• Archaeology,  General,  History

    Prof Bob Brier Seminar on Ancient Egypt

    On Saturday I attended Prof. Bob Brier’s talk at the Smithsonian Ripley Center ( A Smithsonian Resident Associates talk): Temples, Monuments, and Tombs: Exploring Egypt’s Ancient Treasures This was a great day of archaeology lectures! I had planned to take the Metro into Washington, D.C., but was running late (shocker!), so drove in. No spots on Jefferson Ave in front of the S. Dillon Ripley Center (sometimes I get lucky), so I parked at a meter at the end of the Mall (on 7th). That was actually convenient, as you can use an app on your phone to pay the meter, so I just renewed my spot every 2 hours…

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  • Books,  Physics,  Science

    Lisa Randall: Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs

        Lisa Randall was at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington DC tonight, giving a very interesting talk about Dark matter and the Universe. In her new book, Dark Matter and the Dinosars, she ties in the dinosaurs by speculating how Dark matter may have been responsible for popping a comet out of the Oort Cloud, thus sending it on its way to crash into the Earth 65 million years ago- wiping out the dinosaurs and most life on the planet.   Her talk was great; first book tour talk I’ve been to that was like a classroom lecture:  she had slides with diagrams, pictures and explanatory text.  So…

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  • Archaeology,  Books,  General

    All you ever wanted to know about Roman Toilets

    I have to admit that from an engineering standpoint I have been interested in finding out how toilets worked in ancient Rome. However, not so interested that I actually did any research past a quick search on google. Then I received an email from the American Journal of Archaeology, and took a look at the online book reviews. This one stood out: Roman Toilets: Their Archaeology and Cultural History Gemma C.M. Jansen, Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow, and Eric M. Moormann, eds. Reviewed by Eric Poehler …What emerges from a full reading of Roman Toilets is the clearest and most detailed picture to date of the Roman experience of urinating and defecating…

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  • Nature

    Robin nest with four eggs

    [Update 6/21/2012]: Bummer. Before the little eggs hatched, I went to check on them and the eggs were gone. Part of the nest was broken off. Appears some critter (I’ll go on record as blaming some neighborhood *cat*) got them. Must have been a new Robin mom, as I assume most robins build nests in trees, not bushes easily found by cats. Oh well. —– We have a Robin family living in the bush right in front of our house! I can remember one of my chemistry professors telling me to wait until the reaction turned “robin’s egg blue” color to indicate it was done. More than 20 years later…

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  • Art,  General,  History,  Science,  Technology

    Archimedes Palimpsest at Walters Art Museum

    The Walters Museum in Baltimore has some leaves from the Archimedes Palimpsest on exhibit (through Jan 1, 2012). I took the kids to visit the exhibit today. Very nice venue, and the exhibit was well laid out. While the museum is kid-friendly (they hand out satchels with crafts/activities related to the exhibit for the kids to work on), looking at “old books” didn’t hold the attention of a 5-year old for more than 30 minutes (which I thought was a lot). Granted, about 10 of those were a video presentation. Little Olivia fell asleep in her stroller… The Archimedes Palimpsest is a Medieval parchment manuscript. The currently visible part of…

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