Where is the Salvator Mundi?

The painting has been described as a devotional counterpart to the Mona Lisa, Leonardo’s most famous work, and is said to have an “extraordinary, communicative presence”. But Lewis, the author of the acclaimed book The Last Leonardo, explains why questions remain about its origin. Last year the painting did not appear in the Louvre’s blockbuster … Continue reading Where is the Salvator Mundi?

Don’t think that we can’t remember

Don’t think that we can’t remember 3

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 … Continue reading Don’t think that we can’t remember

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 … Continue reading Roman Earthquake Cloaking

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. … Continue reading New Reading of the Mesha Stele

Prehistoric Proto-Writing System

While studying some of the oldest art in the world found in caves and engraved on animal bones or shells, paleoanthropologist Genevieve von Petzinger has found evidence of a proto-writing system that perhaps developed in Africa and then spread throughout the world. Source: Stone Age Cave Symbols May All Be Part of a Single Prehistoric … Continue reading Prehistoric Proto-Writing System

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

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 … Continue reading Was Writing Developed by Poets, Priests, our Accountants?

Introducing the Assyrians

Introducing the Assyrians 9

  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 … Continue reading Introducing the Assyrians

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

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” … Continue reading What the Foreskin of Jesus Can Teach Us All

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

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 — … Continue reading Cautionary Tale of Climate Change Prepping from Ancient Egypt and Bronze Age

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: … Continue reading Artificial Intelligence Opens the Vatican Secret Archives