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Archive for March, 2012

Titanic Fact #1: The Prosthetic Smokestack

Titanic Fact #1: The Prosthetic Smokestack

To commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, the Davenport Public Library Fairmount Branch will be hosting “The Titanic: 100 Years Later” on Thursday, April 12th at 6:30 p.m.  Former museum Research Specialist, Liza Gilbert, will discuss the famous and not-so-famous individuals on the ship, the luxuries on board, and the list of mistakes that led to the horrific disaster. In anticipation of this entertaining FREE event, we will be posting Titanic Facts daily.


Titanic Fact #1:

Titanic had 4 smokestacks, but the fourth one in the rear was a fake.  It served absolutely no purpose on the ship, but the designers felt that 4 smokestacks gave the ship “better lines” than 3 smokestacks would have.

Stop back tomorrow for more interesting Titanic Facts.

March 26, 20123 comments
Brightest Tot on the Block

Brightest Tot on the Block

Kids are pretty amazing; they grow and learn at such a rapid pace, you never know what they are going to come up with next. Some kids, however, are downright mind-blowing. Take, for example, Kim Ung-Yong; he is thought to possess the highest IQ (>210) of any living person. He was conversing fluently at 6 months of age and by age 4 he could read Japanese, Korean, German, and English. At the age of 5 he was able to solve differential and integral calculus problems and was invited to the United States by NASA at age 7.

Of course the Davenport Public Library can’t promise that we’ll make your child a prodigy (which may not be the worst thing considering that Ted Kaczynski, A.K.A The Unabomber was a prodigy), but we can help you get your child on the path to literacy. Learn simple ways to help your child get ready to read with “Early Literacy Tips for Parents.” Monday, March 26 at 7:00 p.m. at the Eastern Avenue Branch and Thursday, March 29 at 7:00 p.m. at the Fairmount Branch, parents and caregivers of children aged 0-5 are invited to learn about easy to implement activities that they can do with their child to get them ready to read.   Angie Hammond, a library assistant trained on the American Library Association’s Every Child Ready to Read program, will talk about the principles and practices years of studies have proven are essential to early literacy.  Parents/caregivers will receive materials they can take home to aid in the promotion of literacy. This FREE program is for adults about children.

Want to learn about more child prodigies?  Check out these articles:

10 child prodigies (who actually ended up doing something)

Top Ten Child Prodigies

Is your child a genius?

Child geniuses: What happens when they grow up?

March 21, 20120 comments
Coffee and Census (and Catwoman)

Coffee and Census (and Catwoman)

1940 was a huge year in the world of comic books; it marked the debut of Catwoman. The alter-ego of Selina Kyle, Catwoman is a skilled burglar and sometimes love interest of Batman. While certainly not a hero, she is also not quite a villain either.  Catwoman’s ambiguous role is illustrated by her ranking #11 on IGN’s list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains and #20 on IGN’s list of the Top 100 Comic Book Heroes.

Find out if there are any crazy cat ladies in your family tree at “Coffee and Census.” Join the Davenport Public Library in celebration of the release of the 1940 Federal Census Population schedules on April 2nd, 2012 from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center (321 Main Street). The National Archives will be releasing the schedules electronically at 8:00 a.m.  This will be the very first time this information is being seen by anyone other than National Archives staff for nearly 72 years!  You’ll be provided coffee, computers, and as much assistance in using the online schedules as the Special Collections staff can offer.

This special event is free, but space is limited. Please register in advance by calling 563-326-7902.


March 20, 20120 comments
In Poor Taste

In Poor Taste

Do you recognize this chart of the taste regions of the tongue?

Forget you ever saw it. Scientists now believe that all taste sensations come from all parts of the tongue. Many of us were taught that different tastes come from different regions of the tongue, but this is most likely due to a misinterpretation of a paper published in 1901 that showed minute differences in flavor detection levels across the tongue. Another thing missing from the chart is the fifth widely recognized taste, “umami.” Umami is the savory taste of nucleotides and glutamate. Cheese, mushrooms, and fish are all foods that have a high concentration of umami.

While we are on the topic of taste; tastes in books, movies, and music can be even more varied than tastes in foods.  It is likely the Davenport Public Library has something to suit your reading/viewing/listening desires.  Visit to search our selection. If you don’t see what you are looking for, the staff at the Reference Desk can request to borrow your desired item from outside of the RiverShare system.

March 14, 20121 comment
Snake Island

Snake Island

The lack of snakes on Ireland (see “St. Patrick and the Snakes“) brings to mind another island with a very different snake situation. Ilha de Queimada Grande is a small island off the coast of Brazil to which the Brazilian Navy forbids visits. The reason: snakes. The island is the only home to the Golden Lancehead viper. This pit viper possesses some of the most potent venom of any snake on earth and it is estimated the the island has one of these snake per square meter. Surprisingly, the snakes are considered to be “Critically Endangered” (CR on the chart below) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The main cause being their lack of geographic distribution which has led to genetic problems due to inbreeding.

IUCN Conservation Status by risk of extinction.

So maybe Ilha de Queimada Grande isn’t ideal for your next vacation destination. If you are looking for travel spots with fewer inbred venomous snakes, then stop by the Davenport Public Library and take a peek at our large collection of travel books, which can be found in the non-fiction section under call number 910.

March 12, 20121 comment