William is Senior Editor, Readex Digital Collections. He has been Editor of the Readex edition of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set since its early days. Previously, he was Editor of NewsBank Global Products and Assistant Vocabulary Editor. For the past ten years, he has also trained numerous NewsBank and Readex indexers.
The latest recent release of American Pamphlets, Series 1, 1820-1922, includes many publications concerning health and treatments for a host of physical and mental complaints. Some of these pamphlets are almost 200 years old and yet they seem almost current in their concerns and causes, if not in their use of language, to contemporary American life.
Cautions to Young Persons Concerning Health, in a Public Lecture Delivered at the Close of the Medical Course in the Chapel at Cambridge, November 20, 1804; Containing the General Doctrine of Dyspepsia and Chronic Diseases; Shewing the Evil Tendency of the use of Tobacco upon Young Persons; More Especially the Pernicious Effects of Smoking Cigars. With Observations on the Use of Ardent and Vinous Spirits. By Benjamin Waterhouse, M.D., Professor of the Theory and Practice of Physic, and Lecturer on Natural History in the University of Cambridge, New England (1822)
The June release of Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1994, includes a number of topical translations from the mid-1960s concerning religion and atheism in the Soviet Union. Below are five examples:
Need for Special Atheist Courses for Students of Higher Education Institutions (1966) In this article by a history department professor and his student, the writers argue that it is necessary for university students to be taught a more robust atheism in order to be able to refute the beliefs of sectarians and cultists. It is not enough to be an atheist; a young educated person has to know enough about religion—Christianity—to be able to make a logical argument against it. The authors suggest that comparing what is written in the gospel Mark to what is said in Matthew and Mark about the same instance will act as a wedge. The believer must choose among apostles as to whom to believe. Thus is doubt provoked. Knowing these “little things" about religious doctrine and practice can be more effective in winning the argument than “the most extensive discussions on general themes."
This May release of American Pamphlets includes several 19th- and early 20th-century publications that explore a wide range of scientific topics, including animal behavior, botany, evolution and others.
Joseph Brown's Advertiser of Philosophical and Astronomical Apparatus (1835) This 48-page catalogue is richly illustrated with the apparatus that Mr. Brown designed and constructed. It includes an infant school set of learning tools and ranges upward to sophisticated mechanical tools for the advanced scientist of the day. The catalogue incorporates a second catalogue describing and illustrating philosophical apparatus designed by the firm of Claxton and Wightman, also of Boston, which specialized in hydraulics, pneumatics, steam, and chemistry.
Within the March 2014 release of Joint Publications Research Service Reports are more than 100 items indexed to the subject term “Cybernetics.” Most of these reports were published during the decade between 1966 and 1976. They reflect the rapidly increasing interest in, and development of, information technology, bionics, and systems analysis. Examples of this expanding capacity, and the challenges and opportunities presented by this new technology, are highlighted this month.
ACADEMICIAN GLUSHKOV FORETELLS FUTURE OF CYBERNETICS Written in language easily understood by the layman, this 1968 monograph explores the potential of the digital frontier. Almost 50 years later, it is interesting to look back at this early stage in the development of cybernetics and to assess the predictions of a prominent Soviet scholar. The author, V. Glushkov, is described as a “Lenin Prize Winner and Vice-President of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences.”
Before there were blogs, there were pamphlets. From the earliest days of American history, pamphlets provided ordinary citizens with the opportunity to comment on contemporary issues. Their subject matter was as broad, and sometimes as provocative, as that of today’s blogs.