Where are all of the aliens? Fermi’s Paradox & Colonizing the Galaxy

February 8th, 2016

In the video below, novelist and physicist Alastair Reynolds offers some thoughts on colonizing the galaxy. He notes that given the vast size of the galaxy it would take about 3.75 million years to colonize the entire galaxy. This is longer than humans have been in existence. But, it is actually not too long considering that the galaxy works on a scale of billions and billions of years.

In this talk, Reynolds asks us to think about the Fermi Paradox, which basically asks, “if there are aliens out there, where is everyone?” Why haven’t they shown up yet?

Alastair Reynolds – Asking the Biggest Question: Fermi’s Paradox

If you’d like to read more, take a look at these titles in our collection:

Aliens : can we make contact with extraterrestrial intelligence?
Life beyond Earth : the search for habitable worlds in the Universe
Life in the universe : expectations and constraints

The Zika Virus: new kid on the block

February 4th, 2016


Another virus is on the prowl. This time it is the Zika virus that is in the news. Initially, medical experts were not alarmed by the spread of the Ugandan virus, but then scientists began to link  increases of microcephaly in Brazil and Guillain-Barre in French Polynesia to this virus. Many scientists believe the spread of new viruses is linked to Globalization .

Check for updates on the Zika virus

Map of the Zika virus mosquito-719613__180

Reread some past MVCC blogs on viruses

Ebola virus

Deadly virus







Voting in the Illinois Primary

February 3rd, 2016


If you are not registered to vote in the Illinois General Primary Election taking place on March 15, 2016 you have until February 16, 2016 to register.

Illinois’ residents may register online, in person at the office of the election authority, at Driver’s license facilities, with deputy registrars who are appointed in each jurisdiction, or via mail using the Illinois Voter Registration Application available in English and Spanish.

Online Voter Registration Application Website

To vote In Illinois:

  • You must be a United States Citizen.
  • You must be 17 years old on or before the date of the Primary Election and turn 18 on or before the date of the General Election.
  • You must live in your election precinct at least 30 days prior to Election Day.
  • Not be convicted and in jail.
  • Not claim the right to vote anywhere else.

Early voting in the Illinois Primary will start February 4, 2016 and end March 14, 2016.

Early Voting Locations by Jurisdiction

Check your registration and polling place location to vote in the Illinois Primary on March 16, 2016:
Registration and Polling Place Information

Field Museum is FREE this Month!

February 2nd, 2016

The Field has free general admission for IL state residents every day in the month of February. The museum is open 9 AM to 5 PM every day.  Here’s the website if you want to check it out before your visit.

Everybody loves free things and when what you are getting is entry into one of the country’s very best museums, there is a lot to love. The Field is a true gem of Chicago, and curious people find wonder and inspiration there everyday.  One of my absolute favorite exhibitions to spend time in is Inside Ancient Egypt.  Who doesn’t want to go into a three-story recreation of an Ancient Egyptian tomb? The dioramas, the hieroglyphics, the MUMMIES!  I hope you’ll go visit sometime this month, and if you do and you’d like to immerse yourself even further into the study of Ancient Egypt, you know you’ll find plenty of great resources here in our collection, including these standouts:

Cleopatra:  A Life by Stacey Schiff I read this book last month and it is a phenomenal portrait of one of the history’s most famous women.  It’s well-researched and entertaining.

Learn more about the beliefs and stories of the ancient Egyptians by checking out The Egyptian Myths: A Guide to the Ancient Gods and Legends. 

If you were particularly interested in the art that you saw in the exhibit you definitely are going to want to take a look at this stunner of a book- Eternal Egypt: Masterworks of Ancient Art from the British Museum. 

“War and Peace” 2016 Television Adaptation

February 2nd, 2016

War and peaceIf you’ve been watching the BBC miniseries adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace (being simultaneously broadcast on Lifetime, A&E, and History networks) and you’re interested in comparing it to the written word, please check out one of our copies. We have two (2) hardcover novels located here and here. We also have an eBook format that is available through Project Gutenberg.

• To access the free eBook format, browse over to the main MVCC library page.
• Click on “Research Tools”.
• In the box titled “Search Books, DVDs, Videos, & More” click on the “Ebooks” link.
• Select the drop down “Title” and enter War and Peace:

**Click on the screen shots for a larger view.

Search War and peace
• Click on “Search.
• This will take you to the one (1) result of the War and Peace eBook:

War and peace Ebook

• Click on the “To access ebook” link
• You will be re-directed to the Project Gutenberg War and Peace page:


• From here you can choose to read the book online, send to Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive, or read the file on a Kindle (file links with and without images) or an iPad (using the EPUB links with or without images).
**And again, the eBook format is free through Project Gutenberg!

Read the review on the 2016 adaptation of War and Peace.

Browse here to learn more about free ebooks by Project Gutenberg.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

January 27th, 2016

January 27 commemorates the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in 1945. The United Nations designated this day as a memorial to the millions of people who died under the Nazi regime.

If you want to learn more about the Holocaust, check out the MVCC catalog or the library databases to find more information on this topic.

Some suggested titles to start your research.

Non fiction

DailyLife During the Holocaust

A Good Place to Hide: How One French Community Saved Thousands of Lives During World War II


The Nightingale

Sophie’s Choice

Graphic Novel



The Boy in the Striped Pajamas





Celebrating African American History

January 26th, 2016

With Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday on January 18th and African American History Month in February, you may feel encouraged to learn more about African American history and experiences. The following items were recently added to our collection:AfricanAmericanhistorybooks

African Americans in U.S. Foreign Policy: from the Era of Frederick Douglass to the Age of Obama edited by Linda Heywood, Allison Blakely, Charles Stith, and Joshua C. Yesnowitz

A collection of essays examining different aspects of race and foreign relations from the end of slavery to the present. The essays shed light onto the contributions of African American leaders and cultural ambassadors in diplomatic services, as well as answering questions as to why African Americans supported the diplomatic initiatives of a government with racist policies and cultural practices that undermined their civil rights. The volume concludes with a look at foreign policy in the Obama administration.

Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad: the Geography of Resistance by Cheryl Janifer LaRoche

Approaching the Underground Railroad through an archaeological lens, LaRoche focuses on how free African American communities were able to help individuals fleeing slavery. She argues that geographical features like waterways, caves and iron forges in the southern part of the free North were key to the effectiveness of the Underground Railroad.

South Side Girls: Growing up in the Great Migration by Marcia Chatelain

Chatelain examines the image of urban black girlhood in Chicago during the Great Migration, specifically from 1910 to 1940. She argues that the vulnerable image portrayed of urban black girlhood symbolized the larger well-being of a community undergoing major social, economic and cultural changes. Chatelain not only draws out the views of the adult African American population, but also references the girls’ letters and interviews.

The Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power by Leah Wright Rigueur

An examination of African American Republicans, from the New Deal to 1980, in their fight for inclusion. Rigueur argues that while black Republicans faced hostility within the Republican Party and were shunned by their communities as political minorities, they were influential at various points in both instituting policies and programs and garnering support from outside the Republican Party.


A motion picture by director Ava DuVernay starring David Oyelowo as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. leading the march for civil rights from Selma to Montgomery.

Freedom Now! Forgotten Photographs of the Civil Rights Struggle by Martin A. Berger

Featuring dozens of ‘forgotten’ photographs of the black civil rights movement, Freedom Now! shows that African Americans were actively engaged in violent protests. Berger argues that popular imagination focused on the images of black activists victimized by violent white southerners, while images contrary to this nonthreatening view have been purposely edited out of the collective narrative. This book provides a complete look at the actions, strength, and heroism of black activists.

Let the Fire Burn

A documentary film by director Jason Osder, Let the Fire Burn is about excessive police action against the radical urban group MOVE in Philadelphia. On May 13, 1985, police dropped military-grade explosives that led to the deaths of eleven people and destruction of 61 homes in an effort to arrest MOVE members occupying one of the rowhouses in the city.

The Political Roots of Racial Tracking in American Criminal Justice by Nina M. Moore

Moore examines the endurance of racial discrimination in criminal justice and its enablement in the national crime policy process. She argues that the race problem is rooted in an exaggerated public concern with ‘a crime problem’ over other issues facing the criminal justice system.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

One of 2015’s bestsellers and winner of the National Book Award for nonfiction, Between the World and Me is a memoir about Coates’ exploration of race in U.S. history and its present-day implications. Written as a letter to his son, Coates shares various personal experiences, from his days at Howard University to visiting a Civil War battlefield, Chicago’s South Side and African American homes broken by violence, ultimately providing a framework for understanding race.

Thornton Quarry/Reservoir

January 24th, 2016

If you live in the south suburbs or south Chicago, you have probably driven over the Thornton Quarry dozens of times.  You may or may not have known that the quarry has been transformed into a reservoir to relieve the flooding problems that often plague city and suburban basements every time it rains heavily.  This video shows the quarry “filling up” for the first time on the night of November 26, 2015.

In the library, we have many items on water related topics.  You can refine the search by choosing a tag on the left or scrolling to the bottom and choosing a “related search” (again on the left).  Also, you can search our databases to find articles on the topic.  If you are off campus, you’ll need to use your campus user name and password to access the databases.

As always, please ask a librarian for help if you need it.

Technology Aids for College Students

January 22nd, 2016

Need to organize yourself to be a better student? Are you planning to get a bachelor’s degree? In this age of technology, get on board to use some of the free apps that can help you navigate schedules, note-taking, flashcard making, etc. (Enhanced features may be available at a nominal price.) The website CollegeChoice.Net has 15 helpful apps. Look for those that are either iOS or Android and get the help that will set you up for success. Click here for the link.


You May Not Want to Read This

January 21st, 2016

How do you feel about bugs in your house? How many do you think there might be? A group of entomologists recently conducted a research study to find out. They started by combing through 50 homes in the Raleigh, NC area with tweezers and headlamps. They collected samples of all the different types of bugs they could find and then took them back to their lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Nature Center for examination under the microscope. They didn’t set out to count how many individual bugs there were, but rather to identify how many different types were present.
They found a total of 579 different species, with each house having an average of 100 different species as residents. If you’re starting to get the heebie-jeebies, it may help to know that most of bugs were less than a few millimeters long. The most prevalent were book lice which were found in over 98 percent of the homes, dark-winged fungus gnats in 96 percent, and cobweb spiders, carpet beetles, gall midge flies, and ants found in every single home.

If you’re not completely freaked out at this point and want to find out more, you can read the full report from the journal PeerJ Arthropods of the Great Indoors: Characterizing Diversity Inside Urban and Suburban Homes. Then you can learn more about the different species of bugs they found with these books and DVDs from the library.

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