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Cat in the Stax: Going Out With A Bang

By Ethan Shea

"Volcano"

November is going out with a bang! On Sunday night, the world’s largest active volcano erupted for the first time in 38 years, but don’t worry, this isn’t a sign of the apocalypse.

According to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency, Mauna Loa, the volcano making headlines, poses no immediate threat to local communities. However, there is a risk that volcanic ash and other harmful substances could spread through the air with windy conditions.

"Mauna Loa Eruption 2022"

Mauna Loa Eruption; Photo courtesy of United States Geological Survey

Volcanic eruptions aren’t as rare as you think. In fact, according to the United States Geological Survey, there are 50-60 volcanic eruptions on Earth every year. A total of 12 American states have active volcanoes, but the vast majority are in Alaska, which is home to 141 active volcanoes. The state with the second most active volcanoes, California, only has 18.

Three of America’s active volcanoes are supervolcanoes. This means they’re extremely large and that their explosions would have devastating global consequences.

Luckily, none of the world’s supervolcanoes will erupt any time soon. Scientists believe the next supervolcanic eruption will not be for at least another 600,000 years, when Indonesia’s Lake Toba supervolcano is scheduled to explode.

In reality, volcanic eruptions are not always the explosive, cataclysmic events seen in movies. Because lava usually flows slowly, people tend to have sufficient time to evacuate.

Regardless, from Hollywood blockbusters to 17th century music, volcanic eruptions have had major impacts on popular culture. For example, scientists believe Stradivarius violins had incredible build quality during the 17th and 18th centuries because of the Little Ice Age caused by the eruption of the Indonesian volcano Samalas. Trees grew slower in some regions due to colder temperatures, so wood became increasingly dense, and dense wood is perfect for crafting violins.

If you’d like to read more about the recent eruption of Mauna Loa or volcanoes in general, Falvey has your back. To begin, check out this article about the recent Mauna Loa eruption with your complimentary access to the New York Times. You can also find an informative video on supervolcanoes here on Falvey’s website.

Here are a few more resources on volcanoes you can find in Falvey’s Stacks:

Volcanoes: Global Perspectives – John P. Lockwood

Volcanoes: Encounters Through the Ages – D. M. Pyle

Volcanoes: Crucibles of Change – Richard V. Fisher

Volcanoes – Robert & Barbara Decker


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a graduate student in the English Department at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.

 

 


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Cat in the Stax: Thanksgiving Travel and Population Growth

By Ethan Shea

"Traffic"

Thanksgiving Eve. Every traveler’s worst nightmare.

Thankfully, more people can visit their loved ones this year, but returning to pre-pandemic travel means more traffic and delays. It feels like roads just keep getting busier, and that’s because they are. With a seemingly ever-increasing population, things are bound to become more crowded.

Which brings me to my tangentially related point. Increasingly busy holiday travel always reminds me of the potential challenges posed by global population growth. Fittingly, the human population made headlines recently, so it’s the perfect time to reconsider my concerns.

In fact, the global population reached a massive milestone this month. According to the United Nations (UN), on Nov. 15, 2022, the global population surpassed 8,000,000,000.

Our population took only 12 years to increase from seven to eight billion, but the UN predicts it will take another 15 years to reach nine billion people. This means global population growth may finally be slowing.

It’s easy to fear the unknowns of rapid population growth. When the time comes (perhaps it already has), will we be prepared to make the adjustments needed to accommodate for a billion more people?

Everyone has their own opinions of what will occur over the next 15, 50 or 500 years, but considering the future of humanity in light of a holiday based on thankfulness encourages us to look on the bright side.

Because of modern medicine and new technology, the average life span of humans has increased over the past century, leading to the population growth recognized earlier this month. Things are far from perfect, but perhaps reaching a population of 8,000,000,000 shows us that things are getting better. That’s for you to decide though.

If you’d like to check out some resources concerning the global population, look no further than Falvey! Here are a few worth noting:

Global Population: History, Geopolitics, and Life on Earth – Alison Bashford

Global Population Health: A Primer – Richard Skolnik

Global Population Policy: From Population Control to Reproductive Rights – Paige Whaley Eager

Global Population at a Glance: 2002 and Beyond – U.S. Census Bureau

Thanks for indulging me with this non-traditional holiday blog, and Happy Thanksgiving from myself and everyone here at Falvey!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a graduate student in the English Department at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Curious Cat: Thanksgiving Dish of Choice

By Olivia Dunn & Ethan Shea

"Curious Cat Banner"

Happy Thursday, Wildcats! Thanksgiving break is fast-approaching, and you knows what that means … delicious Thanksgiving meals! Ranking the quality of holiday dishes can be a controversial topic, but nevertheless, this week’s installment of the Curious Cat takes on the age-old debate over Thanksgiving foods.

Which dish is best? Have you spent the last year pining for green bean casserole, or are you a glutton for mashed potatoes? Regardless of how you fill your plate, this blog is for you! Read on to find out how a few Falvey patrons responded to this provocative prompt.


"Curious Cat Nov. 17 (2)"

“Clementines with my turkey.”

— Meagan Tolgyesi ’23

“Sweet potato casserole without marshmallows and with nuts.”

— Katherine Polatchek ’23

“Mashed potatoes.”

— Christina Ochs ’23

"Curious Cat Nov. 17 (1)"

“Mashed potatoes.”

— Emma Thompson ’23


Olivia Dunn HeadshotOlivia Dunn is a senior at Villanova University. She works in Falvey Library as a Communications and Marketing Assistant and majors in Communication with specializations in both Journalism and Public Relations.

 

 

 

 

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a graduate student in the English Department at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Cat in the Stax: The Fast-Food Graveyard

By Ethan Shea

"McDonald's"

If you’re reading this blog on the day of its publication, you’re in luck because today (Nov. 16) is National Fast Food Day! Partaking in this seldom celebrated holiday is simple. All you need to do is stop by your local fast-food chain and enjoy a meal.

In honor of this momentous occasion, this week’s Cat in the Stax blog will take a close look at fast food in the United States.

"Spicy McNuggets"

Image Courtesy of BuzzFeed

One fact that caught me off guard concerns the number of locations each fast-food chain owns. Guess which restaurant has the most locations in the United States. McDonald’s? Maybe Starbucks? If these were your guesses, you’re close but still incorrect.

According to Business Insider, as of 2019, Starbucks and McDonald’s respectively owned the second and third most fast food franchises in the U.S., but the most common fast food restaurant in America (by a long shot) is Subway!  Maybe it’s just me, but I was surprised to learn that Subway has 24,798 locations compared to Starbucks’ 14,608 and the 13,914 held by McDonald’s.

This number has almost certainly changed over the past few years, but it’s nonetheless a surprising statistic.

Another one of my favorite topics is what I like to call the fast-food graveyard, a.k.a discontinued menu items.

"McRib"

Image Courtesy of BuzzFeed

Almost everyone has a beloved meal that disappeared without warning. McDonald’s has a particularly iconic list of retired menu items, from the Cinnamelt to Spicy McNuggets.

However, one discontinued menu item has recently been resurrected. That’s right, for the umpteenth time, the McRib has returned to say its last goodbyes. McDonald’s describes the ongoing McRib revival as the sandwich’s “Farewell Tour,” but we all know this isn’t the end of the infamous pork sandwich.

On a personal note, I have to eat a McRib at least once a year. I don’t even know if I enjoy the annual meal, but there’s just something about consuming a carefully measured dose of restructured pork…

Anyways, another fun fact I learned about McDonald’s concerns the Big Mac. Did you know the iconic burger was invented in Pennsylvania? Jim Delligatti created the Big Mac in 1967 and sold it for the first time in Uniontown, PA. You never know where you’ll find a pivotal piece of Pennsylvania history!

Fast food is a topic that you can learn even more about at Falvey. If you’d like to become an expert on the phenomenon of fast food in the United States, check out these resources:

Fast Foods: Consumption Patterns, Role of Globalization and Health Effects – Marlin Sanford

Fast Food: Roadside Restaurants in the Automobile Age – John Jakle

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal – Eric Schlosser


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a graduate student in the English Department at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Villanova Theatre Presents “House of Desires”

By Ethan Shea

"House of Desires"

Last weekend, I attended Villanova Theatre’s production of House of Desires, a play originally written by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz in the seventeenth century. This play is directed by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright James Ijames and has a runtime of approximately two hours and ten minutes, which includes a fifteen-minute intermission. The performance takes place in the beautiful John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts.

Sor Juana’s dramatic works are relatively new to the English-speaking world because they had not been translated from Spanish until very recently (about thirty years ago). The translation of Sor Juana’s plays into English has created a timely opportunity to recognize the playwright’s wide range of social and literary contributions. As a Mexican icon, symbol of queer pride and strong feminine figure, Sor Juana is especially apt for the current decade.

"Ethan at 'House of Desires'"Villanova’s production of House of Desires is a contemporary adaptation of a timeless story. One revolutionary aspect of the original play is its extended focus on women throughout the story. In House of Desires women have opportunities to speak their minds amidst evidently ridiculous social constraints. Villanova’s contemporary production stays true to the progressive social qualities of the play and uses its parodic tendencies to complicate dated notions of gender with humor.

One of my favorite moments of the production is the hilarious musical performance that takes place in the middle of the show. I also love how the performers engage with their audience, occasionally asking attendees for advice or poking fun at those in the front seats.

To learn more about this production, check out the playbill, which includes a a detailed history of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.

You can buy tickets to upcoming performances here.  Be sure to reserve your seats before the final show on Nov. 20!

Thank you Villanova Theatre for putting on a delightful show and a special thanks to Kim Reilly, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Villanova Theatre, for getting me tickets to this performance!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a graduate student in the English Department at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Curious Cat: Your Favorite Holiday Beverage

By Olivia Dunn & Ethan Shea

Happy Thursday, Wildcats! It’s almost Friday, and you know what that means … The Curious Cat is back! For this week’s installment, we asked a few Falvey patrons to name their go-to holiday beverages. Do you enjoy pumpkin spice, or would you rather sip some hot chocolate? Perhaps eggnog is more appealing. Whichever drink you choose, this blog is for you!


"Curious Cat 11/10 (1)"

“I just drink black coffee.”

— Parker Boss ’24

“A hot pumpkin spice latte.”

— Adina Rahman ’24

"Curious Cat 11/10 (2)"

“Hot apple cider.”

— Grace Iannaccone ’26

“Sparkling cider.”

— Matthew Hellman ’26


Olivia Dunn HeadshotOlivia Dunn is a senior at Villanova University. She works in Falvey Library as a Communications and Marketing Assistant and majors in Communication with specializations in both Journalism and Public Relations.

 

 

 

 

 

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a graduate student in the English Department at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Cat in the Stax: “thirsty while drowning”

By Ethan Shea

"thirsty while drowning at Vasey Hall"

“thirsty while drowning” at Vasey Hall

Until Jan. 18, 2023, there will be an exhibit in the Villanova University Art Gallery titled thirsty while drowning. In addition to this installment on the second floor of the Connelly Center, there will also be exhibitions in Vasey Hall, Bartley Hall, and the Jake Nevin Field House.

"this majestic ancient ice-flood came from the eastward"

“this majestic ancient ice-flood came from the eastward”

The installation conceptualizes the consequences of climate change and advocates for sustainable solutions in the face of the seemingly insurmountable challenges posed by ongoing environmental devastation.

The artist behind this exhibit, Cole Sternberg, is a Villanova graduate, having received a Bachelor’s in Business in 2001. Today, Sternberg lives and works in Los Angeles. His work is displayed in several prominent museums including the Pérez Art Museum of Miami, the American University Museum in Washington D.C., and Deutsche Telekom in Germany.

 

"if you turn your head to the side, the horizon moves upwards"

“if you turn your head to the side, the horizon moves upwards”

Villanova University presents this exhibit in conjunction with the ongoing strategic plan, “Rooted. Restless.”, which includes a ten-year sustainability initiative.

Falvey Library is proud to host a sustainability database on JSTOR, which includes countless resources to keep you informed on the latest research regarding sustainability. Learn about the database here.

To read more on Cole Sternberg and his inspiration for the current exhibit, check out this article.

 

 


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a graduate student in the English Department at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Curious Cat: Holiday Tunes

Olivia Dunn & Ethan Shea

"Curious Cat Banner"

Happy Thursday, Wildcats! We hope your November is off to a great start. For this week’s installment of the Curious Cat, we take on a controversial topic…

Some people begin listening to holiday tunes the moment Halloween ends, but others prefer to wait until after Thanksgiving before they start rockin’ around the Christmas tree. That’s why we chose to ask some Falvey patrons when they begin listening to holiday music!

Here are the answers we received:

"Curious Cat 11/3 (1)"

“My family starts listening as soon as Thanksgiving dinner ends.”

— Kathryn Scotto ’24

“It’s 100% okay after Thanksgiving, but sometimes you just need to listen to Christmas music. I remember listening to it in October during my senior year of high school.”

— Maggie Hutchins ’24

"Curious Cat 11/3 (2)"

“I start listening on November 1.”

— Bridget Ritchie ’24

“The day after Thanksgiving.”

— Anna McCarthy ’24

“I’ll listen any time, but November 1 is most acceptable.”

— Alise Adornato ’23


Olivia Dunn Headshot

Olivia Dunn is a senior at Villanova University. She works in Falvey Library as a Communications and Marketing Assistant and majors in Communication with specializations in both Journalism and Public Relations.

 

 

 

 

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a graduate student in the English Department and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Cat in the Stax: Pretzelvania

By Ethan Shea

"Photo of Pretzel"

With the recent success of the Phillies and their underdog journey to the World Series, I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by an overwhelming rush of Pennsylvania pride.

As a native New Englander, moving to Pennsylvania surprised me in a few unexpected ways. Whether it’s gas station sandwiches at Wawa or an abundance of water ice, I had a lot to learn. Thankfully, my coworkers, colleagues, and roommates were there to teach me the ways of Pennsylvania.

One particular aspect of life as a visiting Pennsylvanian (particularly one who resides near Philadelphia) that I’ve enjoyed is the plethora of pretzels available. That’s why for this week’s Cat in the Stax, I decided to do some research on Pennsylvania’s affinity for pretzels. Hopefully this blog will be a salty companion to all the recently consumed Halloween sweets!

First off, 80% of the pretzels consumed in the United States are made in Pennsylvania. But that’s not all, Philadelphians in particular are said to consume significantly more pretzels than residents of any other city. Average pretzel-consumption per person in the United States sits at around two pounds per year, but Philadelphian’s consume almost 12 pounds of pretzels annually on average.

Because of the great number of German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania, the pretzel (a treat popular in Germany) made an early home in the state. In fact, one of the first commercial pretzel bakeries in the country was founded in Lancaster County.

Check out a couple online resources here and here to see where I found some of this information.

If you’re interested in the business side of one of the largest pretzel vendors in the nation, Wentzel’s Pretzels, check out this video on Falvey’s website where the CEO of the company Bill Phelps discusses franchising.

Make sure you treat yourself to a nice and salty soft pretzel before you sit down to watch the Phillies game tonight!


"Ethan Phillies Gear Selfie"Ethan Shea is a graduate student in the English Department at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library. As you can see, Ethan is repping some Phillies gear today!


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Curious Cat: Halloween Hijinks

By Olivia Dunn & Ethan Shea

"Curious Cat Banner"

Happy Thursday, Wildcats! For this week’s installment of the Curious Cat, there was no debate over what our question should be. With Halloween fast approaching, everyone’s scrambling to plan their costumes for Halloweekend antics. That’s why we decided to ask a few Falvey patrons, “What will you be for Halloween?”

Here are the answers we received:

"Curious Cat 10/27 (1)"

“A construction worker with neon pink suspenders and a pink cowgirl.”

— Kayla Gotauda ’26

“A lifeguard.”

— Hannah Marsteller ’26

“An astronaut.”

— Kat Guzman ’26

"Curious Cat 10/27 (2)"

“I don’t know yet…”

— Steven Marinelli ’26

“A pirate.”

— Charlotte Borger ’26

"Curious Cat 10/27 (3)"

“A baseball player.”

— Quaid Mullane ’25

“A construction worker.”

— Seshan Ganesan ’25


Olivia Dunn HeadshotOlivia Dunn is a senior at Villanova University. She works in Falvey Library as a Communications and Marketing Assistant and majors in Communication with specializations in both Journalism and Public Relations.

 

 

 

 

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a graduate student in the English Department and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Last Modified: October 27, 2022