February 29, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 2:54 pm

Shroud of Turin Gets High-Def Scrutiny

The Turin shroud, the 14- by 4-foot linen long believed to have been wrapped around Jesus’ body after the crucifixion, has entered the digital age.

A huge 12.8 billion-pixel image was made of the linen, on which the smudged outline of the body of a man is indelibly impressed. The image was made following a Vatican request to obtain the most detailed reproduction of the yellowing ancient cloth. The technology allows a level of scrutiny of the linen as never achieved before.

“The Shroud has been photographed in high definition for the first time. We have stitched together 1,600 shots, each the size of a credit card, to create a huge photo which is almost 1,300 times stronger than a picture taken with a 10 million pixel digital camera,” Mauro Gavinelli, technical supervisor at HAL9000, a company specializing in art photography, told Discovery News.

It’s got some stuff on the C14 dating “controversy” that’s been filtering in over the years.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 12:07 pm

Lost civilization Eye of Sauron. . . .found Hubble peers into the Great Eye of Sauron

Astronomers at the University of California, Berkeley, and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center have released a rather remarkable Hubble image of a ring of dust around star Fomalhaut, described by New Scientist as resembling “the Great Eye of Sauron”.

Just as long as it doesn’t blink. . . .

February 28, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:42 am

Will Huntington Beach homes sit on ancient burial ground?

Archaeologists have unearthed 174 ancient American Indian remains, half of them found over the past 18 months on a site at Bolsa Chica Mesa slated to become a residential community, according to California Native American Heritage Commission officials.

The discovery of hundreds of mysterious cogged stones and now human bone fragments that are up to 8,500 years old confirms decades-long rumors that the Brightwater Hearthside Homes site is an ancient burial ground of international importance, said Dave Singleton, a program analyst with the Native American Heritage Commission.

I dunno, kind of a weird article and issue. Apparently half of the fragments were found over a period of 30 years and the others during the last 18 months. They talk about an “association” of the fragments with certain features, but don’t really specify what that association is. Or what the features are. Then it gets kinda goofy with an activist linking this stuff with. . . .Chile. Hard to say what the significance of the fragments are; depending on what fragments they represent and how fragmented they are it might or might not be a “burial ground”.

So, who knows. Seems like an interesting area; one hopes the monitors are not letting too much stuff be destroyed without proper mitigation.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:39 am

Mummy alert

Mummified nuns found

The mummified remains of two nuns, the head of one lying on the shoulder of the other, have been found in the walls of a Sao Paulo convent in Brazil, media reported on Wednesday.

The bodies were discovered in one of six burial niches bricked over in the 234-year-old Mosteiro da Luz, that continues to be the home of the reclusive Order of the Conceptionist Sisters as well as a museum of sacred art.

An official at the University of Sao Paulo’s archeology department, Sergio Monteiro da Silva, said it appeared the nuns had been put in the niche sometime between 1774 and 1822, when the room they were in was used as a cemetery.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:38 am


Archaeologists have unearthed an ancient burial ground at the site of a major new road.

Evidence of two Bronze Age tombs dating back some 4,000 years were found during work on the Earl Shilton bypass.

They were spotted after an archaeological survey of the site uncovered what would have been mounds of earth, or barrows, on the route between Thurlaston Lane and Mill Lane outside the town.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:36 am

China blasts U.S. role in illegal relics trade

China has labeled the United States the world’s largest importer of smuggled Chinese relics, and demanded the country do more to combat the trade, state media reported on Wednesday.

China has repeatedly called on museums in Western countries to return artifacts taken by European and American archaeologists and adventurers, often crudely hacked out of caves and tombs.

Shan Jixiang, director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, called on the United States to sign a memorandum of understanding with China to speed up cooperation in preventing relics’ theft and illegal trade.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:33 am

Landfill could disguise graves: archaeologist

The archaeologist at the centre of the dispute over the findings of land surveys on the site of the Boggo Road Busway says there were “anomalies” between the introduced clays from “fill” and the “underlaying basal clays”.

In a statement from his report into the results of the survey, the archaeologist, Dr Jon Prangnell from the University of Queensland, says “no graves or human remains were found”.

However, he suggested to students at the university in February that landfill cover prevented graves from being detected during ground penetrating radar surveys.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:31 am

Illness update

I’m watching A Mighty Wind. Gawd, what a riot. Rent it if you get the chance. Fred Willard is brilliant, as usual.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 8:25 am

This is cool: Order your own telescope images:

Now you can go online to access high-quality scopes at dark-sky sites worldwide and order them to take photos for you — cheaply or for free, and at decent resolution.

I tried it at the third listed site just now! I ordered an image of galaxy M101. Will update when it comes in.

February 27, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 8:06 pm

Blogging update

Light posting for the next day or so. I finally caught The Cold that’s been making the rounds. I count myself lucky that at least it’s not the flu. I think it’s been in Seattle but no one I know has gotten it yet. Not an awful cold, but not a light one either. It’s kind of been building for a week now; I could feel my sinuses getting a little freaky last week and had something of a headache a lot. Hit Monday evening. I could tell something was going on because Monday morning I woke up and was all hot and sweaty and then I went and had an awesome workout. I’ve learned that when I have a really good workout (this is at 6:15 am) it usually means I’ve caught something.

Anyway, lots of stress lately so that might have brought it on, or maybe kept it at bay. You see, I am changing jobs in the near future and it’s been an incredibly stressful decision. I spent 15 years at one place but then had to leave in 2005. I was a “temp” for all 15 years, which was mostly okay because I was working myself through grad school and the flexibility (you know, to pop off to Egypt for 2-3 months at a time) was ideal. But then I got my degree and. . . .didn’t know what to do. I stayed on but eventually I was sitting on grant money at only 50% and the rules then were that one could not combine more than one temp position into one full time one. I tried to find a way to stay but couldn’t. I spent one year at a bank creating predictive models, but that bored me silly.

Then I ended up at an internationally recognized non-profit managing data for a large study in India and China. That was great fun, BUT the grant ran out last December. I managed to secure funding for 2008 but doing a lot of stuff that doesn’t really interest me and that I’m not all that skilled in either, such as cost models. I applied for another 2-year grant-funded position at my old shop and after haggling over the salary for a while had to make a decision whether to stay or go.

Toughest.Decision.Of.My.Life. Stay, where I have to constantly sell myself to get on other people’s projects and do mostly everything I’m not that good at, or go, and do something really interesting but has a 2-year life span? Yeesh. I finally decided that if I want to do anything research-related, grant money is almost a prerequisite. So whichever place I ended up at, securing funding was just part of the landscape. I decided to go back to my old place for a few reasons; I know people there so easier to network; a regular permanent position is possible where it isn’t at the place I’m at. And more opportunity to work with, um, dead people.

I don’t know how I did it 20 years ago, just casually flipping from job to job, nary a care in the world. Somehow I always manage to stay (mostly) employed. Now deciding between two roughly equal job durn near kills me. I should just stay in grad school my whole life. . . .

Will try to post some tomorrow.

Addendum: I downloaded Vivaldi’s Gloria along with Bach’s Magnificat on the same CD. Truly excellent. Vivaldi was my first real love in classical music and still mostly is although I have ventured more into sacred polyphony the last few years. Vivaldi still just makes me happy. If you don’t like the choral stuff, try l’estro Armonico. Anything done by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields will be a good performance. I haven’t tried it, but this site seems to have a bunch available for download.

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