McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Monologue: An Impassioned Plea From a Gary Johnson Swing State Precinct Captain.

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Monologue: An Impassioned Plea From a Gary Johnson Swing State Precinct Captain.

Even though I live in a swing state I’m very comfortable with my decision to support Gary Johnson and I appreciate your taking the time to read this and let me share my thoughts on the choice we’re all facing in this election because this election, it’s about our country. Not another country but our country. Our country is called the United States of America and that’s just something we all know, all of us who support Gary Johnson.

But maybe you’re one of those people planning to move to another country if Donald Trump is elected. If so, I’ll be curious to see which country you choose. Maybe you’ll move to that big one north of us that has maple syrup, or to the one that the Mexicans come from that I can’t recall the name of right now, but I do know that free trade with that country is a disaster and it’s also a disaster with the country that has maple syrup and those police who ride on horses.

You could also move across one of the oceans, I suppose, the one on the right, I think that ocean is smaller than the one on the left but I do know it’s big, I do know that, the oceans are very big, they contain most of the world’s fresh water, in fact, and most of its fish, which is not widely known, and on the other side of the ocean on the right you can live in a country in Asia or Europe or whichever, one of those land masses that starts with a ‘C.’

Are they incontinence? I believe they are. What are we calling those now? Africa is incontinence and I believe Arctica is as well. I believe that’s what they’re called, I believe that’s right, and in any case that doesn’t matter, does it? What matters is that this election is not a binary. We have a chance to take a deep breath and choose a third way, choose entrepreneurs and choose the light of freedom, choose a different color than the two primary colors you’re being offered by the media and our corrupt party system, which I think are green and green but, again, that doesn’t matter so much even though green is the color of a lot of things, both bad things and very very good things.

But most of all this election is about limiting government. That’s what Gary Johnson believes. It’s about putting money back in the hands of our citizens so it’s not wasted on big government programs and corporate welfare and public schools with their geography classes and their history classes and their civics classes and so it’s not wasted on things like wars with countries like ISIS and terrorist organizations like Aleppo.

https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/an-impassioned-plea-from-a-gary-johnson-swing-state-precinct-captain

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Denny’s Kid’s Menu Editorial Board: Trump is Unfit for the Presidency.

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Denny’s Kid’s Menu Editorial Board: Trump is Unfit for the Presidency.

In the entire history of Denny’s Kid’s Menu, we have never taken sides in the presidential race. Instead, we’ve focused on letting great American kids like you, who have a variety of awesome tastes and values, decide between a number of delicious choices, whether that be dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets or a Build Your Own Jr. Sundae®. We’ve never seen reason to alter our approach. Until now.

Here’s the thing, kids: This year, we’re not being asked to choose between chowing down on some tasty Mac & Cheese or mixing it up with some Chocolate Chip Pancakes. (Breakfast for dinner? Yum!) This year, we’re being asked to choose a Head of State, Head of Government, and Commander-in-Chief for the whole United States. And one of the candidates — Republican nominee Donald Trump — is, by unanimous consensus of the Denny’s Kid’s Menu Editorial Board, unfit for the presidency.

We’ve been highly critical of the GOP nominee in a number of previous Cool Kids Crosswords and Wacky Word Searches that you find along the sides of your Denny’s Kid’s Menus. But with early voting already underway in several states, we’ve decided it’s time we “get real” with you and spell out the reasons we think Trump should not be president:

He is a bad promise man

Trump has been on so many sides of so many issues, it’s like he just wants to be cool but then is a big liar face. He’s the type who tells you that you can have a Jr. Strawberry Banana Bliss Smoothie® for your drink, but then when grandma shakes her head and makes that tsk-tsk sound, changes his mind and says you should just have water. That’s mean!

He’s lame at war

Trump sounds like a tough guy when he says you should throw your Sweet Petite Corn® at those teens at the next table who look like bullies. But Robert Gates, the highly respected former Defense secretary who served presidents of both parties over a half-century, points out that the waitress would totally know it was you who started it, and wouldn’t care if those bullies then lit your table on fire with their cigarette lighters. And then your table is on fire, and where is Trump?

He traffics in prejudice

We’re not going to scare you too much with details here, but basically Trump is saying that only muggles have the capacity to Build Your Own Grand Slam®, and the Chili’s Pepper Pals are trying to take away your Slams.

He would bankrupt your favorite Denny’s in a week

Trump has built his candidacy on his achievements as a super-smart business man. Yes, we know your dad is a business man too, and he is super-smart. Your mom is super-smart at business too. But they make stuff and then use what they earn to buy you Apple Dunkers with Caramel Sauce® because you did extra good at your piano recital. Trump just buys the Denny’s in your town and tells his buddies in the city that they should give him $5 to run it, then closes it and keeps the $5. And then you get no Apple Dunkers.

His pants are on fire

Trump runs around saying that since he owns all the Denny’s in America, you should let him run your Boy Scouts Popcorn Drive, but when you ask him to show you his incorporation papers because Seth is also pretty good at selling stuff, and you worry about not being Top Pack again this year if you don’t let Seth lead the drive, he says that he can’t because all the Denny’s are being sued by big meanies who are jealous of his great success. And even when you say that’s OK, you still want to see the papers, he tells you to shut your stupid popcorn hole.

He says bad words

Trump was quoted as saying that any pig-face c-words that don’t let their kids get extra bacon with their Jr. Cinnamon Pancake Breakfast® can go f themselves in the a-hole. While we at Denny’s appreciate the up-sell on the bacon, we could never condone such discourse in a family-friendly restaurant.
We on the Denny’s Kid’s Menu Editorial Board are not unmindful of some of the realities behind issues that Trump’s campaign has exploited: the disappearance of working-class jobs; excessive nutritional correctness; the rise of the Islamic State; and the influence of Shake-N-Steakian interests. All are legitimate sources of concern for us.

Nor does this express support for Hillary Clinton, who has her own flaws. (We once saw her eat a cantaloupe for breakfast, for the love of God.)

But kids, here’s the bottom line: Stay true to your convictions. That might mean a vote for Cantaloupe Clinton. Or it might mean a third-party candidate.

Whatever you do, however, resist the siren song of a dangerous doody-face. Tell your parents to vote, just not for Donald Trump.

And remember to constantly remind your parents that Kids Eat Free Pancakes Every Day from 4-10PM! (For a limited time only.)

https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/dennys-kids-menu-editorial-board-trump-is-unfit-for-the-presidency

Researchers ask federal court to unseal years of surveillance records | Ars Technica

Researchers ask federal court to unseal years of surveillance records | Ars Technica

Two lawyers and legal researchers based at Stanford University have formally asked a federal court in San Francisco to unseal numerous records of surveillance-related cases, as a way to better understand how authorities seek such powers from judges. This courthouse is responsible for the entire Northern District of California, which includes the region where tech companies such as Twitter, Apple, and Google, are based.

According to the petition, Jennifer Granick and Riana Pfefferkorn were partly inspired by a number of high-profile privacy cases that have unfolded in recent years, ranging from Lavabit to Apple’s battle with the Department of Justice.

As they wrote in their Wednesday filing:

Most surveillance orders are sealed, however. Therefore, the public does not have a strong understanding of what technical assistance courts may order private entities to provide to law enforcement. There are at least 70 cases, many under seal, in which courts have mandated that Apple and Google unlock mobile phones—and potentially many more. The Lavabit district court may not be the only court to have ordered companies to turn over private encryption keys to law enforcement based on novel interpretations of law. Courts today may be granting orders forcing private companies to turn on microphones or cameras in cars, laptops, mobile phones, smart TVs, or other audio- and video-enabled Internet-connected devices in order to conduct wiretapping or visual surveillance.
This pervasive sealing cripples public discussion of whether these judicial orders are lawful and appropriate.

In their 45-page petition, they specifically say that they don’t need all sealed surveillance records, simply those that should have been unsealed—which, unfortunately, doesn’t always happen automatically.

Petitioners seek the unsealing of underlying materials only from cases where there is no longer any need for secrecy, e.g., the criminal investigation has terminated, the surveillance order (including any delayed-notice order) has expired, or charges have been filed. These records are public documents and should be publicly docketed and unsealed unless good cause exists on a case-by-case basis for continued secrecy based on the facts and circumstances of the individual matter.

Granick is the director of civil liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society and previously worked at Zwillgen, one of the law firms that represented Apple in the wake of the December 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernadino. Pfefferkorn is the Cryptography Fellow at the same Stanford group. Both women have been outspoken on the issue of expansive government surveillance.

The petition has yet to be assigned to a judge, and as such, hearings have not been scheduled.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/09/researchers-ask-federal-court-to-unseal-years-of-surveillance-records/

You Can Now Listen to the First Computer-Generated Music Ever | Atlas Obscura

You Can Now Listen to the First Computer-Generated Music Ever | Atlas Obscura

Alan Turing is best known for being one of a team of codebreakers who cracked Germany’s Enigma machines during World War II, which shortened the war by as many as four years. He was also the father of modern computing, and, evidently, the earliest electronic musician.

That’s because in 1951 he created the world’s first computer-generated music. It starts, of course with “God Save the Queen,” the British national anthem:

Listening to the recording now is only possible thanks to some New Zealand scientists, who recently restored it, announcing their aural achievement on the website of the British Library on Sept. 13.

“It was a beautiful moment when we first heard the true sound of Turing’s computer,” the scientists wrote then.

Turing created the music on a machine in a lab in Manchester, England, according to Agence France-Presse. It survived in the form of an acetate disc, from which the scientists filtered out noise and changed the disc’s speed, creating music that AFP compares to “electronic bagpipes.”

Turing’s original response upon hearing the music, according to another computer scientist from his era was stoic.

“Good show,” he remarked.

Turing died three years later, killing himself with cyanide, after having been prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952, when that was still illegal in Britain. He was officially pardoned in 2013, and has been immortalized in everything from statues to major motion pictures. Next time you’re in Manchester, try having lunch with him.

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/you-can-now-listen-to-the-first-computergenerated-music-ever

A rare ‘black moon’ is set to rise this Friday night – ScienceAlert

A rare ‘black moon’ is set to rise this Friday night – ScienceAlert

A rare ‘black moon’ will rise this Friday night, turning the sky dark as the Western Hemisphere experiences its second new moon of the month.

Those on the other side of the world will have to wait until next month for the same event to occur, but it’ll be worth it – their eerie black moon is set to coincide with Halloween.

If you’re having trouble keeping up with all the different types of ‘moons’ we’ve got now – with blood moons, blue moons, and supermoons clogging up your sky-watching calendar – the black moon is a fairly new addition, and experts are still trying to nail down its definition.

Some say a black moon occurs about once every 19 years, when the month of February skips a full moon.

Others say it describes a month that skips a new moon – the first phase of the lunar cycle, when the Moon and the Sun have the same elliptical longitude.

But the most common definition for a black moon is that it’s the second new moon in a calendar month, which means this Friday’s event is the second time in September that the Moon will be entirely invisible in the night sky – for those in the Western Hemisphere, at least.

If you’re familiar with your lunar cycles, you’ll know that a full moon occurs when the Earth-facing side of the Moon is completely illuminated by the Sun, thanks to its orbital position at a certain time of the month.

This means to viewers in the right hemisphere, it will look incredibly bright in the night sky.

A new moon, on the other hand, occurs when the side of the Moon that’s lit up by the Sun is facing away from Earth, which renders it virtually invisible to the naked eye.

As Joe Rao explains for Space.com, there’s typically one full moon and one new moon each month, but sometimes the lunar cycle doesn’t match up, and you can get several or none of each in a certain month.

“A second full moon in a single calendar month is sometimes called a blue moon,” says Rao. “A black moon is supposedly the flip side of a blue moon: the second new moon in a single calendar month.”

The upcoming black moon will occur at 8:11pm Eastern Time (5:11pm Pacific Time) on Friday, September 30 for those in the Western Hemisphere, which covers North and South America, and certain western portions of Europe and Africa.

This particular black moon follows an even rarer event: for some viewers in the Western Hemisphere, the first new moon of this month was a ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse, because the new moon also happened to pass directly between Earth and the Sun.

For the Eastern Hemisphere (Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia), the black moon will occur next month, with the first new moon expected for October 1, and the second new moon – the black one – to occur on either October 30 or 31, depending on where you live.

So, what will the black moon look like?

Like all new moons, without anything to illuminate it, there will be nothing to see – no moon in the sky, which is actually pretty cool. A couple of days later, you’ll start to see a silver sliver, as the crescent moon increases in size.

If you’ve got the right equipment and you’re up for a challenge, you could even try to beat the world record for the youngest moon ever photographed – set in 2013 by French photographer Thierry Legault, who managed to capture this shot, when the Sun and Moon were separated just 4.4 degrees.

Here’s NASA with a Moon’s-eye view of the lunar cycles:

http://www.sciencealert.com/a-rare-black-moon-is-set-to-rise-this-friday-night

Latest IoT DDoS Attack Dwarfs Krebs Takedown At Nearly 1Tbps Driven By 150K Devices

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Latest IoT DDoS Attack Dwarfs Krebs Takedown At Nearly 1Tbps Driven By 150K Devices

If you thought that the massive DDoS attack earlier this month on Brian Krebs’ security blog was record-breaking, take a look at what just happened to France-based hosting provider OVH. OVH was the victim of a wide-scale DDoS attack that was carried via network of over 152,000 IoT devices.

According to OVH founder and CTO Octave Klaba, the DDoS attack reached nearly 1 Tbps at its peak. Of those IoT devices participating in the DDoS attack, they were primarily comprised of CCTV cameras and DVRs. Many of these types devices’ network settings are improperly configured, which leaves them ripe for the picking for hackers that would love to use them to carry our destructive attacks.

Klaba originally stated that 145,607 devices made up the botnet, but recently confirmed that another 6,857 cameras joined in on the attack. The DDoS peaked at 990 Gbps on September 20th thanks to two concurrent attacks, and according to Klaba, the original botnet was capable of a 1.5 Tbps DDoS attack if each IP topped out at 30 Mbps.

And to think this massive DDoS campaign was directed at Minecraft servers that OHV was hosting.

The DDoS attack witnessed by KrebsOnSecurity peaked at 620 Gbps, and was destructive enough to cause Brian Krebs’ hosting company, Akamai, to drop him with only two hours’ notice. Krebs is thought to have been attacked due to his part in taking down the Israeli firm vDOS, which profits from initiating DDoS attacks on websites.

As for Akamai’s decision to give KrebsOnSecurity its walking papers, Krebs himself harnessed no ill will towards the company.

With that being said, there’s a reason why many IoT devices become mindless zombies in global DDoS campaigns. “Most IoT malware targets non-PC embedded devices. Many are Internet-accessible but, because of their operating system and processing power limitations, they may not include any advanced security features,” wrote Symantec in a blog posting.

Symantec went on to provide a number of steps that you can take to protect your IoT device from being compromised by nefarious parties. These include using strong passwords for your devices and your home Wi-Fi network, avoiding default usernames (which makes it easier compromise a device), disabling services like Telnet and SSH, and making sure that your device has the latest firmware updates installed (among other things).

http://hothardware.com/news/latest-iot-ddos-attack-dwarfs-krebs-takedown-at-nearly-1-terabyte-per-second

IEEE sets new Ethernet standard that brings 5X the speed without disruptive cable changes | Network World

IEEE sets new Ethernet standard that brings 5X the speed without disruptive cable changes | Network World

As expected the IEEE has ratified a new Ethernet specification — IEEE P802.3bz – that defines 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T, boosting the current top speed of traditional Ethernet five-times without requiring the tearing out of current cabling.

The Ethernet Alliance wrote that the IEEE 802.3bz Standard for Ethernet Amendment sets Media Access Control Parameters, Physical Layers and Management Parameters for 2.5G and 5Gbps Operation lets access layer bandwidth evolve incrementally beyond 1Gbps, it will help address emerging needs in a variety of settings and applications, including enterprise, wireless networks.

Indeed, the wireless component may be the most significant implication of the standard as 2.5G and 5G Ethernet will allow connectivity to 802.11ac Wave 2 Access Points, considered by many to be the real driving force behind bringing up the speed of traditional NBase-T products.

“As new 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless technology is being deployed the need to offload more and more data at higher and higher speeds from the wireless to the wired network has never been so critical,” wrote Sachin Gupta, vice president of product management in a blog celebrating the ratification. “Going beyond 1 Gb/s with existing Cat5e and Cat6 cables was little more than a talking point two years ago. But now with NBASE-T, we have the ability to extend the life of an enormous asset —your wired network. The Cat5e and Cat6 installed in just the last 15 years now exceeds an estimated 70 billion meters of cabling, which is more than 10 trips to Pluto,”

Gupta added: “For some, a re-cabling isn’t even possible. For others, unfeasible. For the rest, re-cabling is just costly and disruptive. It is easy to imagine the value of delivering multi-gigabit speeds to the more than 1.3 billion Cat 5e/6 outlets worldwide if it doesn’t require the huge head-ache and expense of a major cable replacement. The promise of NBASE-T has to have nearly every CFO, CTO, building manager and IT group breathing a huge sigh of relief.”

“The applications for NBASE-T solutions are vast and growing. Enterprise, small medium business, industrial and home networks can take advantage of this technology to enable higher capacity wireless access points and faster downloads to client systems such as medical imaging systems that work with large data files, upgraded industrial and home networks,” the NBASE-T Alliance wrote of the ratification.

“Last quarter, NBASE-T switch and access point ports surged significantly as enterprises began to upgrade their campus networks to speeds beyond 1G,” said Alan Weckel, vice president of Ethernet switch market research at Dell’Oro Group in a statement. “There will be a sizable upgrade cycle around NBASE-T technology with robust growth expected over the next several years. As a result, we expect 2017 NBASE-T port shipments to exceed three million ports.”

Hand-in-hand with adoption of a low-speed Ethernet standard by the IEEE, proponents of the technology will hold an interoperability plugfest in October to tout the readiness of 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T products. For the plugfest, which will be held the week of Oct. 10 at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory in Durham, N.H., the two groups behind the new Ethernet speeds the Ethernet Alliance and the NBASE-T Alliance will work together and share post-event results of the interoperability testing performed.

http://www.networkworld.com/article/3124948/lan-wan/ieee-sets-new-ethernet-standard-that-brings-5x-the-speed-without-disruptive-cable-changes.html

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Women Who Should Be Pretty Pissed Off: Eliza Hamilton Was Not Helpless.

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Women Who Should Be Pretty Pissed Off: Eliza Hamilton Was Not Helpless.

Elizabeth (“Eliza”) Schuyler Hamilton (1757-1854) was not like most of us. She’s not pissed about things that would upset regular people. For example, she’s not mad that there is an entire hit musical, no, phenomenon, no, something so big there isn’t even a word for it yet, about her husband.

Hamilton: An American Musical does not piss Eliza Hamilton off, though others have complained that Eliza does not get the attention in the show that she deserves. In fact, I think Eliza would be thrilled with the way that Lin-Manuel Miranda has finally brought Alexander Hamilton the acclaim that Eliza always felt her husband deserved. Whether the show makes you think that Hamilton was a genius or a pain in the ass (both are true), once you’ve seen it or listened to the music you at least know who he was and some of what he did.

And a lot of the credit for that, by the way, goes to Eliza. She lived fifty years longer than Alexander, but she never remarried, and spent most of her time preserving his legacy. If Alexander was a bit manic, Eliza was a steady force, pushing past people who tried to dismiss or ignore Alexander’s accomplishments.

My favorite is the story of former president James Monroe visiting Eliza to make amends for his role in revealing Alexander’s sex scandal, and she had no time for it. She asked him to leave. A former president and his intimidating security detail came to her home with a peace offering and she told him off, you guys. Eliza Hamilton would not be intimidated or appeased. (See Ron Chernow’s book, Alexander Hamilton, for details of this juicy story.)

Some call Eliza weak for defending her husband even after his death when, of all people in the world, she had greatest cause to be angry beyond repair. But defending Alexander and being deeply angry with or hurt by him were not mutually exclusive for Eliza.

In my mind, her grudge against Monroe highlights her strength. Of course she was shattered by Alexander’s infidelity. Of course it damaged their marriage. But she made a decision to stick with him and whatever you think of that, you have to admire the fact that her support for Alexander didn’t waver. In fact, it seemed to grow. (You thought I was going to say “burn,” didn’t you?)

Eliza was too busy to deal with former presidents, anyway. She raised funds to build the Washington Monument, she interviewed soldiers who’d fought with her husband, she collected Alexander’s writings for a biography she never got to see published, she sent necessities to refugee families, she fought for the army pay that Alexander had himself refused, and she opened and helped run an orphanage.

Oh, and let’s not forget those eight kids she was raising. Her youngest was only two years old when Alexander died.

All of this leads me to a question that I’ve heard people ask. Was Eliza too good?

For religious and societal reasons, it was important to Eliza to be good, but she was not content to be ignored. She could insert herself into situations because she sought recognition not for herself, but for her late husband. That is bad ass, people. You want to ignore me? Okay. You want to require women to be labeled either sluts or angels? That’s fine. My papers are orderly. Now watch me raise a man from attempted obscurity and basically run the world at the same time.

You heard me. Eliza’s soundtrack includes Beyoncé, and that should not surprise anyone. Miranda gave Eliza an entire song called “Helpless,” perhaps to illustrate that in most ways she was far from it. Nicely played, Irony.

A better question than “Was Eliza too good?” is, “Does the same thing happen to men?” Women are often dismissed for being “too good,” which usually means chaste, submissive, and largely silent. Don’t call attention to yourself. Don’t interrupt. Don’t assert your presence or authority. While these adages are finally (and ever so slowly) changing, they are still more true for women than they are for men.

But it’s a paradox, isn’t it? Women are expected to be good, shamed for being anything less, but also disregarded for it because being good is simply the expectation. I think Eliza would be pissed about that. But again, she was probably too busy and eventually, too heartbroken, to worry about it.

Eliza was pregnant nine times between 1781 and 1802, and lost one child to miscarriage. She was 3 months pregnant as she laid next to her nineteen-year-old firstborn son, Philip, and watched him die of a gunshot wound.

Try to take that in and imagine what it would be like.

You know she was pissed off about that.

Eliza weathered Alexander’s infidelity and the shockingly public scandal surrounding it. She survived a miscarriage, her daughter’s mental health issues, and, within four years, the deaths of her son, husband, sister, mother, and father. Two of those deaths could have been quite easily avoided if the male culture had been less prone to duels.

“Can we agree that duels are dumb and immature?”

“Sure. But your man has to answer for his words.”

Alexander Hamilton was in general against revenge and bad blood, and yet he not only counseled his nineteen-year-old son before Philip died in a duel, but was of course himself killed in one of the most famous duels in American history, just two years after (and in the same place) his son died.

See how that happens? This piece took a quick turn and began to focus on Alexander. It’s a trick of history, focusing on white men as though they’re the only ones in the room where it happens. Eliza played that trick against itself, making sure that history had its eyes on her husband, but at the same time establishing herself as the core of that history.

Who, after all, would Alexander Hamilton have been, how would he be remembered, without Eliza?

https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/eliza-hamilton-was-not-helpless

Channel Childhoods Gone By With This Digital Archive of Victorian Children’s Books | Smart News | Smithsonian

Channel Childhoods Gone By With This Digital Archive of Victorian Children’s Books | Smart News | Smithsonian

Once upon a time, children didn’t have a literature of their own. Terms like “middle grade” and “picture book” were unheard of, and the majority of books owned by American households were religious in nature and too pricy to collect. But then, an evolving idea of childhood and cheaper printing technology paved the way for something wonderful—children’s books. As Josh Jones notes for Open Culture, over 6,000 of those books are available in a digital archive that captures the essence of 19th-century childhood.

It’s called the Baldwin Library of Historical Literature, and it features thousands of digitized children’s books from the archives of the University of Florida’s library collections. The broader Baldwin collection contains books from the 1600s to the present day, but the selection of 6,092 digitized books focuses on juvenile fiction from the 19th century.

It was a revolutionary time for reading. In an era long before Little House on the Prairie or Goodnight Moon, children weren’t considered a viable reading audience. On the one hand, it makes plenty of sense: Twenty percent of white Americans 14 years or older were unable to read in 1870. For poor and diverse populations like African-American people, who were denied educational opportunities and discouraged from becoming literate at all, the number was even lower—79.9 percent of African-American adults or those identified as “other” could not read in 1870. Those numbers only started to drop in the early 20th century when concerted literacy efforts and more widespread compulsory education initiatives exposed both children and adults to literacy skills.

But lack of literacy wasn’t the only reason children’s books didn’t come into vogue until relatively late in the history of reading. The concept of childhood as we know it simply didn’t exist in colonial America, where kids were expected to work alongside adults and adhere to strict discipline rather than spend their time being children. Only with the growth of Romanticism and the spread of the middle class did childhood—a fleeting time for play, imagination and youth—become a thing. And even as a romanticized ideal of childhood spread, many children played a vital role in their family economies and worked just as hard as their parents.

The books in the Baldwin’s collection spread ideas and ideals of childhood even as they entertained kids who were lucky enough to be able to read and afford them. They show off attitudes about kids that might seem foreign today. In the book Ada Brenton, or Plans for Life, published around 1879, for example, the heroine spends pages stressing about the most improving course of reading she can undertake. The 1851 book The Babes in the Wood features ballads and poems about orphaned children who trying to escape the clutches of an uncle who wants to sell them (spoiler alert: they die in each other’s arms). And Harry Hardheart and His Dog Driver, an 1870s book by the American Tract Society, tells the tale of a wicked boy who tries to drown his own dog but is then saved by the dog he’s trying to kill (and a long lecture).

Eventually, children’s books became more sophisticated. During the 1930s and 1940s, children’s publishing entered its golden age, with publishing houses investing more money in developing new talent and legendary editors like Ursula Nordstrom helping shepherd some of history’s most classic children’s books (think: Where the Wild Things Are and Harriet the Spy) into publication. Today, juvenile readers are a bona fide market force, buying more books than adults and clamoring for books that are more innovative and diverse.

The books of the 19th century may seem odd or harsh by today’s standards, but their mere existence—books intended for an audience of young readers—was a revelation. And don’t worry: The Baldwin’s collection contains more than scary tracts or morality tales. The digitized collection has everything from a special subsite devoted to Alice In Wonderland to classics like Black Beauty, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Grimm’s Fairy Tales to lesser-known books by the likes of authors like Louisa May Alcott.

Childhood may have changed a lot since the 19th century, but one thing hasn’t: the impulse to cuddle up and read a good book.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/channel-childhoods-gone-digital-archive-victorian-childrens-books-180960330/