Links We Love Weekly Round-Up — March 31, 2014


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 Raleigh’s 50 Foot Librarian: Hunt Library

At North Carolina State University’s Hunt Library, “whoosh” replaces “shhh” as robots zip along the state-of-the-art building’s five-story trove of tomes…  So, meet the bookBot, which takes most of the 1.5 million books in the James B. Hunt Jr. Library in west Raleigh — the Jetsons-modern building on the main oval of North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus — and buries them. It stuffs the books into metal boxes and stacks those boxes 50 feet high down vast, narrow aisles you can’t get to. Think of the enormous warehouse scene at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark and you’ll have the idea. If you want the books, you ask a robot to get them for you.

Top Lawyer Ads and Stuff on Flickr

Where else can you find a multitasking lighter and beer opener than in Vegas? If Nevada lawyer and Half Price founder Adam Stokes has his way, you should see Half Price Lawyers franchises, lighters, and bottler openers not only in Vegas but also just down the street from you.

Amelie’s Bakery at Center of Social Media Storm

Charlotte-based Amelie’s French Bakery, long known for its social media savvy, has found itself in the middle of an online brush fire after a former employee made his resignation letter public.  Justin Miller, then-manager of Amelie’s production kitchen, posted his resignation letter Friday on Facebook, citing “reservations about the legality of some of the labor policies.” He alleged that employees are asked to work off the clock and that others don’t get overtime pay when they should. In his posting, he said he has filed a “wage theft complaint” with the U.S. Department of Labor.  Pending wage and hour complaints are not public, according to the Labor Department’s website. Miller declined to comment further Monday.

Timeline: How Contraception Cases Got to Supreme Court

The contraception coverage cases going before the Supreme Court Tuesday morning have a long backstory. Below is a timeline of what brought these two cases to the high court.

Where the President’s Budget Would Leave Libraries

President Barack Obama’s $3.9 trillion budget for fiscal year 2015 proposes slight cuts in federal library spending, strongly promotes a variety of early education programs, and funds an ongoing mission to connect students to high-speed Internet in their schools and libraries.  The budget Obama sent to Congress serves largely as a blueprint for the direction he wants to take the administration over the remainder of his second term. This is perhaps most clearly illustrated by the president’s $68.6 billion education plan, which emphasizes wider preschool access along with a technology initiative suitable for the growing digital culture. The fiscal year begins October 1.

Slide Show: American Public Libraries Great and Small

In the course of eighteen years, beginning in 1994, the California-based photographer Robert Dawson took pictures of hundreds of public libraries across the United States. The results are collected in his new book, “The Public Library: A Photographic Essay,” to be released next month. Many writers have written eloquently about the role of libraries in American life (see Mark Twain’s impassioned praise of Fairhaven, Massachusetts’ Millicent Library, in the third slide above), but Dawson’s project makes a powerful case for how public libraries serve communities in every corner of the country. In the introduction, he writes, “Public libraries are worth fighting for, and this book is my way of fighting.”

2014 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill A Mockingbird, and to honor former Alabama law student and author Harper Lee, The University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal partnered together to create the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction in 2010.

We Are Made of Dead Stuff: Amazing Animation Made of Leaves

The notion that we are all stardust, a poetic observation we owe to Carl Sagan, is among the most inspired insights of modern science — an essential reminder that the atoms in our bodies are made of really old stuff, stuff as old as the universe. But while dead stars in our distant past may be poetic, dead stuff in our immediate present is not so much. And yet, it turns out, you and everyone else you know are just two degrees of separation from detritus — the decomposing matter, or dead stuff, that is the secret ingredient of the food chain. That’s exactly what John C. Moore explores in this short film from TED Ed, directed by Biljana Labovic and featuring intricate, impossibly lovely foliage creatures designed by Celeste Lai based on animator Lisa LaBracio’s lifelong leaf collection.

We’ll Have a Global Climate Treaty in 2015

Christiana Figueres is the executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. She has to persuade 194 countries to sign a deal in 2015 that will stop global warming.

Revolutionary Ruling: Fed Agency Says Northwestern Players Can Unionize

In a stunning ruling that could revolutionize a college sports industry worth billions of dollars and have dramatic repercussions at schools coast to coast, a federal agency said Wednesday that football players at Northwestern University can create the nation’s first union of college athletes.

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