Economists Separated at Birth?

Potash Phil - October 21, 2014 - 3:38pm

What would you do if you were shipwrecked on a Caribbean island frequented by cannibals, all on your lonesome except for the captain’s dog and two cats? Well, if you were Robinson Crusoe this would not be a hypothetical question, and you would dry grapes into raisins and hunt with handcrafted tools until you were rescued decades later. But in John Rush’s awesome Economic Principles & Problems class, our man Crusoe has much to teach us about the “utility function” that is the bread and butter of economic theory.

Okay, in case you’re just catching wind of this, John Rush is Marlboro’s new economics professor, joining us from the University of Hawaii at Manoa (so he has some tips to share on island survival), where he received his doctoral degree. According to John, economics is all about “choices,” and how we make choices to maximize our good friend the utility function. What is it worth to us to eat mac-n-cheese every day, for example? To sled down library hill on a dining hall tray? To hang out with friends and watch Game of Thrones? None of these things are options if you are shipwrecked, of course. However, Robinson Crusoe made many other choices—like, should he kill the marauding cannibals who don’t know they are committing an abomination?—and John’s class is reading this timeless classic to get at the heart of economics.

But the real economic question on everyone’s mind is whether John Rush and recent Marlboro graduate Patrick Magee ’14 are twins separated at birth. I mean, not only is there a marked similarity between the two gentlemen, they are both economics scholars with uncanny knowledge about things like resources and actors and scarcities and market equilibriums and the like. Sure, Patrick’s Plan was about the impact of U.S. agricultural policy on small farms, and John’s work has focused on natural disasters and inequality in developing countries, but they are both unusually kind and sensibly dressed. I wonder if they both include mac-n-cheese in their utility function?

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Privacy and security concerns with Adobe Digital Editions

Library Blog - October 16, 2014 - 1:02pm

**Please read this if you download ebooks from our eBook Academic Collection to a personal device**

Recently, it came to light that there are serious privacy and security concerns with Adobe Digital Editions version 4. ADE is software that can be downloaded onto laptops, tablets, and smartphones, and is used to view ebooks offline on personal devices. With version 4, Adobe Digital Editions has been logging and sharing non-encrypted data on the books used. While Adobe has announced it is currently working on correcting this issue, it is strongly recommended that users revert to ADE 2 or 3; older versions of this software do not log and transmit personal data back to Adobe in the same way version 4 does. You can find the older versions here.

Please be aware that simply viewing an ebook on a computer does not put your privacy at risk; the privacy concerns only occur when you actually download an ebook and open it using ADE 4. Adobe Reader – used for viewing pdf’s – is also not affected.

For more information, see the article in Ars Technica and the latest update from the American Library Association.

Please contact Beth Ruane, Library Director, with any questions or concerns.

 

 

 

 

Service Desk Hours @ the Library During Hendricks Days

Library Blog - October 15, 2014 - 8:03pm

During Hendricks Days weekend, the library building will remain open.

The Service Desk will be staffed, and the AV/Reserve Room and Plan Room available, during the following times:

  • Saturday: No staffing
  • Sunday: 6:30pm – 11:00pm
  • Monday: 8:30am – 5:00pm; 6:30 – 11:00pm
  • Tuesday: 8:30am – 5:00 pm; 6:30 pm – 11:00 pm

Have a wonderful break!

And The Winners Are…!

Library Blog - October 8, 2014 - 9:37am

Many thanks to everyone who nominated and voted for items for the library to buy this year with the David Pierce Fund. His family has generously established a fund in his memory to support the purchase of fun, not necessarily academic items for the library each year. This year’s winners are:

  • The Roald Dahl Audio Collection (CD) (23 votes)
  • The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson (20 votes)
  • A Song of Ice and Fire Audiobook Collection: Book 1: Game of Thrones (CD) (9 votes)
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox and Other Stories Audio Collection (CD) (8 votes)
  • Nothing Nice to Say by Mitch Clem (7 votes)
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner (5 votes)
  • The Reluctant Assassin by Eoin Colfer (4 votes)

These items will arrive at the library over the next few weeks; look for them to be on display as they come in.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s selection process! This tradition is a lovely tribute to David’s memory. I hope that everyone enjoys these great new additions to the collection.

Van Trip to UMass Amherst Libraries, Sunday 10/5

Library Blog - September 30, 2014 - 3:02pm
Yes, that’s the library.

This Sunday, October 5th, the library is sponsoring a van trip to the UMass Amherst Libraries. Space is limited! Sign up on the sheet at the Library Research Bar.

The van will leave the Dining Hall at 11:30 am and return by 5:30 pm.

While at UMass, you can search their hundreds of databases and download or scan articles from their extensive journal holdings (e-journal list; library catalog). If you are a Massachusetts resident, you can get a library card and borrow books; if not, you can jot down any book titles that look useful and request them via Marlboro’s Interlibrary Loan service.

Beth and/or Amber are happy to meet with you this week to help you make the most of your 3 hours (roughly) at UMass. Stop by or email us to set up an appointment.

Celebrate Your Freedom to Read!

Library Blog - September 24, 2014 - 9:41am

September 21st to the 27th is Banned Books Week, an annual event which highlights the value of free and open access to information. Every year, thousands of books are targeted for removal or restrictions in libraries and schools, and while books do continue to be banned, the majority of the titles remain available. This is in large part to the efforts of teachers, librarians, students, and community members who speak out for the freedom to read.

Certain titles have become perennial favorites as the targets of banning efforts, including Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. More recently, titles such as The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, have been challenged.

For more information on banned and challenged books, The American Library Association has developed a timeline celebrating three decades of liberating literature, and the Huffington Post has created a series of infographics on banned books in the United States.

Help Us Select Items for the David Pierce Fund

Library Blog - September 22, 2014 - 2:59pm

David Pierce was a Marlboro College student whose death on October 1, 2003, shocked and saddened the entire community. Many on campus still have fond memories of David, and a bench and apple tree outside of the library commemorate his life and time at Marlboro.

David’s family established a fund for the library to purchase items that are not necessarily for academic purposes, but rather for fun. Think graphic novels, current popular fiction, movies, TV series, etc.

Each year, the library buys a few more items using the fund established in his memory. This year, we are asking for your help in choosing what to buy.

Between now and 8:30 am on Monday, 9/29, email library@marlboro.edu (or call, or stop by, or comment below…) with the titles of any movies, books, graphic novels, or other items you’d like the library to add. Remember: fun, not work (though the two aren’t always mutually exclusive!).

We’ll make a list of all your suggestions, then put them to a vote. Students will be emailed a link to a survey; voting will be open through the end of the day on Wednesday, October 1st. When voting is over, we’ll rank the selections, start buying with the top vote-getter, and continue down the list as far as we can.

In the meantime, stop by the library to see some of the items that have been bought with David’s fund in past years. They’ll be on display starting next week on the entrance level, across from the Service Desk. You can also find them in the library catalog, tagged with “David Pierce Fund.”

Beth Ruane
Library Director

Better Living Through Zotero: Meet with a librarian for tailored help

Library Blog - September 19, 2014 - 11:08am

Zotero is a useful (and free!) tool that can help you manage and format citations as you research and write. No longer just for Firefox, Zotero now works with most browsers, operating systems, and word processing platforms.

You can…

  • Capture and keep citations and links to books and articles as you come across them;
  • Organize your citations into folders for different classes or projects;
  • Format citations in any of dozens of formats (including APA, Chicago, and MLA) with just a few clicks;
  • Insert citations in your paper as you write and have them formatted automatically;
  • Sync your Zotero library across computers;
  • Create group libraries to share citations.

On three upcoming weekend days, librarians will offer individual meetings to help you get the most out of Zotero.

To get going with Zotero, or become a power user, sign up for 15 minutes of individual help (Marlboro login required to sign-up) at the Research Bar during the following times:

  • Sunday, September 28th, 2-4 p.m. with Amber
  • Saturday, October 11th, 10-11:30 a.m with Beth
  • Sunday, October 12, 2-4 p.m. with Beth

If you can’t make any of those times, Beth and Amber are also available for one-on-one Zotero help at other times; just stop by the desk or email us to set up a time.

Constitution Day Read-In

Library Blog - September 12, 2014 - 11:37am

Each year on September 17th, we celebrate Constitution Day to commemorate the signing of the Constitution on September 17, 1787. Among the many freedoms the Constitution guarantees, we’re partial to the First Amendment, which protects the freedom of speech. Libraries are strong advocates of the principle of the freedom to read, supporting the concept that a vital democratic society depends on unfettered access to ideas.

Please join us on this September 17th (Wednesday) for a Constitution Day Read-In, and exercise your right to read what you please! Starting at 9am, this 24 hour event will be held in the Reference Room; comfy seating and “questionable” books will be provided. Open to all, participants are invited to come in and peruse a selection of books that have been banned or challenged. Read from an old favorite, or explore a new title!

Students Thrash Faculty

Potash Phil - September 9, 2014 - 2:13pm

It’s that time of year again, the bright dawn of an awesome new semester at Marlboro, and I’m not talking about any old convocation, or registering for classes, or the first yummy community dinner. I’m talking about that most august of September rituals known as the students vs. faculty/staff softball game. That breathtaking event where community members put aside their Dostoevsky and their vector fields and their epistemological solipsism to pit their lofty brains against six ounces of kapok stuffing.

In case you didn’t know, Princeton Review ranks Marlboro as #18 among colleges for “Nobody Plays Intramural Sports,” and a whopping #10 for “There’s a Game?” When it is not broomball season, the pinnacle of Marlboro sportsmanship, most students prefer to get their exercise hiking up to the science building or seeing how many can fit on the OP stone bench. But somehow these particular students didn’t get that memo, because they turned out the most fearsome and strapping team of softball ringers that had ever pummeled a ball on Person’s field.

At least, that’s my feeble explanation for the resounding defeat of the faculty/staff team, with a final score of 8 to 20-or-30-something. John “physical capital” Rush, Marlboro’s new economics professor took a productive turn on the mound, but could not exert a normative influence on the supply of (or demand for) soaring hits by the students. Philosophy professor William “epistemology” Edelglass led the team with a competitive edge that would have made Emmanuel Kant blush, and chemistry professor Todd “kinetic energy” Smith made his mark with a three-run homer that had everyone’s electrons excited for a moment. But the faculty/staff team never quite rose to the students’ challenge, despite an generous allowance of extra outs and the rousing solo cheerleading of Kathy “pom-pom” Waters, alumni director. There’s always next year.

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Huzzah! It’s That Time of Year Again!

Library Blog - August 29, 2014 - 3:37pm

Welcome, new students, staff, and faculty, and welcome back, to those returning! We’re so excited to see the campus teeming with life once again! We’ll open for the Fall semester on Sunday, August 31st at 12:30 pm and look forward to seeing new students with their peer advisor groups on Sunday from 1-3 pm.

You probably know that once the library opens for the semester, we’re open 24/7 right up to Winter Break. You can come in, study, socialize, borrow/return books, work/print/scan/copy in the computer lab, or do whatever else you wish (subject to the College Handbook and the Library Honor Code, of course) whenever it tickles your fancy.

There are certain things, though, that you can only do when staff are on duty. These include: borrowing reserve readings; borrowing DVDs; picking up holds or interlibrary loans; and getting into the Plan Room.

Staffing will be a little atypical during the first couple days of the semester:

  • Sunday, 9/1: 12:30 pm – 5:30 pm
  • Monday, 9/2: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

Thereafter, our normal staffing schedule will be in effect:

  • Sundays: 12:30 pm – 5:30 pm; 6:30 pm – 11:00 pm
  • Mondays-Thursdays: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm; 6:30 pm – 11:00 pm
  • Fridays: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

We’ll always list changes to our schedule — building or staffing — on this blog, in the Town Crier, and on the library’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. If you ever have questions (about hours, staffing, or really, anything at all!), please stop by, email us (library@marlboro.edu), or call x221 (802-258-9221).

We are looking forward to working with you this year!

Beth Ruane
Library Director