• General,  History,  Politics,  Religion

    Chautauqua – Lectures by Bruce Riedel and Geffrey Kelly

    In line with the Topic for Chautauqua this week (Week Three [July 10-16, 2011] — American Intelligence: Technology, Espionage, and Alliances), this morning the lecture in the Amphitheater was by Bruce Riedel, senior fellow, Brookings Institution, former CIA officer. The title of his talk was: “The Intelligence War with al-Qaida.” While I was familiar with a fair bit of what he said, I greatly enjoyed the outline he gave for the history of al-Qaida, as well as Pakistan’s role (past and current) regarding that terrorist organization. He is a very dynamic speaker, and gave a quiet engaging talk. Made me reconsider whether we should pick the Pakistan-themed week next year.…

  • Natural History Museum
    Family,  History,  Science

    A Day at the Natural History Museum

    A couple of weekends ago Preston and I spent a nice Saturday (March 12) at the Natural History Museum, in Washington, DC. This was the first time I had been since the new “Hall of Human Origins” was opened, and we spent a good bit of time in there. Preston loved all the skeletons/skulls. And of course, he loved the dinosaur exhibits – which hadn’t changed much since last time we were there (~2 years ago). He kept going from exhibit to exhibit: “what is this one? And this one?…” until it felt like I had read every caption in the museum. But he was very happy. Naturally, we had…

  • The Clockwork Universe
    Books,  History,  Science

    Edward Dolnick signing The Clockwork Universe

    Edward Dolnick was at Politics and Prose bookstore tonight giving a talk on his book, “The Clockwork Universe“. Engaging speaker and an interesting talk. My son Brandon also came along and he was surprised to find it interesting enough to come out of the cafe. The author didn’t do a reading from the book; he spent about 20 minutes giving a very interesting overview of the historical period in which Newton and contemporaries lived. We sometimes forget that these geniuses were living in a very different world from ours today; one in which basic hygiene and knowledge of how the physical world worked was about non-existent. London of the time…

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  • Archaeology,  Books,  History

    Maya Calendar for September 25, 2010

    Last Saturday I went to an all-day symposium, “Under Cover of Darkness: The Meaning of Night in Ancient Mesoamerica” sponsored by the Pre-Columbian Society of Washington, D.C. While there, Professor Mark Van Stone was signing copies of his book, “2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya. What was really neat is that he signed my copy by writing the current date in Maya glyphs. Really neat!

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  • Art,  Books,  Entertainment,  Family,  General,  History,  Kids,  Science

    Author roundtable with Catherine Asaro, Greg Bear, etc.

    Tonight I went to a booksigning and a panel of SF authors at Reiter’s Scientific Bookstore in DC. Among the authors present were: Dr. Catherine Asaro, Greg Bear, Bud Sparhawk, Tom Purdom, Tom Ligon, Yoji Kondo (Eric Kotani), John Hemry (Jack Campbell), Charles E. Gannon, and Dr. Arlan Andrews. The roundtable discussion topic was “How Science Fiction Changes Everything” – How Science Fiction Serves the National Interest. The Washington Science Fiction Association also sponsored the event. Some (all?) members of the panel are also members of SIGMA: SIGMA is a group of science fiction writers who offer futurism consulting to the United States government and appropriate NGOs. We provide a…

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