- Out of Egypt – Since I’ve been fixated on mummies and ancient Egypt lately, here’s an interesting story about ancient Egypt, museums and my hometown. Seems the St. Louis Art Museum purchased a Nineteenth Dynasty funerary mask in the mid-nineties from some shady art dealers. The provenance of the the mask is sketchy, to say the least. If it is stolen antiquities, then UNESCO and Egypt would be rather eager to repatriate the mask. Is it? Isn’t it? Read the article and decide.
- Unintelligent Design – Discover Magazine’s March issue has a great story about advances in virology. It looks like viruses, long considered degenerate bits of molecules that were not alive (the discoverer of viruses won the Nobel Prize in chemistry, not biology) are actually far older and more important than traditionally thought. The story centers on the amazingly large Mimivirus isolated in a Marseilles laboratory. Mimivirus is as large as simple bacteria and is much more complex than any previously known virus. It points the way towards a radical idea; that viruses are the primary movers and instigators of life on the planet, containing most of the planet’s genetic diversity. Life could have started with viruses in the primordial stew, and it seems possible that all higher forms of life beyond bacteria owe their existence to viral DNA.
- The Future of Science – Speaking about science, Live Science interviewed physicist and author Alan Lightman recently. The topics discussed included the future direction of science, teaching science to non-scientists and literature to scientists (a great list of books by the way), and the periodic cycles of popular opinion towards science. We might be at a low point in the cycle right now, with all this intelligent design business, doubts about global warming and stem cell research, but historically low points are followed by a resurgence in scientific principles and credibility. It can’t come soon enough if you ask me.
- Philippines Revolution Fails to Live Up to Promise – In an amazingly prescient piece, NPR’s All Things Considered ran a story yesterday about the impending 20th anniversary of the Philippines People Power revolution that ousted Ferdinand Marcos. The gist of the radio story focused on how two decades along the country is still mired in poverty and corruption, and popular sentiment is at an all time low against current president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Rumors are rampant that another coup is in the works and sure enough, around 5:00 pm this afternoon I read that Arroyo declared a state of emergency in the country after a coup attempt was foiled by the army.
It’s been a long while since I tried posting via email, but let’s give it a shot.
I read an interesting piece on Alternet by Jay Walljasper, formerly of Utne Magazine, about designing cities that are more amenable to pedestrian traffic. For millennia cities were designed for foot traffic, but the last few decades of automobiles have transformed the urban landscape. But there is a movement afoot to change all that with urban pedestrian corridors, increased parklands and to shift the focus of downtown areas from shopping space to living space.
**Update – No, it doesn’t really work all that well from email. It works, but it looks like crap and needs editing to be presentable. I guess I’ll keep using Ecto or the Blog This! bookmarklet. This email option sucks.
- Museum Fundraiser at Marriott – Three possible designs for the new Guam Museum will be unveiled at the Guam Marriott this evening in a fundraiser for the museum. Tickets are $50, and doors open at 6:00 pm tonight. The PDN has pictures of all three designs in today’s paper for those short $50 (like me).
- Poetry Slam in Agaña – $100 to the best poem read tonight at Buzz Cafe in Hagåtña. Competition starts at 9:00 pm. Sounds cool, I might check this out.