Archive for July, 2009


July 31, 2009

Here’s a new blog about macrophotography.  It’s a bit early to tell but judging from the first pictures, it could be worth watching for the future if you want photos of the very small and an explanation of how to do them.

Library Book Cart Championships

July 30, 2009

The Annual Library Book Cart Drill Championships took place on July 12th. This was the fifith time these championships have taken place and it was held in Springfield, USA. For the uninitiated, library book cart precision drill teams are groups of library staff members who push book carts (we call them book trolley’s this side of the pond) in formation to music. Often the book carts are decorated and so are the library staff members!

The winners were Oak Park Library Warrior Librarians, and you can see their performance here

in second place were Cart Wheels, Des Plaines Public Library

and third place went to Steel City Kings, University of Pittsburgh

Despite this being the world championships, all the teams came from America – perhaps the University of Portsmouth Library should enter!

Make beautiful music

July 29, 2009

Grotrain is a prestigous piano company. Indeed Clara Schumann wouldn’t play anything except a Grotrain Grand Piano. If your home is a little too small for a Grand Piano or you’d like to make music from your desk at work then why not try playing the Pianolina interactive Piano.

Simply head to the website below and click game. The pianolina works by dragging tones and chords (represented by coloured squares) from the right panel and dropping them into the playing square. As they hit the edges the note is played. Apparently you can create ‘new atmospheric melodies’. I think I mostly created a racket  – but it was fun!

One potato, Two potato….

July 28, 2009

Today sees the anniversary of the humble potato’s arrival in Europe. The potato was bought to Europe from Peru in 1536. The Spanish conquistadors considered them a great treasure and presented them to the Royal Court.

Find out more about the history of potatoes here

get some great recipe ideas here

or find out how to grow your own here

Finally check out the British Potato Council’s website

A tuneful way to complain

July 27, 2009

There is a saying in retail that a customer who receives good service will recommend you to about 5 people but a customer who experiences bad service will tell 20 people how rubbish your company is.

However Dave Carroll took it even further. When his guitar was damaged on a United Airlines flight he asked for compensation. When United refused he wrote a song about his experience and posted it on Youtube. Now nearly 4 million people have heard about United’s poor customer service and the song is now available to download from itunes.  I bet United Airlines wish they’d just paid for a new guitar.


July 24, 2009

Rounding off this week of Moon-related anniversaries, here is an interesting site that was suggested to us by one of our colleagues in the Library:

Using specialist photography equipment and software, the images of the moon were taken in Sir Patrick Moore’s garden and the resulting mosaic has been entered into the Guinness Book of Records.

Coming Back

July 23, 2009

Continuing with Moon Week, forty years ago the Apollo 11 mission started its journey back home to Planet Earth. In the meantime, here are some games and quizzes from the BBC Website about space and the Moon:

Who Doth Thee Thinketh Thou Art?

July 22, 2009

Although this is Moon Anniversary Week on Thing of the Day, we thought it we’d spend today having a look at what’s going on back on Planet Earth. Yesterday a database went online where you can search for soldiers who fought in Medieval Times. This initiative, which is a joint venture from the Universities of Reading and Southampton, also includes details of those present at the Battle of Agincourt:

Walking on the Moon

July 21, 2009

Forty years ago today Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to step onto the lunar surface. Here’s a collection of video clips, pictures and articles from the BBC:

The University of Portsmouth Library also has a display on the Ground Floor of books and DVDs of the moon and lunar exploration.

If you feel inspired by this then why not try some moonwalking of your own? Here’s a step-by-step guide:,8599,1907320,00.html

The Eagle Has Landed

July 20, 2009

Now, unless you’ve not been watching TV, listening to the radio or reading the newspapers or you’ve been living in a cave, you will know that today is the fortieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Forty years ago today the lunar module, known as ‘the Eagle’ touched down on the moon and here is NASA’s Apollo 11 page here:

And here’s some footage of it happening: