Skip Navigation
Falvey Library
You are exploring: Home > Blogs

Cat in the Stax: The Pinnacle of Space Fashion

By Ethan Shea

"Pexels view from the Moon"

"Axiom Spacesuit"

New Moon Suit (Image courtesy of NYT)

Last week, NASA unveiled their new moon suits, which will be worn by astronauts the Artemis program plans to send to the Moon by 2025.

For temperature regulation, the suits actually used on the Moon will be white instead of the black suit presented here. Temperatures on the surface of the Moon can reach 250 degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime and drop to -208 degrees Fahrenheit at night, so needless to say, astronauts need to take every precaution they can.

Without even taking the extreme temperatures into account, humans could, in theory, only survive a matter of seconds (about 15) on the Moon without a spacesuit. This is because space lacks air, so asphyxiation would occur very quickly, as the body will have used up all the oxygen in its blood in a matter of seconds.

This recent lunar fashion show is a perfect opportunity to highlight some extra-terrestrial threads you can find right here in Falvey’s stacks. Below, you’ll find a collection of iconic space-related outfits from popular literature and even their cinematic adaptations.


"'Hidden Figures' Cover"

“Hidden Figures” promotional poster

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

This book turned movie shows that moon suits aren’t the only outfits essential to sending astronauts to space. Hidden Figures tells the story of a group of Black women mathematicians who overcame discrimination to help make the Apollo moon landing possible. The movie’s iconic promotional poster shows three women wearing outfits that just can’t be excluded from this list.

2001: A Space Odyssey

This classic Stanley Kubrick film showcases a memorable spacesuit that goes far beyond the moon. There are several iconic scenes in this flick, featuring everything from apes to robots!

"'2001: A Space Odyssey'"

Image from “2001: A Space Odyssey”

Men in Black

Sometimes space-wear is more earthly than you might think. The classic Men in Black suits certainly can’t be left out of any space fashion show.


Gravity shows Hollywood stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney sporting more traditional spacesuits. This suspenseful story of survival is a must-see.

Star Trek Beyond

I couldn’t make a list about space fashion without including the iconic Star Trek fits. This most recent Star Trek film stays true to the classic suits. Which one is your favorite color?



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




Cat in the Stax: Spicing Up Your Staycation

By Ethan Shea

"Unsplash House"

It’s spring break! I don’t want to steal too much of your vacation time, so I’ll keep this week’s blog brief. That being said, I hope you’re enjoying some well-deserved relaxation.

You may be far from campus. Perhaps you’re napping on a beach or skiing slopes in Colorado. Or you could be enjoying a staycation, enjoying your time off while saving a few bucks.

If you’re staying local, to spice up your time at home, consider paying Falvey a visit! Even during break, there’s 24/7 Wildcard access. See our full service hours here.

Not only is the Library a quiet place to relax, but it’s also a way to travel the world without ever leaving your seat. Many of our texts are available online, so you can enjoy everything Falvey has to offer from home.

In the spirit of the staycation, here are a few spring break reading recommendations that will take you to faraway places:

A Room with a View – E.M Forster

On the Road – Jack Kerouac

Journeys – Jan Morris

The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway

The Expedition of Humphry Clinker – Tobias Smollett

Corregidora – Gayl Jones

The Odyssey – Homer

If you have any other spring break reading recommendations, feel free to leave a comment below. Enjoy the break, and happy reading!

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


Cat in the Stax: Women’s History Month

By Ethan Shea

"Photo from garment strike in New York City (1913)"

Photo from garment strike in New York City, courtesy of Library of Congress (1913)

During the early twentieth century, women working in textile factories were subject to terrible working conditions and inhumane treatment by employers. In addition to grueling hours and minuscule pay, workers were often locked in the factory to prevent them from taking breaks.

Clearly, this was a health and safety violation, as was tragically made clear during the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911, an industrial disaster that killed 146 garment workers, 123 of which were women and girls.

Such poor treatment led to years of strikes within the textile industry. The photo above shows three women garment workers on strike in New York City. These protests were essential to the establishment of unions and labor rights in the U.S.

"Military Mapping Maidens (3Ms) case in Falvey Library"

Military Mapping Maidens (3Ms) in Falvey Library

In recognition of such contributions by brave women, the month of March is dedicated to celebrating women’s history, and the 31-day celebration begins today! Considering recent challenges to women’s reproductive rights, recognizing Women’s History Month is more important than ever.

March was chosen to be Women’s History Month because it coincides with International Women’s Day on Mar. 8. At first, Women’s History Month was only a week, the first of which occurred in 1978 as a local celebration in California.

Two years later, President Jimmy Carter declared the first National Women’s History Week to be the week of March 2-8, 1980. It was not until 1987 that March was officially declared Women’s History Month. Read more here!

Here at Falvey, there are countless resources that highlight women’s achievements. For example, the recent Art of War exhibit on the first floor of Falvey featured historical artifacts showing how women took part in the Second World War. Check out this blog to learn more!

Below are some more resources for Women’s History Month you can find right here at Falvey:

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


Cat in the Stax: Wednesday in the Stax with George

By Ethan Shea

"George Washington on Mount Rushmore"

As you probably know, this past Monday was President’s Day, a national holiday falling on the third Monday of February. The holiday is meant to celebrate the birthdays of both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln’s birthday falls on the twelfth of February, while Washington’s is today, Feb. 22!

To commemorate the President’s 290th birthday, this week’s Cat in the Stax blog is all about George … well, not exactly. This blog will be about famous figures who share a name with the first U.S. President.

"'A Sunday on La Grande Jatte'"

“A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat

One George worth mentioning is French painter Georges Seurat. The next Villanova Theatre production, Sunday in the Park with George, will be a musical inspired by the painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, the most famous work by Monsieur Seurat. Created by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim, this play will be performed at the John and Joan Mullen Center beginning on April 13. You can read our recent blog on the current production, Chrysalis, here!

Another George who cannot be ignored by any library is George Eliot. Mary Ann Evans is best known as George Eliot, a pen name Evans used to garner respect as a woman writer amidst 19th century misogyny. Some of her most famous novels, including Middlemarch, Adam Bede and The Mill on the Floss can all be found here at Falvey!

George Washington … not the aforementioned president, but George Washington Carver, is another notable George. Carver is known for his contributions to agricultural science. Having been born an enslaved Black man in 19th century America, Carver overcame unimaginable oppression to become a Professor at Tuskegee University. Check out the book George Washington Carver: In His Own Words to learn more about his life, and you can find even more resources for Black History Month here.

It’s also worth mentioning that there are more than just books here at Falvey. There are more movies than anyone could watch, and one famous George is responsible for a number of them. George Lucas, a prominent mind behind the creation of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises is a George who also made his mark. The very first Star Wars film is currently held at Falvey, so start your Star Wars journey here!

Last but not least is everyone’s favorite fictional George. That’s right, even Curious George can be found here at Falvey! Check out this book on the history and cultural implications of this beloved children’s character.

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


Cat in the Stax: Reality Television

By Ethan Shea

"Hand Crushing Rose"

A few weeks ago, yet another season of The Bachelor began, and just in time for yesterday’s holiday. It may seem like reality television has no place in a library. If libraries are places of learning, why would they promote something as vapid as reality television? But maybe there’s more to these TV shows than meets the eye.

Just a quick search into Falvey’s online database will bring you a plethora of information on reputable research involving reality TV.

For example, one aspect of reality TV worthy of study is the effect of surveillance. In shows like Big BrotherLove Island, and The Bachelor, contestants are watched almost constantly for weeks on end. This undoubtedly has a profound effect on participants. A book titled The Surveillance of Women on Reality Television: Watching The Bachelor and The Bachelorette confronts these issues directly with specific regard to how each show watches women. You can find this text on the fourth floor of Falvey’s stacks.

Another reason reality TV makes for fascinating research is because of the phenomenon of spectatorship associated with the genre. Lots of people love reality television, and researchers want to know what makes these shows so appealing.

The book Reality Television: The TV Phenomenon that Changed the World takes a close look at why people love reality television and even why they choose to take part in it. This text treats the reality genre as worthy of critical attention because of its status in popular culture rather than just a trashy form of entertainment.

What do you think of reality television? Is it useless entertainment, or does it have a place in academia? Leave a comment below with your opinion!

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

1 People Like This Post

Cat in the Stax: Polar Vortex

By Ethan Shea

"Cold Weather Image"

Last weekend brought some freezing temperatures, a dramatic change from the 50+ degree weather we enjoyed earlier last week and will be encountering once again later this week. Meteorologists blamed the frigid cold on a “polar vortex,” one of the many meteorological terms added to our vernacular over the past few years. Akin to phrases like “arctic blast,” “bomb cyclone” or “heat dome,” weather seems to become stranger every year.

This time around, the Arctic air was sent in the form of a polar vortex, but it was only aimed at the Northeastern U.S. because of a bomb cyclone in the Labrador Sea. A bomb cyclone can appear in several forms, as it is only defined as a rapidly intensifying storm, but because of the location of this particular storm, the pressure of the system coupled with another sent some of the coldest air in the world to the American Northeast.

Last weekend’s wild weather was the coldest the Northeast has seen in decades. In fact, the highest point in the Northeast, the summit of Mt. Washington, set a record for the coldest windchill ever recorded in the United States, even including Alaska. Atop Mt. Washington wind chill reached a frigid minus 108 degrees Fahrenheit as hurricane force winds combined with minus 47 degree air temperatures.

At minus 18 degrees, frostbite can affect exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes. One can only imagine how quickly minus 108 degrees can become deadly.

Many of these extreme weather patterns are caused by climate change, even when they entail weather becoming colder than normal rather than hotter. For more information on climate change, you can check out Falvey’s Environmental Science Subject Guide or browse a plethora of resources on the topic in the stacks.

Here are a few, just for starters:

Recently, Falvey co-sponsored a townhall regarding the effects of climate change and what Villanovans can do to confront the issue. The main topic of the townhall was divestment, which is essentially the opposite of an investment. Rather than continuing to invest money in companies that contribute to climate change, this townhall urged Villanova to shift investments away from oil companies as a means of curbing climate change. If you believe this is the course of action that should be taken, add your name to this petition!

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


Cat in the Stax: The Trillion-Dollar Coin

By Ethan Shea

"Spilled Pennies"

Once again, the infamous American debt ceiling is all over the news.

Last Thursday, the United States hit the $31.4 trillion debt limit. What does that mean? In brief, the debt ceiling (or limit) is the amount of money the United States government can borrow to spend on programs such as social security, paying government workers and anything else the government deems necessary. Because the United States must borrow money to afford such payments, failing to raise the debt ceiling means the government could default on its debt.

Even when the United States technically reaches the debt ceiling, there is still time to avert economic ruin. By taking “extraordinary measures,” the government can continue to pay debts for a few months even after the limit is reached.

There are plenty of ideas floating around that all claim to be solutions to this economic issue, but there is one particular plan I find both fascinating and hilarious.

"Trillion-dollar coin design by DonkeyHotey"

Trillion-dollar coin design by DonkeyHotey

This idea is known as the trillion-dollar coin. The concept involves minting a coin worth one-trillion dollars and placing it in the Federal Reserve. This would give the United States more spending power and the ability to pay its debts.

Miraculously, because of a 1996 law, such coinage would be legal if it were minted with non-traditional metal such as platinum, as there are no value restrictions officially imposed on platinum coinage.

This concept was first introduced in 2011 during a debt ceiling crisis that lasted until the end of July, just days before the U.S. would officially default. Ever since, the trillion dollar coin has faded into obscurity and subsequently reemerged when another debt crisis looms.

Despite the appealing simplicity of the idea, there are quite a few reasons why minting a one-trillion dollar coin could be harmful. The biggest risk is rapid inflation, which is already a major issue in the United States.

But above all, minting such a coin would be an action never taken before, so despite speculation, no one truly knows what would happen. Markets generally dislike such unpredictability, so to keep investors calm, government will most likely avoid such a move.

If you’re interested in learning more about the trillion-dollar coin or economics in general, check out Falvey Library’s subject guide on economics. There, you can access economic article databases, peruse relevant statistics or even chat with Linda Hauck, Falvey’s Business Librarian.

With complimentary access to the New York Times provided by Villanova University, you can also read this in-depth article on the current debt ceiling debacle.

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


Cat in the Stax: Winter Break Reading Recap

By Ethan Shea

"Man reading in the snow"

Welcome back Wildcats! I hope everyone had a restful break. 

In addition to my annual tradition of buying more books than I need with Christmas cash, I was able to read some exciting books during my time off.

To begin the semester, I thought I would give a couple reading recommendations and share these recent reads.

Circe – Madeline Miller 

The first book I read during break was Circe by Madeline Miller. The majority of this book was read during a Caribbean cruise I went on with my family, making the islands described in the story seem even more surreal. I really felt like I was on Aeaea with Circe.

Circe tells the story of, well … Circe, the daughter of Helios, God of the sun. Importantly, this story is told from Circe’s perspective, a response to the generally male-centric focus of classic Greco-Roman literature. Miller’s tale manages to make the grandiose life of Gods relatable through her intimate depictions of girlhood and motherhood. Overcoming childhood trauma and being outcast because of differences are problems not just mortals but even children of Gods must overcome. 

During last winter break, as you can see on this blog, I read Madeline Miller’s first novel, The Song of Achilles. It made sense to read Miller’s second novel during my second winter here at Villanova. 

"If We Were Villains"If We Were Villains – M.L. Rio 

Another book I read has a much different toneM.L. Rio’s novel If We Were Villains is a classic dark academia tale, an aesthetic you can learn more about on this blog. I usually would not have been drawn to a book with such an aesthetic, but I’m glad I listened to my roommate’s recommendation.

In Rio’s story, an elite group of students working to become Shakespearean actors are forced to reconcile with the mysterious death of a classmate. With no shortage of Shakespeare quotes, Rio slowly unveils the truth of the matter while weaving a messy story of romantic love and friendship.

If you haven’t already, I hope you find the time to check out one or both of these great novels before the semester gets too busy. 

Stay tuned for more Cat in the Stax content every Wednesday throughout the semester! 

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

1 People Like This Post

Cat in the Stax: Fall 2022 Semester Rewind

By Ethan Shea

"Rewind Button"

For the final Cat in the Stax of 2022, I will continue the tradition of ending each semester with a recap of some recent Cat in the Stax highlights.

"Altoona Style Pizza"

Altoona Style Pizza (Image Courtesy of Matt Alvarez of WTAJ)

To begin, one of my favorite blogs this semester was “What are you listening 2?” This blog published back in September was one of my favorites to write. I’ve always enjoyed keeping up to date with the latest music releases, and given the constant output of content these days, I could write a new version of this blog every week!

Another memorable post took place during spooky season. Halloween is usually a time to stuff your face with sweets, but this year I took a more savory approach to the season. In the blog “The Season of Pizza?” I shared my experience eating New-Haven style pizza in my home state of Connecticut. I even introduced some more obscure regional slices, such as Altoona pizza. I’m looking forward to returning to Connecticut during winter break to eat some more delicious pies!

"World Chess Hall of Fame"

World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis, Missouri

Another food-related blog I enjoyed writing was “The Fast-Food Graveyard.” To celebrate National Fast Food Day on Nov. 16, I shared some memorable discontinued fast-food meals such as the McRib and McDonald’s Cinnamelt. Although the McRib recently returned for a limited time, the sandwich is supposedly gone forever … but we’ll see how long that lasts.

One thing I didn’t mention in this blog is the recent loss of all-day breakfast at McDonald’s. Because of COVID-19, McDonald’s was forced to end its all-day breakfast, and it is yet to return. I understand there are probably many reasons for this decision, and hopefully they take the well-being of workers into account. That being said, I hope we can someday find a way to safely return to a world where I can eat a McGriddle at midnight.

Without a doubt, the blog that was the highlight of my fall semester was “A Game of Chess.” This blog about my visit to St. Louis allowed me to talk about many of my favorite things. There was discussion of chess at the World Chess Hall of Fame and of T.S. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land, which celebrates its hundredth birthday this year!

If you’re feeling nostalgic, you can take a trip down memory lane and return to any of these Cat in the Stax blogs on Falvey’s website.

This cat is signing off until next year! Have a relaxing break, and we’ll speak again in January!

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

1 People Like This Post

Cat in the Stax: Spotify Wrapped and the Digital Humanities

By Ethan Shea


Last Wednesday was a big day for people who love to overshare.

That’s right, it’s Spotify Wrapped season! For the uninitiated (and Apple Music listeners), Spotify Wrapped is an annual recap of listening habits that Spotify sends to every user at the end of the year. This time around, there was greater focus on what your music reveals about your personality. Spotify wants the raw numbers we receive to teach us something about ourselves.

As much as I enjoy analyzing my annually released statistics, there’s something deeply personal about these numbers. How is this possible? What does my 58,293 minutes of music streaming say about me? Presumably a lot according to this article.

Everyone is much more than a collection of numbers, but focusing on data is helpful even in the humanities. For me, the overwhelming interest in Spotify Wrapped feels similar to the growing interest in the digital humanities.

"Digital Scholarship Lab Hours"

Digital Scholarship Lab Hours

The digital humanities, according to Falvey’s Digital Scholarship/Digital Humanities Subject Guide, “is an area of research, collaboration, teaching, and creation concerned with the intersection of computing, digital technologies, and humanities scholarship.”

Just as Spotify attempts to reveal information about our complex personalities through listening data, the digital humanities provides a new perspective of subjective literary texts. For example, what does it mean that James Joyce uses the capitalized word “National” in Ulysses eleven times but the same word in lowercase twenty times? With statistics provided by the digital humanities,  readers have even more questions to ponder!

If you would like to learn more about the digital humanities, in addition to our subject guide, you can find the Digital Scholarship Lab in Room 218A at Falvey. The Lab is open by reservation-only, so make sure to book a visiting time in advance!

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

1 People Like This Post

Next Page »


Last Modified: December 7, 2022

Back to Top