Archive.org: Great Multimedia Website

Archive.org will keep a reader entertained for hours.

Archive.org is probably the best source for audio and video online this side of YouTube.  The home page for the website as I write this article has a link to an audio version of a Grateful Dead concert at Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum at New Haven, Connecticut on May 11, 1981.

The concert is only one of 803,305 audio recordings at the website.  There are 2,214 old time radio related links to old time radio shows and magazines that were printed during the height of the popularity of old time radio.

One Roy Rogers episode has been downloaded 74,882 times showing that the website is available for downloading many of the old time radio shows we grew up with.

Old time radio fans will love looking at list after list of old time radio shows available for downloading including some of the more obscure shows which have very few episodes in existence.

The live music archive features 88,813 archives while the moving image archives total 451,934.

Avid readers will enjoy knowing that there are 2.694,639 texts including books and ebooks. The new Bookreader at the site includes Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin and is the example shown of how the Bookreader works.

http://blog.archive.org/2010/12/10/2685/

There is an audio version of some books but the one I listened to was not of the best quality and seemed to be a computer generated voice which probably would be tiring to listen to for an entire book.

Most readers may not enjoy the voice and instead opt to read the books without sound. For those that like the audio they should enjoy the feature that highlights the portion of the book being read by the voice.

The Mega Reader iPhone app provides access to the 1.8 million free books at archive.org so they each iPhone user can have their own personal reader.

Each volume of the Warren Report investigation of the assassination of  President John F. Kennedy is available to read.

The site is an excellent source of reading material for educators and students who are looking for books that are no longer copyrighted.

One word of caution: it could take hours just to look at what is available at archive.org. This website may have the most content of any website online and is worth going to the website to see for yourself what is available.

http://www.archive.org/

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Dust Bowl 1930-1940: What Caused It?

The Dust Bowl of the 1930's was one of the worst natural disasters to hit the United States and caused many to leave their homes to get away from the incessant duststorms.

There are many theories about what may have caused the duststorms of the 1930’s including failure to rotate crops, grassland being plowed under to grow wheat and unstable ocean temperatures which caused the weather patterns to change.

Growing wheat was a very profitable enterprise at the time so apparently farmers started converting grasslands into farmland for the purpose of growing more wheat.

The Dust Bowl mostly affected where the five states of Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico intersected.

According to the above map only a small portion of Oklahoma and New Mexico were affected by the duststorms while a larger portion of Kansas, Texas and Colorado were affected. It is surprising that Oklahoma which is usually identified as the hardest hit by the duststorms since you read more about the Okies moving to California than those of other states.

John Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men and both books relate how difficult life was for the immigrants from the dust bowl who had moved to California.

A 1934 duststorm blew dust across the country as far as New York City. Life became unbearable for those living in the path of the duststorms and they began to migrate to California.

Some historians have estimated that between 300,000-400,000 immigrants migrated to California during the dust bowl years.

The Los Angeles police were not welcoming the immigrants. Rather they established a “Bum Blockade” to turn them back.

California even went so far as to establish an Indigent Act passed in 1933 that made it a crime to bring immigrants into the state.

The dust bowl years couldn’t have came at a worse time with the United States deep in the throes of the Great Depression. The dust bowl victims not only lost their livelihood but had to leave their homes to escape the oppressive dust storms.

The following short video tells some of the experiences of dust bowl victims:

It is ironic that life didn’t improve for the immigrants till the advent of World War II as some of the immigrants joined the war efforts as servicemen while those left behind were employed in the war effort at home working in defense factories.

Ken Burns who has done documentaries on many subjects for PBS is planning to do a retrospective on the Dust Bowl in the not too distant future.