October 14, 2014
October 21st, 2014 will be Martin Gardner’s 100th Birthday. “The Father of the Modern Skepticism” was a polymath, magician, skeptic and writer. His book Fads and Fallacies In The Name of Science (Dover, 1957) was the work that kicked off the modern interest in skepticism.
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September 22, 2014
The Robert G. Ingersoll Birthplace Museum in Dresden, NY has undergone a major overhaul, with expert assistance from the Exhibition Alliance, and reopened in 2014 with new displays and a new design. During this reconstruction and reworking of the displays, new ideas on how to display the various items were discussed frequently with the Exhibition Alliance and Tom Flynn, director of the museum. The Little Blue Book printing plate, shown here, is the original plate used to print Ingersoll’s Crimes Against Criminals, LBB no. 139.
September 08, 2014
During the recent Ingersoll Conference here at CFI, I was able to show-off many of the amazing artifacts that we have here as a part of CFI and the library collections. I was able to bring one such artifact to the attention of Susan Jacoby after her lecture, one that I see on an almost daily basis.
August 18, 2014
The Ingersoll Conference occurred this past weekend here at CFI, and while I was preparing some display cases for the event, I re-discovered many interesting items that are part of our libraries’ collections. I also discovered some history about Ingersoll and his supposed conversion while on his death-bed back in 1899.
August 06, 2014
I have worked for the last five or six years on digitizing various items of historic value in my role as an adjunct instructor at the University of Buffalo. I have used the class I taught to not only teach the students various issues that arise while digitizing, but also to help small cultural institutions in the WNY area learn about digitization and get them started in making their collections available to a larger pool of people; namely those who are aware of NYHeritage.org, a repository of digital items from the various libraries of New York State. One of the first collections we converted to digital was the R.V. Pierce Collection of Medical Artifacts.
July 18, 2014
The folks here at the Center for Inquiry have published a new book on Robert Ingersoll. Tom Flynn, director of the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum and editor of Free Inquiry, and Julia Lavarnway, assistant editor of Free Inquiry, put together this work which includes a biography of Ingersoll, several short pieces by Ingersoll himself, and descriptions and stories of some of the more interesting pieces at the RGI Birthplace Museum. The Freethought Trail, another of Flynn’s related projects, has several chapters devoted to it in this work.
June 16, 2014
This work, first published in 1785, is considered the first work critical of Christianity published in the New World, but is also considered a Deist work, and a freethought work as well. Given the fact that there was a limited run and a fire in the print shop where it was created, it is a wonder (dare I say miracle) that it survived and we are lucky to have a first edition here at CFI’s libraries.
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May 28, 2014
The advent of the Information Revolution that began in the late twentieth century caused such a significant change in the way we work, play, and even just exist on a day-to-day basis that some context is helpful to understand how these changes came about. Technology changed the way we work: high-tech service jobs are now more prevalent than manufacturing jobs, which were created as a result of the Industrial Revolution. The sharing of information over distances of both time and location are the focus of James Gleick’s The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood (New York: Pantheon, 2011).
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April 18, 2014
Whenever you hear the word library, what is the first thing that pops into your head? For most people, it connotes a musty room or building with many, many books, a few other media sources such as magazines or microfilm, possibly a computer or two, and a quiet place to read. What if I told you that libraries are about information first and foremost?
March 31, 2014
Another April 1 is upon us, and, as always, someone will try to prank, fool, or hoax us. The media usually tries to hoax us in some way at this time of year, and one of our specialties here at CFI is to examine these types of things. From the War of the Worlds radio broadcast to the Cardiff Giant to the Piltdown Hoax, we have accounts of many hoaxes in our libraries.