Chalk Apocalypse

So, when Hagoromo announced that it was going out of business in 2014, it caused a rupture in the math community.” I referred to it as a chalk apocalypse,” Conrad said. In a panic, mathematicians across America began stockpiling resources in preparation.” I calculated how many boxes I would need to last 10 to 15……

Chernobyl on the Seine

In 1933 nuclear physicist Marie Curie had outgrown her lab in the Latin Quarter in central Paris. To give her the space needed for the messy task of extracting radioactive elements such as radium from truckloads of ore, the University of Paris built a research center in Arcueil, a village south of the city. Today……

Don’t think that we can’t remember

When undergraduate students at Peking University, which was at the center of the incident, were shown copies of the iconic photograph 16 years afterwards, they were “genuinely mystified”. One of the students said that the image was “artwork”. It is noted in the documentary Frontline: The Tank Man that he whispered to the student next……

Roman Earthquake Cloaking

I tend to agree with the physicist from UNCC here that the Colosseum and other buildings that exhibit these “metamaterial” designs were probably self-selecting (in that they didn’t fall down during earthquakes), but we definitely don’t give the ancients enough credit with their engineering and scientific prowess… Scientists are hard at work developing real-world “invisibility……

New Reading of the Mesha Stele

Potentially huge (I appreciate Thomas Römer’s scholarship a great deal): A name in Line 31 of the stele, previously thought to read ‘House of David’, could instead read ‘Balak’, a king of Moab mentioned in the biblical story of Balaam (Numbers 22-24), say archaeologist Prof. Israel Finkelstein and historians and biblical scholars Prof. Nadav Na’aman and Prof.……

It’s not like Caligula didn’t have some warning…

Between the laughing statue, God kicking me with his toe, and the flamingo incident, I might have considered a course correction in my life’s path had I been in Caligula’s shoes… While the statue of Olympian Jupiter was being dismantled before removal to Rome at his command, it burst into such a roar of laughter……

Was Writing Developed by Poets, Priests, our Accountants?

Fun read: As a writer of nonfiction, I can’t help but love writing’s roots in enumerating concrete objects and reality itself. The textual analyst part of me loves how Mesopotamian tokens were wrapped in clay envelopes after being impressed on the soft exterior – perhaps clay-wrapped tokens of meaning give rise to the notion that……

Introducing the Assyrians

  Layard’s discoveries caused a media sensation and captured the public imagination. This had a major impact on painting and applied arts, in the UK and beyond, during the second half of the nineteenth century, which led to a brief phase of ‘Assyrian revival’. The Assyrian sculptures at the British Museum largely remain today where……

“God said to Abraham give me a son…”

In Genesis, God prevented Abraham from carrying out the act. However, the papyrus text tells the story differently, suggesting that Isaac was indeed killed. This echoes the way the story is told in a number of other ancient texts, Zellmann-Rohrer said. — Read on www.newsweek.com/1500-year-old-ancient-egyptian-papyrus-contains-stories-biblical-human-891667

Viking Color Palette

Well now I think this blog needs a visual overhaul (we Harrelson’s do come from the Vikings after all): Archaeologists and chemists have now studied colour use in the Viking Age based on the chemical analyses of pigments from a number of objects and a review of existing information on the topic. These colours are……

A brief history of the internet

The existing national defense network relied on telephone lines and wires that were susceptible to damage. In 1962, J.C.R. Licklider, a scientist from ARPA and MIT, suggested connecting computers to keep a communications network active in the US in the event of a nuclear attack. — Read on sciencenode.org/feature/a-brief-history-of-the-internet-2018.php

“Where did Angels come from?”

I got asked that question during a Sunday School class on Old Testament conceptions of the divine a few years back. I struggled to gather my thoughts quickly and do that Middle School Teacher “Well, actually… it’s very interesting you see…” thing. But it is a long and interesting history to process how we went……

What the Foreskin of Jesus Can Teach Us All

The long-standing popularity of relics can also be understood in terms of today’s two big cultural obsessions — professional sports and celebrities — where fans often seek out a connection with their favorite teams or stars (including their discarded jerseys and other possessions). The relic system, says Farley, also “acted as an instrument of tribalism”……

“friction from touching the walls of our mother’s womb”

🤯 This is beautiful. Why didn’t I know this already? Fingerprints are formed by friction from touching the walls of our mother’s womb. Sometimes they are called “chanced impressions.” By Week 19, about four months before we are issued into the world, they are set. Gorillas, chimpanzees, and koalas also possess exclusive prints. — Read……

Remains of man crushed while fleeing Pompeii

Poor guy… A man managed to escape the first eruptive fury of Vesuvius in 79 A.D., only to be crushed beneath a block of stone hurled by an explosive volcanic cloud, new excavations at the site suggest. — Read on www.cnn.com/2018/05/29/health/pompeii-victim-crushed-rock-eruption-intl-trnd/index.html

Cautionary Tale of Climate Change Prepping from Ancient Egypt and Bronze Age

These agricultural feats managed to extend the life of the Egyptian empire about half a century longer than it might otherwise have lasted, according to the archaeologists. The lesson for our own civilization — which is likely to face increasingly severe droughts as humans change the climate far faster than nature has ever done —……

Artificial Intelligence Opens the Vatican Secret Archives

Like all artificial intelligence, the software will improve over time, as it digests more text. Even more exciting, the general strategy of In Codice Ratio—jigsaw segmentation, plus crowdsourced training of the software—could easily be adapted to read texts in other languages. This could potentially do for handwritten documents what Google Books did for printed matter:……

What did Jesus look like?

I’ve taught a series on depictions of Jesus numerous times at churches and for Sunday Schools of all flavors. This is one of the best pieces I’ve ever read on the subject. Thorough, but approachable. Plus, there’s a connection to my beloved Dura Europos… However, there is one other place to look: to the synagogue……