Arts & Letters Daily

November 29, 2009

We know that for some of you sitting down to enjoy a few hours with the Sunday Times is a–if not the, highlight of your week. Bravo, we say. But do you know about Arts & Letters Daily? Let us warn you that it may become an addiction…there are far worse things. A service of the Chronicle Of Higher Education, this site is an aggregation of articles from newspapers, magazines, book reviews and selected columnists with a focus on philosophy, aesthetics, literature, language, ideas, criticism, culture, history, music, art, trends, breakthroughs, disputes and gossip. The next time you have say, 7 0r 8 hours to spare, take a look at this site. Bet you can’t read just one article.


What could you do with 1,000 blocks? Artist Curtis Steiner, took 1,000 identically patterned walnut blocks and arranged them 100 different ways. The results have become a part of the permanent collection of the Seattle Art Museum. And you thought they were just for kids.

Better Than Drugs

January 29, 2009

If you have absolutely nothing to do–and a long time to devote to doing nothing productive due to the mesmerized state you’ll find yourself in, check out This Is Sand. The site is extremely easy to use since there’s very little to it. Just click on the square, read the instructions and start making your piles of sand. If you want to make it more elaborate, you can change the color of your sand with a rainbow to choose from. Then you can save your ‘piece’ in their gallery.

Altered Book Art

January 13, 2009

Altered book art is quite the thing these days if you pay attention to the trends. Take a look at photographer Cara Barer’s award-winning sculptures as supplied by The Telegraph:

Lest you think innocent books are being damaged in this endeavor, Barer began her series with a telephone book found on a Houston sidewalk.

There is, in fact, an International Society of Altered Book Artists. Check out their website:

We have our very own altered book artist right here in Essex. Watch for news of Marlene Lenker’s altered book art in the Library, coming soon!

Optical Illusions

December 17, 2008

If you thought staring at holiday gift wrap was mesmerizing, take a look at these optical illusions provided by the kindly people at Scientific American (they always have something interesting up their sleeves).

Podcasts From Oxford

November 17, 2008

There are many universities and colleges that are making their courses available online through an online syllabus with reading assignments, videocasts and podcasts. MIT was one of the first to do so in the US. The University of Oxford (the one in England) now has podcasts of many of its courses available for free on its own website or through iTunes. How can you resist listening, for even just a few minutes, to “A Romp Through The History Of Philosophy From The Pre-Socratics To The present Day”?

Enjoy free general admission for you and a guest to hundreds of museums and cultural venues nationwide. Simply present the Museum Day admission card to receive free general admission at participating Museum Day locations. The admission card is available in the September 2008 issue of Smithsonian magazine or downloadable via the site link belo: