Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Time Lapse Lunar Eclipse over the Acropolis

from MAKE Magazine

Time Lapse Lunar Eclipse over the Acropolis: "

Time lapse video by Elias Politis, uppermost, and single image composite of same, immediately above. It’s NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day for June 25. Not sure I can get 100% behind “Acropoclipse,” but otherwise: Magnificent. [via adafruit]

24-hour Sky Panorama


Monday, June 27, 2011

classical cameos

Victorian and classical cameos carved out of Oreos

XXV sez, "Sculptor Judith Klausner has been carving classically- and Victorian-inspired cameos out of Oreo cookies. Her most recent series -- From Scratch -- explores traditional handicrafts using mass-produced, packaged foods as her medium. In addition to the Oreo cameos, she has embroidered a fried egg onto toast, cross-stitched Chex cereal, and more!"

And she made this: a mechanical musical jewelry-box with a (mate-beheading) preying mantis in place of the traditional confectionery ballerina. FWOAR.

Home ➺ Work ➺ From Scratch ➺ Oreo Cameo (Thanks, XXV!)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

NATO refuses to rule out bombing Libyan Roman ruins

NATO can not verify rebel claims that Gadhafi may be hiding rockets at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Leptis Magna.

(CNN) -- NATO refused to say Tuesday whether or not it would bomb ancient Roman ruins in Libya if it knew Moammar Gadhafi was hiding military equipment there.

"We will strike military vehicles, military forces, military equipment or military infrastructure that threaten Libyan civilians as necessary," a NATO official in Naples told CNN, declining to give his name in discussing internal NATO deliberations.
But he said the alliance could not verify rebel claims that Libya's leader may be hiding rocket launchers at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Leptis Magna, a Roman city between the capital Tripoli and rebel-held Misrata.
Wing Commander Mike Bracken, a spokesman for NATO's Libya mission, later said it "would be a concern for us that Gadhafi and pro-Gadhafi forces would choose to contravene international law in hiding themselves in such a location."
And, he said, "If we were to take on any targets we would consider all risks."
But he underlined that NATO could not confirm suggestions that weapons might be placed at the heritage site.
The Bracken briefing came a day after a top British military officer admitted that the bombing campaign was straining British resources.
"If we do it for longer than six months, then we have to reprioritize our forces," Admiral Mark Stanhope said Monday.
"That does not mean we won't be doing it," he added.
NATO recently extended its mission -- officially to protect civilians in Libya from Gadhafi's efforts to crush an uprising that has left rebels in control of parts of the country -- for another 90 days, into September.
British Minister of Defence Liam Fox said Tuesday the Libya mission showed "how capable we are" and emphasized that the United Kingdom has the fourth largest military budget in the world.
Concerns over British capabilities came as Germany's foreign minister visited the de facto rebel capital of Benghazi and rebels reported progress against government forces in western mountain cities.
Guido Westerwelle said Germany formally recognized the rebel Transitional National Council as the representative of the Libyan people, putting Berlin in line with the United States, France, Italy and a handful of other countries.
As Germany recognized the rebel leadership, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged countries in Africa on Monday to kick out diplomats representing Gadhafi's government.
Also Monday, after a siege of nearly two months, rebels have freed the city of Al-Rayyana, northeast of Zintan, said rebel fighter Talha Al-Jiwali. Nine rebels were killed, and 35 were wounded, he said.
Al-Jiwali said forces entering Al-Rayyana found that more than 20 residents had been killed, a number of the women had been raped, and the town's electricity and water had been cut.
In nearby Zawiet al-Baqool, just east of Zintan, 500 to 600 government forces retained control, but the fighting was ongoing, he said.
Al-Jiwali added that nearly 100 members of Gadhafi's forces were killed in the two cities and that rebels confiscated their vehicles and arms.
Clinton pressed for diplomatic support for the rebels at a meeting of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
She urged countries to "suspend the operations of Gadhafi's embassies in your countries," expel pro-Gadhafi diplomats and "increase contact and support" with the Transitional National Council, which represents the main opposition to Gadhafi's rule.
"Your words and actions could make the difference in bringing the situation finally to a close and allowing the people of Libya, on an inclusive basis, in a unified Libya, to get to work writing a constitution and rebuilding their country," she said.
The United States views the council "as the legitimate interlocutor for the Libyan people during this interim period," Clinton said last week in the United Arab Emirates.
On Monday, the United Arab Emirates notified Gadhafi's ambassador in that country that his diplomatic status there will expire in 72 hours, a diplomatic source in the country said. The UAE has recognized the Transitional National Council as the legitimate Libyan government.
World powers beefed up financial and moral support for the Libyan opposition last week at an international coalition meeting aimed at charting the course of a post-Gadhafi Libya.
At that meeting, in the UAE, Clinton announced an additional $26 million in U.S. aid for the victims of Libya's ongoing war. She also said time will be on the international coalition's side so long as Gadhafi faces sustained pressure.
Italy pledged up to $580 million to the Transitional National Council, which is facing a budget shortfall, to cover its expenses, but not weapons, Foreign Ministry spokesman Maurizio Massari said.
Kuwait will donate the $180 million it promised in April for humanitarian needs, said Sheikh Mohammed Sabah al Salman al Sabah, the Gulf nation's deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs.
CNN's Damien Ward, Laura Perez Maestro, Salma Abdelaziz, Frederik Pleitgen and Kareem Khadder contributed to this story.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Roman Fish Transportation

From There I Fixed It, found at

Ahoy, fixers! Sorry for the absence of historicism that occurred last week, I’ll do my darnedest not to let that happen again. One of my favorite aspects of Historical Thursday is being to write about ancient marvels that have only recently been brought to the world’s attention. For this week’s edition we’ll be heading to the Adriatic Sea, where the Roman fish trade is (was) booming.

white trash repairs - Historical Thursday: Roman Fish Transportation

2,000 years ago a Roman ship sank on the Gulf of Trieste, near the Italian town of Grado. Fast forward to 1986 when the ship was found. Cool, a shipwreck. Nothing completely out of the ordinary but it’s not every day we stumble across the rotting hull piloted by the ancient Romans. Fast forward another 25 years and it turns out this ship may have actually been something rather special.

Just a few weeks ago, researchers discovered a small lead pipe drilled into the hull. Understandably, this puzzled them. Why would anyone want to drill a hole into the bottom of their ship, wouldn’t that only let water in? But the Romans have proven to be some pretty smart folk, so they must have had a damn good reason for wanting anything that could compromise the integrity of the ship.

white trash repairs - Historical Thursday: Roman Fish Transportation

The newly-discovered pipe is just a couple inches in diameter and 4 feet long, rising from the outside of the hull into a chamber within the ship. Scientists believe the pipe was attached to some sort of piston or hand-crank to pump water up from the sea. The theory goes that the pipe was fixed to a large tank used to transport live fish. Holding 4 cubic meters of water and up over 400 pounds of fish, the aquarium is a bit larger than the one I smashed while growing up and subsequently blamed the cat for (sorry mom). Fish need oxygenated water to, you know, continue being fish, and it’s estimated that the crank could pump over 200 liters per minutes, completely replacing all of the water in the tank in just 16 minutes.

For hundreds of years we’ve seen records that show the Romans were adept at transporting fish. Without refrigereation it was just always assumed that the fish were dried and/or salted, giving them a short shelf life. And with this massive aquarium on a relatively small ship, it’s assumed that the movement of live fish wasn’t too uncommon.

white trash repairs - Historical Thursday: Roman Fish Transportation

The problem, unfortunately, is that this is the first of its kind to ever be found. While the hypothesis sounds great and really quite plausible, it can’t be proven. Currently, researchers are working on recreating a replica of the ship using only historically accurate parts to prove if any of the above is correct, or we’ve all just been lead on a wild goose chase.

Pictures and Information courtesy of: Nature and io9.

As always, if YOU have an idea for a Historical Thursday, let me know at

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Teleconference Lecture Tomorrow : "Epilogue: What happened after the Battle of Marathon"

"Epilogue: What happened after the Battle of Marathon"
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
4:00 PM ET/ 1:00 PM PT (90 minute lecture and Q&A) 
Professor Marincola (Ph.D., Brown) is the Leon Golden Professor of Classics at Florida State University. The editor of the Penguin Herodotus, Professor Marincola specializes in Greek and Roman historiography and rhetoric and in this final lecture of the Marathon2500 series, Professor Marincola will talk about what happened after the battle. 
Location: Teleconference/webinar from anywhere in the world
Free registration: