Guardian.UK: Sun’s activity triggers lightning strikes.
“Activity on the sun significantly increases the rate of lightning strikes on Earth, say researchers, making it feasible to predict when lightning strikes will become more frequent.” Some of what we consider ‘nature’ is … supernatural?
Metropolitan Museum of Art: List of Rulers of Ancient Egypt and Nubia.
That’s a lot of Pharaohs.
ScienceMag: What Caused a 1300-Year Deep Freeze?
“The team argues that when the quality and accuracy of the dating — which was based on radiocarbon and other techniques — is examined closely, only three of the 29 sites actually fall within the time frame of the Younger Dryas onset, about 12,800 years ago; the rest were probably either earlier or later by hundreds (and in one case, thousands) of years.” Don’t most dating techniques give you a range, rather than a specific date? I imagine theory-making based on flexible timelines is rather dicey; “one shouldn’t be too sure about anything.”
Serendipita: On Richard Feynman.
Wired: The Mystery of Go, the Ancient Game That Computers Still Can’t Win.
“To understand this, think about Go in relation to chess. At the beginning of a chess game, White has twenty possible moves. After that, Black also has twenty possible moves. Once both sides have played, there are 400 possible board positions. Go, by contrast, begins with an empty board, where Black has 361 possible opening moves, one at every intersection of the 19 by 19 grid. White can follow with 360 moves. That makes for 129,960 possible board positions after just the first round of moves.” My italic emphasis. Perhaps strategists should dump chess as being too limited and simplistic.
The Archaeology News Network: New study sheds light on survivors of the Black Death.
“A new study suggests that people who survived the medieval mass-killing plague known as the Black Death lived significantly longer and were healthier than people who lived before the epidemic struck in 1347.”
ArtWatch.UK: Connoisseurship + the Making, Appraising, Replicating and Undoing of Art’s Images.
“Appreciation and discrimination may be of the theoretical essence in connoisseurship, but taken alone, without knowledge of and engagement with art’s practices, they leave the practioners susceptible to the traditional charge of being pretentious poseurs.”
CNet: Mysterious writing in rare 16th-century Homer identified.
“Working with colleague Giulia Accetta, who is proficient in contemporary Italian stenography and fluent in French, Metilli identified the script as a form of shorthand invented by shorthand author Jean Coulon de Thévénot in the late 18th century. The shorthand notes in the text are mostly French translations of Greek phrases from the Odyssey.”
The Archaeology News Network: Long-standing climate paradox resolved.
“Based on this relationship of the variations in the earth’s orbit and Nevada’s climate, Lachniet and his team suggest that the region won’t see the re-appearance of these pluvial lakes for at least another 55,000 years. They also see evidence that the Great Basin climate has been warming for the past 1,600 years, which may indicate a human-control of regional climate because it departs from the orbital climate control …” Read the whole thing.
AhramOnline: Pre-dynastic tomb uncovered in Egypt’s Edfu.
PastHorizons: Songs from the Caves.
“The project ‘Songs from the Caves’ explores the acoustics of prehistoric painted caves in Northern Spain, to establish whether a secure relationship can be found internally between the positioning of motifs and sonic effects. Sound has the potential to provide information that is not available by only studying visual or material properties.” Audio files within. I don’t know about you, but if I was trying to draw something, I’d kick the noisemakers out.
CNet: Hawking - AI could be the ‘worst thing ever for humanity’.
“Humanity has a tendency to fall in love with its own cleverness and somehow never consider that something might go wrong.” Amen. One look at history ...
PastHorizons: Blood preserved in gourd did not belong to King Louis XVI.
I wonder … the blood of Danton, Robespierre, Saint-Just or Couthon?
Archaeology News Network: ‘Mummy Lake’ used for ancient rituals, not water storage.
“Benson and his colleagues propose Mummy Lake is an unroofed ceremonial structure, not unlike the ancient kivas and plazas elsewhere in the Southwest. They noted that the structure is similar in size to a great kiva found at a Pueblo historical site near Zuni, N.M. It also resembles a ball court and amphitheater at the Puebloan village of Wupatki in Arizona — interestingly, Fewkes also thought these two structures were reservoirs.” Turns out a ‘ditch’ can also be a well-worn walkway.
Vox: Girls have gotten better grades than boys for 100 years.
The Cut: Lessons of Immortality and Mortality From My Father, Carl Sagan.
A great and important read. Don’t miss it.
The Archaeology News Network: Egyptians moved pyramid stones over wet sand.
“The Egyptians were probably aware of this handy trick. A wall painting in the tomb of Djehutihotep clearly shows a person standing on the front of the pulled sledge and pouring water over the sand just in front of it.” Interesting that it took this long for science to notice what the Egyptians actually said about moving great weights.
The New Yorker:The Strange Triumph of ‘The Little Prince’.
“This year marks an efflorescence of attention, including a full-scale exhibition of Saint-Exupéry’s original artwork at the Morgan Library, in New York. But we are no closer to penetrating the central riddle: What is ‘The Little Prince’ about?”
Wired: New Quantum Theory Could Explain the Flow of Time.
webexhibits.org: Early Roman Calendar.
Filed under things I didn’t know.
The Archaeology News Network: Early Coptic image of Jesus found at Oxyrhynchus.
Alin Suciu: Christian Askeland Finds the “Smoking Gun”.
Looks like the “Jesus Wife” papyrus is a not-so-clever forgery.
Simons Foundation: Ancient Fossils Suggest Complex Life Evolved on Land.
“A petrified bedbug would end the dispute.” Couldn’t resist that pullquote.
Ahram.org: Serendipity aids Egypt in struggle to recover stolen heritage.
“It’s not just pharaonic artifacts that are being stolen. Muslim rulers dating back to the seventh century left their mark on Egyptian architecture, and since 2011 thieves have torn decorative pieces out of mosques and other Islamic monuments in central Cairo.” Nothing’s sacred, it seems.
US Nat’l Library of Medicine: An Ancient Medical Treasure at Your Fingertips.
If you don’t even trust aspirin, here’s an option for you.