Thursday, January 18, 2018

North Korea Joins Winter Olympics?

Tensions run high with North Korea's missile and nuclear tests. The United States is threatened by these tests, however, President Donald Trump ensures that North Korea will be destroyed if any harm comes to the nation. The strain of politics prompted reconciliation between North Korea and South Korea.

Soon many nations and athletes will gather together in PyeongChang, South Korea to participate in the Winter Olympics. North Korea plans to send the Samjiyon Band to Seoul and Gangneug. The 140 members will be performing in a pop orchestra. This arrangement demonstrates a moment of peace between the two countries. Although, Kim Jong-un, North Korea's leader, largely uses troupes as propaganda for his ideas and loyalty. South Korea required that the performances steer clear of anything that could upset the people, largely the missile crisis. It seems that Kim Jong-un is trying to butter up South Korea so that they can join the Winter Olympics. This art troupe shows that South Korea is willing to accept peace with their northern neighbor.

This week, the article in the New York Times, "North Korean Orchestra Plans to Perform in South Korea During Winter Olympics", states that North Korea will send athletes, cheerleaders, art troupes, journalists, and a taekwondo team to South Korea. It also mentions that North Korea and South Korea will create a joint women's ice hockey team for the Olympics. As of yet, North Korea is not officially in the Winter Olympics. Their proposal must be discussed in Switzerland to determine if they can join. The world holds its breath to see if North Korea will participate in the games.

See also the CNN and FOX News reports about North Korea's involvement in the Winter Olympics.

For more information about North Korea and the Olympics see:

The CIA World Factbook: Provides information and facts about North Korea.

The U.S. Department of State: Provides information about travel, such as whether a location is safe to visit.

Library of Congress: Dates and locations of past Olympics

~ by Emily Hancz

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."~ Martin Luther King, Jr.; "I Have A Dream" speech.

What is the background of Martin Luther King, Jr.?
Martin Luther King, Jr. grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, where Jim Crow Laws heavily enforced segregation and discrimination. After graduating from Boston University's School of Theology, King became the pastor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He largely contributed to the Civil Rights Movement through nonviolent protests. King supported the Montgomery Bus Boycott; many African-Americans refused to ride the buses in response to Rosa Parks' arrest. The campaign demonstrated that the buses would not be used until they were integrated. The ShareAmerica website claims that King was influenced by the teachings of Gandhi to use "nonviolent protests to end British rule in India." King traveled to India in 1959.

What was King's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement?
King continued to be involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Throughout the 1960s he was arrested many times for protesting. The King Center reports that in 1963, King led the "March on Washington" and delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech. The National Archives has a copy of the speech. His speech led to profound change within the Civil Rights Movement and solidified King as a leader. The Library of Congress states that King was "the most important voice of the American Civil Rights Movement."

The ShareAmerica website explains that in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act, "which banned discrimination in employment, public accommodations, education, and transportation." King continued to push for more justice for the African-American community. He wanted a law that discarded literacy tests and other measures that prohibited their freedom to vote. King's prayer was heard in 1965 when Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act.

On April 4, 1968, King was assassinated on his balcony at a hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. His legacy continues to live on and inspire a place where "the color of your skin does not determine the content of your character."

What's the story behind the holiday?
The Corporation for National and Community Service explains that in 1983 legislation was passed to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. by making his birthday a federal holiday. In 1994, the holiday was determined to be a day of service that "calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems."

Want more?
The National Park Service provides information of historic sites that honor Martin Luther King, Jr. If you need help navigating government information online, contact the Government Documents department at the OSU Library.

What are your thoughts on the involvement of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Civil Rights Movement?

-by Emily Hancz

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Thursday, December 14, 2017


It's the most wonderful time of the year.

As Christmas draws near, individuals begin to plan their holiday traditions. Children look forward to Santa Claus and presents under the tree. Others are eager for time with family and loved ones. However, these traditions are American made and were not always present.

What is the history of Christmas?
Across the world, Christians celebrate the birthday of Jesus on Christmas day. However, December 25th was a different holiday at one point in time.

The History Channel website explains that "early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter." The middle of winter was very significant, for it was the time of the winter solstice. The people could look forward to longer days filled with sunlight; the celebrations were largely accompanied by fresh meat and wine and beer.

Saturnalia was a popular celebration held in Rome during the winter solstice. It is said that Pope Julius 1 chose December 25th as a way to incorporate practices from the Saturnalia festival. The History Channel reports that December 25th was decided because "holding Christmas at the same time as traditional solstice festivals would increase the chances of Christmas being celebrated." The pagan holiday was transformed into a religious holiday by the Middle Ages.

Christmas took a different approach in the United States. The story of St. Nicholas was popular throughout Europe because it emphasized his generosity and good deeds. The Library of Congress states that the Dutch brought the story of St. Nicholas when they settled in the U.S. St. Nicholas became known as Santa Claus, a man with a red suit and white beard who rewarded good children with presents on Christmas day.

What is the history behind the tradition of Christmas lights?
Decorating homes and Christmas trees has become a popular Christmas tradition. Before the invention of electric strands of lights, families decorated Christmas trees with candles. This was a very dangerous custom, for the open flame caused many house fires. The Library of Congress points out that Thomas Edison, Edward Johnson, and Albert Sadacca were contributed with the invention of electric Christmas lights. In 1880, Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, created the first strand of electric lights. Johnson created the first strand of electric Christmas lights by hand wiring red, white, and blue bulbs. Even though Edison and Johnson created the lightbulb, Sadacca made a business out of selling Christmas lights which lasted up until the 1960s.

What is the winter outlook for this year?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration claims that "La Nina has a 55-65% chance of developing before winter, although it will be short and weak." As a result, the north will have above average precipitation and colder temperatures, whereas, the south will have below average precipitation and drier conditions.

What are some safety tips for this winter?
Winter can be a dangerous season for some places that receive a lot of snow and ice. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shares some advice about "winterizing" your home, precautions for the outdoors, tips for traveling, and much more. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides winter driving tips to encourage safe driving this holiday season.

What are your plans for this winter break. Does your family celebrate any unique traditions?

As we all leave for winter break, the OSU Government Documents wishes you a happy holiday. 

- by Emily Hancz

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Attack on Pearl Harbor

December 7, 1941 is a "date which will live on in infamy." ~President Franklin Roosevelt

What led to Pearl Harbor?

After World War One and the Great Depression, America took on an isolationism policy. The Office of the Historian states that isolationism is the "non-involvement in European and Asian conflicts and non-entanglement in international politics." The Great Depression of the 1930s devastated the U.S. economy, and thus attention was turned even more inward. Franklin Roosevelt worked to rebuild the economy and decrease unemployment. Militaristic regimes began to form in Japan and Germany as the United States concentrated on domestic affairs. Japan and Germany grew more encouraged as the U.S. did not stop them from conquering other territories. The Office of the Historian explains that "Japan's invasion of China in 1937 and Germany's annexation of Czechoslovakia in 1938, encouraged the Japanese and German governments to enlarge their military campaigns for the U.S. did not respond." Emboldened, Japan and Germany continued their mission of territorial acquisition.

What was the influence behind Pearl Harbor?

Japanese admiral Isoroku Yamamoto and Captain Minou Genada worked together to carry out the attack. The Government Census webpage mentions that the book, The Great Pacific War, influenced Yamamoto. The book described a war between the United States and Japan, where the Japan destroys the U.S. fleet.

What happened at Pearl Harbor?

On December 7, 1941, the U.S. fleet was surprised by a Japanese attack. The Government Census webpage states that the Japanese meant to give the United States an official declaration of war to prevent the violation of the first article of the Hague Convention of 1907. However, the message was delayed and Washington did not receive it in time. The attack violated the Hague Convention. The Library of Congress reports that the convention was an agreement of peace between pacific settlements disputes. The first article stated that these states had to work together to settle their differences. However, peace went up in flames after the attack.

On December 6, 1941, the United States intercepted a Japanese message asking about the movements at Pearl Harbor. The message was disregarded. The following day, a radar operator saw a large group of unidentified planes. Again, the warning was disregarded. The inattention to these warning signals left the U.S. Navy unprepared.

The soldiers expected a normal day and went about their normal routines. However, they were caught off guard as the Japanese attacked. The attack lasted for one hour and 15 minutes. The Library of Congress reported that the "U.S.S. Arizona was completely destroyed, the U.S.S. Oklahoma was capsized, 12 ships were sunk and 9 more damaged, along with over 160 aircrafts destroyed." The Government Census web page provides these facts for Pearl Harbor; U.S. casualties, U.S. aircraft damaged, and U.S. ships destroyed. The attack left 2,403 American soldiers dead and the Pacific fleet was destroyed. The National Archives has logbooks from the U.S. Navy's ships that provide witness accounts to what the soldiers endured during Pearl Harbor. The deck logs provide information every fours hours.

How did the U.S. respond?

After Pearl Harbor, the United States declared war on Japan and abandoned its isolationism policy. On December 11, 1941, Germany and Italy, Japan's allies, declared war on the United States. The U.S. was launched into World War Two. The Library of Congress declares that the Office of War Information (OWI) used the fear and outrage over Pearl Harbor to encourage war mobilization. The OWI became a propaganda tool that celebrated and supported American patriotism. The United States got its retribution against Japan at the Battle of Midway in June 1942. The National Park Service states that the Japanese were going to lure the United States into battle at Midway to reduce their carrier powers. However, the U.S. was able to decipher their codes and they ambushed the Japanese carriers. The U.S. attacked Japan and sunk four of their aircraft carriers. After, the U.S. began its island-hopping campaign.

Pearl Harbor remains an important part of history. It is a memorial to the soldiers who lost their lives, but also a statement that warns not to mess with the United States without repercussion. Pearl Harbor drew the United States out of isolation. The presence of America contributed to the Allies victory.

Ways to remember?

If you have a chance, visit the Pacific National Monument, home of the USS Arizona memorial. Check out the National Park Service for more Pearl Harbor historic sites.

And for more books on Pearl Harbor, see the OSU Library's catalog.

What are your thoughts on Pearl Harbor and its effects on America's war mobilization?

- by Emily Hancz

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks became a prominent figure in the Civil Rights movement and accelerated the need for social justice.

Why was Rosa Parks arrested?

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Montgomery law stated that the first ten seats on public buses were reserved for white people. Parks was sitting in the row directly behind these ten seats. As the bus became more crowded, the driver asked Parks to move to the back so that a white passenger could have her seat. Parks refused to move and the police were called. The National Archives web page explains that she was charged with "refusing to obey orders of the bus driver."

What happened after she was arrested?

Parks was the secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Montgomery. In response to her arrest, the African American community in Montgomery boycotted the buses for 381 days, which was led by Martin Luther King Jr. The Library of Congress mentions how Parks traveled the country to raise awareness and money to fund the bus boycott. In 1956, the Browder v. Gayle case ruled that racial segregation on public buses was unconstitutional.

Parks' Legacy

Parks involvement in racial justice coined her the "Mother of the Civil Rights Movement." The National Park Service website declares that Parks was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, which is the "highest honor a civilian can receive in the United States." Parks died on October 24th, 2005, however her legacy continues to live on. The Architect of the Capital describes that her casket was placed in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capital, a place where prominent citizens are paid their final tribute. Furthermore, a statue was dedicated to her. The Rosa Parks statue was revealed in 2005, and it is the "first full-length statue of an African American in the U.S. Capitol." The sculptor portrayed Parks in the same clothes the day she was arrested. The statue is meant to show her "inner strength, dignity, resolve and determination, all characteristics of her long-time commitment to working for civil rights."

Want more information?

The Library of Congress has a Rosa Parks collection which contains documents about her private life along with her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. The collection has eleven different series that depict letters that Parks wrote and the responses.

Search "Rosa Parks" in the OSU Library's BOSS database to find more resources.

What do you think about Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights Movement?

-by Emily Hancz

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Climate Change

From November 6th-17th, the United Nations Climate Change Conference was convened in Bonn, Germany.

What is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change?

 In 1992 there was the Rio Earth Summit, which included the adoption of the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which entered into force in 1994. It now has a near-universal membership of 197 countries. The main objective of the annual Conference of Parties (COP) is to review the Convention’s implementation, which was to set out a framework for action aimed "avoiding dangerous human interference with the climate system."

 What is the Paris Agreement?

The Paris Agreement was put into effect on November 4, 2016. The agreement was a way to further unite countries to combat climate change. UNFCCC claims that the Agreement aims to "strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels." The Agreement established Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs); countries must submit a report of their emissions and implementation efforts. Right now, 170 out of 197 Parties have ratified the agreement. 

What is causing climate change?

The National Climate Assessment, climate science report published every four years, states that humans are the cause for climate change. In this report, 13 federal agencies agreed that human activities have led to a rise in global temperatures. The NY Times claims that this report contradicts Trump's administration, for many doubt the existence of global warming. In the report, it explains how global temperatures have risen 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 115 years. With the fluctuations in temperature, many weather catastrophes have occurred. However, the Environmental Protection Agency has removed many of its climate references from its website and has cancelled some of its scientists' talks about global warming. 

Want more information about climate change?

 The U.S. Global Change Research Program offers ways to understand climate change, explore its effects, stay updated with news, and to engage and inform others about global warming.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration features news about the climate along with a global climate dashboard.  

The United States Environmental Protection Agency provides a way to explore climate change indicators in the U.S. 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change provides scientific information to governments to allow them develop climate-related policies.  

What are your beliefs on climate change? What needs to be done about it?

-by Emily Hancz

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Gobble! Gobble! Gobble!

Get out your knives, forks, and elastic pants because Thanksgiving is right around the corner. As loved ones gather around the dinner table, it is important to remember that Thanksgiving is a day dedicated to gratitude and prayer.

How did Thanksgiving come to be?

In 1620, The Mayflower left England with passengers who were expecting a better life in the New World. After a long and hard travel, they landed in Massachusetts Bay. The Pilgrims were not prepared for the harsh winter; only half of them survived. Squanto, a Native American from the Pawtuxet tribe, was introduced to the Pilgrims. The History Channel website states that he taught them how to "cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants." Squanto also aided the Pilgrims in forming an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local Indian tribe. The Pilgrims put their newly learned skills to the test, and in 1621 they reaped the first successful harvest of corn. Governor William Bradford invited the Wampanoag tribe and their chief, Massasoit, for a three-day celebratory feast. The Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources page explains that the celebration included an abundance of food, along with athletic and military activities. Thanksgiving revolves around this image of the Pilgrims and Indians sharing a nice meal together to give thanks.

When did Thanksgiving become a national holiday?

Throughout history, the date of Thanksgiving remained inconsistent. The National Archives declares that Thanksgiving was first celebrated on November 26, 1789, when George Washington declared it a day of thanksgiving and prayer. Magazine editor, Sarah Josepha Hale, started a campaign to make Thanksgiving an official holiday.; she wrote articles and sent letters to political figures. Abraham Lincoln answered her request in 1863 and made the last Thursday in November Thanksgiving. The Library of Congress points out that the date was changed in 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt made Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.

What are some traditions?

Thanksgiving has become associated with food, football, family, volunteering, shopping, and parades. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade has become a staple of the holiday. Starting in 1924, New York streets are filled with bands and gigantic floats. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade official website offers information about where to watch, the line-up, special guests, and much more.

Food plays a central role in the celebration of Thanksgiving. To make sure your "gobble day" is a success, the FoodSafety website provides "steps to follow before cooking a turkey, steps to follow when cooking a turkey, and steps to follow when consuming leftover Thanksgiving food."

What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions?

-by Emily Hancz

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Anniversary of John F. Kennedy's Assassination

"Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country"- John F. Kennedy

What was his presidency like?
John F. Kennedy served as the 35th president of the United States, from 1961 to late 1963. Kennedy was selected as the presidential candidate for the Democratic Party in 1960. His presidential campaign against Richard Nixon was broadcast over television. Kennedy won by a very small margin. The White House website explains that Kennedy "wished America to resume its old mission as the first nation dedicated to the revolution of human rights."He wanted to extend equality and civil rights.

The Cold War?
In 1961, during the height of the Cold War, Kennedy provided equipment and the training of anti-communist supporters to overthrow Fidel Castro in Cuba; known as the "Bay of Pigs" invasion. The revolt was a failure. East Germany built the Berlin Wall in 1963. The National Park Service states that in 1962, aerial photographs displayed Soviet missiles in Cuba. In response to the nuclear weapons, Kennedy quarantined shipments of weapons to Cuba. Relations between the United States and the Soviet Union improved when the missiles were taken out of Cuba and the test ban treaty of 1963 prevented the spread of nuclear weapons.

Kennedy's crusade for civil rights?
Kennedy was involved in the Alliance Progress and the Peace Corps, which sought to extend American idealism to developing countries. During his presidency, he worked to raise minimum wages, provide higher education, and much more. The National Park Service points out that Kennedy established the Equal Employment Opportunity to prevent discrimination in the federal workforce along with renewing the Civil Rights Commission. He worked hard to provide equality for all individuals in the nation.

Kennedy's assassination?
On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. Kennedy decided to visit Texas to unite the Democrats for his upcoming Presidential election. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum explains that Kennedy was shot in the neck and head as his convertible was passing the Texas School Book Depository. He was rushed to the Parkland Memorial Hospital where he later died. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn into office after the assassination. Police arrested Lee Harvard Oswald for the murder of Kennedy. However, Oswald was shot and killed by Jack Ruby as he was being transferred to jail. On November 25, 1965, Kennedy was laid to rest in the Arlington National Cemetery. On November 29, 1963, Johnson established the Warren Commission to evaluate the assassination of Kennedy and Oswald.

More information?
The Federal Bureau of Investigation provides an account of the investigation from a former agent. In addition, the History Channel provides episodes of "JFK Declassified: Tracking Oswald."

Have you ever been to the spot where Kennedy was killed? If so, what was your experience like?

-Emily Hancz

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