Category Archives: Communication

Library of Congress puts thousands of photos on Flickr

Through Wil Wheaton I found out about these awesome two photo sets.   The Library of Congress put over 3100 photos on flickr.  They all seem to have no copyright restrictions, being public domain photos archived by the LoC.  I’ve gone through a hundred or so of them, and a couple have made my favourites list at flickr already.  Some great stuff here, esp. the 40’s ones that are in colour, which is something you don’t normally get to see.

Quoth the Wil:

“File this under Coolest Damn Thing I’ve Seen All Day: The Library of Congress put over 3100 pictures on Flickr:

Library of Congress staff often make digital versions of our popular image collections available online as quickly as possible by relying primarily on the identifying information that came with the original photos. That text can be incomplete and is even inaccurate at times. We welcome your contribution of names, descriptions, locations, tags, and also your general reactions.

It’s divided into two different sets:

1930s-40s in Color:

These vivid color photos from the Great Depression and World War II capture an era generally seen only in black-and-white. Photographers working for the United States Farm Security Administration (FSA) and later the Office of War Information (OWI) created the images between 1939 and 1944.

News events in the 1910s:

Welcome to the daily news scene from almost a hundred years ago, as photographed by the Bain News Service in about 1910-1912. We invite your tags and comments! Also, lots more identification information. (Most of these old photos came to the Library of Congress with very little description.)

This selected set of 1,500 photographs is from a large collection of almost 40,000 glass negatives. The entire collection spans 1900-1920 and richly documents sports events, theater, celebrities, crime, strikes, disasters, and political activities, with a special emphasis on life in New York City.

I’ve only looked at a few dozen of these pictures, but they’re just astonishingly beautiful. Many of them have a haunting quality, as well, and would make great Ficlet inspiration.”



A while ago I was turned on to ficlets by John Scalzi, an author and blogger I admire.

I just recently went there again to read a story posted by Wil Wheaton. (yeah, that Star Trek guy I like, who is an hawesome author) Wil’s story was basically amazing – the kind of thing I wish I could come up with. It was also inspirational, because I resurrected my ficlets username and wrote a few ficlets.

I wrote a disasterbation piece about someone in my line of work being taken hostage by an angry gun toting customer. I wrote a very vague piece about the world ending, and someone counting down the minutes. This one has inspired a few people to write sequels and prequels – one of the neatest aspects of ficlets.

Actually, I’ll let Wil sum it up, as he already did so well here.

“What does “collaborative short fiction” mean in this case? Simple: You, as a writer, post a very short (not more than 1,024 characters [Jeff’s note: If you get 1024 characters exactly it marks your ficlet as “ficlet nirvana”]) piece of fiction or a fiction fragment on the Ficlets site. People come to Ficlets to read what you’ve written, and to comment on your piece. If they want to, they can also write a “sequel” to your story or story fragment, carrying the story forward from where you left it. Or, alternately, they can write a “prequel,” explaining how you got to where you are in the story. All sorts of people can write all sorts of sequels and prequels — and of course, other people can write sequels and prequels to those. What you end up with is a story with multiple authors and multiple branchings — lots of possibilities and surprises.”

I am amazed at how a story I wrote can inspire 6 other people to write short stories based on it, and how I can surf between the prequels and sequels, and end up reading alternative “dimensions” on my story. It’s hard to describe, but say someone writes two prequels to my story. Someone else comes along and writes one sequel, and someone writes a sequel to that. In the hierarchy it is in the same point as my story, but is different.

Just for fun I tossed the RSS feed of my stories into the sidebar – you can go click on them and read them. If you sign up you can post comments on them, continue them, prequel them, or just write your own.

If you do sign up, send me your username so I can add you to my watchlist.

Sign Language

Misty @ Live Granades writes about sign language today:

“I can’t tell you the amount of frustration his ability to sign cut down. Many times when he was tired, a sign would ease the way to compromise. We didn’t do the endless pointing and asking, “Is this what you want? No? How about this?” And it gave him some power. Even without vocalized words he could still let us know what he needed. We also got an excellent start on good manners. To this day, he will still sometimes make the sign for ‘please’ when he says it out loud. I was continually amazed at him making signs for stuff and me for understanding what he wanted.”

Sign language is something we talked about with Ivy but never followed through on.  I think this is one thing that we’ll probably change with the upcoming baby – Misty has some good book recommendations that I’ll be taking a look at.