2018 marks the fifth year that Patchogue-Medford Library will be hatching baby chicks! We have been monitoring and maintaining the optimum temperature and humidity levels in the incubator since our eggs arrived on March 15. We are just about ready to increase the humidity from 48%-56% to 65% and begin the final three day countdown to hatching. [Read more…]
In celebration of Long Island Reads, PatchChords examines the music of outer space.
Outer space conjures up many images – danger, nothingness, a deadly vacuum, a new frontier to be explored, eerie mystery, the twinkle of the stars, infinity, and even a touch of romance. One finds it easy to imagine that our ancestors, thousands of years ago, improvised music as they stood under the night sky to celebrate and commemorate the breathtaking panorama of shimmering stars that greeted them after every sunset.
One of the earliest operas to feature the idea of space travel was Franz Joseph Haydn's opera buffa, Il Mondo della Luna, written in 1777, about a man who falsely believes that he has been transported to the Moon. Also, Haydn's choral and chamber orchestra piece, The Creation, was conceived after discussing music and astronomy with the astronomer (and, incidentally, oboist), William Herschel, and it could be argued that the vast, empty void of outer space can be heard in the piece, with its softly pulsating high violins and wind instruments above low cellos and basses, leaving an enormous, unoccupied void between them, in both the orchestral and the spatial senses.
And Gustav Holst's famous suite, The Planets, of course, immediately springs to mind. Written before the discovery of Pluto in 1930, it, as many have noticed, does not contain a movement for the dwarf planet, Pluto. Holst, in his lifetime, however, expressed little or no interest in writing one, but, eventually, a movement for Pluto was created by British composer, Colin Matthews in 2000. And then, there is the "Aquarium" movement from Camille Saint-Saëns' famous Carnival of the Animals, a piece seemingly often drafted into service to evoke outer space, with its descending "twinkling" piano figures, although, as the title indicates, it was originally intended to evoke something much more terrestrial and aquatic.
Sound, being nothing more than air vibrations, does not, by definition, actually travel in the airless vacuum of space, however objects in space (the Sun, planets, stars, quasars, pulsars, galaxies, etc.) produce signals that, if received through radio astronomy dishes and processed, can be perceived by the human ear as audible sound. Moving into the modern era, Terry Riley, Karlheinz Stockhausen, David Bedford, Henry Brant, Henryk Gorecki, Philip Glass, John Cage, Rued Langgaard, and George Crumb are just a few of the composers who have explored the potential of such sounds as the basis for their musical compositions. And space travel has even been used by rock musicians as a metaphor for loneliness, two of the most notable examples being Elton John's Rocket Man and David Bowie's Space Oddity.
The blackness and silence of the night sky, the glow and whisper of planets, the fire trails and crackling of comets, the darkness and roar of black holes, and the twinkling and ringing of stars – the great ethereal gulf of outer space conjures up many images…and musical sounds.
New Year's Eve, 1899. The dawn of a new century. Four Victorian gentlemen assemble on a cold, snowy night to accept the invitation of their mutual friend, George, to dinner and a demonstration of his "time machine", as he explains to them the novel concept of the "fourth dimension".
What happens next challenges their "modern" perceptions and understanding of science, and George is plunged on a fantastic trip backwards and forwards over humanity's past and future, all the while observing it all through his learned, scientific and Victorian eyes.
Otherwise a relatively faithful adaption of H.G. Wells's original novel, the film eschews Wells's cynical observations about the British class system and about mankind's ultimately insignificant place in an indifferent cosmos, and features the young Australian actor, Rod Taylor in the lead role (giving the character youthful, optimistic and idealistic qualities) and an increased emphasis on heroic action and adventure. The other ingredients in the mix are the Academy Award-winning special effects of the day (blue-backed traveling mattes, double-printed background sets, time-lapse photography, and models and miniatures), and a story of love across time, not to mention a glimpse of the Victorian era as seen through the eyes of a 1960's design sensibility. And the idea of fantastic technology archaically wrapped and realized in brass, rivets, art nouveau arabesques, and crystal mechanisms can arguably be seen as an influence on today's steampunk genre.
And, as the final drop of celebratory champagne, one of the film's final lines presents the ultimate question for the avid bibliophile; consider…which three books would you have taken?
Today is the day when a 70-mile-wide, 2,500-mile-long stretch of the United States will experience one of outer space’s most amazing events: a total eclipse of the Sun. So, what music does one choose to accompany such a momentous occasion?
The very definition of this event is the Moon blocking the Earth’s view of the Sun, so some lunar-inspired music would seem to be called for, the two most famous and obvious examples being Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and Debussy’s (and other composers’) Claire de Lune.
Since this event will cause the sky to darken such that four planets (i.e. Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter) will be visible, we could also consider adding the relevant movements of Holst’s The Planets to our list.
Let us not forget that our own humble planet Earth is also part of this unique stellar ballet, so music inspired by our own planet, such as Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, fits in as well.
And even though it is being relegated to the background of this event, let’s not forget to add some music inspired by our Sun. Thanks to the influence of Stanley Kubrick’s "2001: A Space Odyssey", Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra is a choice in many people’s minds for capturing the grandeur and spectacle of this event; the opening moments of the piece, appropriately titled "Sunrise", certainly feature the required fanfare, excitement and power.
Finally, a couple more suggestions:
…and even some original pieces have been commissioned for this event!
Happy listening (and watching!)
The idea that a solar eclipse meant a demon was swallowing the sun shows up in eclipse folklore across the globe, and if you look at pictures of a partial solar eclipse, you can see why: It’s easy to imagine that some giant creature is slowly taking bite after bite out of the sun. In ancient China, the earliest word for eclipse, shih, meant to eat, and eclipses were believed to be caused by a dragon eating the sun. In Vietnam, the sun eater was a frog. For the Native American Pomo, it was a bear. In Yugoslavia it was a werewolf, and in Siberia a vampire.
It has been reported during many eclipses that many different animals are startled by totality and change their behavior thinking that twilight has arrived. You can explore this yourself with your own pets, or by watching local wildlife, especially birds.
2017 is the fourth year that Children’s and Parents’ Services will be hatching baby chicks during the school spring break. Over the past few years, we’ve had a pretty good hatch rate for our chicks. In 2014 we successfully hatched eight chicks, the last of which we named Lucky because he almost didn’t make it! In 2015, ten chicks and last year, nine chicks hatched. We candled our eggs and discovered that at least one of them is empty. Because the shell of the dark brown eggs is so dark, it makes it difficult to see what is going on inside the egg.
Baby Chicks will be hatching at the Teen Center
New this year, the Teen Department at the Carnegie Building will also be hatching chicken eggs for the first time. Their eggs will be hatching sometime around Monday, April 17.
On the first full day of spring, Tuesday, March 21, I placed a dozen eggs in our incubator, located in my office on the Lower Level of the Library. Four of the eggs are white, four are light brown and four are dark brown.
The white eggs are from a White Leghorn mix breed and they will hatch into the familiar yellow chick that we all remember from the early ‘60’s cartoon Foghorn Leghorn who always asked the baby chick character, Henery “So you want to be a chicken hawk, do ya son?” There is no way to determine the sex of these chicks when they are hatched.
The Baby Chicks will be one of three varities
The brown eggs will hatch into either Black Star chicks or Cinnamon Queen chicks. Black Star chicks are a cross between a Rhode Island Red rooster and a Barred Rock hen. Female Black Star chicks hatch all black and the male chicks hatch black with a white spot on its head.
Cinnamon Queen chicks are a cross between a Rhode Island Red rooster and a Silver Laced Wyandotte hen. Female Cinnamon Queen chicks hatch red and the male chicks hatch yellow.
Now that you know all that, you may be able to identify them as they begin to hatch on Monday, April 10. Be sure to check the Patchogue-Medford Library’s Live Chick Cam on Youtube often so that you don’t miss these eggs hatching!
Since March 21st and for the last 18 days, we have monitored and maintained the optimum temperature and humidity levels in the incubator of approximately 100 degrees and a 48%-56% humidity. Later today, the eggs will be taken out of the automatic eggs turner and laid down on the screen inside the incubator and the humidity will be increased to 65%.
Baby Chicks are expected Monday, April 10th, 2017!
This begins the final three day countdown as the chicks prepare to hatch. With any luck, on Monday, the eggs will begin to show signs of pipping by the chick. The chick will use a special egg tooth to peck its way out of the shell. This egg tooth is only there on the chick for the first 12-24 hours. The hatching process requires a great amount of exertion on the part of the chick. The chick alternates between periods of activity and lengthy periods of rest. Chicks can take up to 24 hours to hatch. While it can be a slow process, it is amazing to watch! Once all or most of the eggs have hatched and the chicks are dry, they will be moved to a brooder box. Chicks absorb some of their yolk so they can survive in the incubator for 48-72 hours before being moved.
I know you won’t want to miss out on the action and educational experience this year! The chicks will be around for about a week if you would like to come down and see them in person too! We have many stories as well as nonfiction books about chickens that you can borrow from the Children’s and Parents’ Services Department as well as from the Adult Department too!
Looking forward to seeing you (and the chicks!) soon!
Mrs. Drake, Children’s and Parents’ Services
We have all heard about ways to go green; turning off the faucet while brushing our teeth, recycling plastic bottles and newspapers, composting, and numerous other ways. One way of helping the environment to stay green is by taking a look at some of the things we do when we travel. Instead of having clean towels every day, use the same towels throughout your stay at the hotel. If you take the amount of water and electricity it takes to rewash those towels, it would amount to tons of water and thousands of watts of electricity. Take a look at some of ideas and see what changes you can make to help our planet be healthy for us and for the next generation.