from the NY Times.
This might even be more fun than reading about Janet Jackson's aging, publicity seeking rack.

New York Times
February 5, 2004
When a Search Engine Isn't Enough, Call a Librarian

KRIS TUCKERMAN, a reference librarian at the Rockville Regional Library in Washington's Maryland suburbs, was answering questions from users of the library's live Internet chat service recently when a inquiry arrived about Ross Perot.

"What's the name of the party that Ross Perot established?" a user wanted to know.

Ms. Tuckerman checked the Internet for a biography of Mr. Perot. Then she quickly switched to an electronic database of biographies to which the library subscribes. But even after scrolling through several screens of text, she was unable to come up with a satisfactory answer.

So she turned to a rotating bookshelf next to her desk and selected a volume of the World Book Encyclopedia. "Sometimes the old-fashioned sources work the best," she said. Within a few minutes she found the answer in the encyclopedia: the Reform Party.

In all, answering the question took nearly 10 minutes, partly because of the back-and-forth exchange over the Internet chat service. "Maybe they could have found the answer faster on Google, but who knows if it would be right?" Ms. Tuckerman said. "It's not that I don't like Google, but we're the information experts."

For generations, reference librarians have been known as the source for answers to perplexing questions on almost any subject. In recent years libraries found other means for answering questions, offering reference services over the telephone, by e-mail, and more recently, through 24-hour Internet chat services.

Still, with a widespread public expectation that answers can be found almost instantly by typing a few words into an Internet search engine, librarians increasingly find themselves on the sidelines in the question-answering business. So they are slowly warming to the idea that they must educate the public about ways to sort through the mountain of available information.

"When Google doesn't work, most people don't have a plan B," said Joe Janes, an associate professor in the Information School at the University of Washington in Seattle, who is teaching a course on Google this quarter. "Librarians have lots of plan B's. We know when to go to a book, when to call someone, even when to go to Google."

While librarians often use search engines themselves, some say that the public has become too reliant on Web searches, which may not be the appropriate way to find what they need. For instance, Google is a fine place to search for something specific, like biographical information. But for general information, say on literature or oceanography, sites that list categories are much better, like Yahoo, or Web sites favored by librarians, like the Librarians' Index to the Internet,, and the Internet Public Library,

What is more, few people scrutinize the information they find on the Web. A study in 2002 by Google found that 85 percent of search-engine users examine only the first page of results. On the other hand, librarians say they often use Google's advanced search features, asking it, for example, to search only pages that have been updated in the last three months, or just nonprofit or educational sites, which they find are sometimes more reliable than commercial sites.

"People forget that there's no filter on the Web," said Nina Fried, the head of general reference at the Cleveland Public Library. "Everything you see on the library shelf has gone through a tremendous filtering process. Publishers don't just publish anything. Libraries don't carry just any old book."

In addition, many libraries subscribe to dozens of databases on various subjects, none of which are available free on the Web, said Harriet Shalat, a reference librarian at the New York Public Library.

"People think if it's not on the Internet, it doesn't exist," Ms. Shalat said. "I always get questions that begin 'Can you help me find this on the Internet?' "

At the Baltimore County Public Library, Joe Thompson, a librarian who also oversees the state's live-chat service, said he recently had a question about grebes that he first tried to answer by using the Web. He found several sites about the birds, but he could not easily verify the source of their information.

In addition, some sites had not been updated recently, which was relevant because some grebes are endangered. So Mr. Thompson turned to one of the library's databases, Ebsco Animals, which gave him a picture and detailed information on the birds.

"Good information still costs money, and people forget that," Mr. Thompson said.

Librarians fear that people are too trusting of the Web, particularly for health and corporate information, areas in which some libraries say they have been receiving fewer inquiries in recent years. In both fields, the accuracy of the information often depends on its source. In New York and at many other libraries, cardholders can gain access to subscriber-only databases - including popular ones like Medline Plus for medical information and Gale for business resources - from a remote location.

Another service that librarians provide is one they say most patrons searching on the Internet need: the ability to refine a question. Through an interview process, librarians try to sharpen the way a question is phrased to yield a better response. That step can save a lot of time, Mr. Janes said.

"If I type a single word, like architecture. into Google, it's going to give me a mess," he said. "I don't need information at that stage - I just need help defining my search."

One benefit of the popularity of Google searches, librarians say, is that they spend less time answering quick-reference questions, like, "How many feet are in a kilometer?" That leaves more time to spend on harder questions.

But unless librarians can convince people that their local library has an edge on Google, communities under pressure to cut costs may have an easy time reducing the library's budget. After all, Mr. Janes said, the politicians "will think, 'That library is nice, but we can cut them back because everything is on the Internet.' "


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