List of Links: Practice Round

Since I read a lot of articles on the Internet—I think it’s fair to assume that “reading a lot of articles on the Internet” is now the default, unless otherwise stated—I thought it would be easy to generate content for this blog by making lists of links. So I’m still surprised how long it took before I had collected enough links to articles I actually wanted to share. I had been thinking of making themed and branded lists of links, like Fred Clark, but for the moment I’ll have to use subheadings until I figure this genre out.

Arts and Culture

:: In case you haven’t heard yet, Miley Cyrus recently wrote a song about the death of her pet blowfish, Pablow, and she performed it in a unicorn onesie with tears in her throat. I found this performance surprisingly moving.

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Seshat and Saint Jerome


Image of Seshat, from Son of Groucho on Flickr.

Image of Seshat, from Son of Groucho on Flickr.

Ancient Egyptian goddess of wisdom, knowledge, and writing, Seshat’s name means she who scrivens or she who is the scribe, and her title is Mistress of the House of Books. Her priests and priestesses oversaw the library which kept the most important knowledge of ancient Egypt; that is, they were also librarians. She also became a goddess of architecture, astronomy, astrology, mathematics, architecture, and surveying, because the practitioners of these fields all relied on her particular gift: writing. Her principal sanctuary was in Heliopolis.

Seshat has no animal’s head, which makes her less visually memorable than her successor, Thoth, or the other more iconic Egyptian deities. However, she does have a few recognizable traits: she wears a cheetah or leopard hide over a dress, or a dress patterned like a cheetah or leopard; she usually holds a palm stem in which she cuts notches to mark the passage of time, or perhaps a knotted cord used to survey land; above her head appears her seven-pointed emblem, though we do not know what this symbol represents.

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A More Direct Introduction

Considering the first introduction, I think I owe a second one.

Any relevant biography is in the About page. Here I want to tell you why I’m blogging and what you can expect. For the first time in a while, I am out of academia with no plans to return in the foreseeable future. Considering how much I relied on school to provide intellectual stimulation, and how much I had to rely on blogging and other activities even then to get as much of that as I need (or feel I need, or what have you), I’m a bit worried. Of course I can read, or try to talk with friends, but that’s never really enough. So, to fill that gap, I will blog.

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What is Accidental Shelf Browsing?

Shelf browsing is the act of finding books in a library by looking through the books on the shelves without consulting the catalogue first and without looking for any book in particular. While a person might shelf browse in an entirely undirected way, people more often shelf browse parts of the library they are familiar with or in the area around the book they had come to the library to borrow in the first place. This means that shelf browsers often rely on the library’s classification system—the Dewey Decimal System and the Library of Congress systems are most common in North America—to ensure that the books they are looking at are roughly about the sort of things they find interesting. (The term “shelf browsing” does not ordinarily have a hyphen; I have included one because I feel intuitively like there ought to be one, but also because I did not want to imply the existence of accidental shelves. That may have been a mistake.)

Accidental shelf browsing might then be what happens when you go into a library intending to check out only the one book but somehow you leave with four. That “somehow” is accidental shelf browsing. You do not always intend to shelf browse, but the book you want is buried in the midst of other books, and, well, their spines have titles on them…

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