Shreddies and Libraries

I love this ad campaign.  I was in Toronto last week and saw it on a billboard.  More at the ad agency’s page: Ogilvy Toronto.

I picked up a copy of Alberto Manguel’s newest book, The Library At Night, which is due out in the US later this month (Amazon).  From the book’s description:

Inspired by the process of creating a library for his fifteenth-century
home near the Loire, in France, Alberto Manguel, the acclaimed writer
on books and reading, has taken up the subject of libraries.
“Libraries,” he says, “have always seemed to me pleasantly mad places,
and for as long as I can remember I’ve been seduced by their
labyrinthine logic.” In this personal, deliberately unsystematic, and
wide-ranging book, he offers a captivating meditation on the meaning of

Manguel, a guide of irrepressible
enthusiasm, conducts a unique library tour that extends from his
childhood bookshelves to the “complete” libraries of the Internet, from
Ancient Egypt and Greece to the Arab world, from China and Rome to
Google. He ponders the doomed library of Alexandria as well as the
personal libraries of Charles Dickens, Jorge Luis Borges, and others.
He recounts stories of people who have struggled against tyranny to
preserve freedom of thought—the Polish librarian who smuggled books to
safety as the Nazis began their destruction of Jewish libraries; the
Afghani bookseller who kept his store open through decades of unrest.
Oral “memory libraries” kept alive by prisoners, libraries of banned
books, the imaginary library of Count Dracula, the library of books
never written—Manguel illuminates the mysteries of libraries as no
other writer could. With scores of wonderful images throughout, The Library at Night is a fascinating voyage through Manguel’s mind, memory, and vast knowledge of books and civilizations.


James Howard Kunstler’s New Novel: World Made by Hand

Orion magazine has a review by John Galvin of James Howard Kunstler’s new novel, World Made by Hand.  An excerpt:

Islamic Fundamentalists have blown up Los Angeles and DC. That puts
the global economy into a smoking tailspin. A flu pandemic has wiped
out a good third of the population, maybe more. Oil, or access to
what’s left of it anyway, is as good as gone. The Chinese have
reportedly landed a man on the moon, but that’s probably more legend
than fact in these paranoid times. The federal government has retreated
to Minnesota, of all places (because who would attack them up there?),
and with resources limited, race wars have erupted across the South.
The globe is no longer flat (sorry, Tom Friedman!). It’s as round and
as large as it’s ever been.

Such is the fictionalized world envisioned by James Howard Kunstler in his new book, World Made by Hand. This isn’t a sci-fi view into a future one hundred or fifty years away. It’s anti–sci-fi, set maybe ten to twenty years out.

Link: World Made by Hand.

Kunstler is best known for his non-fiction.  His most recent is The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century.

FDA Says Cloned Food is Safe

The FDA has announced that cloned food is safe to eat, but many groups are still concerned.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest says the FDA has "satisfactorily answered the safety question" but:

Congress should hold hearings on the animal-welfare, ethical, and environmental implications of cloning. […]

If companies begin using clones to breed food animals, they need to
explain why. Will it make any food product better, safer, cheaper or
more sustainable? Clear evidence of benefits must be generated if
consumers are going to accept cloned animals and their products.

Link: CSPI on the FDA’s Safety Assessment of Food from Cloned Animals.

The Union of Concerned Scientists says:

“Animal cloning is a controversial technology with few, if any,
benefits to consumers. […]

“The agency’s risk assessment is long on assumptions and short on
hard data. It fails to address ethical issues associated with cloning,
including the role of animal cloning as a steppingstone to human

“Nor does the risk assessment resolve trade concerns revolving
around this controversial technology. Other countries have more
rigorous regulatory systems and take ethical concerns into account. We
can afford the time to do additional studies.”

Link: FDA OKs Cloned Meat and Milk; USDA Keeps Moratorium in Place.

The Center for Food Safety is harsher:

"The FDA’s bullheaded action today disregards the
will of the public and the Senate – and opens a literal Pandora’s Box,"
said Andrew Kimbrell, CFS Executive Director. "FDA based their decision
on an incomplete and flawed review that relies on studies supplied by
cloning companies that want to force cloning technology on American
consumers.  FDA’s action has placed the interests of a handful of
biotech firms above those of the public they are charged with

Link: FDA Opens "Pandora’s Box" by Approving Food from Clones for Sale.

News stories on this topic: Wired, Washington Post.