Nerd Nite #28: Underground Alliances

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September 17, 2015 at LIVE 102 S First St.

PhD student Alex Taylor explains that nearly all plants form intimate symbiotic partnerships with fungi called Mychorrhizae. These fungi grow in elaborate webs through the soil, and then into the plan roots, growing even inside the plant cells, where the plant and fungus have struck a fabulously successful deal. The terms of this deal are straightforward: a trade of sugar for mineral nutrients that plays to the strengths and weaknesses of each partner. Mycorrhizae helped early plants get a toehold on land, and to this day, the vast majority of plants across the globe thrive thanks to their fungal partners. The world would be a barren place without this ancient and strange symbiosis.

About Alex Taylor: Alex is a PhD student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, studying how plants evolved the ability to recognize and partner with bacteria and fungi in the soil. Most days, this involves sitting at a computer and running algorithms on the genome sequences of different plants. He also loves talking and writing about the spine-tingling majesty of science, and co-founded the blog “Thought and Awe” to do just that. In his spare time, Alex is into camping, gardening, and talking about the big stuff over a beer. Find him on Twitter at @ATayters.

Contains explicit content.
Length: 00:20:16
Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library
Related Event:
Nerd Nite Ann Arbor presented by AADL at LIVE 102 S First St.


New TV Shows @ AADL

The library is always acquiring additional TV shows and new seasons of them, be they hot and new, or oldies but goodies. A few new-to-AADL series are on the way, as well as many newly packaged in one box of your favorite shows, so be sure to check out what’s new! Here are some new-to-AADL series:

Zoo, Season 1
A global thriller about a wave of violent animal attacks against humans sweeping the planet. Jackson Oz, a young, renegade American zoologist who spends his days running safaris in the wilds of Africa, notices the strange behavior of the animals. As the assaults become more cunning, coordinated and ferocious, he is thrust into the race to unlock the mystery of the pandemic before there's no place left for people to hide.

Better Call Saul, Season 1
A spinoff of Breaking Bad, the series takes place six years before the events of Breaking Bad and features small-time lawyer Jimmy McGill. The series follows the exploits of Jimmy and the circumstances that lead to his metamorphosis into criminal-minded lawyer Saul Goodman.

Fear the Walking Dead, Season 1
It's a gritty drama that explores the onset of the undead apocalypse through the lens of a fractured family. Set in a city where people come to escape, shield secrets, and bury their pasts, a mysterious outbreak threatens to disrupt what little stability high school guidance counselor Madison Clark and English teacher Travis Manawa have managed to assemble.

The Code, Season 1
Several interweaving storylines that start with a mysterious accident and the death of an Aboriginal girl in the outback. Her former teacher, Alex, becomes involved with journalist Ned Banks and his brother, Jesse, a genius computer hacker, to try to unravel the mystery. When the brothers uncover video footage of the crime, they are targeted by powerful and dangerous figures that may be connected to the highest levels of national politics.

Fore more TV shows, be sure to check out AADL’s lists for HOT TV shows, as well as NEW TV shows.

The Grantchester Mysteries

The Grantchester Mysteries are a series of books by James Runcie, as well as a spin-off, hit television series from Masterpiece Theater. The books follow the attempts of Anglican vicar, Sidney Chambers, to serve his small parish in Grantchester village, outside Cambridge, from the early 1950s to the 1970s, while being unrelentingly pulled into the intrigues afoot in every English village. As you may know from other British mysteries, more people are murdered in small English villages than on the back streets of any major city.

Author James Runcie is the son of the former Archbishop of Canterbury and grew up in Cambridge, so he has a very clear window into the world of his character, Canon Chambers, except for the murder, of course. His expressed aim with the series was to write a “moral fable” and to combine the solving of mysteries with the modern social history of Britain. He succeeds well at this. Sidney Chambers loves jazz, drinks whiskey (not sherry), plays backgammon, is everyone’s friend, listens well and inspires the sharing of many discreet secrets. He has an irascible housekeeper who admonishes him in his detectivorial escapades, and a lovely black Labrador, named Dickens, who never admonishes him. He is a character in transition, chafing against some of the constraints placed on him, disturbed by evil and injustice, reaching to be more than is easy to be. Four of the planned six books have been published so far. Darker than a “cozy”, warmer than a thriller, without Christie's clever twists, the goings-on around Granchester make for compelling storytelling with a veneer of observant social drama. Begin with Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death.

The television series is mostly faithful to the books, but not entirely. On the screen, the stories are a bit grittier. Sidney has a severe drinking problem, provoked by his haunting participation on the battlefields of WWII, which we witness through flashbacks. He has love problems as well, as he can't marry the one he thinks he loves (wrong class), so he seems to be learning to love the one he’s with. The characters of the book are well-cast, and post-war Britain is very convincingly captured in six highly entertaining stories.

French New Wave Films

If you love movies, take note! AADL has an exciting collection of foreign language films, including several seminal titles from the French New Wave - a period in film-making that was categorized by energy, technique, rebellion and reflexivity.

“Tidal wave” would have been a more appropriate name for this explosion of vibrant, innovative, and highly self-conscious films by young French directors in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.” – Criterion

BREATHLESS (1960) was acclaimed director Jean-Luc Godard’s first feature-length film. It stars Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg as young lovers on the run. It’s a playful romp, an unpolished and spirited film that was inspired by American genre films, but follows none of the cinematic conventions American directors were beholden to. Instead, the editing and styling of the film matches the detached and sexy attitude of its stars. The film is just plain cool.

THE 400 BLOWS (1959) by Francois Truffaut is a personal film that portrays both the struggles and small joys of boyhood. Jean-Pierre Leaud plays Antoine Doinel, a recurring character in Truffaut’s work. Here, the young Antoine is a dogged schoolboy whose life is burdened by discouraging situations and unsympathetic adults. The 400 Blows is a touching film, with moments of poignancy and pure feeling.

CLEO FROM 5-7 (1962) by Agnes Varda follows a singer named Cleo (Corrine Marchand), in simulated real time as she anxiously waits for news regarding her health. Cleo carries an air of superficiality; she is young, beautiful and stylish. The film follows her, minute by minute, as she wanders through Parisian streets and shops looking for distractions. The film offers a glamorous glimpse of Parisian life in the sixties.

For more French New Wave Films, see this list!

 

Author Jan Jarboe Russell and Holocaust Survivor Irene Butter Discuss The New Book "The Train to Crystal City: FDR's Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America's Only Family Internment Camp During World War II"

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October 2, 2015 at the Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room

Author Jan Jarboe Russell and local Holocaust survivor Irene Butter paid a special visit to AADL to discuss Russell’s new book, which features a chapter about Irene Butter.

The Train to Crystal City: FDR's Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America's Only Family Internment Camp During World War II is the dramatic and never-before-told story of a secret American internment camp in Texas during World War II, where thousands of families, many of whom were US citizens, were incarcerated, with approval from President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Combining big-picture World War II history with a little-known event in American history, The Train to Crystal City reveals the war-time hysteria against the Japanese and Germans in America, the secrets of FDR's tactics to rescue high-profile POWs in Germany and Japan, and how the definition of American citizenship changed under the pressure of war.

Author Jan Jarboe Russell is a former Nieman Fellow, a contributing editor for Texas Monthly, and has written for the New York Times, the San Antonio Express-News, Slate, and other publications. She is the author of Lady Bird: A Biography of Mrs. Johnson and has also compiled and edited They Lived to Tell the Tale. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, Dr. Lewis F. Russell, Jr.

Irene Butter, born in Berlin, Germany grew up as a Jewish child in Nazi-occupied Europe. A survivor of 2 concentration camps, she came to the US in 1945. After graduating from Queens College in New York City, she obtained a Ph.D. in economics from Duke University. She and her husband were on the faculty of the University of Michigan for more than 35 years. Since the late 1980s, she has been teaching students about the Holocaust and the lessons she learned during those traumatic years. She is a co-founder of the Raoul Wallenberg lecture series at the University of Michigan and is also one of the founders of ZEITOUNA, an Arab/Jewish Women’s Dialogue group in Ann Arbor.

Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library
Related Event:
Author Jan Jarboe Russell and Holocaust Survivor Irene Butter Discuss The New Book "The Train to Crystal City: FDR's Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America's Only Family Internment Camp During World War II"


Halloween Fun with Batman, Mickey Mouse & Monster High!

It's that time of year for Halloween tricks or treats in video form! The library has many children's videos with Halloween, spooky and monster themes, beyond your basic Scooby Doo! Be sure to have a peek and see what looks good to you and your little ones! Here are some of the NEW movies and TV shows headed to our collection:

Thomas & Friends: Thomas' Halloween Adventures & Thomas Gets Tricked
Are there really ghosts in the fog and mist on the Island of Sodor? Thomas,Toby and Henry believe there are! But things are not always as they appear. Gordon and Percy encounter other mysteries on the Island. Can Thomas help explain them? Join all of your Island of Sodor friends as they solve Halloween mysteries that are exciting all year round!

WordWorld: Halloween Fun
Sheep and Bear are lost in the jungle and must hunt for letters to create a map. Next, Duck breaks a lamp, a lever and Frog's log. Will their friendship be broken too? Then, Fly and Duck dream of becoming firefighters and go in search of smoke in WordWorld, but can they discover what's really smoke to find the fire? And, when PIG gets a pot stuck on his face, Sheep takes over his cooking show?

Peg + Cat: A Totally Awesome Halloween
It's Halloween and Peg and Cat have a big problem! Someone has left the park full of trash and the costume parade might be canceled. Don't freak out, Peg and Cat save the day by sorting and recycling. Then, they discover they've been trick-or-treating with a real, live tiger!

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey's Monster Musical
Put on your favorite Halloween costume and get set for a spooktacular full-length adventure! Visit the creaky castle of kindly "Count Mickula" and help your Clubhouse pals solve a puzzling riddle: Who, or what, is making a curious clanging, banging noise? With the right Monster Mouseketools and help from YOU, this mystery will soon be history!

Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem
It's Halloween in Gotham. To celebrate, the city's spookiest villains have all joined forces and gone on a crime spree. Batman swings into action to stop them, joined by Green Arrow, Cyborg, Nightwing and Red Robin. But it seems that the fiends are working for the clown prince of crime himself: The Joker, who has a surprise of his own. A computer virus that makes all technology laugh and obey his every command! Can the heroes stop the virus before it turns all of Gotham into Jokertown?

Monster High: Boo York, Boo York
Its fright lights, big city when the Monster High ghouls head to Boo York. Cleo de Nile is invited to attend a fancy gala celebrating the return of a magical comet and, of course, she brings along her beast friends. But their trip isn't all fun and frightseeing because Nefera, Cleo's sister, uses the comets powers for her own spooktacularly sneaky plans. Can the monsters unwrap the mystery of the comet in time to stop Nefera?

Monster High: Scaris, City of Frights
When Clawdeen Wolf gets the chance to apprentice for the legendary fashion designer Madame Ghostier, she and her best ghoul friends immediately pack their bags and hop on a plane to beautiful Scaris, France. As Clawdeen competes against two worthy opponents, Skelita Calaveras and Jinafire Long, her pals Frankie Stein and Rochelle Goyle uncover clues to a spooktacular secret hidden deep beneath the cobblestone street.

 

History Mysteries with Mystery Authors Carrie Bebris, Susanna Calkins, Anna Lee Huber, and Sam Thomas

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August 8, 2015 at the Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room

Mystery buffs will marvel at this panel of award-winning historical mystery authors, each with a brand new mystery book that has just been released!

Robin Agnew of Aunt Agatha’s Mystery Bookshop moderated this event, which will included opportunities for audience questions.

Panelists included:
• Award-winning author Carrie Bebris, author of the critically acclaimed Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mystery series (the further adventures of Jane Austen’s most beloved characters) is also a life member and regional coordinator of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Her seventh book in the Jane Austen-based series, The Suspicion At Sanditon, finds Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy have moved to Sanditon, the setting of Jane Austen’s final work. They have barely settled into their lodgings when they receive an unexpected dinner invitation from Lady Denham, one of the town’s most prominent residents. Thirteen guests assemble at Sanditon House—but their hostess never appears. The Darcys, like most of their fellow attendees, speculate that one of her ladyship’s would-be heirs has grown impatient … but then the guests start to vanish one by one.

• Susanna Calkins is the author of the award-winning Lucy Campion novels, which are set in 17th century London, a time period that gives Calkins the ability to write about both the plague and the Great Fire. Her main character, Lucy, began the series as a chambermaid, but in this third novel, The Masque of a Murderer, Lucy is working as a bookseller's apprentice, selling broadsides with her fellow apprentice on the streets of London. On a freezing winter afternoon in 1667, she accompanies the magistrate's daughter, Sarah, to the home of a severely injured Quaker man to record his dying words, a common practice of the time. The Quaker, having been trampled by a horse and cart the night before, has only a few hours to live and Lucy is unprepared for what he reveals to her — that someone deliberately pushed him into the path of the horse, because of a mysterious secret he had uncovered.

• Anna Lee Huber is the award-winning and national bestselling author of the Lady Darby Mystery series, set in Scotland in the 1830’s. In A Study In Death, the fourth riveting mystery in the series, Lady Kiera Darby is commissioned to paint the portrait of Lady Drummond, but is saddened when she recognizes the pain in the baroness’s eyes. Lord Drummond is a brute, and his brusque treatment of his wife forces Kiera to think of the torment caused by her own late husband. When she finds Lady Drummond prostrate on the floor, the physician is called and Lord Drummond appears satisfied to rule her death natural. However, Kiera is convinced that poison is the culprit and intends to discover the truth behind the baroness’s death, no matter who stands in her way.

• Historian and teacher Sam Thomas is the author of the Bridget Hodgson series, set in 17th century York. All of the mysteries in the series focus on Bridget's work as a midwife. His latest novel, The Witch Hunter’s Tale, finds the Puritans scouring the British countryside for witches with often heartbreaking consequences. As women and children sicken and die, midwife Bridget Hodgson is pulled against her will into a full-scale witch-hunt that threatens to devour all in its path, guilty and innocent alike. As the trials begin, and the noose begins to tighten around her neck, Bridget must answer the question: How far will she go to protect the people she loves?

Length: 00:42:53
Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library


 

Poets & Patriots: A Tuneful History of the United States Through The Tale of Francis Scott Key’s Most Famous Song

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August 17, 2015 at the Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room

The story of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is the story of the United States itself. The melody was famously set to new words by amateur poet and lawyer Francis Scott Key after the Battle of Baltimore in 1814.

Since the “dawn’s early light” on that now emblematic day, the song has grown and changed in ways largely forgotten today. This lecture and discussion by U-M Associate Professor of Musicology and American Culture Mark Clague explores the history of the American national anthem as a witness to the story of the nation itself.

Mark Clague is a native of Ann Arbor and longtime fan of the Ann Arbor District Library. He serves as Associate Professor of Musicology and American Culture at the University of Michigan and is editor-in-chief of the George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition and director of the University’s Gershwin Initiative.

Length: 1:20:01
Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library
Related Event:
Poets & Patriots: A Tuneful History of the United States Through The Tale of Francis Scott Key’s Most Famous Song


New TV Shows @ AADL

The library is always acquiring additional TV shows and new seasons of them, be they hot and new, or oldies but goodies. Here are some new-to-AADL series:

The Larry Sanders show, The Complete Series
Garry Shandling stars as Larry Sanders, a neurotic late-night talk show host flanked by his foul-mouthed producer and his bumbling sidekick, who are all train wrecks and ego off-air, but late-night's finest when the cameras are on.

The Sweeney, Series 1-4
Britain's first hard-hitting, police-based television series delves deep into the gritty encounters of The Flying Squad (nicknamed "The Sweeney"), the elite investigation unit of London's Police Force and the seedy underworld of organized crime.

Silent Witness, Season 1
While Cambridge police detectives interview witnesses who may or may not tell the truth, 'Sam' extracts revealing truths from calcified bones, decomposed and charred bodies, tell-tale bruises and overlooked fingerprints. Brace yourself for twists and turns in four gripping episodes: the suspicious drowning of a six-year-old girl, the apparently ritual killing of a young man, a death in police custody, and the fiery murder of a refugee's business partner.

Fore more TV shows, be sure to check out AADL’s lists for HOT TV shows, as well as NEW TV shows.

Book to Film: The Scorch Trials

Now in theaters is The Scorch Trials, based on the book of the same name by James Dashner. This is the 2nd of 5 books in the popular dystopian science fiction Maze Runner series, and this new movie looks like another adrenaline rusher!

In The Maze Runner 16 year old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and he realizes he must work with those around him in order to stay alive and escape. Now in The Scorch Trials he and several others face even more obstacles as they struggle to fight for their lives in the Scorch.

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